If you’ve seen the news or logged on to your favourite social networking website this evening, you will know that Apple co-founder and talismanic leader Steve Jobs has resigned from his position as CEO, with the company immediately appointing former COO TIm Cook as its new chief.
As people sat back and took it in, Bloomberg conducted a telephone interview with Apple co-founder Steve “The Woz” Wozniak, asking him for his thoughts on the news, what might be behind Jobs’ decision to quit and what will happen to Apple now that he has stepped down from his role at the company.
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When asked about the early days of Apple, Wozniak said that Jobs always “wanted to be an important person”, adding that he “wanted to do it by having a company”.
Having ended his full-time employment with Apple nearly 25 years ago, Wozniak is said to maintain connections to Jobs, but when asked about why his friend and fellow business creator was leaving the company, his response shed no further light why Jobs chose today to announce his departure as CEO, stating; “I’m not close enough to him now to tell you what his reasons were for resigning”.
He did, however, speak of the culture of secrecy at Apple, defending the way Jobs and his executive teams innovate in secret, despite the impact it has on its employees and individuals associated with the company:
“A lot of people have been hurt by it when they’ve been affected, but I’m totally behind it. I like to have new products developed without being influenced by outsiders. It’s been one of the greatest things for Apple’s success.”
Despite times when Apple was in financial and structural turmoil, Wozniak believes Jobs’ speed of thought and endless drive helped the company move forward, believing that he may have adopted the ethos of the hard working, never failing Hank Reardon in Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged.
“Steve was very fast thinking and wanted to do things, I wanted to build things. I think Atlas Shrugged was one of his guides in life”
Ultimately, Wozniak believes that Steve Jobs will be remembered as one of the best and most successful business leaders for years to come:
“He’s probably going to be remembered for the next 100 years as the best business leader of our time. He will watch the company for a while, hope its on such a good track.
For a company as large as Apple, corporate culture doesn’t change overnight. The quality of the people doesn’t change.”