A year and a half after coming back from a liver transplant, the CEO of Apple says he's stepping aside, but will still be involved in major strategic decisions. "I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can," Jobs said in a statement. Timothy Cook, Apple's COO, will run day-to-day operations, as he did in 2009 when Jobs also took a medical leave. In recent months, reports the NYT, Jobs has looked increasingly frail, according to people who have seen him.
Mr. Jobs recovered from pancreatic cancer after surgery in 2004, but has continued to be plagued by health issues. In January 2009, Mr. Jobs went on a medical leave. During the leave Mr. Jobs secretly flew to Tennessee for a liver transplant. In June 2009, Apple said Mr. Jobs was back at work, and he reappeared in public for the first time in September of that year. While he was energetic and exhibited his unique brand of salesmanship as he unveiled new products during 90-minute event, he continued to look gaunt.
U.S, markets are closed today to observe the Martin Luther King holiday, but look for nervous reactions from investors on Tuesday morning. Coincidentally, Smart Money and WSJ columnist James Stewart wrote over the weekend that Apple may have peaked, at least as a stock.
I'm not sure what worlds are left for Apple to conquer. I realize I'm in a minority, and that there are plenty of customers still to be wooed by Apple. But competition is stirring. At last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a resurgent Motorola--which this month split into Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility Holdings--trumped Apple. Motorola Mobility's new Xoom tablet computer, designed to rival the iPad, was named "Best of Show," and the Motorola Atrix was named the best smartphone.