Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

Summary: Apple co-founder and Chairman Steve Jobs died today, Apple said. He was 56.


Reprinted from CNET News.

Apple co-founder and Chairman Steve Jobs died today, Apple said. He was 56.

Apple confirmed the news on its Web site.

Jobs had been suffering from various health issues following the seven-year anniversary of his surgery for a rare form of pancreatic cancer in August 2004. Apple announced in January that he would be taking an indeterminate medical leave of absence, with Jobs then stepping down from his role as CEO in late August.

Jobs had undergone a liver transplant in April 2009 during an earlier planned six-month leave of absence. He returned to work for a year and a half before his health forced him to take more time off. He told his employees in August, "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."

One of the most legendary businessmen in American history, Jobs turned three separate industries on their head in the 35 years he was involved in the technology industry.

Personal computing was invented with the launch of the Apple II in 1977. Legal digital music recordings were brought into the mainstream with the iPod and iTunes in the early 2000s, and mobile phones were never the same after the 2007 debut of the iPhone. Jobs played an instrumental role in the development of all three, and managed to find time to transform the art of computer-generated movie-making on the side.

The invention of the iPad in 2010, a touch-screen tablet computer his competitors flocked to reproduce, was the capstone of his career as a technologist. A conceptual hybrid of a touch-screen iPod and a slate computer, the 10-inch mobile device was Jobs' vision for a more personal computing device.

Jobs was considered brilliant yet brash. He valued elegance in design yet was almost never seen in public wearing anything but a black mock turtleneck, blue jeans, and a few days worth of stubble. A master salesman who considered himself an artist at heart, Jobs inspired both reverence and fear in those who worked for him and against him, and was adored by an army of loyal Apple customers who almost saw him as superhuman.

Jobs was born in San Francisco in 1955 to young parents who gave him up for adoption. Paul and Clara Jobs gave him his name, and moved out of the city in 1960 to the Santa Clara Valley, later to be known as Silicon Valley. Jobs grew up in Mountain View and Cupertino, where Apple's headquarters is located.

He attended Reed College in Oregon for a year but dropped out, although he sat in on some classes that interested him, such as calligraphy. After a brief stint at Atari working on video games, he spent time backpacking around India, furthering teenage experiments with psychedelic drugs and developing an interest in Buddhism, all of which would shape his work at Apple.

Back in California, Jobs' friend Steve Wozniak was learning the skills that would change both their lives. When Jobs discovered that Wozniak had been assembling relatively (for the time) small computers, he struck a partnership, and Apple Computer was founded in 1976 in the usual Silicon Valley fashion: setting up shop in the garage of one of the founder's parents.

Wozniak handled the technical end, creating the Apple I, while Jobs ran sales and distribution. The company sold a few hundred Apple Is, but found much greater success with the Apple II, which put the company on the map and is largely credited as having proven that regular people wanted computers.

It also made Jobs and Wozniak rich. Apple went public in 1980, and Jobs was well on his way to becoming one of the first tech industry celebrities, earning a reputation for brilliance, arrogance, and the sheer force of his will and persuasion, often jokingly referred to as his "reality-distortion field."

The debut of the Macintosh in 1984 left no doubt that Apple was a serious player in the computer industry, but Jobs only had a little more than a year left at the company he founded when the Mac was released in January 1984.

By 1985 Apple CEO John Sculley--who Jobs had convinced to leave Pepsi in 1983 and run Apple with the legendary line, "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?"--had developed his own ideas for the future of the company, and they differed from Jobs'. He removed Jobs from his position leading the Macintosh team, and Apple's board backed Sculley.

Jobs resigned from the company, later telling an audience of Stanford University graduates "what had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating." He would get the last laugh.

He went on to found NeXT, which set about making the next computer in Jobs' eyes. NeXT was never the commercial success that Apple was, but during those years, Jobs found three things that would help him architect his return.

The first was Pixar. Jobs snapped up the graphic-arts division of Lucasfilm in 1986, which would go on to produce "Toy Story" in 1995 and set the standard for computer-graphics films. After making a fortune from Pixar's IPO in 1995, Jobs eventually sold the company to Disney in 2006.

The second was object-oriented software development. NeXT chose this development model for its software operating systems, and it proved to be more advanced and more nimble than the operating system developments Apple was working on without Jobs.

The third was Laurene Powell, a Stanford MBA student who attended a talk on entrepreneurialism given by Jobs in 1989 at the university. The two wed in 1991 and eventually had three children; Reed, born in 1991, Erin, born in 1995, and Eve, born in 1998. Jobs has another daughter, Lisa, who was born 1978, but Jobs refused to acknowledge he was her father for the first few years of her life, eventually reconciling with Lisa and her mother, his high-school girlfriend Chris-Ann Brennan.

Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, having convinced then-CEO Gil Amelio to adopt NeXTStep as the future of Apple's operating system development. Apple was in a shambles at the time, losing money, market share, and key employees.

By 1997, Jobs was once again in charge of Apple. He immediately brought buzz back to the company, which pared down and reacquired a penchant for showstoppers, such as the 1998 introduction of the iMac; perhaps the first "Stevenote." His presentation skills at events such as Macworld would become legendary examples of showmanship and star power in the tech industry.

Jobs also set the company on the path to becoming a consumer-electronics powerhouse, creating and improving products such as the iPod, iTunes, and later, the iPhone and iPad. Apple is the most valuable publicly-traded company in the world, surpassing ExxonMobil?'s market capitalization in August. He did so in his own fashion, imposing his ideas and beliefs on his employees and their products in ways that left many a career in tatters. Jobs enforced a culture of secrecy at Apple and was an extremely demanding leader, terrorizing Apple employees when he returned to the company in the late 1990s with summary firings if he didn't like the answers they gave when questioned.

Jobs was an intensely private person. That quality put him and Apple at odds with government regulators and stockholders who demanded to know details about his ongoing health problems and his prognosis as the leader and alter ego of his company. It spurred a 2009 SEC probe into whether Apple's board had made misleading statements about his health.

In the years before he fell ill in 2008, Jobs seemed to soften a bit, perhaps due to his bout with a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004.

In 2005, his remarks to Stanford graduates included this line: "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."

Later, in 2007, he appeared onstage at the D: All Things Digital conference for a lengthy interview with bitter rival Bill Gates, exchanging mutual praise and prophetically quoting the Beatles: "You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead."

Jobs leaves behind his wife, four children, two sisters, and 49,000 Apple employees.

Topics: Apple, CXO, Health, Legal, IT Employment

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  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

    RIP Steve
    • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

      @noeldillabough I got my free black macbook at
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

    May his soul rest in peace!
    Atul Kale
  • An end of an era!

    I think the tech world just got a little less interesting. Love or hate him, Jobs made the tech industry a grand stage which drove the passions of many people.
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

    Anyone who could possibly hate Steve Jobs is undoubtedly garbage. I am a P.C. guy without question and see the loss of Steve Jobs as grim. He was a human being plain and simple and understood the meaning in this circus called life and faced it.

    Even in his passing he still sets a precedence for generations to come and will always be welcome in my heart, soul and life.

    Many thanks to ZDNet and Cnet for recognizing a valuable component to the human race, one that could have survived without computer technology, but likely to be without real measure were it not for the the man Steve Jobs was.
    • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

      @RDRush Instead of categorially saying "Anyone who could possibly hate Steve Jobs is undoubtedly garbage.", shouldn't you try to listen first. Are you trying to proclaim Steve as a saint?
    • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

      @RDRush Cool story bro. There were lots of bad things about Steve Jobs, and just because he is dead, doesn't mean we need to overlook all those things now.
    • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

      @RDRush I don't know too many people who hate him!

      Just look at the amazing tributes at and try to tell me he was hated!

      Some of those are just fantastic!!!
  • Steve Jobs And Open Source

    NeXT chose to use Objective C as their primary programming language. Instead of building the compiler from scratch, they did it as a front end on GCC (the GNU Compiler Collection). But GCC is licensed under the GPL, which means if you release any "derivative works", they must also be made available under the GPL.

    So NeXT had two choices: abandon GCC and rebuild their entire compiler from scratch, or release Objective C as Open Source. They chose the latter course. In fact, Objective C became part of the GCC project, and even today developers on Apple platforms find they are running GCC to compile their Objective C code.
    • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

      @ldo17 Now imagine if GCC had been release with a permissive MIT license.
      Yet there are still people going around calling GPL "viral" and shunning those who chose to fight for everyone's Freedom.
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

    RDRush is totally right. Steve Jobs was a great man that left a huge legacy. He died way before his time.
    Even though I've never owned an Apple, I can say that it has a great OS and GUI, and I have often thought of going over to Apple when my XP machine is no longer supported...
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

    This is a historic loss. I can't think of anybody comparable in the IT industry to him.


    I also noticed 125 posts deleted since last night. Awesome! ;)
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

    RIP Steve
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

    I'm saying this as someone who has never owned a single thing made by Apple.

    Apple under Steve Jobs changed the entire computer world in other ways that were not even mentioned. Apple had the first 3.5 inch floppy drives, then the first optical drives, not to mention the point and click interface. These things were later adopted by the MS PC world. All computers, not just those made by Apple , would not be what they are today without the innovations made during his first run at the helm of Apple. The man was a true visionary and will be sorely missed.
    • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

      RIP, Steve Jobs. You truly were a marketing and business innovator and visionary. You will be missed.<br><br>@dch48,<br><br>Just an FYI: Xerox Inc. had the first "point and click" interface for their Alto workstations in 1973, along with movable, resizable windows, drop-down menus, rasterized graphics and fonts, in a completely object-oriented environment. (Palo Alto Research Center, "PARC").<br><br><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a></a><br><br>Also, Steve Wozniak of Apple gets little credit, but he really was and remains the true technical hardware and software engineering genius and mastermind behind all the early Apple successes: Apples I, II, Lisa, MacIntosh, IIc, LC, etc. He conceived, designed, built and perfected all of these, almost single-handedly. If I were "Woz" I would kind of feel a little bit like a patsy. I never quite understood the dynamic between him and Steve Jobs.
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

    RIP Steve
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

    RIP Steve. Your legacy in the tech world is unsurpassed!
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

    I won't lie, I don't mourn his loss. I don't mean that to sound disrespectful and he was a great american pioneer and genius... and I even use some Apple products... but the amount of praise is over the top.
    Let's compare... people praise michael j fox and chris reeves for putting so much money into research that they would have ignored if they didn't have any ailments.... yet bill gates is rich, healthy and gives billions to children... I bet people won't praise him when he dies the way people are praising steve jobs. Twitter crashed from all the steve jobs tweets. But he passed on and now we will continue foreward. He deserves credit but not for us to treat him like a demigod. He was a smart american and we are proud of his accomplishments but every email I get from every tech site is flooding my inbox with how the world is in dire straits from Jobs' death.
    It sucks for his family, and anything younger than 70 is too young to die...but it seems over-the-top when Twitter crashes because people are tweeting about him to the point of excess.

    Needless to say, god rest his soul, he was a good CEO. Its a sad loss. Now let's talk about something else (outside of this thread).
    Sorry about thelack of caps... my phone's shift button is no good.
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

    May his soul rest in peace!
  • RE: Apple's Steve Jobs has passed away

    Jobs knows how to present himself and his products. Many of us need to learn this marketing skills. And never to forget the way he revolutionist the world of smart phones and the way we consume digital information. Hats off Jobs, May you take birth again and again. You always live and immortal in our hearts.