Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
The visionary behind the Macintosh computer, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, Jobs announced on Monday that he was taking a medical leave of absence for unspecified health issues.
Born on February 24, 1955 in San Francisco to a single mother and adopted by a couple in nearby Mountain View at barely a week old, Jobs grew up among the orchards that would one day become the technology hub known as Silicon Valley.
As a high school student, Jobs attended lectures at Hewlett-Packard in nearby Palo Alto, and worked a summer job there with engineer Steve Wozniak.
Jobs left Reed College in Portland, Oregon, after a single semester, but continued to take classes, including a calligraphy class he has cited as the reason Macintosh computers were designed with multiple typefaces.
When he was 20, Jobs made a spiritual journey to India, returning with his head shaved and wearing traditional Indian garb.
He got work as a technician for video game pioneer Atari and attended a garage club called "Homebrew Computer Club" with Wozniak, a fellow northern California boy who, like Jobs, was also a college dropout.
Jobs was 21 and Wozniak 26 when they founded Apple Computer in the garage of Jobs's family home in 1976.
While Microsoft licensed its software to computer makers that cranked out machines priced for the masses, Apple kept its technology private and catered to people willing to pay for superior performance and design.
Under Jobs, the company introduced its first Apple computers and then the Macintosh, which became wildly popular in the 1980s.
Apple's innovations include the "computer mouse" to make it easy for users to activate programs or open files.
Jobs was elevated to idol status by ranks of Macintosh computer devotees, many of whom saw themselves as a sort of rebel alliance opposing the powerful empire Microsoft built with its ubiquitous Windows operating systems.
Jobs, who became the more public face of Apple, went from celebrity bachelor days that included a relationship with folk singer Joan Baez to settling into family life in Palo Alto.
He married in 1991 in a ceremony presided over by a Buddhist monk. He has three children by his wife and has a daughter with a woman he dated prior to marrying.
Jobs left Apple in 1985 after an internal power struggle and started NeXT Computer company specializing in sophisticated workstations for businesses.
He co-founded Academy-Award-winning Pixar in 1986 from a former Lucasfilm computer graphics unit that Jobs reportedly bought from movie industry titan George Lucas for 10 million dollars.
It became a scrappy, creative studio that produced box-office movie hits including "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo."
Apple's luster faded after Jobs left the company, but they reconciled in 1996 with Apple buying NeXT for 429 million dollars and Jobs ascending once again to the Apple throne.
Since then, Jobs has gone from strength to strength, revamping the Macintosh line, launching the iPod MP3 digital music player in 2001 and the online music store iTunes in 2003.
Jobs underwent an operation for pancreatic cancer in 2004 but bounced back three years later with the hugely popular touchscreen iPhone.
The Walt Disney Co. bought Pixar meanwhile in a $7.4-billion deal in 2006 that gave Jobs a seat on its board and made him the entertainment titan's biggest single shareholder.
Jobs went on medical leave in January 2009 but returned to work in June after undergoing a liver transplant, looking gaunt but declaring himself healthy.
In January 2010 Jobs unveiled his latest creation, the iPad, which went on sale in April and has set the industry standard for touchscreen tablet computers.
Under Jobs, Apple has made its Macintosh computer systems more compatible with Windows-based PC programs and boosted its share of a market long ruled by machines based on Microsoft software.
In May of last year, Apple surpassed Microsoft as the largest US technology company in market value.
Known for his trademark mock black turtleneck shirt, blue jeans and running shoes, Jobs is prone to phrase comments in musical references involving his favorite artists such as The Beatles and Bob Dylan.
Six years ago, Jobs had talked about how a sense of his mortality was a major driver behind that vision.
"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," Jobs said during a Stanford commencement ceremony in 2005.
"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, 1955-2011 Reviewed by GameOPS on 10/06/2011 02:58:00 PM Rating: