Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs on Wednesday announced his resignation from his position of 14 years in an open letter
, saying that he could no longer meet his duties.
Taking his place will be Apple's COO, Tim Cook, who was in line to take the position in the company's succession plan. Cook has in the past acted as CEO when Jobs was forced to step away due to health concerns.
"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," said the former CEO, who will remain connected to the company as Chairman of its board of directors.
"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 Apple board member Art Levinson.
"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."
Jobs co-founded Apple in the 1970s and was instrumental in the design of the company's home computers. Among other accomplishments, Jobs was one of the pioneering visionaries behind the mouse-driven interface of the Macintosh operating system before his resignation in 1984.
Jobs returned to the company in 1996, and was appointed its CEO the following year, where he has served since.
Under Jobs' watch Apple has become a major force in the video game industry, with the company's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch becoming the de facto mobile gaming platforms in recent years.
Jobs has long suffered from health issues in recent years. He has been on a medical leave of absence from the company since January of this year, though has continued to make appearances at Apple events.