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Significant Lives

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Apple's Steve Jobs Passes into History and so does an Era

October 6th 2011

Computer Topics - Steve Jobs 2

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and the holder of more than 300 technology patents, died on October 5. The eccentric entrepreneur who built Apple into the world’s leading technological company started in a prosaic garage in Silicon Valley. Having built one of the first personal computers marketed, Jobs led Apple to create wildly popular devices such as the iPhone. He was 56.

Sometimes accused of egocentricity, Jobs pioneered the concept of the personal computer and of navigating them by clicking onscreen images with a mouse, which he also developed. In more recent years, Jobs introduced the iPod portable music player, the iPhone and the iPad tablet, which changed how content is accessed and consume in the digital age. "Steve Jobs is one of the great innovators in the history of modern capitalism," New York Times columnist Joe Nocera said in August. "His intuition has been phenomenal over the years."

Apple, with Jobs at the helm, also changed the way consumers listen to music. The music business before Apple’s iTunes was a business of selling compact discs in stores. Today, there are hardly any stand-alone stores that sell compact discs because the business has moved online, compelling music producers to deal with Apple.

Jobs’ death was not unexpected, even though it had long been dreaded by his millions of fans. Having struggled with cancer for years, Jobs took medical leave from the Apple helm in January 2011 and then stepped down as CEO in August "no longer meet (his) duties and expectations." It is reported that he suffered from pancreatic cancer. In 2004, Jobs underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer and had a liver transplant in 2009.

Born February 24, 1955,to a Syrian father and an American mother, he was then adopted. Jobs grew up in Cupertino, California – later home to Apple's headquarters -- and showed an early interest in electronics. As a teenager, he contacted William Hewlett, president of Hewlett-Packard, to request parts for a school project. He got them, along with an offer of a summer job at HP. He attended one semester at Reed College in California but did not graduate. For a time he lived hand to mouth, taking his meals at Hare Krishna temples. Having once sampled Buddhism, he would later become one of the richest men in the world.

Steve Jobs cofounded Apple with Steve Wozniak in 1976, and the company released its first Macintosh computer eight years later.  The board of directors would force Jobs out, but he returned in 1997 to lead Apple as it became one of the world’s most successful and profitable companies. Known as a risk-taker, Jobs became known as one of the key innovators of the digital age, along with Bill Gates of Microsoft.


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