Steve Jobs Resigns as Apple CEO

Apple's board of directors announced today that Steve Jobs has resigned as the company's CEO. Tim Cook has been named CEO and Jobs has taken a position as chairman of the board.

According to a BusinessWire release, Jobs submitted his resignation letter (posted below) to Apple's board of directors today, with the recommendation that Tim Cook (who is currently serving as acting CEO) be named to that position permanently.

Apple is so intimately associated with its founder Jobs it is nearly impossible to imagine the company without him. Apple is a product of his vision, his leadership and his unerring ability to roll out amazing products that just work. Job's pet projects are like a litany of all that's best about Apple: Macintosh, iMac, OS X, iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computer in 1976, and released the Apple I that same year. The Apple II came out the next year. It was a smash, and touched off the era of home computing. In 1984, Apple introduced The Macintosh, the first mass-market computer with a mouse and graphical user interface. It was no less revolutionary to publishing than the Gutenberg printing press.

But while Apple was flying high, in a rare mis-step Jobs lured John Scully away from Pepsi to serve as Apple CEO, famously asking him if he'd rather sell sugar water or change the world. Scully, in turn, forced Jobs out in 1985, and Apple entered a dark era of declining sales and marginal influence. Jobs went on to found NeXT Computer, and when Apple needed a next-generation operating system it bought NeXT Computer in 1996. Jobs came along as a part of the deal. He's led Apple to a remarkable comeback since his return as CEO. From laughing stock of the tech industry, Jobs has led it to become one of the world's most valuable companies. And for the past decade, with Jobs at the helm, it has rolled out must-have hit, after hit, after hit.

However health problems have kept him from his normal day-to-day duties in recent years. In 2004, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and had successful surgery to remove the tumor. However, due largely to his appearance, and absences from Apple events, questions about his health continued. In 2009, he underwent liver transplant surgery, but returned to work shortly thereafter. However, early this year, Jobs took a medical leave of absence from Apple, and (as he has previously done before) left Cook in the role of acting CEO.

That absence is now permanent, and Cook's job would seem to be as well. However, Jobs is expected to remain closely involved in Apple's product strategy. And of course, Jobs could be a powerful chairman.

We very, very much hope that the greatest businessman, CEO and product developer of our era is doing okay, and that this decision does not mean his health has taken another turn for the worse. He is an icon and idol who has made this world we live in a better place. We sincerely and deeply wish Mr. Jobs and his family the best.

CUPERTINO, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)— 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