Apple CEO Steve Jobs has died at age 56. Apple.com currently shows a solitary photo of Jobs (see above) and simply says, “Steve Jobs 1955-2011.”
A statement from Jobs’ family reads, in full:
“Steve died peacefully today surrounded by his family.
In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve’s illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories.
We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.”
Computer Genius Through Apple Inc., the company he co-founded in 1976, Steve Jobs has permanently redefined the method, look and feel of personal computing. He was amongst the first to recognize the vast commerical potential of the graphical user interface, the mouse-drive point and click system that pilots virtually every desktop computer today. During the course of a career spanning almost four decades, he has introduced several paradigm-shifting devices, reshaping entire industries in the process
Jobs has been instrumental in many of Apple’s hit products, stretching back to 1976 with the Apple I, all the way to the modern-day iPhone and iPad. He revealed to Apple employees in 2004 that he’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and underwent a liver transplant in 2009. In late August of this year, Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple.
He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Laurene, and their three children. Jobs also has a fourth child from a past relationship named Lisa, after whom he named Apple’s “Lisa” computer in 1983.
Early Partners Jobs met his Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, seated, above, while working as a summer employee (he had yet to graduate high school) at computer giant Hewlett-Packard. He enrolled at Reed College, then dropped out after one semester, returning in 1974 to Silicon Valley, where he and Wozniak began attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club.
Apple’s board of directors has issued the following statement:
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today.
Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.
His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”
Another statement on Apple’s website at apple.com/stevejobs reads:
“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of use 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.
If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org”
Revolution in a Box Marketed initially through Bay Area computer shops, the Apple 1 computer sold for $666.66. The do-it-yourself kit contained a blank printed circuit board, a collection of parts and 16 pages of insructions. To make a functional machine, the user needed to provide a power supply, keyboard and display.
New Apple CEO Tim Cook sent the following e-mail to Apple employees:
I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Steve passed away earlier today.
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.
We are planning a celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply email email@example.com.
No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time.
Portrait of the Entrepreneur as a Young Man Jobs' technical brilliance was equalled only by his consumate skill as a salesman and pitchman. His unswerving commitment to his ideas and product led him to clash frequently with his colleagues and critics, giving him a reputation as a brash and tempestuous manager.
Microsoft chairman Bill Gateshas issued the following statement:“I’m truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work.
Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives.
The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.
For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has issued the following statement:
“Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.”
Power Struggle In 1983, Jobs invited PepsiCo President John Sculley, center above, to join him and Wozniak at the helm of Apple, Inc. The partnership soon soured, though, as an industry-wide sales slump forced lay-offs and a re-examination of marketing and technical strategies. By 1985, Jobs was removed from the company he helped found.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin has issued the following statement:
“From the earliest days of Google, whenever Larry and I sought inspiration for vision and leadership, we needed to look no farther than Cupertino. Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the macbook I am writing this on right now). And I have witnessed it in person the few times we have met. On behalf of all of us at Google and more broadly in technology, you will be missed very much. My condolences to family, friends, and colleagues at Apple.”
What's NeXT Jobs' departure from Apple only seemed to inflame his desire to remold the world of personal computing. His next venture, NeXT Computer, took the Apple ideal one step further, and featured a sleek magnesium cube with a greatly enhanced graphical interface, built-in Ethernet port and many other technical advancements. Though the machine was priced too high to break into the mainstream market, it had a tremendous influence over the next generation of computing.
Google co-founder Larry Page has issued the following statement:
“I am very, very sad to hear the news about Steve. He was a great man with incredible achievements and amazing brilliance. He always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking before you thought it. His focus on the user experience above all else has always been an inspiration to me. He was very kind to reach out to me as I became CEO of Google and spend time offering his advice and knowledge even though he was not at all well. My thoughts and Google’s are with his family and the whole Apple family.”
Return to Apple In Jobs' absence, Apple drifted, and, at one point in the mid-1990s, flirted with bankruptcy. In 1996, the company announced that it would buy NeXT Computer for $429 million, thereby bringing Jobs back to the company he founded. By 1998, a restless board gave him the title of interim CEO.
Google chairman Eric Schmidt has issued the following statement:
“Today is very sad for all of us. Steve defined a generation of style and technology that’s unlikely to be matched again. Steve was so charismatically brilliant that he inspired people to do the impossible, and he will be remembered as the greatest computer innovator in history.”President Obama has issued the following statement:
“Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. 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.
By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.
The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.”
Jobs on the Job Much of the technology behind the NeXT machine found its way into the subsequent generation of Apple products. At the same time, Jobs restored the company's reputation for excellence in design with products like the iMac, and reinvigorated the Apple brand by opening a series of slick, retail outlets devoted exclusively to the sale and nurturing of Apple devices.
Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger has issued the following statement:
“Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted adviser. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives he changed, and the culture he defined. Steve was such an ‘original,’ with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time.”
Animated During the years he was away from Apple, Jobs also bought and developed a computer animation lab called Pixar. The unit's first feature film, Toy Story, released in 1995, grossed $360 million and instantly established the studio as a major Hollywood player. Pixar has enjoyed a virtually unbroken string of successes since then, with films such as Finding Nemo, Cars, Wall-E and Up. In 2006, Disney negotiated a $7.4 billion all-stock deal to acquire the unit, a deal that made jobs the legendary studio's largest stockholder.
Ed Catmull and John Lasseter of Pixar said:
“Steve Jobs was an extraordinary visionary, our very dear friend and the guiding light of the Pixar family. He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined. Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply ‘make it great.’ He is why Pixar turned out the way we did and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar’s DNA. Our hearts go out to his wife Laurene and their children during this incredibly difficult time.”
Rock and Roll In 2001, Jobs initiated another paradigm shift with the introduction of the iPod. Though it did little to advance the functionality of earlier portable music players, it featured superior usability and a sleek design. What's more, its roll-out was accompanied by the debut of iTunes, a web-based music store that permanently reshaped the parameters of the music industry. U2 band members Bono and The Edge, above, joined Jobs at an iPod promo event in 2004.
Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang said:
“Steve was my hero growing up. He not only gave me a lot of personal advice and encouragement, he showed all of us how innovation can change lives. I will miss him dearly, as will the world.”
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said:
“Once in a rare while, somebody comes along who doesn’t just raise the bar, they create an entirely new standard of measurement.”
The iPhone By 2007, having already transformed the personal computing and music industries, Jobs set his sights on cellular telecommunications. At that year's Macworld convention, he unveiled the iPhone, which, after it went on sale in June, quickly sold over 6 million units, putting on the same footing with products, like the Blackberry, that had been on the market for years. In addition to the phone, the device features internet connectivity, a user interface built around multi-touch technology and a vast library of apps, created by a virtual army of Apple devotees and developers.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued the following statement:
“Tonight, America lost a genius who will be remembered with Edison and Einstein, and whose ideas will shape the world for generations to come. Again and again over the last four decades, Steve Jobs saw the future and brought it to life long before most people could even see the horizon. And Steve’s passionate belief in the power of technology to transform the way we live brought us more than smartphones and iPads: It brought knowledge and power that is reshaping the face of civilization. In New York City’s government, everyone from street construction inspectors to NYPD detectives have harnessed Apple’s products to do their jobs more efficiently and intuitively.”
The Success of the iPad In January 2010, Jobs announced that Apple would introduce a new tablet computer, the iPad. Though similar in functionality to the iPhone, the iPad features a much larger screen, increasing the visibility for reading, gaming and watching video. The first iPad was an overwhelming success, with more than 1 million sold in less than a month — about half of the time it took for the iPhone to achieve the same milestone. In March 2011, the second generation iPad was released, and it quickly became Apple's biggest success to date. Close to 1 million units of the tablet were sold just during its debut weekend. As of August 2011, more than 25 million iPads have been sold around the world.
Dell founder Michael Dell issued the following statement:
“Today the world lost a visionary leader, the technology industry lost an iconic legend and I lost a friend and fellow founder. The legacy of Steve Jobs will be remembered for generations to come.”
AOL co-founder Steve Case said:
“I feel honored to have known Steve Jobs. He was the most innovative entrepreneur of our generation. His legacy will live on for the ages.”
End of an Era On August 24, Apple's maestro told the company's board and the world that he was unable to continue as chief executive. Jobs, seen above on June 6, 2011, asked to serve as chairman, and recommended that Apple COO Tim Cook succeed him as CEO. And he said that Apple's best days were ahead of it and expressed gratitude to his coworkers.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told CNN:
“It’s like there’s a big hole left in you, and it’s very hard to go back and reflect on all the feelings… Everyone knows what he did—how much life he brought to the world. I think if he had a goal, he certainly far, far overachieved any goals he had from the start of things.
I think Steve Jobs would have had hopes and visions for the future, and he set up Apple Computer really to continue on in his dreams. And I hope that Apple always finds great leaders like him. He made a lot of people happy. How many times can you remember products from a company that just made you happy every time you used them?…
So many people are just so thankful for the life that Steve Jobs largely brought us.”
Steve Jobs, from his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University:
“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. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”