Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rest in peace, Mr. Jobs

Strange coincidences.  The day after the unveiling of the product he pioneered, Steve Jobs has been declared dead at age 56.  Remarkable that a man so young had such a profound influence in his own industry and through society in general.  His legacy is great, his impact on home computing and later on personal devices is undeniable, and his relentless pursuit of his singular vision once cost him his job at Apple, only to return triumphant and make his company the largest company in capitalization value.

One of the original "pirates of Silicon Valley," Jobs will be remembered as the creator of the Apple computer, along with Steve Wozniak and others.  The prototypes, originally built in his garage, went on to become a huge hit with consumers, because of affordability and versatility.  The Apple II computer was the original home of PC gaming.  Years later, during the 80s, Jobs introduced the Macintosh computer, or Mac, as it became known, an all-in-one computer that featured an integrated display and floppy drive.  Eventually, he was ousted from the company and went on to found NeXT computers, which used a modified version of Linux to run powerful desktop computers.

When he was called back to head Apple in the late 90s, with Apple's purchase of NeXT, Jobs was the force behind one of the most remarkable turn around stories in Wall Street history.  In quick succession he introduced the iMac line of computers which spawned a plethora of look alike candy colored computers, the iPod line of MP3 players that dominated the nascent digital music player industry, the iPhone, which became the dominant force and vision of the smartphone era, and finally the iPad, which was the first commercially successful tablet computing device.

True, he had stumbles along the way, even at the reinvigorated Apple Computers, but his vision, pursued with laser-like focus, turned Apple into a household word, iPod became the equivalent of MP3 player, and iPad the same for tablets.  His keynote speeches at various Apple and computing events became renowned: he was a brilliant public speaker, a masterful presence on the stage who would entrance his audience.  Such was his charisma, that he was jokingly reputed to have a "reality distortion field" around his person when he spoke that made his audience totally  susceptible to his rhetoric.

He passed away today, October 5th, of complications from pancreatic cancer.  He had only resigned from the company he founded a month or so ago.  Rest in peace.

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