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Investors don't penalize Apple stock over Jobs

Investors Thursday had a muted reaction to news that Steve Jobs has resigned as chief executive of Apple, sending the high-flying shares down less than 2 percent.
Image: TV journalist in Shanghai
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.Carlos Barria / Reuters
/ Source: staff and news service reports

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."

"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, .

"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."