Steven P. Jobs, the Apple Inc. chairman and co-founder who pioneered the personal computer industry and changed the way people think about technology, died today of pancreatic cancer. He was fifty six.
In an emotional statement to the press, Apple said,
"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."
Mr. Jobs is survived by his wife, Laurene, and four children. Apple had announced in January that he would be taking an indeterminate medical leave of absence. In late August, he stepped down from his role as CEO of Apple.
1976 - launched Apple with his friend Steve Wozniak, selling computers.
1977 - Apple I is the first PC, a fully assembled circuit board containing about 60+ chips that was plugged in to a television set and a keyboard. An optional board providing a cassette interface for storage was later released.
1978 - Apple II. New features include a color display, eight internal expansion slots, and a case with a keyboard.
1980s - Apple I and II are successful enough to make Jobs a multi-millionnnaire.
1982 - Steve Jobs is on the cover of Time Magazine: "STRIKING IT RICH: America's Risk Takers."
1984 - produced Mac, a PC with a mouse - an instant success.
1985 - Fired from Apple after recruit (and president) John Sculley leads a boardroom coup. Started Next Computers.
1986 - bought Pixar, a struggling animation company. Toy Story becomes a colossal success.
1995 - Pixar went public; Jobs became a billionnaire.
1997 - Jobs reinstated at Apple, gets to work on the iMac.
1998 - iMac is the fastest-selling computer of all time.
2001 - PowerBook, iPod, Unix-based OS X.
2003 - iTunes music store: people start buying music online.
2006 - iPhone.
2010 - iPad, Apple TV.
2011 - iCloud and iOS 5.
Brash and abrasive, he joked that his stubborn attitude was a "reality distortion field," but this statement, made to Stanford University graduates in 2005, shows a more thoughtful side:
"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."
Steve's visionary approach to leadership and tech innovation has brought computers from the clunky typewriter-television combos of the 1970s to the sleek slim powerhouses of today. His insistence on quality and aesthetics gave us the colourful iMacs and the visual excellence of Pixar. Steve's constant desire to delight and inspire people with the functionality and elegance of his products are what made him and his products so successful.
Steve's friend and colleague Tim Cook is now the Apple CEO. An excellent strategist and salesman, he has been responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations, including end-to-end management of Apple’s supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and countries. He also headed Apple’s Macintosh division and played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships, ensuring flexibility in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace. He's certainly good at what he does, but can he fill the empty space left by Jobs?