updated 10:50 pm EDT, Thu October 20, 2011
Al Gore says Jobs wanted independent successor
Steve Jobs wanted his successor at Apple to act independently, Apple board member and former vice president Al Gore said in a discussion at AsiaD. The late CEO had talks about "cultivating a team" that could work well on its own at every board meeting, and he expected that to continue after he left. He was aware of the trap Disney fell into when it became overdependent on trying to mimic Walt Disney after he died, and would rather have new CEO Tim Cook a different direction than risk a tailspin trying to follow his formula, according to Gore.
"Donít ask what Steve would have done," he recalled Jobs saying. "Follow your own voice."
Gore fully anticipated Apple continuing to take risks in strategy and that each of the senior VPs was very capable. "Everyone on that management team could be CEO of a world-class corporation," he said.
The point of view hadn't been mentioned about Jobs before and supported beliefs that he had long been grooming the company for his eventual exit. Apple is known to have an Apple University that trains executives about the culture he wanted to foster, not just the technical skills.
Gore further commented on the Steve Jobs memorial, saying it was a "beautiful and moving event," and on his unique position both on Apple's board and as a Google advisor. In a parallel to Eric Schmidt's leaving the Apple board over conflicts relating to Android, he scaled back his advice to Google to avoid conflicts. He missed talking to Larry Page and Sergey Brin at the company, who he first saw when they were 27.
Speaking in his role as Current TV chairman, he saw the web and mobile slowly improving the public's knowledge after TV created a "huge degradation of the conversation." Print allowed the "rule of reason," where people could make informed decisions. TV, however, was dictated by gatekeeper studios, which could limit what people knew and was too expensive an investment.
iOS and Android were rivaling daytime TV for influence, he said, but prime time TV still blew "everything else" away. People liked the relaxing experience and immediate visual connection, which they were hardwired to like, he said.