Image: TV journalist in Shanghai
Carlos Barria  /  Reuters
The timing of Jobs' announcement was a surprise and news around the world. Here a TV journalist reports on his departure outside Apple's Shanghai store.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 8/25/2011 4:04:08 PM ET 2011-08-25T20:04:08

Investors Thursday had a muted reaction to news that Steve Jobs has resigned as chief executive of Apple. The stocks ended down less than 1 percent.

Analysts said that while the timing of the announcement was a shock, they had expected the news for some time since Jobs took an extended medical leave in January.

Interim CEO Tim Cook was immediately elevated the position permanently, executing on a long-planned transition process that was well-communicated to the investment community.

"In our view, Tim (Cook) is a tough but well-regarded leader who will continue to hold Apple employees to an extremely high standard of performance," Richard Gardner of Citigroup wrote in a note to clients.

Cook sent a note to employees Thursday in which he promised to protect the company's "unique principles and values."

Story: Cook has the skills to lead Apple, observers say

"Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that — it is in our DNA," he said in the letter, which was published on several web sites, including Ars Technica.

He also said he was "looking forward to Steve’s ongoing guidance and inspiration as our chairman."

Apple stock was down just $2.53 or 0.67 percent in midday trading, which represented a recovery from after-hours trading Wednesday, when it was down more than 5 percent. Apple announced Jobs' resignation late Wednesday.

"Investors are coming to the realization that this is a natural transition. It may have already been built into Apple's valuation," said Hendi Susanto, a Gabelli & Co analyst.

Apple customers predicted the company would remain strong and popular.

"Although he's the face of the company, there will still be lines outside the store," said Ira Rovitz, 49, of New York, as he played with an iPad after emerging from the Manhattan Apple store Thursday morning.

"My sister just bought a Mac laptop and I promise you she doesn't know who Steve Jobs is," said Maegan Tabbey, 21, outside the store shortly after Jobs' resignation.

Executives from across the technology industry paid tribute Thursday to Jobs' monumental influence and inspiration.

"Steve Jobs has changed people's lives immensely with the vision he has had, the risks he had taken, the products he has designed, and the industries he has shaken," said Bill Gross, the CEO and chairman of Idealab, a firm that funds technology startups.

"He is the Michelangelo of the digital age," said LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner. "He is also the most insightful business speaker I've ever heard. He speaks the way he designs product: not a single wasted word. To this day, some of the most valuable lessons I've learned in business came from listening to him on stage."

Friend and rival Eric Schmidt of Google Inc called Jobs the most successful American CEO of the last 25 years.

"He uniquely combined an artist's touch and an engineer's vision to build an extraordinary company, one of the greatest American leaders in history," said the Google chairman.

News of Jobs' resignation dominated technology blogs and Twitter.

"Steve Jobs' run at Apple is likely the very best CEO execution we will see in our lifetime," tweeted Bill Gurley, a partner at venture capital firm Benchmark Capital.

For technology lovers, as well as business leaders, Jobs' influence is hard to understate. Apple's ability to dazzle consumers with new products is emulated and invoked by Fortune 500 companies and up-and-coming start-ups alike.

Technolog: Challenges of an Apple without Jobs

With his passion for minimalist design and marketing genius, Jobs changed the course of personal computing and the entertainment industry.

Apple's chain of sleek, modern retail stores have become mainstays in shopping districts around the world and the company's products and designs have inspired an almost cult-like following.

A Buddhist and a son of adoptive parents, Jobs started Apple Computer with friend Steve Wozniak in the late 1970s and pioneered the personal computer industry with the Macintosh. After being ousted in 1985, Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 and went on to shake up the mobile phone industry with the iPhone.

Jobs' story is virtually unparalleled in the annals of American business.

Pushed out of the company he co-founded in the mid-1980s, Jobs went on to found Pixar Animation Studios, the force behind some of Hollywood's most successful animated films. That company alone made Jobs a billionaire and was eventually acquired by the Walt Disney Co.

Jobs returned to Apple as CEO in the mid-1990s and presided over a string of hit products, refashioning the company as a maker of consumer products and integrated services including the iPhone and iPad as well as laptops and desktop computers.

Technolog: Jobs' resignation latest chapter in extraordinary career

The company's high-flying stock has more than tripled in value since 2009 and now Apple rivals Exxon Mobil as the most valuable American company with a market capitalization of nearly $350 billion. Jobs himself has a net worth of about $8.3 billion, ranking him No. 34 among the richest Americans, according to Forbes.

"He took a hit early, was kicked out of his baby and came back and not only saved the company, he basically changed the how the world uses technology," said Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and a tech entrepreneur. "He is one of the few technologists that I look up to."

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this story.

Video: Tech world shaken as Jobs quits as Apple CEO

  1. Closed captioning of: Tech world shaken as Jobs quits as Apple CEO

    >>> steve jobs stepping down adds the apple ceo , the visionary who changed the face of technology says he can no longer handle the duties of his job. carl quintanilla is up in the exchange this morning with the details. carl, so rare to have an individual so important to a company and industry.

    >> it's amazing. anybody who's gone to the movies or used a computer has been affected by steve jobs . he changed technology, he made billions in the process, but his fading health was the one thing that he was unable to fight. the father of the iphone, the ipod, and the applemac computer has stepped down as ceo of the multibillion dollar empire he helped create, turning it to one of the most successful companies in the world.

    >> a tremor throughout the tech world. it's almost like a statesman or someone who's a spiritual leader is stepping aside.

    >> reporter: with a long history of serious medical problems, the 56-year-old jobs said in a letter addressed to the apple community, "i've 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 would like to invite my colleague tim cook .

    >> reporter: his successor is tim cook . cook was the chief operating officer and the acting ceo since january.

    >> cook has been the coo for seven years. he's important part of the formula that makes apple products in the apple brand what it is.

    >> reporter: concerns about the health of steve jobs began in 2004 when he underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer . a year later he spoke about his cancer bat until a commencement speech at stanford university .

    >> this is the closest i've been to facing death and i hope it's the closest i get for a few decades.

    >> reporter: an intensely private man, jobs avoided reporters asking about his health. but it was obvious that jobs was losing weight as seen in the photos taken in 2007 and 2008 .

    >> a lot of the people who come to the company every day and use the products felt really sad.

    >> reporter: in 2009 , he underwent a liver transplant . five months later, back on the job at apple, he expressed the gratitude to an organ donor .

    >> i have the liver of a mid 20s person who died in a car crash and was generous enough to donate their organs. and i wouldn't be here without such generosity.

    >> reporter: then in january of this year, a stunning announcement. jobs took a indefinite leave of absence for medical reasons.

    >> integrated customer experience.

    >> reporter: the question now is can anyone really replace quite arguably the world's most ingenious inventor of the internet era .

    >> does apple have to have that kind of figure to be the most influential tech company in the world? i don't know. but all eyes are going to be on tim cook .

    >> reporter: we should point out jobs is not going away completely. he's going to remain chairman of the board. but the stock is expected to fall today as investors and consumers wonder about the company's future. david?

    >> thanks a lot. carl quintanilla down at the stock exchange

Photos: Steve Jobs Resigns

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Timeline: Steve Jobs

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