Dublin, Ireland -7th October 2011. Steven Paul Jobs, Apple founder, inventor, marketer and visionary, died on Wednesday 5th October. He was 56. His family said in a statement “Steve died peacefully surrounded by his family.”
“Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives,” said the Apple Inc board, announcing the death. “The world is immeasurably better because of Steve,” it added.
He was the adopted son of Paul & Clara Jobs and at the tender age of 14 met Steve Wozniak. At 17 years of age they started building and selling Blue Boxes. Blue boxes were ingenious devises that used about $100 of parts and controlled millions of dollars of telecommunications networks. They effectively gave the user free phone calls. These were highly illegal, but they showed the genius of both men. In 1975 when Steve was 20, they started assembling Apple computers.
Steve was born to a lower middle class background whose father fixed cars. His education was nothing to write home about – he had a high school certificate and dropped out of Reed College after one semester. Steve had a tough management style and he studied Zen Buddhism. A lot of critics of Steve’s tough management style point out: “Imagine what he’d be like if he hadn’t studied Buddhism” This is one of Steve’s many paradoxes: how could a real Buddhist make a living out of selling gadgets to the masses?
Following from there, Steve started to develop and build computers. In 1979, he discovered the GUI (graphical user interface) from Xerox and he put VisiCalc (the first spreadsheet) on the Apple II. Sales skyrocket!
In December 1980 Apple goes public and Steve’s net worth is valued at over $200 million. Not bad for a 25 year old.
Between 1980 and 1995, there is a whole succession of events, e.g. the Macintosh project, IBM launched their PC (Apples biggest threat), Lisa Computer (named after his first daughter), John Scully (PepsiCo CEO) becomes Apple CEO, Steve is stripped of all executive duties in Apple & resigns from the company(1985), Steve bought ILM & turned it into Pixar, in 1986 Steve found his biological mother & sister (novelist Mona Simpson), Steve forms NeXT, NeXT & IBM form a partnership & introduce NeXT Cube, NeXT partners with Businessland, Canon invested $100 million in NeXT (now valued at $600 million), Steve shut down all Pixar hardware operations & fires nearly half its staff, in 1991 he got married to Laurene Powell and has a son (Reed Paul), NeXT has a series of issues with its operating system, COO, staff (300 fired), NeXT stops work on Toy Story in 1993 and Pixar takes it over in 1994, in 1995 Toy Story goes out, Steve becomes President & CEO of Pixar & he is then worth $1.5 billion.
Between 1985 and 1998 Apples starts to decline and goes into a loss.
Between 1995 and 2000, Apple buys NeXT ($400m), Steve becomes interim CEO of Apple, forms a peace treaty with Microsoft, Apple is profitable again (1998), iMac introduced (1998), iBook introduced (“iMac to go”), iMovie (Digital Hub), Steve becomes official Apple CEO again (2000), Power Mac G4 introduced & later discontinued.
Between 2001 and 2006, Digital Hub Strategy introduced, Mac OS X 10.0 ships, Apple 1st retail store opens (2001), iPod introduced, iMac G4, iApp, iPhoto introduced, introduced Windows compatible iPods, online iTunes Music Store opened, Finding Nemo goes out, Pixar looks for a new distributer to replace Disney, the worlds fastest computer Power Mac G5 unveiled, iTunes for Windows introduced (“the day hell froze over”), iPod mini & iLife unveiled. 2005 – iWork, Mac mini, iPod shuffle, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger introduced. This marks the transition from the Mac OS to OSX. Apple starts to use Intel processors. iPod nano Motorola ROCKR (iTunes compatible phone) introduced.
In autumn 2003, Steve is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and in August 2004 has the tumour removed. In 2009 he took medical leave for 6 months and had a liver transplant and made his first public appearance of the year at the Apple Music Event.
Between 2006 and 2011, Intel Mac, iMac & MacBook Pro introduced, Disney bought Pixar for $7.4 billion, iPod hifi introduced, Apple TV & iPhone unveiled (2007), Pixar introduced Ratatouille, Steve is inducted in California Hall of Fame (2007), MacBook Air, App Store opened to developers, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard introduced, Steve unveils iPad (2010). In 2010 Steve’s net worth was valued at $5.5 billion and had an annual salary of $1. He was the 136th richest man on Earth according to Forbes.
The top job passed on to his deputy Tim Cook, who made his first product launch last Monday: an upgrade of iPhone 4, the iconic device that, as Steve had once promised, has changed the way people use the phone.
Such was the power of the iPhone that in 2007, when I was in New York, my 20 year old son asked me to go into the Apple retail store in Manhattan and buy as many iPhones as I could & he would resell them in Ireland. Apple wouldn’t sell them for use outside the US, but I still managed to get 5 of them.
Apple has a page up as follows:
“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."
"Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives,” Apple’s board said in a statement. "The world is immeasurably better because of Steve." President Barack Obama said "Steve was among the greatest of American innovators — brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world and talented enough to do it,"
We could all learn from him. May he RIP.