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Stick Around Steve

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There has been talk of Steve Jobs retiring before. There's even been talk of him dying, for heaven's sake. In 2008, Bloomberg shockingly went and published his obituary in error and Steve Jobs made light of it by using Mark Twain's famous line "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."

Preceding practically every recent Apple event there have been days of speculation on whether Jobs will be there to make another of his famous presentations, and on his showing up, much commentary about his appearance and state of health. For everyone knows that Steve Jobs has been battling pancreatic cancer and has had a liver transplant.

So, the announcement of Steve Jobs' resigning as CEO Apple should not have come as a surprise to anyone. But it did. It's a shock -- one that will continue to reverberate over most of the world for quite a while yet, because he has not only made Apple the second most important company globally, but anything because anything that Apple does today impacts the technology industry.

All this is quite apart from all the individual lives that are changed because of Steve Jobs.

That may sound dramatic, but if you use even one Apple product, you will know what I mean because of the very way that product fits into your life and alters the way you do things.

In my early days as a technology writer, Apple was in a stubborn niche of its own,  the anti-PC maker of powerful, expensive computers that didn't get along with anything else but were ever the ideal tool for designers, architects and creative types. Us tech journalists would often shake our heads in sorrow at Apple's strategies and wonder why a company that made such a beautiful machine would want to paint itself into a comer. Today, that same company has instead carpeted the world with brilliantly designed products. And all of it is thanks to the phenomenon that is Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs' Apple is not necessarily a great place to work. It's certainly not a great company to compete against. Apple doesn't play nice. It can go after a a kid who violates its copyrights just as  it goes after its current competitor, Samsung. It's often also often accused of top-to-bottom arrogance. And mysteriousness. But no one argues with cult Apple.

When a person becomes the company and the company becomes the person, it's, only natural to wonder at the separation of the two.  But the one  thing you cannot accuse Steve Jobs of is leaving Apple unprepared. With him setting up the company, in its Cupertino spaceship, well on the path to world dominance, Apple couldn't have asked for more as it faces a new future -- without Steve Jobs.

And then again, remaining on the board of the company, he could well influence Apple -- and our lives -- for a long time to come.

mala(at)pobox(dot)com, (at)malabhargava on Twitter