You heard the news right? Steve Jobs is no longer CEO at Apple. Wow! First up, as all information points to this move being related to Steve Jobs health, a thought of good will should go out to him and his family.
So the co founder, the saviour who lead a failing company from the brink of closure to one of the largest companies in the world is on the way out! While Jobs will remain as chairman of the board the burning torch of leadership is being passed onto the current COO- Tim Cook.
The big question the city has to answer is can the flame of leadership be passed to Tim Cook without being distinguished? Just how much of Jobs input is in the product? The input from Jobs may not be direct, his value and vision as the leader is strong with all staff.
Let's look across at the "Anti-Apple" company - Microsoft. Does MS as an organisation have the same passion and focus as it did under the leadership of Gates? From staff I know there and listening to product development staff speak at conference my view is no- not even close!
How will Apple handle the inevitable success of Android. The iPhone is likely to be further pushed into a position of exclusive product for the top of end of the market. There have been rumours of a budget iPhone - budget and Apple are not phrases I would typically think to put into the same sentence.
How will the leadership keep that "magic" well focused and quality innovation at the heart of the business?
Steve Jobs stepping down feel an end of an era. Our computer leaders and founders who worked to evolve the personal computer from the room sized hardware in research labs to the desktop, then lap and now mobile are nearly all out of the key picture. The information age is slowly closing to a draw. Similar to the industrial revolution the relatively slow paced process of building infrastructure and social change the information age is now in place. The founders are stepping aside the Luddites are dead and society as a whole is gripping the well established handles and riding forwards.
The era of innovation is firmly in service and eco systems. The power play has left the infrastructure space including hardware manufactures, OS developers, telco's and is firmly with services. True some service players own some infrastructure - such as Apple and Google. The Search engines, Social Networks, Cloud SaaS and mobile Eco Systems are today's big winners. These areas have some convergence to go through before the next stage in our connected culture can be realised.
Already the smaller enterprises are staking their markets and nearly unrivalled niche leaders have arrived. For example SalesForce.com in days of old would have been dwarfed by product offering from IBM or MS. The SMB has no barrier to purchase thanks to cheap hardware, effective and low cost Internet connectivity and cloud services removing all need for capital expenditure on servers.
Being a convert from what could only be described as a windows fan boy to a open minded consumer who now predominantly uses Mac I really hope Apple sustain their focus and deliver!
The next decade is going to be Great Fun! I believe it will be the biggest period of innovation and start ups developing into enterprise size revenues.