Apple founder Steve Jobs has quit as chief executive of the firm, and will be replaced by chief operating officer Tim Cook. Mr Jobs, who has undergone surgery for pancreatic cancer, will become the technology giant's chairman after admitting he could no longer carry out his chief executive's duties.
In a letter to the Apple board, Mr Jobs wrote: "I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's chief executive, I would be the first to let you know.
"Unfortunately, that day has come. I hereby resign as chief executive 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."
Mr Cook has effectively been chief executive since January 17th, since Mr Jobs went on medical leave. The company was quick to defend its position following the news. However, Apple shares slipped five per cent in after-hours trading, while HTC rose 4.1 per cent, and Samsung Electronics jumped 3.2 per cent.
Mr Jobs founded Apple in 1976, and got success with the Macintosh computer in 1984. This year Apple became the most valuable firm in the US, overtaking Exxon Mobil with revenues of US$28.6bn (AED105bn). Jobs is personally responsible for over 230 patents, and has been described as one of the most charismatic business leaders in the world.