The resignation of Apple Inc.’s chief executive Steve Jobs marks the end of an era, but his departure is not likely to make an immediate impact on the company and its successful line of products, analysts say.
Jobs, 56, submitted his resignation to the Apple board of directors on Wednesday and recommended they name Tim Cook as his successor. In a letter announcing his resignation, Jobs asked to remain chairman of the board and an Apple employee.
“I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s C.E.O., I would be the first to let you know,” Jobs wrote. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”
Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg called Jobs’ resignation “the end of an era in many ways,” but said it would not shake up the company because Jobs has spent more than a decade building his management team and preparing the board for this transition.
Forrester analyst Charles Golvin said the impact on Apple may not be noticeable for a few years because the company’s upcoming products, including the new iPhone 5, have likely already been developed. And Jobs will likely have a continued hands-on role in shaping future Apple products, Golvin said.
But in a few years, “we will see the real Apple without Steve Jobs’ influence,” Golvin said. Then, the question will be how the company’s top executives collaborate without a single visionary making the ultimate decision if there is conflict or debate, he said.
Cook has taken over the helm of Apple several times while Jobs was on medical leave, and the company continued to succeed under his leadership, analysts said. In 2004, Jobs underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer. In 2009, he underwent a liver transplant.
Cook is considered a skilled manager who can operate the company efficiently, Golvin said. But he does not have a background in product development and design and is not viewed as someone with great product vision.
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