On October 5, 2011, a spokesperson from Apple announced that Apple founder Steve Jobs has died at age 56. Jobs’ family reports that he died peacefully surrounded by family after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.
Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955 in San Francisco, California and was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs shortly after his birth. As a high school student, Jobs showed a deep interest in technology, frequently attending lectures at the Hewlett-Packard Company. He was hired by Hewlett-Packard as a summer employee shortly. In 1974, Steve began working for the video game manufacturer Atari, continuing his early involvement in the technology field.
In 1976, Steve Jobs, along with friends Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, founded Apple. After several turbulent years as a small start-up company, the Apple company under the leadership of Jobs introduced the Macintosh in 1984. This computer was the first commercially successful personal computer. The success of the Macintosh did not lessen the turbulence felt at Apple, nor did it guarantee job security for Jobs. In 1985, Jobs was fired from Apple, a move that Jobs later stated was one of the best things to happen to him.
Steve Jobs did not let his bad experience with Apple dissuade him from remaining in the technology field. Shortly after leaving Apple, Jobs founded NeXT Computer. It was Jobs’ hope that computers could be used to allow individuals to communicate and collaborate. The corporation’s major contribution to the technology field was NeXTMail, which was one of the first email systems that allowed clickable embedded graphics as well as audio samples to be placed inside of email.
In 1986, Steve Jobs branched out from NeXT Computer, purchasing The Graphics Group from Lucasfilm. The Graphics Group was later renamed Pixar, which is now one of the most successful animation studios in the world. After forming a partnership with Disney, the Pixar/Disney partnership produced the wildly successful animated film Toy Story. Over the next fifteen years, Disney and Pixar would produce several award winning box-office hits, including Finding Nemo and Cars. Despite the partnership’s success, Disney and Pixar ended the partnership in 2004 following contract disputes. Less than two years later, Disney purchased Pixar, and Jobs became Disney’s biggest shareholder, owning seven percent of the company’s stock.
In 1996, Steve Jobs returned to Apple after Apple bought NeXT Computer for $429 million. He was soon named the CEO of Apple, once again leading the Apple Corporation through major technological breakthroughs. Jobs brought many of the NeXT technology to the Apple products, including NeXTSTEP, which became the building block for the hugely successful Mac OS X. Following the explosion of success Jobs experienced with the Mac computer, the Apple Corporation expanded into the music field by introducing the iPod and iTunes Store. The iPod forever changed the way consumers purchased music by making compact discs virtually obsolete. In 2007, Jobs introduced the iPhone, which combined cell phone technology with the iPod music technology and Internet browsing capabilities.
In August 2011, Steve Jobs resigned from the position of CEO of the Apple Corporation following an eight-month medical leave due to pancreatic cancer. He remained on the board of directors until his death on October 5, 2011.
Steve Jobs was a true visionary; drastically changing the way people work, play, communicate, and live. He helped bring people from different continents together in a way that would otherwise not be possible. He will be deeply missed.
Steven Paul Jobs, February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011.