1/14/09
5:08 pm

Steve Jobs Taking Time Off

Rumors of Apple Inc.’s CEO leaving haven’t been that far off after all. Jobs announced this week that he’ll be taking six months off in a medical leave of absence. Reportedly in a letter to Apple employees he said “during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.” But he also says “As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out.”
Tim Cook, Apple’s COO will take over a lot of Jobs’ day-to-day tasks, as he did in 2004 when Jobs was battling pancreatic cancer.
So this brings into serious play the question of Apple without Jobs. Rumors have stated in the past that Jobs is involved with every little detail of Apple’s operations, all the way down to picking the songs to be used in the iPod TV commercials.
But Apple’s senior ranks are filled with talented and experienced people. Jobs’ huge presence has kept the focus on him, and it is easy to forget everyone else.
On the one hand, Jobs taking a step back could be what is needed to let the rest of Apple’s management shine. In fact, you can theorize that this leave of absence is an attempt to do just that. There’s got to be a chance that Jobs won’t even return after six months, if things are going well and he is enjoying a more distant role.
And if he does come back, I’d like to think that the six months off will give him some great ideas and insight into what is next.