The man behind iTunes and the iPod steps down

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has stepped down from his role as the company’s Chief Executive.

Jobs, who set up Apple in 1976 along with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, revealed that he could “no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO” and recommended that Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook should take over his role.

However, he has requested that he remains as “Chairman of the board, director and Apple employee”.

In a letter sent to Apple’s board of directors, he 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.

He went on to add that:

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.

As Chief Executive of Apple, Jobs helped revolutionise the way music was purchased and consumed in the 2000’s with the launch of the iPod and iTunes. Since coming to the market in 2001, the iPod has dominated the digital music player market and although Apple reported a 20 per cent decline in its sales for their last financial quarter, it has still sold an estimated 315 million units worldwide.

Apple’s iTunes service also launched in 2001, and by 2008 had become the biggest music retailer in the USA. The company has now reportedly sold over 15 billion songs through iTunes.

Jobs also unveiled Apple’s new iCloud service at a special conference in San Francisco earlier this year (June 7), which works with applications on user’s iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac or PC to automatically store material in the ‘cloud’ and update each device wirelessly when one is updated manually.

However, despite Jobs’ influence on the music industry, he remains a controversial figure amongst musicians. In March of this year, for example, Jon Bon Jovi declared him “personally responsible for killing the music business” due to his role in the growth of digital music, and the subsequent decline in physical album sales.

Despite being credited as the mastermind of one of the greatest corporate success stories in history, Jobs has suffered with ill health ever since 2004, when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In 2009 he took six months off, during which time he underwent a liver transplant. He has officially been on medical leave from Apple since January 17, 2011, though he did make a public appearance to launch the iPad 2 in June.

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