Steve Jobs (photo, from lefigaro.fr) announced his resignation as chief executive of Apple Inc on Wednesday. He will be replaced by Tim Cook, chief operating officer.
In 14 years Apple co-founder turned the company into the world’s largest technology corporation.
Mr Jobs, 56, the man behind the iPhone, iPad and iPod said he could no longer handle the job of chief executive but would still play a leadership role by becoming chairman of the firm.
He surviving a rare form of pancreatic cancer and underwent a liver transplant. Since 17 January Mr Jobs has been on medical leave for an undisclosed condition.
He wrote a short letter to the board of Apple : “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s chief executive, I would be the first to let you know.
“Unfortunately, that day has come. I hereby resign as chief executive 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.”
According to Art Levinson, Apple board member “Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company.”
He added : “The board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO.”
The move was not unexpected, said analysts, adding that it would have little impact on the day-to-day running of the company and that costumers wouldn’t see any real change.
“Steve is [still] going to be able to provide the input he would do as a chief executive,” said Colin Gillis at BGC Financial.
“But Tim has been de facto chief executive for some time and the company has been hugely successful. The vision and the roadmap is intact.”
“In the near term, at least the next two to three years, Apple will continue to have a fantastic run because it’s got its entire roadmap in place which will continue to work seamlessly,” Manoj Menon at Frost and Sullivan told the BBC.
Michael Gartenberg from Gartner told the BBC that “at the end of the day, consumers don’t buy products from Apple because they’re from Steve Jobs, they buy them because they meet their needs and they’re good products, and they’ll continue to do that.”
However analysts also said that Mr Jobs’ departure could make things easier for Apple’s rivals.
In after-hours trading the shares of the firm slid more than 5% while shares in two of Apple’s main Asian rivals gained : Taiwan-based phone maker HTC rose 4.1% and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics gained 3.2%.
Both companies are Apple’s rivals in the tablet-PC and smartphone sector. They have also been engaged in legal battles over patent rights with Apple.
Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple in the 1970s and in the 1980s Macintosh computers became very popular.
But in 1985 Mr Jobs fell out with colleagues and left the company. Apple’s transformation started in 1997, when he returned. The firm launched the colourful iMac computer.
Then in 2002 Apple revolutionised the personal music-player market when it launched the iPod. And in 2007 the iPhone revolutionised the smartphone marked.
Then they launched the iPad which became very popular, despite some being sceptic in the beginning.
Although Mr Jobs is widely seen as the one who led Apple to become one of the world’s technology giants, analysts said that his resignation will have no impact on future products because many versions have been launched while he was on medical leave and new versions have been planned for several months.
And thanks to the successes of the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, Apple is now one of the most sought after brands in the world.
And since the market capitalisation of the company which started in a garage overtook that of oil company Exxon Mobil, Apple became the most valuable US firm.