Thursday, 6 October 2011

Apple Founder Steve Jobs Dies


Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., who introduced simple, well-designed computers for people who were more interested in what technology could do rather than how it was done, died Wednesday at age 56.

In a brief statement, Apple announced the death but did not say where he died. Mr. Jobs suffered from a rare form of pancreatic cancer and had a liver transplant in 2009, and he stepped down as Apple’s chief executive on Aug. 24.

An original thinker who helped create the Macintosh, one of the most influential computers in the world, Mr. Jobs also reinvented the portable music player with the iPod, launched the first successful legal method of selling music online with the creation of iTunes, and reordered the cellphone market with the iPhone. The introduction of the iPad also jump-started the electronic-tablet market, and it now dominates the field.

Calculating that people would be willing to pay a premium price for products that signal creativity, Mr. Jobs had a genius for understanding the needs of consumers before they did.

He knew best of all how to market. “Mac or PC?” became one of the defining questions of the late 20th century, and although Apple sold a mere 5 percent of all computers in that era, Mac users became rabid partisans.

Mr. Jobs was the first crossover technology star, turning Silicon Valley renown into Main Street recognition and paving the way for the rise of the nerds, such as Yahoo founders Jerry Yang and David Filo, and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

As a 21-year-old college-dropout entrepreneur, Mr. Jobs led Apple to multimillion-dollar success in five years. Forced out of his own company by the time he was 30, he started another computer firm, Next, whose technology was used to create the World Wide Web. Mr. Jobs also took over a foundering computer animation company and turned it into the Academy Award-winning Pixar, maker of “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo.” He returned to Apple in his 40s, restoring the company to profitability by paring down the product line and being a leader in innovation.

Known within the technology community for his complex and combative temperament, Mr. Jobs was a private man. But in a June 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, he talked about his pancreatic cancer, diagnosed in 2004, in a video that became an Internet sensation. He later became furious at speculation over his health in mid-2008, when he appeared in public looking gaunt. In late 2008, he took a medical leave from the company, and he had a liver transplant the following year.

In January, he took another medical leave. On Aug. 24 he stepped down as Apple’s chief executive but became chairman of board. Apple’s share price immediately dropped 5 percent on the news because Jobs was so connected to the company, but it rebounded the next day. “Steve Jobs running the company from jail would be better for the stock price than Steve Jobs not being CEO,” one stock analyst told Fortune magazine in early 2011.

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