Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

Steve Jobs, the legendary Apple co-founder, has died at the age of 56.

Jobs’ influence on technology started with the early days of the personal computer and continued through the mobile revolution, as Apple’s Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad brought the company back to the forefront of the industry and ultimately made Apple the most valuable company in the world.

Apple has turned its its home page into a simple tribute to its longtime leader. The company issued this news release this afternoon.

We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today. Steve’s 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.

His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.

The news follows a series of illnesses, including a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Jobs stepped down as Apple’s CEO in August, saying he could no longer meet his duties as the company’s top executive.

“I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it,” wrote Jobs in his letter of resignation.

Bill Gates, the Microsoft chairman, issued this statement through a spokesman.

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.

Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder, issued this statement.

My condolences to Steve Jobs’ family and friends. We’ve lost a unique tech pioneer and auteur who knew how to make amazingly great products. Steve fought a long battle against tough odds in a very brave way. He kept doing amazing things in the face of all that adversity. As someone who has had his own medical challenges, I couldn’t help but be encouraged by how he persevered.

We are tracking some of the most thoughtful tributes and obituaries of Jobs.

The Wall Street Journal:

Those who knew Mr. Jobs say that one reason why he was able to keep innovating was because he didn’t dwell on past accomplishments or legacy but kept looking ahead and demanded that employees do the same.

Mark Anderson, CEO of Strategic News Service:

In a product world led by Steve, everyone else is a forger or a fraud.  Tomorrow, the media will be full of paeans and pictures.  All you need do to remember Steve is look at what is in your hands.  If he didn’t design and make it himself, it came from someone doing their best to mimic his ideas. Steve had the faith to drive mercilessly for a nearly endless series of absolute visions, and the courage to live the life that this commitment demanded.

The San Francisco Chronicle:

Jobs was considered by many to be the greatest corporate leader of the last half century, and indeed his numerous successes rank him alongside Ford, Disney and Edison as a giant of American business. He was a taskmaster who demanded the most from his employees – often in expletive-laden bursts – and wasn’t afraid to scrap products that didn’t meet his expectations. But consumers benefited from his perfectionism, which resulted in beautiful and intuitive products.

The New York Times:

Apple’s very name reflected his unconventionality. In an era when engineers and hobbyists tended to describe their machines with model numbers, he chose the name of a fruit, supposedly because of his dietary habits at the time.

Coming on the scene just as computing began to move beyond the walls of research laboratories and corporations in the 1970s, Mr. Jobs saw that computing was becoming personal — that it could do more than crunch numbers and solve scientific and business problems — and that it could even be a force for social and economic change. And at a time when hobbyist computers were boxy wooden affairs with metal chassis, he designed the Apple II as a sleek, low-slung plastic package intended for the den or the kitchen. He was offering not just products but a digital lifestyle.

He put much stock in the notion of “taste,” a word he used frequently. It was a sensibility that shone in products that looked like works of art and delighted users. Great products, he said, were a triumph of taste, of “trying to expose yourself to the best things humans have done and then trying to bring those things into what you are doing.”

Cnet:

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.

President Barack Obama:

Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.

By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity.  By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun.  And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last.  Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.

The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.

Follow-up: Perspectives on Jobs, Gates and Apple’s rivalry and partnership with MicrosoftSales of Steves Jobs bio soar on Amazon, release pushed up… My memories of Steve Jobs

  • http://twitter.com/moniguzman Monica Guzman

    AH! I’m still just absorbing this. Not good. Not good. So sad. Not enough time with genius. He really gave every bit to Apple. Wow …

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VX2YBI7AZ247PJX2YFTTQSIH7E CarD

      I still haven’t absorbed it and it’s been a week after! 

      Going to http://www.pixt.com/remembersteve helped me a little – tons of moving tributes and comments to the man, Steve Jobs!!  RIP!

  • http://twitter.com/RedRussak ‘Red’ Russak

    At first I couldn’t believe the headlines. Steve has contributed so much to this world, leaving an incredible legacy. A true revolutionary, he has spent his life inspiring the world and will continue to do so for years to come.

  • http://ClaussConcept.com Jason Gerard Clauss

    Wow. I didn’t think it’d happen so soon. It’s like he held out long enough for the press conference then shoved off. Sad.

  • Ray Burt

    Sad…died of same illness that claimed Randy Pausch (of the last lecture): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo 

    • numpty

      And also claimed another Apple pioneer, Jeff Raskin.

  • Kim M>

    SO sad, too young!!  Praying for his family!!  RIP Steve, hurt no more!!!

  • http://twitter.com/pixelio Pixel I/O

    A memory as a lowly undergraduate… I remember him marching around the MIT Media Lab in 1989 to check up on his NeXT machines.  He was wearing a black suit and would’ve been about 34 years old.  We were all in awe and just knew that he was going to change computing once again…

    I wonder if he knew how much he was going to accomplish over the next 22 years?  Yes, I bet he did.

  • Brooke Shepard

    For many of us, hopefully the lessons
    will live on. After watching Steve Jobs the
    communicator for years, I’ve heard a version of “what would
    Steve do?” asked in planning meetings more times than I
    can remember. He’s helped a generation of tech companies
    realize that style matters, and even when he appeared stubborn or angry, he
    taught us that you didn’t have to liked to be loved. 

  • Didier

    I hope Apple can build the spaceship-like building he envisioned in Cupertino, as a landmark of his legacy. RIP.

  • http://www.jrotech.com/ Jeff Rodenburg

    “Genius” is a term that should be reserved for those that come along rarely, maybe once per generation.  Steve Jobs is not close to genius — he is genius.  RIP.

  • http://blog.CascadeSoft.net @CascadeRam

    “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.
    Remembering that you are going to die is
    the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
    You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Steve Jobs in 2005

     

    http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

  • http://blog.findwell.com Kevin Lisota

    Too young. Wishing there was “just one more thing.”

    I learned how computers work by PEEK and POKE’ing memory addresses on an Apple II and nearly 30 years later carry his work in my pocket and on the couch at home. Rare that a single individual has so strong an influence over such a prolonged time. Even makes me nostalgic to remember his absence from Apple and complaining that they bring him back to fix the sub-par Mac laptops I was lugging around at the time.

  • http://www.mcbuzz.com/ Mark McLaren

    I remember my first Mac so well! And my second and my third! How painful it was to have to start using a PC to build websites because users were on PCs – until PC designers finally started making PCs to be more like Macs. Now every tablet wants to be an iPad and every smartphone wants to be an iPhone. The Apple design standard is the reason I got started in this business. Steve Jobs, you crushed it for so many years! Like Red says, your legacy will go on forever. Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

  • Monica Harrington

    I loved hearing Steve talk about why failing as Apple’s CEO when he was still a very young man was a good thing.  With Pixar, Next, and Apple 2, Steve showed what can happen when you love what you do and you”re not afraid to fail.  

  • http://www.intrinsicstrategy.com FrankCatalano

    Very sad and, even though it was clear he wasn’t doing well, I’m still stunned.

    People tend to forget Apple and Jobs changed our view of personal technology twice. Early on Apple was a powerhouse in K-12 education technology. The Apple II, II+, and //e were classroom mainstays. More than a decade later, Jobs changed consumer technology with the iMac (arguably the first truly consumer Internet appliance), then the iPhone and the iPad.

    All along, Jobs had a largely unerring sense of the ideal combination of usable style, functional technology and simple, delightful integration. It was the amazing magic trick, and he was the master magician.

  • Bob

    Sad day. But what an incredible legacy.