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Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple, Tim Cook to take over

updated 06:50 pm EDT, Wed August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs ends reign at Apple

Apple on Wednesday upturned the technology industry with word that Steve Jobs had resigned as CEO of Apple. He will remain Chairman of the Board and, after he "strongly recommended" the role to directors, has had COO Tim Cook take his CEO position. No reason was given for the departure, though Apple stressed that Jobs would still have input at the company.

"Steve has made countless contributions to Apple's success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple's immensely creative employees and world class executive team," Genentech Chairman and Apple board member said. "In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration."

The surprise exit follows an indefinite medical leave and may be a strong indication that Jobs doesn't believe he can return to full-time work at the company. He had surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2004 that is believed to have at least temporarily taken care of the issue, but complications forced a leave in 2009 and left him a frail condition that prompted the most recent absence.

Tim Cook is expected to be a safe replacement for Jobs. As COO, he has often been credited with turning around the company's operations and cutting back product launch times from several months to just weeks. He has also been credited to mastering the supply chain and getting the company an edge in flash memory, aluminum construction, displays, and other technology that others had previously ignored.

In making the recommendation, Jobs acknowledged that there was not just a succession plan in place but that Tim Cook was the frontrunner for the plan. Some had speculated that alternatives such as Phil Schiller, Scott Forstall, and even Jonathan Ive were candidates. Apple is known to have an Apple University that not only trains executives in skills but inculcates the philosophy Jobs wants to put forward in replacements.

Jobs is by far the most successful leader of the company. Most of his success came after his return in 1997, when he refocused the company. The iMac almost single-handedly saved the company's fortunes and was followed by a string of major successes, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, as well as numerous definitive Macs. The growth was fast enough that Apple now often has the largest stock market cap of any company in the world and is wealthier on a more absolute sense than its long-time rival Microsoft.

Update: Steve Jobs has posted his full letter.

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve




By Electronista Staff
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Comments

    Comment buried. Show
  1. que_ball

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2000

    -43

    comment title

    Sell sell sell

  1. facebook_Matthew

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Aug 2011

    +21

    A sad day brings a new dawn

    Steve steps aside, Apple goes on!

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    +24

    Thank you, Steve!

    It's been a great ride. :) Your place in corporate history is assured. Rest, and best to you and yours.

  1. OldMacGeek

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2010

    +17

    Whoa!

    Part of me says, "Oh c***!" and part of me says, "No biggie."

    We've already seen what an Apple without Jobs at the helm daily can do, and it's proven to be an Apple that can do great things.

  1. azrich

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010

    +22

    Holy no biggie!

    I agree OMGeek. I hope his influence continues. MOSTLY I hope that he has some time to enjoy himself if he's sick. I have watched enough people succumb to cancer to know, it sucks.

    THANK YOU Steve Jobs & company.

    Rich

    Comment buried. Show
  1. simon42

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010

    -34

    Cue Nelson:

    HA! Ha!

    And now we'll see how stupid the stock market is... Sure the stock and the company will get over it, but I'm wondering how big the effect will be - how much the Jobs effect can once again distort reality and go against logic.

  1. Sosa

    Senior User

    Joined: Feb 2002

    +15

    Saddness

    I hope he can remain for many more years to guide Apple, the company he founded and led from the brink to great success. A company that makes products loved by millions. One of the great leaders in human history, a true visionary that found success in his lifetime.

  1. cvbcvb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2003

    +14

    Unfortunately, that day has come

    "Unfortunately, that day has come."

    The prior days have been wonderful. Thank you Steve.

  1. Zanziboy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2008

    +15

    We love you, Steve! Take care!

    You forever changed how we use computers, the way we listen to music, the quality of animated films, and the manner in which we communicate. But most of all, by combining technology with humanism, you inspired a generation of people to embrace technology with enthusiasm and a sense of awe. Take care, and we wish you all the best.

  1. chas_m

    Joined:

    +23

    Ugh

    This news coming on the heels of the tragic death of Jack Layton (Americans -- google him and gaze in awe and wonder at an actual, honest-to-gosh, BELOVED politician) ... this has not been a good week.

    I couldn't agree more with azrich ... I'm glad he's just retiring and still with us, I hope he will continue to be around for as long as possible, and mostly I hope he can enjoy however much time he has left as much as possible. If anybody on this planet has earned a break, it's Steve Jobs. Live it up, sir. It's been a privilege to be on this planet during your time as Apple CEO.

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