Steve Jobs

From Academic Kids

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Apple Computer's Steve Jobs PR photo

Steven Paul Jobs (born February 24, 1955) is the CEO of Apple Computer and a leading figure in the computer industry. As co-founder (with Steve Wozniak) of Apple in 1976, he helped popularize the concept of the home computer with the Apple II. Later, he was one of the first to see the commercial potential of the GUI and mouse developed at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, and saw that these technologies were incorporated into the Apple Macintosh. Jobs is also chairman and CEO of Pixar Animation Studios, a leading producer of computer-animated feature films.


Early years

Born to Joanne Simpson and an Egyptian Arab father (name unknown) in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Steven Paul was adopted soon after birth by Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountain View, Santa Clara County, California. His biological sister is the novelist Mona Simpson.

In 1972, Jobs graduated from Homestead High School in Cupertino, California and enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregon, but he dropped out after one semester.

In the autumn of 1974, Jobs returned to California and began attending meetings of the "Homebrew Computer Club" with Steve Wozniak. He and Wozniak both took jobs at Atari Inc., a popular manufacturer of computer games, as game designers. During this time, it was discovered that a slightly modified toy whistle included in every box of Cap'n Crunch cereal was able to reproduce the 2600 Hz supervision tone used by the AT&T long distance telephone system. Jobs and Wozniak went into business briefly in 1974 to build "blue boxes" based on the idea which allowed for free long distance calls.

In 1976, Jobs, then 21, and Wozniak, 26, founded Apple Computer Co. in the Jobs family garage. The first personal computer Jobs and Wozniak introduced was called the Apple I. It sold for $666.66, in reference to the phone number of Wozniak's Dial-A-Joke machine, which ended in -6666.

In 1977, Jobs and Wozniak introduced the Apple II, which became a huge success in the home market and made Apple an important player in the nascent personal computer industry. In December 1980, Apple Computer became a publicly traded corporation, and with the successful IPO, Jobs' stature rose further. That same year, Apple Computer released the Apple III, but it met with less success.

As Apple continued to grow, the company began looking for corporate management talent to help manage its expansion. In 1983, Jobs lured John Sculley, an executive with Pepsi-Cola, to serve as Apple's CEO, challenging him, "Do you want to just sell sugared water for the rest of your life, or do you want to change the world?" That same year, Apple also released the technologically advanced but commercially unsuccessful Apple Lisa.

1984 saw the introduction of the Macintosh, the first commercially successful computer with a graphical user interface. The development of the Mac was started by Jef Raskin and the team was inspired by technology that had been developed at Xerox PARC, but not yet commercialized. The success of the Macintosh led Apple to abandon the Apple II in favor of the Mac product line, which continues to this day.

Departure from Apple

While Jobs was a persuasive and charismatic evangelist for Apple, critics also claimed he was an erratic and tempestuous manager. In 1985, after an internal power struggle, Jobs was stripped of his duties by Sculley and ousted from Apple. Note that Jobs stil remained president of Apple Computer at that time.

After leaving Apple, Jobs founded another computer company, NeXT Computer. Like Lisa, NeXT was technologically advanced, but it never became popular, except in the scientific research environment. (Tim Berners-Lee developed the original World Wide Web system at CERN on a NeXT workstation.) NeXT did, however, help the advancement of technologies such as object-oriented programming, Display PostScript, and magneto-optical devices. Many innovations from NeXT would appear in Mac OS X in the early 2000's. NextStep and the successor OpenStep ran on x86 architecture which then ran on the PowerPC architecture. At Apple's 2005 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2005), Steve Jobs announced that Apple will switch from using PowerPC processors to Intel's x86-based processors due to performance, heat issues and future product plans.

Return to Apple

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Steve Jobs gives a keynote address.

In 1996, Apple bought NeXT for $402 million, bringing Jobs back to the company he founded. In 1997 he became Apple's interim CEO after the departure of Gil Amelio.

With the purchase of NeXT, much of the company's technology found its way into Apple products, notably NeXTSTEP, which evolved into Mac OS X. Under Jobs' guidance the company increased sales significantly with the introduction of the iMac. Since then, appealing designs and powerful branding have worked well for Apple.

In recent years, the company has branched out. With the introduction of the iPod portable music player, iTunes digital music software, the iTunes Music Store, the company is making forays into personal electronics and online music. While stimulating innovation, Jobs also reminds his employees that "real artists ship," by which he means that delivering working products on time is as important as innovation and killer design.

Jobs worked at Apple for several years with an annual salary of $1, and this earned him a listing in Guinness World Records as the "Lowest Paid Chief Executive Officer". After Apple returned to profitability, the company dropped the "interim" from his title. His current salary at Apple officially remains $1 per year, although he has traditionally been the recipient of a number of lucrative "executive gifts" from the board, including a $90 million jet in 1999, and just under 30 million shares of restricted stock in 2000-2002.

Jobs is much admired for his consummate skills of persuasion and salesmanship, which has been dubbed the "reality distortion field" and is particularly evident during his keynote speeches at Macworld Expos. Not all of his decisions have met with widespread approval, however; Apple's marketing efforts in the 1980s (while excellent from a technical standpoint) were alienating to corporate buyers, who turned to IBM, resulting in a precipitous drop in market share. Microsoft further diminished Apple's lead by later developing its own GUI, Microsoft Windows.


In 1986 Jobs and Edwin Catmull co-founded Pixar, an Emeryville, California computer animation studio. It was formed around what was originally Lucasfilm's computer graphics division, which Jobs bought from its founder, George Lucas, for $10 million, one-third of the asking price. Pixar became famous and successful nearly a decade later with the breakthrough feature movie Toy Story. It has since produced the award-winning films A Bug's Life in 1998, Toy Story 2 in 1999, Monsters, Inc. in 2001, Finding Nemo in 2003, and The Incredibles in 2004. Their next release, Cars, is due for a 2006 summer release.

Finding Nemo and The Incredibles received the Academy Awards for the best animation feature film.

Personal life

Jobs married Laurene Powell on March 18 1991 and has three children with her. He also has a daughter, Lisa Jobs, from a woman whom he didn't marry.

Jobs is a vegetarian, who reportedly eats fish from time to time.

On July 31 2004 Jobs underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his pancreas. He had a very rare form of pancreatic cancer, called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, which did not require chemotherapy or radiation therapy. During his absence, Tim Cook, head of worldwide sales and operations at Apple, ran the company.

In 2005, Steve Jobs banned all books published by Wiley from Apple retail stores in response to their publishing an unauthorized biography, iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business by Jeffrey Young. Most believe that the backlash from its publishing had more to do with the ambiguously negative title than its content, which is largely positive.

External links

Books and articles

  • Cringely, Robert X (1996). Accidental Empires. HarperBusiness. ISBN 0887308554.
  • Freiberger, Paul; & Swaine, Michael (1999). Fire in the Valley: The Making of The Personal Computer McGraw-Hill Trade. ISBN 0071358927.
  • Deutschman, Alan (2001). The Second Coming of Steve Jobs. Broadway. ISBN 0767904338.
  • Caddes, Carolyn. 1986. Portraits of Success: Impressions of Silicon Valley Pioneers, Tioga Publishing Co., Palo Alto CA.
  • Denning, Peter J. and Karen A. Frenkel. April 1989. "A Conversation with Steve Jobs", Comm. ACM, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 437-443.
  • Hertzfeld, Andy. 2004. Revolution in The Valley. O'Reilly, Sebastopol, CA. ISBN 0596007191
  • Levy, Steven. 1984. Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, NY.
  • Slater, Robert. 1987. Portraits in Silicon, MIT Press, Cambridge MA, Chapter 28.
  • Stross, Randall E., Steve Jobs and The NeXT Big Thing, NY:Atheneum, 1993. ISBN 0689121350
  • Young, Jeffrey S. 1988. Steve Jobs: The Journey is the Reward, Scott, Foresman and Co., Glenview IL.
  • Young, Jeffrey S. 2005. iCon Steve Jobs : The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business, Wiley, Trade Cloth
  • Kahney, Leander. 2004. "The Cult OF Mac". No Starch Press, Inc, San Francisco, CA.



Preceded by:
Gil Amelio
Apple CEO
Succeeded by:

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