Three tech icons announced this week major leadership changes that took Silicon Valley by surprise.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs got the ball rolling by announcing he is taking another medical leave from the company he co-founded more than 30 years ago, leaving many to wonder who might be in line to be his successor.
Jobs, a pancreatic cancer survivor, announced in an e-mail to employees that he would be stepping away indefinitely from his day-to-day duties at Apple but would retain the title of chief executive. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will assume responsibility for the company's day-to-day operations, as he did during Jobs' previous leave of absence for medical treatment.
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But the next obvious question then becomes, is Cook the person who could, if called upon, take over entirely for Jobs someday? While Cook has the full confidence of his boss and has demonstrated an ability to execute on Jobs' big-picture plans already in place, it's the long-term prognosis for the eventual reality of an Apple without Jobs that makes investors nervous.
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Over at Google, its ruling triumvirate was shaken up by the announcement that CEO Eric Schmidt will be taking the role of executive chairman, while co-founder Larry Page will become CEO. Sergey Brin, who has also shared power with the two others, will work on "strategic projects," Google said.
Schmidt, who was hired by the co-founders in 2011 to become Google's CEO, will focus on external partnerships and business deals starting on April 4, when Page will take over the day-to-day management role. Schmidt said in a blog post that Page, "in my clear opinion, is ready to lead."
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Meanwhile, just a few months removed from the Mark Hurd scandal, Hewlett-Packard's board of directors is getting a makeover with the replacement of four board members and the addition of a new seat.
The timing of the replacement seems tied to an investigation HP is ready to start into the circumstances surrounding former CEO Hurd's resignation from the company. HP wants this investigation to be "independent" and led by a committee of outside attorneys and of board members who joined the Silicon Valley giant after Hurd's departure.
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Tablets continue to be top products for consumers worldwide, according to a new study from IDC. They're led by Apple's iPad, which has nearly 90 percent market share, the company revealed.
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