|Apple COO Tim Cook|
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- A busy week for the tech sector kicked off with the news that Apple ( AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs is taking a medical leave of absence from the consumer technology giant. A statement released by Jobs on Monday confirmed that COO Tim Cook would again step in to handle the day-to-day running of the iPhone maker. "I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company," said Jobs.
The iconic CEO's departure raised questions for investors about Apple's future, although Wall Street seems to have faith in Cook's ability to guide the tech heavyweight. The news came a day before Apple posted stellar fiscal first-quarter results, boosted by strong sales of its Mac, iPhone and iPad products. Shares of Apple closed down $5.96, or 1.79%, at $326.72 on Friday amid a broader selloff in tech stocks. IBM & Google Results Bellwethers IBM ( IBM) and Google ( GOOG) also reported their respective fourth-quarter results. IBM was up first, confortably beating analysts' estimates on Tuesday. The company's gross profit margin also came in at 49%, up 0.8 points year-over-year, and IBM said that its business analytics revenue was up 19% year-over-year. Search giant Google posted its results after market close on Thursday, also beating consensus estimates, although the company's solid gains in search was overshadowed by news that co-founder Larry Page will replace Eric Schmidt as CEO. The executive change, which takes place on April 4, has been under discussion for a while, said Schmidt. "As Google has grown, managing the business has become more complicated," he explained in a Google blog post Thursday. "So Larry, Sergey and I have been talking for a long time about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making -- and over the holidays we decided now was the right moment to make some changes to the way we are structured." Schmidt, who is one of Silicon Valley's best-known corporate leaders, will eventually assume the role of Executive Chairman, serving as an advisor to Page and co-founder Brin. Google shares closed down $14.94, or 2.38%, at $611.83 on Friday. IBM's stock was down 30 cents, or 0.19%, at $155.50 on Friday.