Steven Paul “Steve” Jobs ( February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American entrepreneur, marketer, and inventor, who was the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. Through Apple, he is widely recognized as a charismatic and design-driven pioneer of the personal computer revolution and for his influential career in the computer and consumer electronics fields, transforming “one industry after another, from computers and smartphones to music and movies.”
Jobs also co-founded and served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios; he became a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company in 2006, when Disney acquired Pixar. Jobs was among the first to see the commercial potential of Xerox PARC’s mouse-driven graphical user interface, which led to the creation of the Apple Lisa and, a year later, the Macintosh. He also played a role in introducing the LaserWriter, one of the first widely available laser printers, to the market.
After a power struggle with the board of directors in 1985, Jobs left Apple and founded NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher-education and business markets. In 1986, he acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm, which was spun off as Pixar. He was credited in Toy Story (1995) as an executive producer. He served as CEO and majority shareholder until Disney’s purchase of Pixar in 2006. In 1996, after Apple had failed to deliver its operating system, Copland, Gil Amelio turned to NeXT Computer, and the NeXTSTEP platform became the foundation for the Mac OS X. Jobs returned to Apple as an advisor, and took control of the company as an interim CEO. Jobs brought Apple from near bankruptcy to profitability by 1998.
As the new CEO of the company, Jobs oversaw the development of the iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, and iPad, and on the services side, the company’s Apple Retail Stores, iTunes Store and the App Store. The success of these products and services provided several years of stable financial returns, and propelled Apple to become the world’s most valuable publicly traded company in 2011. The reinvigoration of the company is regarded by many commentators as one of the greatest turnarounds in business history.
In 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreas neuroendocrine tumor. Though it was initially treated, he reported a hormone imbalance, underwent a liver transplant in 2009, and appeared progressively thinner as his health declined. On medical leave for most of 2011, Jobs resigned in August that year, and was elected Chairman of the Board. He died of respiratory arrest related to the tumor on October 5, 2011.
Jobs received a number of honors and public recognition for his influence in the technology and music industries. He has been referred to as “legendary”, a “futurist” and a “visionary”, and has been described as the “Father of the Digital Revolution,” a “master of innovation,” “the master evangelist of the digital age” and a “design perfectionist.”
Steve Jobs’s death broke news headlines on ABC, CBS, and NBC. Numerous newspapers around the world carried news of his death on their front pages the next day. Several notable people, including US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and The Walt Disney Company’s Bob Iger commented on the death of Jobs. Wired News collected reactions and posted them in tribute on their homepage. Other statements of condolence were made by many of Jobs’s friends and colleagues, such as Steve Wozniak and George Lucas. After Steve Jobs’s death, Adult Swim aired a 15-second segment with the words “hello” in a script font fading in and then changing into “goodbye”.
Major media published commemorative works. Time published a commemorative issue for Jobs on October 8, 2011. The issue’s cover featured a portrait of Jobs, taken by Norman Seeff, in which he is sitting in the lotus position holding the original Macintosh computer, first published in Rolling Stone in January 1984. The issue marked the eighth time Jobs was featured on the cover of Time, and included a photographic essay by Diana Walker, a retrospective on Apple by Harry McCracken and Lev Grossman, and a six-page essay by Walter Isaacson. Isaacson’s essay served as a preview of his biography, Steve Jobs.
Bloomberg Businessweek also published a commemorative, ad-free issue, featuring extensive essays by Steve Jurvetson, John Sculley, Sean Wisely, William Gibson, and Walter Isaacson. On its cover, Steve Jobs is pictured in gray scale, along with his name and lifespan.
At the time of his resignation, and again after his death, Jobs was widely described as a visionary, pioneer and genius—perhaps one of the foremost—in the field of business, innovation, and product design, and a man who had profoundly changed the face of the modern world, revolutionized at least six different industries, and who was an “exemplar for all chief executives”. His death was widely mourned and considered a loss to the world by commentators across the globe.
After his resignation as Apple’s CEO, Jobs was characterized as the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford of his time. In his The Daily Show eulogy, Jon Stewart said that unlike others of Jobs’s ilk, such as Thomas Edison or Henry Ford, Jobs died young. He felt that we had, in a sense, “wrung everything out of” these other men, but his feeling on Jobs was that “we’re not done with you yet.” Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker asserted that “Jobs’s sensibility was editorial, not inventive. His gift lay in taking what was in front of him … and ruthlessly refining it.”
There was also a dissenting tone in some coverage of Jobs’s life and works in the media, where attention focused on his near-fanatical control mindset and business ruthlessness. A Los Angeles Times media critic reported that the eulogies “came courtesy of reporters who—after deadline and off the record—would tell stories about a company obsessed with secrecy to the point of paranoia. They remind us how Apple shut down a youthful fanboy blogger, punished a publisher that dared to print an unauthorized Jobs biography and repeatedly ran afoul of the most basic tenets of a free press.” Free software pioneer Richard Stallman drew attention to Apple’s strategy of tight corporate control over consumer computers and handheld devices, how Apple restricted news reporters, and persistently violated privacy: “Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died”. On his blog, Stallman has summarized Jobs as having a “malign influence” on computing because of his leadership in guiding Apple to produce closed platforms. Silicon Valley reporter Dan Gillmor stated that under Jobs, Apple had taken stances that in his view were “outright hostile to the practice of journalism” – these included suing three “small fry” bloggers who reported tips about the company and its unreleased products including attempts to use the courts to force them to reveal their sources, suing teenager Nicholas Ciarelli, who wrote enthusiastic speculation about Apple products beginning at age 13 (Rainey wrote that Apple wanted to kill his ‘ThinkSecret’ blog as “It thought any leaks, even favorable ones, diluted the punch of its highly choreographed product launches with Jobs, in his iconic jeans and mock turtleneck outfit, as the star.”)
Some have compared Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie who died a week later, and the respective media coverage of their deaths.
Honors and public recognition
Steve Jobs with the first generation iPad tablet
After Apple’s founding, Jobs became a symbol of his company and industry. When Time named the computer as the 1982 “Machine of the Year”, the magazine published a long profile of Jobs as “the most famous maestro of the micro”.
Jobs was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President Ronald Reagan in 1985, with Steve Wozniak (among the first people to ever receive the honor), and a Jefferson Award for Public Service in the category “Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under” (also known as the Samuel S. Beard Award) in 1987. On November 27, 2007, Jobs was named the most powerful person in business by Fortune magazine. On December 5, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Jobs into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts.
In August 2009, Jobs was selected as the most admired entrepreneur among teenagers in a survey by Junior Achievement, having previously been named Entrepreneur of the Decade 20 years earlier in 1989, by Inc. magazine. On November 5, 2009, Jobs was named the CEO of the decade by Fortune magazine.
In November 2010, Jobs was ranked No.17 on Forbes: The World’s Most Powerful People. In December 2010, the Financial Times named Jobs its person of the year for 2010, ending its essay by stating, “In his autobiography, John Sculley, the former PepsiCo executive who once ran Apple, said this of the ambitions of the man he had pushed out: ‘Apple was supposed to become a wonderful consumer products company. This was a lunatic plan. High-tech could not be designed and sold as a consumer product.'” The Financial Times closed by rhetorically asking of this quote, “How wrong can you be.”
Statue of Jobs at Graphisoft Park, Budapest
On December 21, 2011, Graphisoft company in Budapest presented the world’s first bronze statue of Steve Jobs, calling him one of the greatest personalities of the modern age.
In January 2012, when young adults (ages 16 – 25) were asked to identify the greatest innovator of all time, Steve Jobs placed second behind Thomas Edison.
On February 12, 2012, Jobs was posthumously awarded the Grammy Trustees Award, an award for those who have influenced the music industry in areas unrelated to performance.
In March 2012, global business magazine Fortune named Steve Jobs the “greatest entrepreneur of our time”, describing him as “brilliant, visionary, inspiring”, and “the quintessential entrepreneur of our generation”.
Two films, Disney’s John Carter and Pixar’s Brave, are dedicated to Jobs.
Steve Jobs was posthumously inducted as a Disney Legend on August 10, 2013.
In February 2014, and according to a list of upcoming subjects published by The Washington Post, U.S. Postal Service approved that Steve Jobs will get a limited release postage stamp in 2015.
In an interview with Tim Cook in September 2014, he revealed that Jobs’s main office, and even nameplate, still remains as it was in 2011.