In a SHOCKING announcement, Apple’s Board of Directors today announced that Steve Jobs has resigned as Chief Executive Officer, and that the Board has named Tim Cook, previously Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, as the company’s new CEO. Steve Jobs has been elected as the new Chairman of the Board and Cook will join the Board, effective immediately.

We all knew that Steve Jobs would leave eventually leave, but I hadn’t anticipated it happening before the release of iPhone 5. As you read Steve’s letter of resignation, found in the quotes below, you almost feel a little bit of sadness for the man. His legacy will undoubtedly live on in the work in Apple’s future, and as Chairmen of the Board he will still be involved in Apple’s success for years to come. Apple’s expenses will likely go up just a tad-bit too… considering Steve Jobs was only making $1 a year on his Apple Salary (he chose to do that. He makes millions from his controlling share in Disney).

YAHOO — “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 board has complete confidence that Tim Cook is the right man for the job, and his 13 years of service to Apple has been marked by some truely outstanding performance over the years. He has shown remarkable talent

Steve has released a letter to the board of directors and stock holders, telling them of the news:

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

YAHOO — As COO, Cook was previously responsible for 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. He also headed 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.

Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices. Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store.

Jobs submitted his resignation to the Board today and strongly recommended that the Board implement its succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO.

What will the future for Apple be like? Will their stock price plummet on Thursday morning? If Steve is right, and the brightest and most innovative days of Apple are ahead of it, what in the hell could we be in for as far as tech innovation goes? Guess only time will tell. This is truly surprising, but we all knew this day would come.

Bloomberg gives some excellent coverage of this story, and I feel it’s appropriate, with their interviews of people like Steve Wozniak, as well as others, to share their video coverage below. It’s a bit long, but it’s really worth watching:
CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

I wonder if Steve will still give the presentation of iPhone 5….

(via Yahoo)

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