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Steven Paul “Steve” Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American computer entrepreneur and inventor. He was co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. Jobs also previously served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios; he became a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company in 2006, following the acquisition of Pixar by Disney. He was credited in Toy Story (1995) as an executive producer.
In the late 1970s, Jobs — along with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Mike Markkula and others — designed, developed, and marketed one of the first commercially successful lines of personal computers, the Apple II series. In the early 1980s, Jobs was among the first to see the commercial potential of Xerox PARC’s mouse-driven graphical user interface, which led to the creation of the Macintosh. After losing a power struggle with the board of directors in 1985, Jobs resigned from Apple and founded NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher-education and business markets. Apple’s subsequent 1996 buyout of NeXT brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded, and he served as its CEO from 1997 until August 2011.
In 1986, he acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd which was spun off as Pixar Animation Studios. He remained CEO and majority shareholder at 50.1 percent until its acquisition by The Walt Disney Company in 2006. Consequently Jobs became Disney’s largest individual shareholder at 7 percent and a member of Disney’s Board of Directors. On August 24, 2011, Jobs announced his resignation from his role as Apple’s CEO.
On October 5, 2011, Jobs died in California at age 56 of pancreatic cancer.Apple released a separate statement saying that Jobs had died. The statement read “We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today. Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”
Also on October 5, 2011, Apple’s corporate website greeted visitors with a simple page showing Jobs’s name and lifespan next to his greyscale portrait. Clicking on Jobs’s image led to an obituary that read “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.” An email address was also posted for the public to share their memories, condolences, and thoughts.
Jobs is survived by his wife, Laurene, to whom he was married for 20 years; their three children; and a fourth child, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, from a previous relationship.
Statements on Jobs’ death
Statements reacting to Jobs’ death were released by notable people including U.S. President Barack Obama, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and The Walt Disney Company’s Bob Iger. Wired collected reactions and posted them in tribute on their homepage.
Excerpts from President Barack Obama’s statement:
Steve was among the greatest of American innovators — brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it. By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.
Bill Gates released a statement saying:
I’m truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work. Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives. The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.
The Walt Disney Company’s CEO Bob Iger said in regards to Jobs:
Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted advisor. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives he changed, and the culture he defined. Steve was such an “original,” with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time.
American director Steven Spielberg said: “Steve Jobs was the greatest inventor since Thomas Edison. He put the world at our fingertips.” In a statement, George Lucas said “The magic of Steve was that while others simply accepted the status quo, he saw the true potential in everything he touched and never compromised on that vision.”
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said: “We’ve lost a unique tech pioneer and auteur who knew how to make amazingly great products. Steve fought a long battle against tough odds in a very brave way. He kept doing amazing things in the face of all that adversity. As someone who has had his own medical challenges, I couldn’t help but be encouraged by how he persevered.”
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said: “People sometimes have goals in life. Steve Jobs exceeded every goal he set himself.”
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has stated:
Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world.