Jobs introducing the iPhone 4 last year.Steve Jobs introducing the iPhone 4 last year.(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs resigned today as chief executive officer from Apple. His place at the top of the company will be taken by Tim Cook, previously Apple’s chief operating officer.

The Steve Jobs era

Some notable moments for Jobs and his companies over the years.

1976
Co-founds Apple with Steve Wozniak.

1984
Apple introduces the Mac.

1985
CEO John Sculley engineers Jobs’ ouster from Apple.

1985
Founds Next Computer (later becomes Next Software).

1986
Buys computer graphics division of LucasFilm, to be renamed Pixar.

1996
Returns to Apple as adviser when Apple buys Next Software

1997
Named interim CEO of Apple.

2001
Apple introduces iTunes software and the iPod; the iTunes store follows in 2003.

2006
Disney buys Pixar; Jobs becomes largest shareholder.

2007
Apple introduces the iPhone.

2009
Takes 6-month leave of absence for medical reasons.

2010
Apple introduces the iPad.

January 2011
Takes medical leave of absence.

August 2011
Resigns as CEO, becomes chairman. Tim Cook becomes CEO.

Jobs has been dogged by a string of health problems in recent years that forced him to take periodic leaves of absence from the company. Jobs announced in January that he was taking an indefinite medical leave from Apple–his third in recent years–and handed over day-to-day responsibility to Cook. He told his employees in January, “I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can.”

In January 2009, Jobs said that he was suffering from a hormone imbalance that was impeding his body’s ability to absorb certain proteins. In April of that year, Jobs underwent liver transplant surgery and returned to work by early July. In August 2004, Jobs underwent successful surgery to treat a rare form of pancreatic cancer, which sidelined him until September of that year.

In a separate note to Apple’s board members and the Apple community today, Jobs said that he was no longer up to the job of CEO.

“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,” Jobs said.

Jobs concluded by saying that “Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it,” and that he looks forward to contributing as Apple’s chairman of the board, director, and as an Apple employee if the board allows it.

Cook, 50, joined Apple in 1998 and was promoted to COO in 2004. He has long been Jobs’ right-hand executive, heading up shareholders meetings and earnings calls with Wall Street investors, and acting as a figurehead at product introductions.

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