So long, sort of, and thanks for all the tech

Steve Jobs retired on Wednesday. Kind of. Well, not really. He stepped down as CEO of Apple but remains as Chairman of the Board and official Ghost of Apple Past, Present, and Probably Future. That is not a comment about the state of his health, but an opinion about his state of influence over the company he helped found, got kicked out of, and eventually resurrected like a be-turtlenecked version of Gandalf the White.

Because, let’s face it—Steve is in Apple’s blood. Or, as they like to say, in the company’s DNA. And I suspect that’s true. After all, the man was smart enough to hire a bunch of like-minded people on this second tour of Cupertino. So I don’t think we’ll see the Scullyfication of Apple again any time soon, which is a very good thing.

But, more importantly, Apple is in Steve’s DNA. And to think that he’s hanging up his soldering gun or cattle prod (set on "engineer") and riding off into the sunset on a Woz Signature Edition Segway is a bit much. My guess, and it really is just a guess, is that Steve has relinquished all of the odious, tedious duties to which a CEO must attend so that he can focus whatever energy he does have on the gear. Because why wouldn’t he? Unless his health has seriously deteriorated—and sources within the Apple campus say he looks pretty much the same as he has (not great, but no worse)—he isn’t going to wander the globe in search of a renewable source of denim. Wait, cotton is renewable. Never mind.

If Steve really meant to leave Apple, he would not have requested to remain as its titular Frank Sinatra. He would’ve packed up his family, shuttered his Silicon Valley compound and skedaddled off to one of his many secret island lairs. He buys a new one with each dot-release of OS X, in case you didn’t know. But he didn’t do that. He stayed on board, ready to assume a bridge position on the new NC-10.7.2 U.S.S. Appleship whenever it rises above the northern California hills.

Why? Well, I don’t think it’s that complex of a psychological issue. Steve Jobs likes to make stuff. He’s always made stuff. He’s figured out how to make stuff that people literally pledge allegiance to. And, like most men, he’s not prone to give that up until he’s, well, permanently prone. Which, I personally and somewhat selfishly hope, may not be for a long, long time. I also hope he has a hand in more creations like the iPhone as opposed to Ping, but nobody’s perfect. And nobody sticks around forever.

But as Steve may quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "I’m not dead yet!" So, let’s relax a bit before we collectively shuffle the man off to the land of the Cube. Pray for his health. And for Jonathan Ive’s, too.

Later,

Fox

Comments closed
    • boing
    • 8 years ago

    Umm he didn’t really develop any technology as such since the Apple II (which was mostly Wozniaks marvel) and the original Mac. What he and Apple did in the past decade was just re-package and market current technology in a very innovative way; Intel CPU’s and ATI/Nvidia gpu’s put in a white box. Even Mac OS X is nothing but a BSD/Darwin core with a colourful and graphic UI slapped onto it.

    As for his health, that’s a very sad thing to see. I hope he manages through the cancer.

      • End User
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Umm he didn't really develop any technology as such since the Apple II (which was mostly Wozniaks marvel) and the original Mac.[/quote<] [url<]http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/24/technology/steve-jobs-patents.html[/url<] [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NeXT[/url<] [quote<]Even Mac OS X is nothing but a BSD/Darwin core with a colourful and graphic UI slapped onto it.[/quote<] Oh ya, they just created OS X over a weekend. It was easy.

      • Scrotos
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Even Mac OS X is nothing but a BSD/Darwin core with a colourful and graphic UI slapped onto it.[/quote<] ...and is the closest to "Unix on the desktop" and mass acceptance that any Linux distro will ever see. Not talkin' 'bout Android, I'm talking about a desktop OS.

    • Jigar
    • 8 years ago

    It’s sad to see how this one man army guy is struggling to keep himself alive now, i was just visiting one of the news site and got directed to TMZ …

    [url<]http://ll-media.tmz.com/2011/08/26/0826-steve-jobs-02pcn-credit-1.jpg[/url<] SHOCKING...

      • Xenolith
      • 8 years ago

      Assuming this is a real picture and not a ‘shop, he won’t make it through September. His liver has probably nearly shut down. Cancer sucks.

    • can-a-tuna
    • 8 years ago

    So long sucker. I hope Apples downfall will finally start. I’m quite sick of their overpriced i-devices and all the hype. Let the other manufacturers rule for a change.

      • Decelerate
      • 8 years ago

      I keep hearing about overpriced stuff, but then again the sales are through the roof (and then some: Apple is paying manufacturers to increase their facilities…). I also keep seeing rumors about other manufacturers struggling to price-quality match the macbook air.

      So I guess that we have different definition of overpriced.

      Note: I have a gaming rig. I don’t like the closed concept of an iMac for my computer, but it’s something I recommend to any non-gaming member of my family (saves on the maintenance). To the gaming members, I build rigs (which I have to then support… urgh).

      And I’d like to see a worthy competitor to an ipod touch (I don’t need a phone).

      • can-a-tuna
      • 8 years ago

      Only -7? And I tried my best. Perhaps this annoys even more Apple fans:

      [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN5PoW7_kdA[/url<]

    • jcw122
    • 8 years ago

    Yes, thanks for dumbing down technology for human beings.

      • can-a-tuna
      • 8 years ago

      Well I lolled.

    • Jambe
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]Pray for his health.[/quote<] Or for global investment in safe nuclear and fusion research. Or for candies. Candies! \o/

    • ermo
    • 8 years ago

    Where’s the ‘+1’ google+ button when you need it?!

    Enjoyable read!

    [i<]+1[/i<]

      • Jambe
      • 8 years ago

      I would +1 it.

    • ludi
    • 8 years ago

    So long and thanks for all the tech
    So sad you’re feeling kind of blech
    We tried to warn you but you stayed

    The Cook’s about to be deployed
    No point in getting all annoyed
    Sit back, relax, and watch the money roll oonnnwarrd!

    So long, so long, and thanks for all the tech

    • cynan
    • 8 years ago

    [i<]But as Steve may quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "I'm not dead yet!"[/i<] Actually, if referring to the "Bring out your dead" sequence, the actual quote is "I'm not dead". No "yet" Enjoyed the post all the same 🙂

      • Jason_Fox
      • 8 years ago

      That’s what I get for going by memory. Or, I could argue that Steve would misquote the movie and insist it was an upgrade.

        • dpaus
        • 8 years ago

        No, Steve would mis-quote it, and within hours, the press and Apple fans everywhere would be insisting that Steve had it right and that the actor mis-spoke his line in the movie.

        • cynan
        • 8 years ago

        Likely. You win.

        Or how about this for a Monty Python’s Holy Grail bastardization about Steve Jobs? (Hopefully not in too poor taste)

        Steve’s Illness: “You’ve suffered great bodily trauma, your hormones are all out of whack and you’ll need to take special nutrient supplements for the rest of your life as you can no longer properly digest your food. Death awaits you… …with nasty big pointy teeth!”

        Steve Jobs: “Nah! It’s only a flesh wound! Come back here! I’ll bite your legs off!”

        (Gotta give the man credit for sticking it out as long as he did)

          • dpaus
          • 8 years ago

          I remember a speech Jobs gave years ago in which he expressed a very healthy attitude about death, and based on that, I suspect he’d actually enjoy the dark humour.

          Of course, staring Death in the face can change one’s perspective.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 8 years ago

        No, Steve would say that he wrote the movie, patent the generic and obvious prior art quote, then sue the pants off of anyone who even mildly threatened his dominant market share of not being dead yet.

    • tanker27
    • 8 years ago

    Dang Jason can you change the title just a bit. I thought you too were throwing in the towel! I am glad it isnt.

    As for your article I couldnt agree more. Except I felt that Steve probably hasnt been doing the day to day stuff for sometime now and that Cook has been doing it.

      • riviera74
      • 8 years ago

      Remember when Steve went on medical leave and left Tim Cook in charge? Consider that Cook’s audition for the top job.

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    Like Jack Layton here in Canada, while I rarely agreed with the man, I have enormous personal respect for him.

      • cynan
      • 8 years ago

      Hopefully Steve’s case is not quite as dire and he’ll be with us for more than a few weeks…

      But yeah, both men, as driven and dedicated as they seem/ed to be, and in the face of what I can only imagine was great personal adversity, you do have to admire.

        • dpaus
        • 8 years ago

        I was struck by the parallels; two men, both with near God-like status among their followers and widespread admiration among most of the rest of the population, both beat a first round with cancer only to have to face a second round at the peak of their careers.

        Jack announced that he was ‘handing over day-to-day operations while staying on as leader’ just a few months ago.

          • cynan
          • 8 years ago

          Yeah. But it wasn’t a few months ago. More like 1 month. The poor guy must have really been holding it together during the election – which likely contributed to him going so quickly.

            • dpaus
            • 8 years ago

            You’re right; it was July 27th – actually one day less than a month ago.

      • dashbarron
      • 8 years ago

      I’m not sure I can use the word “respect.” I think he’s done a fantasic job for Apple, but I normally disagree with most things about him: the terrifying stories we hear about company ethics escaping from the Apple dungeon, his public-attitude and assumed arrogance, which as far as we know is his personality, his turtlenecks, etc.

      For me, respect implies admiration and I don’t admire this man. I can admit he’s done wonders for Apple, but he’s not someone I’d look up to.

        • dpaus
        • 8 years ago

        I was using ‘respect’ in the additional sense of “I have a healthy respect for the power of bubonic plague” Doesn’t mean I’d want to [i<]be[/i<] bubonic plague, but no denying its power...

        • Scrotos
        • 8 years ago

        The worst ethics from management I saw was some stock option backdating “scandal” that didn’t amount to much. Compare that to other tales of corporate malfeasance and honestly the Jobs-era Apple has been kinda boring in the ethics regard. Sure, some subcontractors in China use slave labor, but that’s not really Apple management’s thing.

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