Steve Jobs was the cofounder and former CEO of Apple Inc., one of the highest valued technology and consumer electronics companies in the world. Jobs played a major role in furthering the tech field with Apple's development of personal computers and smartphones, among other devices and accessories. He is listed as a contributor on nearly 350 patents. His contributions to the technology field were widely recognized: he was awarded the National Medal of Technology by former US President Ronald Reagan, and he was honored several times by Time and Fortune magazine on their respective lists of the most influential and powerful people in business. Jobs died from complications of pancreatic cancer on October 5, 2011, at age fifty-six. At the time of his death, Jobs had a net worth of approximately $7 billion.
Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, to Joanne Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali. He was soon adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs, and after a couple of years, the family moved from Steve's birthplace of San Francisco to the city of Mountain View. His younger sister, Patty, was adopted when he was two years old. As a child in the Silicon Valley region, Jobs was exposed to technology and engineering in his formative years. He worked alongside his father, who was a mechanic, and several of his neighbors were professional engineers.
Jobs had a difficult time in school as a child. He was often bored with the work and acted out by pulling pranks to entertain himself; he also had problems accepting authority figures, including teachers. After one teacher recognized his hidden academic abilities in the fourth grade, Jobs skipped the fifth grade and switched schools to attend the sixth grade. He faced other difficulties at the new school, including bullying, and eventually told his parents he refused to go back. This led the family to move to Los Altos. Jobs later attended Homestead High School, where he began to meet more like-minded individuals interested in technology, like his future Apple cofounder, Steve Wozniak.
Jobs attended Reed College for one semester before dropping out when he realized his interests primarily resided in subjects outside the classroom. He moved to a commune in Oregon shortly after, where he spent a few months learning to cultivate apples before returning home to look for work. His first job was at video game developer Atari.
As a friend of Steve Wozniak, Jobs would sometimes stop by meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club, a casual club for computer builders and enthusiasts. Wozniak was a regular member of the club and used the setting to display his projects, which fascinated Jobs. Having an entrepreneurial mindset, he saw Wozniak's machines as a profitable venture. The two cofounded Apple Computer on April 1, 1976.
Apple's first products were circuit boards for the Apple I computer, which were assembled in the Jobs family's garage and sold to computer dealers. In 1977, the Apple II was released. Sales reached $3 million in the first year.
Apple began trading publicly in 1980. On its opening day, Apple was valued at $1.2 billion. The Lisa computer was released in early 1983, named after Jobs's daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Jobs denied this fact for years (along with his paternity) and instead claimed that "Lisa" stood for "Local Integrated System Architecture." The Lisa computer, while innovative for its time, was ultimately unsuccessful. Reasons for its failure included its high price of $9,995 and slow run time. Jobs was kicked off the Lisa development team in 1980, three years before its release, due to his volatile nature. As a result, he began working on the Macintosh, intended to be a smaller and more affordable computer than the Lisa. The Macintosh was first released in 1984. Sales were good at first but dropped heavily the following year.
Poor sales of the Macintosh led to tension between Jobs and Apple CEO John Sculley. In April 1985, Sculley expressed his wish to remove Jobs from his positions as Apple vice president and general manager of the Macintosh department. In response, Jobs approached the board of directors about removing Sculley as CEO. The board took Sculley's side, and on May 31, 1985, Jobs was ousted from his duties at Apple, other than his seat as chairman. Jobs resigned in September that year with plans to develop another computer company.
Jobs formed NeXT with a few coworkers from Apple in September 1985, around the same time he resigned from Apple. NeXT created computers; Jobs's intention was to compete with Macintosh sales, although NeXT computers were designed for universities and educational institutes. Its first product, the NeXT Cube, did not sell well. This was partially due to the machine's high price of $10,000. Universities were expecting the computer to only cost $3,000. After two years, the NeXTstation was released at a lesser price. It was marketed to businesses and educational facilities but still had low sales. NeXT cofounders began leaving the company, as did its biggest investor. Due to significant monetary losses, NeXT was forced to become a software company in 1993.
In 1986, Jobs purchased the computer graphics division of director George Lucas's Lucasfilm empire. He incorporated the group into a new company: Pixar. Pixar did not begin as a movie production studio, but as a computer graphics company. In the first few years after its launch, Jobs focused on selling computer graphics workstations to institutions like hospitals and the army. Pixar also sold its 3D-rendering software called RenderMan. The software sold well enough, but workstation sales were very low. Pixar began selling just software in 1990, primarily RenderMan.
Besides software, Pixar created 3D animations for television commercials. In 1991, the company's future changed forever when it signed a contract with Disney to produce a full-feature animated movie. There was no script or movie idea in mind at first, but Pixar began developing one, which was the basis for Toy Story (1995).
Apple announced its purchase of NeXT in December 1996. The $400 million deal resulted in Jobs returning to the company as an adviser. He took over as interim CEO in 1997 after he and the board of directors ousted CEO Gil Amelio in a fashion similar to how Jobs attempted to oust former CEO John Sculley twelve years prior. He accepted a salary of $1 per year due to Apple's financial troubles, though he still held tens of millions of dollars worth of Apple stock. Jobs permanently took over as CEO in January 2000.
Jobs's return as CEO marked the beginning of a period of significant innovations and advancements in Apple products. The first iMac came out in May 1998 and sold well enough to bring the company out of debt, which it had accumulated under Amelio's stint as CEO. At the annual Macworld event in January 2000, Jobs demoed Aqua, the graphics-intensive user interface that was to be used in Apple's next-generation operating system, Mac OS X. The OS was derived from the NeXTSTEP OS. The Mac OS has continued to develop and update since its release.
Apple unveiled iApps in 1999 with the release of iMovie and iMac Digital Video. More iApps were launched throughout the early and mid-2000s, including iDVD, iTunes, iPhoto, GarageBand, and iWeb. The first Apple retail store opened in 2001. On October 23, 2001, the first iPod was released; it was met with immediate success. The iTunes store opened in April 2003 after Jobs approached all major record labels to negotiate deals that would entitle Apple to sell music.
The original iPhone went on sale on June 29, 2007. It was a major breakthrough for the mobile phone industry. While the iPhone was not the first smartphone invented, it was the first and most reminiscent of modern-day smartphones. Six million first-generation iPhones were sold during its lifetime. The App Store launched in March 2008, allowing users to download third-party applications onto their iPhones. Jobs originally opposed the idea, but demand was so high that he created it.
In January 2009, Jobs took a medical leave of absence due to pancreatic cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2003. He returned in June after recovering from a liver transplant he'd had the previous month. The first iPad, Apple's digital tablet line, was announced in January 2010 and went on sale in April of that year. Nearly 19 million were sold before it was discontinued in March 2011, nine days before the launch of the iPad 2. The second model was met with greater sales––about 30 million in its lifetime.
Jobs took a second leave of absence in January 2011 and officially resigned as CEO in August. He was replaced by Tim Cook. Jobs died on October 5, 2011.
Jobs had four children: the aforementioned Lisa Brennan-Jobs, Reed Jobs, Erin Siena Jobs, and Eve Jobs. Lisa, his first-born, was the child of his high school girlfriend Chrisann Brennan; his other children were with his wife Laurene Powell, whom he married in 1991. Jobs publicly denied paternity of Lisa for years, even after the results of a court-ordered paternity test showed a 94.4 percent chance of the two sharing DNA; he responded by saying "28 percent of the male population of the United States could be the father." He had refused to support Lisa, who was born in 1978, until after the results of the test required him to pay child support starting in 1980. The two had an on-and-off relationship throughout Lisa's childhood and into her adulthood.
After a doctor's visit Jobs made in 2003 concerning kidney stones, he was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor. Against the recommendations of his doctors, who said he should get the tumor surgically removed as soon as possible, Jobs tried treating his cancer with a vegan diet and alternative medicine practices like acupuncture. He kept up such practices for nine months before agreeing to the surgery to remove the tumor.
The surgery put Jobs's cancer into remission for a couple of years until its return around January 2006, at which point it was a private matter that only Jobs, his wife, and a few other people knew about. Public rumors about Jobs's poor health started in August 2006 after his appearance at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference. He was described as appearing "gaunt." The rumors were acknowledged by Apple; a company spokesperson responded, "Steve's health is robust." The same rumors sprouted after the 2008 conference.
In January 2009, Jobs took a medical leave of absence. He had a liver transplant in April of that year and was back at work by June. He took another leave of absence in January 2011, and in August, he officially stepped down from his position as CEO. Jobs died at his home in Palo Alto on October 5, 2011. His official cause of death was listed as respiratory arrest, a complication from pancreatic cancer.
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