Visionary inventor and entrepreneur Steven P. Jobs passed away a day after the company he loved and c0-founded, released its iPhone4. His family, in a statement, said Jobs “died peacefully today surrounded by his family.
Apple CEO Tim Cook sent the following email to all 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.
Jobs’ death comes less than two months after he stepped down from the post of CEO to take up as he put it in August, the post of “Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.” He was replaced by Cook.
Apple’s Board remembered his “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,” the statement added.
Bill Gates also released his own statement noting: “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.”
Jobs was born in San Francisco on Feb. 24, 1955, and adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountain View, California. He and Steve Wozniak launched Apple in 1976. Their first project, the Apple I, wasn’t much to look at — just an assembled circuit board. Anyone who bought it had to add the case and keyboard. But it was enough for Jobs to convince Mike Markkula, a semi-retired Intel engineer and product marketing manager, that personal computing was the future. Markkula invested $250,000 in the fledgling enterprise.
The Apple I begat the Apple II in 1977. It was the first successful mass-market computer, and easy to use, too. That would become a hallmark of Apple under Jobs.
The Apple II had a huge impact on the tech business, but cheaper alternatives, like the Commodore 64 and the VIC-20, quickly eroded Apple’s market share. IBM’s open PC platform eventually won out over Apple’s closed approach, and the die was cast. The PC dominated the market.
Still, Apple was by any measure a success. By the time Jobs was 25 in 1980, he was worth more than $100 million.
Apple once again shook up the industry with the Macintosh, announced in 1984 with a now-iconic Super Bowl ad challenging IBM. But then Jobs fell from grace. One year after the Mac’s introduction, Jobs was fired in a power struggle with CEO John Sculley. Jobs was devastated. He went on to found NeXT as Apple faltered in his absence. The company’s stock plummeted 68 percent, pushing Apple to the brink of bankruptcy.
But in 1996, Apple purchased NeXT and Jobs returned to the company he founded. It wasn’t long before he was once again back at the helm, and Apple’s ascent began. Apple’s incredible string of hits started with the iMac and continued with iTunes and the iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007 and 2010’s iPad. There were some misses along the way – Mobile Me and Apple TV – to make the company one of the biggest in the world.
Sadly his own health took a beating. In 2004 doctors diagnosed him with pancreatic cancer. Jobs survived but his health continued to deteriorate. His liver failed in 2009, and Jobs took a six-month medical leave. He returned, but was rarely seen until his resignation on August 24, 2011.
He is survived by his wife, Laurene to whom he was married for 20 years and four children.