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August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs Resigns from Apple CEO Post, Tim Cook to Take the Helm

By Carrie Schmelkin, TMCnet Web Editor

Following a tumultuous few years for Steve Jobs (News - Alert) – from being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer to taking a medical leave of absence – Jobs is officially saying goodbye to his post as CEO of the Apple (News - Alert) empire.

Wednesday afternoon, Apple’s Board of Directors announced that Jobs has resigned as CEO and that the board has named Tim Cook, previously Apple’s chief operating officer, as the company’s new CEO.

“Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company,” said Art Levinson, chairman of Genentech, on behalf of Apple's board. “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. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration.”

The announcement of Jobs’ resignation has already conjured up a multitude of opinions from industry experts, particularly regarding how successful Cook will be in the new role and what this news will mean for Apple.

One industry leader, Craig Cartier, an analyst for ICT practice at Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert), global consultancy, is reminding people that Jobs’ resignation as CEO is not entirely new as “we’ve been through this before.”

“Jobs’ health issues began in 2004 when he announced that he had a tumor in his pancreas,” Cartier said in a statement. “During his absence to have the tumor removed, Tim Cook headed the company. In 2009, Jobs’ health issues resurfaced, prompting a 6 month leave of absence. In his stead, Tim Cook headed the company. In January of this year, Jobs again announced health issues, leaving Apple to the direction of Tim Cook. And today, as Jobs steps down, the company is left in the capable hands of, you guessed it, Tim Cook.”

So what’s the bottom line, according to Cartier?

“Despite Jobs’ recurring health issues over the recent past, Apple has continued to grow, develop innovative devices, and enjoy a loyal consumer following,” he said. “Tim Cook has proven himself a capable leader and today’s announcement will have minimal effect on Apple’s progress.”

In fact, just days before the news, sources confirmed that Asian suppliers to Apple have begun developing a lower-priced version of the ultra-popular iPhone 4, Reuters (News - Alert) reported. While sources are remaining mum on the details thus far, the cheaper model reportedly includes a smaller eight gigabyte flash drive.

According to reports, Jobs submitted his resignation to the board on Wednesday and strongly recommended that the board implement its succession plan and name Cook as CEO.

That decision was warmly received, according to company officials.

“The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO,” said Levinson. “Tim’s 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgment in everything he does.”

In his previous role as COO, Cook was tasked with managing all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations, including end-to-end management of Apple’s supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and countries. In addition, he was charged with heading Apple’s Macintosh division and played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships, ensuring flexibility in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace, according to company officials.

While Jobs has abdicated his throne as CEO, he won’t be far from Apple, as Jobs has been elected chairman of the board. Cook will also join the board, effective immediately.

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