Steve Jobs steps down as CEO, and an era ends at Apple

Apple CEO Steve Jobs resigned Wednesday. Jobs will stay on as Apple board chairman as Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook takes over as chief executive running Apple.

Jeff Chiu/AP
In this March 2, 2011 file photo, Apple Inc. Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs waves to his audience at an Apple event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco. Apple Inc. on Wednesday said Jobs is resigning as CEO, effective immediately.

Steve Jobs – the computer pioneer who helped revolutionize the way people communicate, do business, and conduct many other aspects of their lives – has resigned as head of the company that had its roots in a garage filled with gadgets and gizmos.

He stepped down as Apple CEO Wednesday

Along with Microsoft rival Bill Gates, Mr. Jobs was one of the original “Pirates of Silicon Valley,” as the 1999 feature film portrayed them.

Technologically brilliant. Supremely self-confident. And with an innate business sense that could blow the likes of IBM out of the water. Together, the two competitors were able to anticipate what billions of people worldwide would want even before the public had any inkling of Facebook, Twitter, or Google.

But the time came (as it had for Mr. Gates at Microsoft) when Jobs felt the need to turn over the reins of corporate power at Apple.

Although he had appeared at the launch of the iPad 2 in March and the company’s annual developers' conference in June, Jobs had been on medical leave for months.

In a letter to the Apple board of directors and "the Apple Community" Wednesday, Jobs made his withdrawal from running Apple final and official.

"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,” he wrote. “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,” he continued. “As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name [Chief Operating Officer] 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."

Apple’s directors quickly approved Jobs’ recommendation. Mr. Cook is a 13-year veteran of the company who ran Apple during Jobs’s two medically-related absences.

"I will say to investors: don't panic and remain calm, it's the right thing to do,” BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis told Reuters. “Steve will be chairman and Cook is CEO.”

Apple shares were suspended from trade before the announcement. They had gained 0.7 percent to close at $376.18.

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