As an unapologetic Apple fan I’m saddened to awaken to the news of Steve Jobs’ death. A great and innovative leader who I just knew through his texts, keynotes and products. He revolutionised the home computing with a ethnocentric focus on computers and found new use of technology in home computing with the introduction to the market of graphical user-interface, digitally created motion pictures, digital mobile music player, touch phone, and other big and small revolution that in the long run changed our digital world into how it is today.
Jobs founded Apple computers in 1976 together with Stephen Gary Wozniack and Ronald Gerald Wayne, and soon released their first computer, the Apple I, and the preceding year their popular Apple II was released to the market. From a field trip to XEROX’s Paulo Alto Research Center (PARC) where Jobs discovered an early from of a graphical user interface Apple brought this to the market and made it available for a, then very new enterprise, home computing.
Later, after Jobs was pushed out of the company he once created he went on to found Pixar, after buying Lucasfilm’s computer graphics group in 1986. This company went on to make the first computer generated movie, Toy Story. At the same time he established NeXT. In 1996, NeXt would be acquired by Apple and job would once more work for Apple, and in 2000 he became CEO of a new Apple, who he helped grow from being in a technological and organisational turmoil in the mid-90s to become a major, if not the major technological company fifteen years later. Apple expanded from being a computer company exclusively, but by introducing computing, in a looser term, to other segments of the market, and more importantly, human lifeworld.
In August this year Jobs resigned from his post as CEO, a post he returned to after long period of leave due to sickness. In his press release he wrote (borrowed from TechCrunch):
To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
Not only did Jobs create new products, but he also made it possible for others to thrive. Through creating tools easy for all to use, and ingenious solutions Apple, NeXT and Pixar have helped creating shoulders for other gigants to stand on. Every day cultural products, home movies and garage band projects, among other things, are created on products of his design. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web, first used a NeXT computer to serve the initial versions of the Web at CERN. Radiohead and many other bands, known or not, have used Logic to create music, and Francis Ford Coppola among other aspiring and successful movie-makers are using the mac to achieve their goals.
Steve Jobs was an inspirator for many, including me, he achieved many great successes and he changed the world. Computing today, would never been the same without Steve Jobs. I hope his inspiration, philosophy and spirit will live on.
An inspiring video from Jobs: