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The fruits of Steve Jobs' tireless quest for perfection

10 October 2011 09:41 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


With the passing of Steve Jobs, the tech world loses a visionary whose ideas, execution and salesmanship transformed multiple industries. His work has left its mark on nearly every personal computer sold today -- even if it's not made by Apple. Meanwhile, the rift between Oracle and grows, potential buyers eye Yahoo and Apple lets fly with the iPhone 4S.

Steve Jobs' long battle with cancer came to a sad end last Wednesday. The Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) cofounder, chairman and former CEO started his company from a garage, revolutionised the technology industry many times over, got fired from his own business, then came back years later to turn it into the most valuable publicly traded company in the world, all in just over a quarter of a century.

Nearly every personal computer sold today -- even if it's not made by Apple -- has been influenced on some level by what Jobs accomplished. The businesses he started made the computer less icky and repulsive, more interesting and fun. They looked at complex machines that were built to crunch numbers all day and asked, what are some of the other things people might want to use this for? What can be done to make it easier to use? And who says it has to be so incredibly bland and ugly?

In the mid-'80s, Jobs' vision for the original Mac computer and its user interface gave the industry one of the biggest shakes it had ever had. But personality clashes and power struggles within Apple led to Jobs' ouster just a year later.

So for his second act, Jobs took on the movie industry, presiding over Pixar (Nasdaq: PIXR), a company that's made some of the most consistently acclaimed animated movies of all time.

He also started another computer company -- NeXT. You don't hear much about NeXT anymore, but that's because it was bought by Apple, and some of its technologies became the basis of OS X, Apple's current line of operating systems. At the time, Apple had been beaten down to a shadow of its former self, and the purchase of NeXT opened the door for one of the most successful comebacks the business world's ever seen -- both for Jobs personally and for Apple as a company.

Jobs was given the chance to return in 1997, and as CEO he made drastic changes that steadily revived the company and put it in a position to practically dictate the direction of entire industries. There were missteps along the way, but they're heavily outnumbered by the hit products Jobs' company launched in the last decade and a half of his life: iMac, OS X, iPod, iTunes, MacBook, iPhone, iPad. Their reach extended way beyond just computers -- the music industry, TV, movies, books, and the way people communicate.

Those products weren't necessarily the first of their kind, but they did what they did in a way that told people, "It's easy, it's safe, it works." Not everyone fell in love with Apple products, but the concepts they embodied were powerful enough that when Apple came out and said "this is the way we're going," the rest of the industry would often follow along.

Unfortunately, just as Jobs' company was beginning the upswing that's still carrying on today, his own health began its decline. The kind of cancer that afflicted Jobs normally kills very quickly, but advanced medical treatments allowed him to keep running Apple for years. It was only in August that he officially stepped down as CEO, leaving the position to Tim Cook, his long-time second-in-command.

When word of his death was made public, many people learned about it through a device Jobs had played some role in creating. Words of condolence rolled in from Apple fans all over the world, not to mention industry leaders, personal friends, and even some of his biggest rivals. Jobs packed a tremendous life into his 56 years, and it seems he definitely managed to put a ding in our corner of the universe. (Source: Tech News World)

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