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Steve Jobs announces resignation from Apple

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Bob Moon: This is the news that investors have frankly long dreaded. Steve Jobs, the chief executive of one of the most valuable companies in America, is resigning that post. Apple announced late today he will continue to serve as chairman of the company he founded in a garage 35 years ago.

Our Steve Henn is on the line with me now from Silicon Valley. Steve, what do you think is behind this?

Steve Henn: Well it’s pretty clear, Bob, that it’s Steve Jobs’ health. Jobs has had health issues for years now: he’s a pancreatic cancer survivor; he received a liver transplant a little over two years ago in 2009. And earlier this year in January, he asked Apple’s board for a temporary leave of absence so he could focus on his health. Today, in his resignation letter, he said, “I’ve always said if there came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.”

Moon: You know, he’s really been perceived as a wunderkind of sorts of this technology powerhouse. So what happens now?

Henn: Well, Jobs has been made the chairman of the board at Apple. And Tim Cook, who was the chief operating officer and the acting CEO during this medical leave of absence and the last one, has been elevated to be the permanent CEO. Cook has a pretty good track record running the company; he’s been doing it for over a year now if you put both of those terms of service together. And he clearly had Jobs’ confidence; Jobs recommended to Apple’s board that they replace him with Cook, and so that’s who’s going to lead the company. Apple also has a very deep bench of talented executives. So a number of analysts are fairly upbeat. I mean, this was a long time coming.

Moon: So what’s Steve Jobs’ legacy going to be?

Henn: Clearly, it’s remarkable. You back to 1976 and the late ’70s, he and Apple helped introduce the personal computer. Just last year, he revolutionized technology again by introducing the iPad. Clearly, he’s not only brilliant at understanding the potential of technology, but also how people use it.

Moon: Marketplace’s Steve Henn, thanks.

Henn: Sure.

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