Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has announced his resignation as chief executive, and will hand over the reins to current chief operating officer Tim Cook.
The company said in a press release that Jobs will remain with the company as chairman of the board of directors.
Jobs has battled with health problems following a bout of pancreatic cancer in 2003. The Apple chief took medical leave from the company in 2009 for a liver transplant and was absent again in January of this year.
"I have always said that, 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," Jobs said in his resignation letter. "Unfortunately, that day has come."
Cook served as interim chief executive during Jobs two absences, handling day-to-day operations at the company, and was considered the top candidate to take over from Jobs in Apple's long-term succession plan.
"The board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO," said Apple board member Art Levinson.
"Tim's 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgement in everything he does."
However, while Cook may have the backing of Apple's board, industry analysts are less sure of the company's long-term outlook.
Enderle Group principal analyst Rob Enderle told V3 that Jobs's resignation should be likened to the departures of Bill Gates from Microsoft and Tom Watson Jr from IBM.
"When you have an iconic leader who designs the company around them it is virtually impossible to replace them seamlessly," he said.
"Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs and he really was never truly groomed to be number one. Jobs didn't want the competition."
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