Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs Dies at 56

Screen shot of Apple's home page on the night of Oct. 5th, after the death of Steve Jobs was announced.

Steve Jobs, the masterful innovator of Apple, has died, it was announced Wednesday, Oct. 5th. When he stepped down as the company's CEO a few weeks ago you knew things weren't going well for Jobs, but it's sad that the end came this quickly. The brilliant and demanding technology leader who changed the way people around the world interacted with computers, listened to music, and even used the telephone finally succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 56.

Jobs was interested in computers in high school and took after-school classes at Hewlett-Packard, where he later got a job with Steve Wozniak (Apple's other co-founder). The details of Apple's beginnings, growth, and success have been well documented so I won't rehash them here.

But it's interesting to note that the path of Jobs and Apple took some unusual twists, from the launch of the Macintosh in 1984 to Jobs's departure/firing from Apple just a couple of years later, and his triumphant return in the mid-1990s, when Apple bought NeXT, the company Jobs founded after he left Apple. Also notable was Jobs's formation of Pixar from an animation company he bought from Lucasfilms, which gave a shot in the arm to the world of animated films.

With its co-founder back in the fold as CEO, Apple went on to innovate not only with further versions of the Macintosh computer but with the iPod, the iTunes music store, and most recently the iPhone.

Apple posted a brief message about Jobs on its website, along with an e-mail address where people could send their condolences or remembrances (

The impact of Steve Jobs can be seen in the outpouring of messages from millions of everyday people on Twitter and Facebook, and the reactions and tributes from leaders in technology and government, who can attest to his impact much better than I can.
(An authorized biography titled simply "Steve Jobs" had been in the works; its publication date has been moved up and it will now be published on Oct. 24th. (Buy the Steve Jobs biography at

Even if you never used an Apple product, Steve Jobs probably had an impact on the way you work or use technology. Apple's innovations often forced competitors such as Microsoft to make their products and services more user friendly or intuitive.

One can only imagine what more Steve Jobs could have accomplished with another few decades of life.

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