Fans of Apple Inc are paying tribute to Steve Jobs after he announced his resignation as the chief executive officer of the company on August 24.
The 56-year-old Jobs is seen as the creative force that helped make Apple one of the world's most successful companies.
Jobs had surgery years ago for pancreatic cancer and had been on medical leave since January for an undisclosed condition.
Jobs announced his resignation in a letter to the Apple 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."
Jobs asked that he be allowed to serve as chairman of the board, director, and Apple employee.
He also recommended that the company execute what he called "our succession plan" and name Tim Cook as Apple's next chief executive officer.
Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, has handled the chief executive officer's post repeatedly during the absence of the ailing Jobs.
Technology-sector analysts say Jobs' vision and drive have been essential keys to Apple's success.
They say Apple must now persuade investors and consumers that the company does not need Jobs -- the force behind the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad -- to keep introducing successful new products.
But Apple fans say that while Jobs' charisma and innovative genius is one-of-a-kind, the company that he built will survive without him.
"There is a fear factor, because Steve Jobs has [brought] massive change to Apple recently," says Mark Newman, a consumer electronics analyst at the Sanford C. Bernstein investment research firm in Hong Kong.
"However, I think in the short term there is not a major change. Apple has quite a long product cycle and all the next generation products have already been designed."
Apple Stock Prices Tumble
But investors have been treating his resignation differently. On stock markets around the world, the price for shares of Apple tumbled by as much as 7 percent after Jobs' resignation letter was made public.
Meanwhile, tributes have been pouring in for a man fans consider a technology industry icon.
Tony Parsons, a British writer, said, "Steve Jobs was the Leonardo da Vinci of our age."
Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Internet search giant Google, called Jobs "one of the greatest American leaders in history," saying he "uniquely combined an artist's touch and an engineer's vision to build an extraordinary company."
"He's done a mighty job getting Apple up and running and it's a great tribute to him personally," said Clive Allcock, a customer speaking outside an Apple store in Sydney. "He'll be well remembered in the world of computing as he takes off to do other jobs, but I'm sure it won't materially affect the company."
Jobs has rarely spoken in public about his health since he was diagnosed with cancer. But he talked at length about his cancer experience when he delivered a commencement speech at Stanford University in California in June 2005.
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life," he said, "because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death."
Jobs also spoke philosophically about the impact that cancer has had upon his life, saying that he considered death to probably be "the single best invention of life"
"It is life's change agent," he said. "It clears out the old to make way for the new."
with news agency reports