Apple CEO Steve Jobs has resigned, saying that he’s joining Microsoft chairman and former foe Bill Gates in his philanthropic pursuits.
The company’s Senior Vice-President of Industrial Design, Jonathan “Jony” Ive, is to become joint CEO with Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook. Ive will continue to drive the company’s product line and will become the public face of Apple.
Since leaving the company on a medical leave of absence on 17 January, Jobs has been reflecting on the millions he’s earned while turning Apple into the world’s most successful consumer electronics company.
It seems that when the two computer titans met on-stage at the All Things Digital conference in 2007, Gates made the suggestion that Jobs join him on the board of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a body which aims to improve healthcare and alleviate extreme poverty in the world’s poorest regions, and expand educational opportunities and access to information technology in the United States.
Jobs and Gates haven’t always seen eye to eye, with the Apple CEO famously saying, in 2006, “I have no problem with their (Microsoft’s) success, they’ve earned their success for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products.”
However, in his email announcement to Apple staff, Jobs said that the two had been foes at boardroom level but had always gotten on well on a personal level, even belonging to the same Friday-night bowling league.
Jobs said he had been planning to leave for some time, but hadn’t identified a worthy successor – one who wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of John Scully, Michael Spindler and Gil Amelio in the ‘Dark Decade’ from 1985-1997 – until this solution was proposed at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting in February.
Update: Since it’s past midday, it’d be unfair to keep fooling: we’ve heard word from Apple that reports of Jobs’ departure are entirely unsubstantiated, and he’s still safely behind the till as CEO.