Steve Jobs is ending an era at Apple Inc. known as much for iPhones, iPods and iPads as for its popular Mac computers.
One of the most famous faces in the technology industry, Mr. Jobs resigned Wednesday afternoon, and is expected to be replaced by former Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, who already was filling in for him this year.
Mr. Jobs, who has pancreatic cancer and has taken two leaves of absence in recent years, hinted that his health was the issue.
"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," Mr. Jobs told Apple's board in his resignation letter. "Unfortunately, that day has come."
Mr. Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976. He left in 1985, but came back in 1996 and has been serving as CEO since 1997.
During his tenure, Mr. Jobs revolutionized the technology industry. He turned Apple into a tech giant that is the preferred choice of many consumers.
"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."
Apple recently was reported to be the most profitable company in the nation.
"I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it," Mr. Jobs said. "And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
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