Steve Jobs is a name that’s been heard again and again as of late – but who is he and why does he matter? A pioneer in the field of personal electronics, Jobs made his mark on the world with Apple, Pixar, and NeXT.
Join us as we explore this man’s life from childhood to death. We’ll show you what makes him such a relevant figure in today’s fast-paced tech world, including his successes (e.g., creating one of the most profitable companies in history) as well as his failures (e.g., ousting John Sculley).
About Steve Jobs
(1955-2011) was an American businessman, industrial designer, and inventor, one of the most important figures in the development of personal computing. He was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and part-owner of Apple Inc. from its introduction as a commercial entity in 1976 until his resignation in 1985 and has been phrased as one of the most innovative business leaders of all time.
Jobs co-founded Apple Computer with Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne, and Bill Wozniak in 1976 to sell the Apple I personal computer kit. The Apple II was released on April 18, 1977, the first commercially successful computer designed for use by individuals.
Life of Steve
Jobs was born in San Francisco, California, the only child of a Silicon Valley machinist named from Syria, who grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Homs, and an Armenian-American young mother. His biological parents married at age 60 and their first son died in infancy. Steve Jobs had a Syrian Arab Muslim father and an Armenian mother who gave him up for adoption.
Jobs birth parents married when they were young and Jobs’s mother had grown tired of being poor after they moved to San Francisco. She worked as a cashier while his dad worked as an apprentice mechanic. Jobs was eventually adopted by Paul Reinhold Jobs (1922–1993) & Clara Hagopian (1923–1986).
Steve Jobs had a love of electronics and hoped to work in Silicon Valley. He began attending Reed College in 1972, where he enjoyed classes on calligraphy but was less interested in coursework such as chemistry and calculus.
Jobs dropped out after six months because of poor grades.
He called his parents and told them he was dropping out of college because it “wasn’t working out”, but actually had no other way to earn money for tuition. As his father had done, Jobs then remained at the Reed campus dormitory until he worked things out with his dad. Jobs then transferred to De Anza College in Cupertino, California.
His personal life
By September 1975, Steve Jobs was dating Joanne Carole Schieble, the 16-year-old daughter of a wealthy widow. Later he revealed that he had impregnated her at age 20, without telling her family.
In April 1977 they had a son named Steve Job’s second child, Reed Daniel Jobs was born in 1978. He later learned from family friends that she had been having an affair with one of her married teachers, but she and Steve remained together until Schieble’s death in 2008 (a few days before her 60th birthday). Schieble and Jobs married on February 13, 1983.
Steve Jobs worked at a series of jobs over the next few years, including one at a video game company called Atari, but he became frustrated with the lack of advancement and left for PepsiCo. He returned to Apple in 1976 and met Wozniak at Atari who was working on his own computer project. Jobs proposed a partnership to produce a prototype computer for the growing home market.
Their contribution to the original Apple was largely that of marketing. The two sold the small number of finished computers from their parent’s garage in Los Altos Hills. Less than 3 months later, Apple Computer, Inc.
In the early 1970s, Steve Jobs and Wozniak (who had dropped out of college to work full-time on building computers) spent the few remaining dollars that Jobs had saved from his job and bought parts for a motherboard for $350. They created the first prototype inside Jobs’s garage in Los Altos Hills, California. A year later they sold their garage shop to purchase a former TV repair shop in Cupertino, which became Apple’s headquarters.
In 1974, Wozniak quit Apple because he felt that Sanders and Holtzmann were exploiting them and could have taken 25 cents out of every dollar they made.
Steve Jobs and Wozniak, now joined by other Apple employees, designed their first four computers, the Apple I through Apple III.
In 1977 the first mass-produced Apple computer, the Apple II, was released and soon earned more than $1 million in sales. Even though it was an immediate success, there were only 50 orders for this machine. The initial team behind the machine had only a few people and money was tight for a long time. Eventually, Jobs lured Mike Markkula to invest in this new venture by getting him interested in a spreadsheet that he had developed.
In 1985, Apple acquired NeXT for $429 million and Jobs became the company’s CEO. He also named himself as to its largest shareholder, with about 3.7 million shares.
At this stage, Steve Jobs had a remarkable degree of control at Apple Computer Inc., including the direct appointment of employees, the design and commercialization of new products and services, and complete management control over several top business units.
Jobs released Applesoft in 1983 to compete against IBM’s PC DOS. For a time he employed his high school girlfriend Lisa Markkula on the Apple payroll to help develop new software technologies.
Pixar and Disney
Around this time, Steve Jobs hired Marc Reinhold, who had worked for Walt Disney for two years. He hired the writer and animator John Lasseter who was an accomplished cartoonist at Hollywood’s most famous studios. Jobs bought the animation studio Pixar in 1986 in exchange for 7,200 shares of Apple stock worth $10 million at the time.
The acquisition of Pixar raised questions about Apple Computer Inc.’s original business plan and ultimately led to Jobs’s resignation as CEO in 1985. He resigned from the company due to disagreements with its board of directors over business strategy. In a letter to Apple staff, he said that he wanted “to make a dramatic impact on society.
Return to Apple (1997–2011)
Steve Jobs resigned his position at Apple in 1985. He was soon approached by Steve Wozniak, the former Apple engineer who had created the Apple I computer, to head a new company building computers. Together they recruited some other ex-Apple employees, including Jon Rubinstein and Laurene Powell Jobs. And set up shop in Jobs’s former house in Palo Alto.
Jobs became a Disney animation director along with Ralph Guggenheim as Co-Chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering. And John Lasseter as Vice President of Creative Development.
In 1986 Pixar released its first movie, The Rescuers Down Under. And won an Oscar for the best animated short film. The movie also marked the beginning of Pixar’s partnership with Disney.
Innovations and designs
In the late 1990s, Jobs designed the first all-in-one iPod. Apple began offering browser software for Mac OS X in 1998 and later shipped Safari in 2001.
In 2000, Jobs bought NeXT for $429 million. Jobs re-joined Apple Inc. as its interim CEO on June 11 and served until August 24, 2001. When he became CEO of Apple Inc. After Steve Jobs resigned from his position as interim CEO of both NeXT Software Inc. and Pixar Animation Studios on the same day.
Awards and honor
In 1985, Steve Jobs received the National Medal of Technology from President Ronald Reagan. In 2000, Jobs was awarded the Kyoto Prize for lifetime achievement from UNESCO in recognition of “his pioneering vision and creativity in the field of personal computing and in recognizing the limitless future it makes possible”. He was also Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2005.
Jobs received an honorary doctorate from Stanford University in 2006. On February 28, 2007, President George Bush awarded Jobs with The Presidential Medal of Freedom. For his “unique and lasting contributions to American innovation and enterprise.”