Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'Our best years lie ahead'

The Steve Jobs era is over, no matter what new Apple CEO Tim Cook may assert in an email sent out to employees today. The memo comes courtesy of ArsTechnica. Jobs resigned yesterday.

Cook assures employees that "Apple is not going to change", which isn't true. The company already has dramatically changed under Cook's eight-month stewardship while Jobs was on medical leave -- and, frankly, for two years before. A quick look at Apple's performance since Jobs' January 2009 medical leave tells the story.

Cook took over as chief operating officer in 2005, efficiently running logistics throughout. But his more extraordinary influence started once cancer survivor Jobs handed over day-to-day operations more than two-and-a-half years ago -- and by all appearances continued that role since. The chart above tells a story. Apple revenue grew from $8.3 billion in calendar second quarter 2009 to $28.6 billion two years later.

Apple's new CEO -- the first change since Jobs' return to Apple with "interim" title in 1997 -- is a very different kind of leader than was Jobs. His behind-the-icon influence cannot be overstated. Cook's memo:


I am looking forward to the amazing opportunity of serving as CEO of the most innovative company in the world. Joining Apple was the best decision I've ever made and it's been the privilege of a lifetime to work for Apple and Steve for over 13 years. I share Steve's optimism for Apple's bright future.

Steve has been an incredible leader and mentor to me, as well as to the entire executive team and our amazing employees. We are really looking forward to Steve's ongoing guidance and inspiration as our Chairman.

I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple's unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that—it is in our DNA. We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do.

I love Apple and I am looking forward to diving into my new role. All of the incredible support from the Board, the executive team and many of you has been inspiring. I am confident our best years lie ahead of us and that together we will continue to make Apple the magical place that it is.


I want to believe Cook when he tells Apple employees that "our best years lie ahead". But given the phenomenal growth of the past two years, is there much more up before Apple comes down? Please offer your answer in comments.

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