Steve Jobs's Biography

Steve Jobs Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

About

  • Born
    24 February 1955
  • Died
    05 October 2011
  • Sex
    Male
  • Nationality
    American
  • Citizen
    United States

 

Steve Jobs was an American businessman and inventor who played a key role in the success of Apple computers and the development of revolutionary new technology such as the iPod, iPad and MacBook.

Childhood & Early Life

Steve Jobs was born February 24, 1955, in San Francisco, California.

Joanne Schieble (later Joanne Simpson) and Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, two University of Wisconsin graduate students, gave up their unnamed son, Steve Jobs, for adoption. Jobs’ father, Jandali, was a Syrian political science professor, and his mother, Schieble, worked as a speech therapist. Shortly after Steve was placed for adoption, his biological parents married and had another child, Mona Simpson. It was not until Jobs was 27 that he was able to uncover information on his biological parents.

As an infant, Jobs was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs. He grew up with one sister, Patty. Clara worked as an accountant and Paul was a Coast Guard veteran and machinist that  fixed cars as a hobby. Jobs remembers his father as being very skilled at working with his hands. As a boy, Jobs and his father worked on electronics in the family garage. Paul showed his son how to take apart and reconstruct electronics, a hobby that instilled confidence, tenacity and mechanical prowess in young Jobs.

In 1961 the family moved to Mountain View, California. This area, just south of Palo Alto, California, was becoming a center for electronics. Electronics form the basic elements of devices such as radios, televisions, stereos, and computers. At that time people started to refer to the area as "Silicon Valley." This is because a substance called silicon is used in the manufacturing of electronic parts.

As a child, Jobs preferred doing things by himself. He swam competitively, but was not interested in team sports or other group activities. He showed an early interest in electronics and gadgetry. He spent a lot of time working in the garage workshop of a neighbor who worked at Hewlett-Packard, an electronics manufacturer.

Jobs also enrolled in the Hewlett-Packard Explorer Club. There he saw engineers demonstrate new products, and he saw his first computer at the age of twelve. He was very impressed, and knew right away that he wanted to work with computers.

While in high school Jobs attended lectures at the Hewlett-Packard plant. On one occasion he boldly asked William Hewlett (1931–2001), the president, for some parts he needed to complete a class project. Hewlett was so impressed he gave Jobs the parts, and offered him a summer internship at Hewlett-Packard.

Education and spiritual enlightenment

After graduating from high school in 1972, Jobs attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, for two years. He dropped out after one semester and in 1974, Jobs travelled with Daniel Kottke to India in search of spiritual enlightenment. They travelled to the Ashram of Neem Karoli Baba in Kainchi. During his several months in India, he became aware of Buddhist and Eastern spiritual philosophy. At this time, he also experimented with psychedelic drugs; he later commented that these counter-culture experiences were instrumental in giving him a wider perspective on life and business.

In 1975 Jobs joined a group known as the Homebrew Computer Club. One member, a technical whiz named Steve Wozniak (1950–), was trying to build a small computer. Jobs became fascinated with the marketing potential of such a computer. In 1976 he and Wozniak formed their own company. They called it Apple Computer Company, in memory of a happy summer Jobs had spent picking apples. They raised $1,300 in startup money by selling Jobs's microbus and Wozniak's calculator. At first they sold circuit boards (the boards that hold the internal components of a computer) while they worked on the computer prototype.

Apple and The Boom in personal computers

Jobs had realized there was a huge gap in the computer market. At that time almost all computers were mainframes. They were so large that one could fill a room, and so costly that individuals could not afford to buy them. Advances in electronics, however, meant that computer components were getting smaller and the power of the computer was increasing.

With Jobs’s encouragement, Wozniak designed an improved model, the Apple II, complete with a keyboard, with the idea of selling it to individual users and they arranged to have a sleek, molded plastic case manufactured to enclose the unit.

The Apple II went to market in 1977, making an immediate success and becoming synonymous with the boom in personal computers with impressive first year sales of $2.7 million. The company's sales grew to $200 million within three years. This was one of the most phenomenal cases of corporate growth in U.S. history. Jobs and Wozniak had opened an entirely new market—personal computers. Personal computers began an entirely new way of processing information.

By 1980 the personal computer era was well underway. Apple was continually forced to improve its products to remain ahead, as more competitors entered the marketplace. Apple introduced the Apple III, but the new model suffered technical and marketing problems. It was withdrawn from the market, and was later reworked and reintroduced.

Jobs continued to be the marketing force behind Apple. In 1983 the company recruited PepsiCo, Inc., president John Sculley to be its chief executive officer (CEO) and, implicitly, Jobs’s mentor in the fine points of running a large corporation. Jobs had convinced Sculley to accept the position by challenging him: “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life?” The line was shrewdly effective, but it also revealed Jobs’s own near-messianic belief in the computer revolution.

About Macintosh

During that same period, Jobs was heading the most important project in the company’s history. In 1979 he led a small group of Apple engineers to a technology demonstration at the Xerox Corporation’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) to see how the graphical user interface could make computers easier to use and more efficient. The team was designing Lisa, a business computer, that did not sell well, however, because it was more expensive than personal computers sold by competitors. Apple's biggest competitor was International Business Machines(IBM). By 1983 it was estimated that Apple had lost half of its market share (part of an industry's sales that a specific company has) to IBM.

Soon afterward, Jobs left the engineering team that was designing Lisa to head a smaller group building a lower-cost computer. Both computers were redesigned to exploit and refine the PARC ideas, but Jobs was explicit in favouring the Macintosh, or Mac, as the new computer became known. Jobs coddled his engineers and referred to them as artists, but his style was uncompromising; at one point he demanded a redesign of an internal circuit board simply because he considered it unattractive. He would later be renowned for his insistence that the Macintosh be not merely great but “insanely great.” In January 1984 Jobs himself introduced the Macintosh in a brilliantly choreographed demonstration that was the centrepiece of an extraordinary publicity campaign. It would later be pointed to as the archetype of “event marketing.”

However, the first Macs were underpowered and expensive, and they had few software applications—all of which resulted in disappointing sales. Apple steadily improved the machine, so that it eventually became the company’s lifeblood as well as the model for all subsequent computer interfaces. But Jobs’s apparent failure to correct the problem quickly led to tensions in the company, and in 1985 Sculley convinced Apple’s board of directors to remove the company’s famous cofounder.

Life after Apple, NeXT and Pixar

On leaving Apple, Jobs founded NeXT computers. This was never particularly successful, failing to gain mass sales. However, in the 1990s, NeXT software was used as a framework in WebObjects used in Apple Store and iTunes store. Much more successful was Job’s foray into Pixar – a computer graphic film production company. Disney contracted Pixar to create films such as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Finding Nemo. These animation movies were highly successful and profitable – giving Jobs respect and success. In December of 1996 Apple purchased NeXT Software for over $400 million.

Back to Apple

In 1996, the purchase of NeXT brought Jobs back to Apple as a part-time consultant to the chief executive officer (CEO). At the time, Apple had fallen way behind rivals such as Microsoft, and Apple was struggling to even make a profit. The following year, in a surprising event, Apple entered into a partnership with its competitor Microsoft. The two companies, according to the New York Times, "agreed to cooperate on several sales and technology fronts." Over the next six years Apple introduced several new products and marketing strategies. In November 1997 Jobs announced Apple would sell computers directly to users over the Internet and by telephone. The Apple Store became a runaway success. Within a week it was the third-largest e-commerce site on the Internet. In September of 1997 Jobs was named interim CEO of Apple.

In 1998 Jobs announced the release of the iMac, which featured powerful computing at an affordable price. The iBook was unveiled in July 1999. This is a clam-shaped laptop that is available in bright colors. It includes Apple's AirPort, a computer version of the cordless phone that would allow the user to surf the Internet wirelessly. In January 2000 Jobs unveiled Apple's new Internet strategy. It included a group of Macintosh-only Internet-based applications. Jobs also announced that he was becoming the permanent CEO of Apple.

In a February 1996 Time magazine article, Jobs said, "The thing that drives me and my colleagues … is that you see something very compelling to you, and you don't quite know how to get it, but you know, sometimes intuitively, it's within your grasp. And it's worth putting in years of your life to make it come into existence." Jobs has worked hard to translate his ideas into exciting and innovative products for businesses and consumers. He was instrumental in launching the age of the personal computer. Steve Jobs is truly a computer industry visionary.

Reinventing Apple

In 2001 Jobs started reinventing Apple for the 21st century. That was the year that Apple introduced iTunes, a computer program for playing music and for converting music to the compact MP3 digital format commonly used in computers and other digital devices. Later the same year, Apple began selling the iPod, a portable MP3 player, which quickly became the market leader. In 2003 Apple began selling downloadable copies of major record company songs in MP3 format over the Internet. By 2006 more than one billion songs and videos had been sold through Apple’s online iTunes Store. In recognition of the growing shift in the company’s business, Jobs officially changed the name of the company to Apple Inc. on January 9, 2007.

In 2007 Jobs took the company into the telecommunications business with the introduction of the touch-screen iPhone, a mobile telephone with capabilities for playing MP3s and videos and for accessing the Internet. Later that year, Apple introduced the iPod Touch, a portable MP3 and gaming device that included built-in Wi-Fi and an iPhone-like touch screen. Bolstered by the use of the iTunes Store to sell Apple and third-party software, the iPhone and iPod Touch soon boasted more games than any other portable gaming system. Jobs announced in 2008 that future releases of the iPhone and iPod Touch would offer improved game functionality. In an ironic development, Apple, which had not supported game developers in its early years out of fear of its computers not being taken seriously as business machines, was now staking a claim to a greater role in the gaming business to go along with its move into telecommunications.

Personal life

In 1991, he married Laurene Powell. The pair met in the early 1990s at Stanford business school, where Powell was an MBA student. Together they had three children and lived in Palo Alto, California.

Although he remained a private man who rarely disclosed information about his family, it is known that Jobs fathered a daughter, Lisa, with girlfriend Chrisann Brennan when he was 23. He denied paternity of his daughter in court documents, claiming he was sterile. Chrisann struggled financially for much of her life, and Jobs did not initiate a relationship with his daughter until she was seven years old. When she was a teenager, Lisa came to live with her father.

Health Issues and Death

In 2003 Jobs was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer. He put off surgery for about nine months while he tried alternative medicine approaches. In 2004 he underwent a major reconstructive surgery known as the Whipple operation. During the procedure, part of the pancreas, a portion of the bile duct, the gallbladder, and the duodenum were removed, after which what was left of the pancreas, the bile duct, and the intestine were reconnected to direct the gastrointestinal secretions back into the stomach. Following a short recovery, Jobs returned to running Apple.

Throughout 2008 Jobs lost significant weight, which produced considerable speculation that his cancer was back. (The average survival rate for patients who underwent Whipple operations was only 20 percent at five years.) Perhaps more than those of any other large corporation, Apple’s stock market shares were tied to the health of its CEO, which led to demands by investors for full disclosure of his health—especially as the first reasons given for his weight loss seemed insufficient to explain his sickly appearance. On January 9, 2009, Jobs released a statement that he was suffering from a hormonal imbalance for which he was being treated and that he would continue his corporate duties. Less than a week later, however, he announced that he was taking an immediate leave of absence through the end of June in order to recover his health. Having removed himself, at least temporarily, from the corporate structure, Jobs resumed his previous stance that his health was a private matter and refused to disclose any more details. In June 2009 the Wall Street Journal reported that Jobs had received a liver transplant the previous April. Not disclosed was whether the pancreatic cancer he had been treated for previously had spread to his liver. The operation was performed in Tennessee, where the average waiting period for a liver transplant was 48 days, as opposed to the national average of 306 days. Jobs came back to work on June 29, 2009, fulfilling his pledge to return before the end of June. In January 2011, however, Jobs took another medical leave of absence. In August he resigned as CEO but became chairman. He died as a result of complications from his pancreatic cancer, suffering cardiac arrest on 5 October 2011 in Palo Alto, California. A funeral was held two days later. He was buried in an unmarked grave at Alta Mesa Memorial Park, the only non-denominational cemetery in Palo Alto.

California Governor, Jerry Brown declared October 16 as ‘Steve Jobs Day’. A bronze statue of him was unveiled at the Graphisoft Company in Budapest in December 2011.

Posthumously, he was awarded with Grammy Trustee Award and inducted as a Disney legend. He was even named as ‘greatest entrepreneur of our time’ by Fortune magazine.

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