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TODAY   |  August 25, 2011

Tech world shaken as Jobs quits as Apple CEO

Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder and the visionary who changed the face of technology, says he can no longer handle the duties of his job as the tech giant’s CEO. CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla reports.

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>>> 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