Tim Cook will replace Steve Jobs as Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO, the company announced. Jobs wrote in a letter to Apple's board that "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." The comments likely indicate Jobs' health has taken a turn for the worse, though Apple did not provide details.
However, Jobs will continue as Apple's chairman of the board. "In his new role as chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration," said Art Levinson in Apple's press release announcing the news. Levinson is chairman of Genentech and spoke on behalf of Apple's board.
BusinessWeek reported that Jobs was active throughout the day of the announcement at Apple's headquarters, and that he will remain actively involved in the company's operations as chairman.
Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004. In January, Jobs stepped down as Apple's CEO--his second leave of absence from the role for health reasons--but said he would remain involved in Apple's products and strategy. Cook, Apple's COO, took over day-to-day Apple operations during Jobs' departure. Now, Cook's role as CEO is official, as shown in Apple's new organization chart.
"I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change," Cook wrote in a letter to Apple employees after the news, according to a report in Ars Technica. "We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do."
Jobs pulled Apple from the brink of bankruptcy when he returned to the company in 1997, and since has ascended to rock-star status on the strength of Apple's shrewd business tactics and much-hyped products. Jobs personally oversaw the development of Apple's iPod business, the company's iPhone effort and, most recently, Apple's iPad tablet device. All three gadgets have served to revolutionize various aspects of the consumer electronics and entertainment industries.
Following Jobs' announcement, reactions came pouring in from all corners of the tech industry. Google's Vic Gundotra, who now competes directly with Apple's iPhone and has criticized Apple in the past, posted a recollection of Jobs' attention to detail. He wrote that Jobs once called him on a Sunday morning, concerned about the shade of yellow in Google's logo as displayed on the iPhone. "Even when I worked for 15 years for Bill Gates at Microsoft, I had a huge admiration for Steve and what Apple had produced," Gundotra wrote. "To one of the greatest leaders I've ever met, my prayers and hopes are with you Steve."
Apple in the second quarter became the world's largest smartphone vendor, and the company recently passed Exxon Mobil as the world's most valuable company. Many expect Apple to release a new iPhone in the fall and a new iPad early next year.
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