MonthJanuary 2009

Jobs steps down for now as CEO; on medical leave through June

apple-logo1I don’t do much breaking news these days, but word is getting out that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is taking a medical leave until the end of June and leaving COO Tim Cook in charge of day to day management of the company.

According to Silicon Valley Insider, Jobs sent an internal email to Apple employees informing them of the decision:

Team,

I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community. Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well. In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.

In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple’s day to day operations, and I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job. As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out. Our board of directors fully supports this plan.

I look forward to seeing all of you this summer.

Steve

Trading on Apple stock was briefly suspended today on the news, and is scheduled to resume in about five minutes (in after-hours trading) as I write this. According to Yahoo, Apple is currently selling at $85.33.

This should be some ride.

(Hat tip to Shawn King for the news.)

Macworld keynote reaction on MacVoices TV

macjuryI joined a great group of Mac pundits for a session of Chuck Joiner’s new MacVoices TV podcast. It’s a 20-minute or so round table discussion about Apple’s last Macworld keynote and Phil Schiller’s performance as a substitute for Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The panel included Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus, Mac author and columnist for the Houston Chronicle and The Mac Observer, Terry White of Adobe, Adam Christianson of the MacCast and of course, Host Chuck Joiner.

I like the video format and I think Chuck Joiner’s onto something here. Video’s bound to have a different set of obstacles, especially once the panelists are no longer in the same location, but the production values so far have been pretty good and improving. While podcasts are likely to remain a commuting activity (and therefore audio-only) for me, seeing the panel is a lot more compelling than just hearing them. It will be interesting to see how the format works over Skype, but given Chuck’s track record, I’m optimistic that he’s got another hit on his hands. For the video-resistant, the show is also available in an audio-only version through the MacJury feed.

While I was out…

while_outI’m back from what was a very interesting Macworld, and possibly one of the best. (It was surely one of the most exhausting.) I delivered three sessions this year (well, one session delivered three times), and they seemed to be very well received. The crowds were definitely smaller than I expected — an observation I heard repeatedly at the show. But just from the timing, it seems to me that the decrease in attendance was more a result of the economy than Steve Jobs’ absence.

I also wrote a column for The Mac Observer — an opinion piece on my reflections on the Phil Schiller keynote. I also took part in a MacJury/MacVoicesTV session on the same subject. I haven’t seen this posted anywhere yet, and it’s probably past the point where it’s relevant anymore. I love the idea of doing video, but if it’s going to mean this kind of delay in making it available, it’s probably better to stick with audio. Who knows — maybe I was so awful that host Chuck Joiner decided to scrap it altogether.

Finally, the band I’m in — the Macworld All-Star Band — played our 11th Macworld gig and our sixth Cirque du Mac show hosted by The Mac Observer. The party, originally meant as the successor to the Mac the Knife parties, has taken on a life and mystique of its own. This year, we had caricaturists, a superb light show by Andrew Stone — and even a trapeze artist. Attendance jumped from 500 people jammed into the Red Devil Lounge to 850 in the very stylish Broadway Studios. I think we sounded great and I know we had a blast. It’s an incredible group of very talented people who have become some of my dearest friends in the world: Paul Kent, IDG vice president and the executive in charge of Macworld; Dave Hamilton, president of Backbeat Media and The MacObserver; Christopher Breen, Mac author and senior contributing editor for Macworld magazine; Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus, Mac author and columnist at the Houston Chronicle; Duane Straub, former administrator at Lawrence Livermore Labs; and Bryan Chaffin, executive vice president at The Mac Observer.

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