Cook is not Jobs. But he did learn from the master. And as acting boss, he has already presided over a string of successes.
Sitting outside of a bar in Washington, D.C., a couple of hours ago, I received a string of emails from my editors here alerting me to the fact that Steve Jobs had resigned from his position as the CEO of Apple, a position he has held for almost exactly 14 years now -- if you don't count the first time he did it. You see, this wasn't Jobs's first big move -- and it won't be his last either. The man credited with Apple's move into the stratosphere has left a legacy that endures.
Tomorrow, Apple will be the same company that it was yesterday, that it was this morning. With after-hours trading rocky, the company's stock will probably open lower than it closed, but it will still be one of the most valuable companies the world has ever seen. And I imagine it won't take too long for investors to realize that and for the stock to recover. The iPhone 5 will come out in October, the rumored new line of Macs will continue to be talked about, and the wheels will turn as they always have.
Steve Jobs didn't step down. And Tim Cook didn't step up. Not today, anyway.
Steve Jobs has been unhealthy for years, diagnosed way back in 2004 with a rare form of pancreatic cancer that few survive. It was then that the biggest newspapers started to keep his obituary updated in their drawers, then that bloggers started wondering about what Apple would look like post-Jobs. But here's the kicker: It will look remarkably like it looked during-Jobs.