Steve Jobs, the Apple Inc. chairman and co-founder who pioneered the personal computer industry and changed the way people think about technology, died Wednesday October 5, 2011.
“Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives,” Apple said in a statement. “The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”
During his more than three decade-long career, Mr. Jobs transformed Silicon Valley as he helped turn the once sleepy expanse of fruit orchards into the technology industry’s innovation center. In addition to laying the groundwork for the modern high-tech industry alongside other pioneers like Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison, Mr. Jobs proved the appeal of well-designed intuitive products over the sheer power of technology itself and shifted the way consumers interact with technology in an increasingly digital world.
Unlike those men, however, the most productive chapter in Mr. Jobs’ career occurred near the end of his life, when a nearly unbroken string of innovative and wildly successful products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad fundamentally changed the PC, electronics and digital media industries.
The way he marketed and sold those products through savvy advertising campaigns and its retail stores, in the meanwhile, helped turn the company into a pop culture icon.
At the beginning of that phase, Mr. Jobs once described his philosophy as trying to make products that were at “the intersection of art and technology.” In doing so, he turned Apple into the world’s most valuable company.
Mr. Jobs was 56 years old. After exhibiting significant weight loss in mid-2008, he took a nearly six month medical leave of absence in 2009, during which he received a liver transplant. He took another medical leave of absence in mid-January without explanation before stepping down as chief executive in August. Mr. Jobs is survived by his wife, Laurene, and four children.
Although his achievements in technology alone were immense, Mr. Jobs played an equally groundbreaking role in entertainment. He turned Apple into the largest retailer of music and helped popularize computer-animated films as the financier and CEO of Pixar Animation Studios, which he later sold to Walt Disney Co. He was a key figure in changing the way people used the Internet and how they consumed music, TV shows, movies, books, disrupting industries in the process.
Mr. Jobs also pulled off one of the most remarkable comebacks in modern business history, returning to Apple after an 11-year absence during which he was largely written off as a has-been and then reviving the then-struggling company by introducing products such as the iMac all-in-one computer, iPod music player and iTunes digital music store.
The company produces $65.2 billion a year in revenue compared with $7.1 billion in its business year ending September 1997. Apple has become one of the world’s premier designers of consumer-electronics devices, dropping the “computer” in its name in January 2007 to underscore its expansion beyond PCs.
Mr. Jobs officially handed over the reins of the company to long-time deputy Tim Cook in August 2011.
Steve, you will be missed and the world is immeasurably better because of you. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drawing from some of the most pivotal points in his life, Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself — at the university’s 114th Commencement on June 12, 2005.