What Steve Jobs' Resignation Means for Education

Sep 29, 2011

Steve Jobs is retiring as CEO of Apple. This move has raised a lot of speculation about everything from the future of the company to Jobs' personal health. One area that may see some fallout from this development is education - but what changes can really be predicted at this point?

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By Sarah Wright

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About Jobs' Resignation

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is an easily recognizable and controversial figure in the computing world. His signature black mock turtleneck and jeans look is often parodied. To tech enthusiasts, Jobs is seen in a variety of ways. For some, he's a living legend, a genius demi-god who helped to change our lives in important and meaningful ways. To others, he's the hack leader of blind-faith 'fanboys' duped into overpaying for sub-par products. Any way you slice it, Jobs is a celebrity, and his every move is watched and analyzed by consumers and Apple shareholders alike.

In recent years, much attention has been paid to Jobs' health. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, kicking off a near decade-long cycle of sympathy and speculation. His decision to resign as Apple CEO in August, 2011 set off a powder keg of rumors that his battle with cancer was being lost. Apple's official statements on the matter make no mention of Jobs' health, but simply state that he will remain involved in the company as the new CEO, Tim Cook, takes the reins.

Apple's Role in Education

Jobs himself attended, but never graduated from, Reed College in Portland, OR. He mentioned this in a 2005 commencement address at Stanford, where he spoke of how his experience with a calligraphy teacher named Lloyd J. Reynolds helped shape his interest in text, which evolved into his desire to include beautiful text on the first Mac. But though Jobs has received honorary degrees, he never formally finished his college education.

Apple's corporate education initiatives have had a similar lack of deep involvement. Though the company offers educational discounts and incentives for students to buy their products, most of the technology produced by them is more suited for general consumption. They make a case for educational use of iPads, for example, but that seems to be more of a marketing option than a true purpose-fulfilling role for the product. In addition to these efforts, the company has made equipment donations to various schools and educational organizations. But Apple has not developed any products that are specifically meant to be used as educational tools.

What Does Jobs' Resignation Mean for Education?

As of now, it's difficult to say what Apple will do with their education initiatives after Jobs' departure as CEO. In what seems like a move designed to placate shareholders, the company's PR department has insisted that not much is going to change with the executive switch. The choice of Cook for CEO seems to confirm that. Cook has been the Chief Operating Officer for Apple since 2007, and even served as interim CEO for two months in 2004 while Jobs was treated for his cancer.

For the time being, it seems that nothing much will change at Apple as Jobs steps aside. It's possible that new educational initiatives will be introduced in the future, but there is nothing to suggest that these initiatives will take a different tone than they have in the past. Apple computers remain a popular choice for many students, and are likely to continue to be so in the future, especially if the company maintains its educational discount policy.

Previously, we wondered about the impact a government shutdown might have on education.

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