Steve Jobs‘ resignation as Apple Inc.’s CEO on Wednesday was freighted with sentimental significance, the curtain call on a dramatic 14-year performance in which he rescued one of the world’s most beloved brands from the brink of technological irrelevance.
As second chances go, Jobs’ stewardship of Apple since returning in 1997 to the company he created with a high school friend in a Silicon Valley garage in the 1970s is widely seen as nothing short of first-class. And his job isn’t done; he’s staying on as chairman, where it remains to be seen how meaningfully his role in product design will change.
As mercurial as many employees and suppliers and business partners have found Jobs, few can deny how deeply his ideas have transformed the consumer technology world.
Jobs’ contributions to the world of technology are numerous. He led a fierce battle against Microsoft’s Windows stronghold on the front lines of the personal computer revolution; he changed the way people listen to music; he essentially created the consumer smartphone market and turned tablets from objects of derision into lusted-after luxury items. The innovation attached to the Steve Jobs brand is something that might be impossible to replace.