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Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO

"Unfortunately, that day has come," Steve Jobs has written to the board of Apple. "I hereby resign as chief executive of Apple."

Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple, handing the reins of the company he founded to Tim Cook. In a letter to the board, 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 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."

The 56-year-old Jobs has been on medical leave since January, suffering from an undisclosed medical condition. Shares in Apple fell by 5 per cent on the news, while shares in iPhone rivals Samsung and HTC rose.

Although Tim Cook has been in charge of the company for some time, Steve Jobs has remained its public face, leading the launch of the iPad 2 and iCloud. While his replacement may make very little difference to the operation of Apple internally, it will have a huge impact on the way Apple is perceived by consumers.

Steve Jobs' presentational skills were essential to the hype surrounding any new Apple product, and it's here that his loss will be felt most immediately. Jobs was also a famously hands-on CEO, and can take credit for the legendary ease of use of many Apple products. How much Apple will miss his product skills will be seen in the years ahead.

What's your reaction to the news? Does Steve Jobs' departure change the way you feel about Apple or its products? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook wall.