Even Apple's fiercest competitors wish Steve Jobs could stride energetically into his Cupertino office Thursday, grab the company's reins from Tim Cook and start working with his trademark focus and enthusiasm on the next personal technology game-changer.
(Also see: Growing concerns about Steve Jobs)
But, sadly, Jobs, a cancer survivor who went on an indefinite leave of absence in January to battle unspecified -- but clearly serious -- health problems, is in no condition to run a major company, never mind the largest technology company in the world. He said so himself in a resignation letter released by the company:
August 24, 2011–To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:
I have always said if there ever 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.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
It's a gracious letter, but one tinged with sadness (especially the last sentence) because in it Jobs concedes he now lacks the energy or strength to do the job he both created and loved. I'm sure this was a hard decision for him.
So while I'm probably supposed to discuss the impact of Jobs's resignation on Apple shares or the future of the company now that its visionary is stepping aside, or how talented Tim Cook and other Apple executives are, I'm honestly not all that interested right now.
I'm still stuck on the human aspect of the story. And what I see is a relatively young and incredibly successful man, rendered gaunt and frail in recent months by an undisclosed illness, bracing himself for what likely is a fight for his very life.
The business stuff can wait for another day.
Read more of Chris Nerney's Tech Business Today blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Chris on Twitter at @ChrisNerney. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.