Steven Paul "Steve" Jobs
(born February 24, 1955) is an
American businessman, and the co-founder and chief executive
officer of Apple Inc. Jobs previously served as CEO of Pixar
Animation Studios and is now a member of the Walt Disney
Company's Board of Directors.
In the late 1970s, Jobs, with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak,
and others, designed, developed, and marketed some of the first
commercially successful lines of personal computers, the Apple
II series and later, the Macintosh. In the early 1980s, Jobs was
among the first to see the commercial potential of the
mouse-driven graphical user interface.
After losing a power struggle with the board of directors in
Jobs resigned from Apple and founded NeXT, a computer platform
development company specializing in the higher education and
business markets. NeXT's subsequent 1997 buyout by Apple
Computer Inc. brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded,
and he has served as its CEO since then.
presenting an Apple innovation
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 until its acquisition
by the Walt Disney Company in 2006.
Jobs is currently a member of Walt Disney Company's Board of
Jobs' history in business has contributed much to the
symbolic image of the idiosyncratic, individualistic Silicon
Valley entrepreneur, emphasizing the importance of design and
understanding the crucial role aesthetics play in public appeal.
His work driving forward the development of products that are
both functional and elegant has earned him a devoted following.
In mid-January 2009, Jobs took a five-month leave of absence
from Apple to undergo a liver transplant.
Jobs was born in San Francisco
and was adopted by Paul and Clara (née Hagopian) Jobs of
Mountain View, Santa Clara County, California who named him
Steven Paul. Paul and Clara later adopted a daughter, who they
named Patty. Jobs' biological parents, Joanne Carole Schieble
and Abdulfattah Jandali—a graduate student from Syria who became
a political science professor—later married and gave birth to
Job's sister, the novelist Mona Simpson.
Jobs attended Cupertino Junior High School and Homestead High
School in Cupertino, California,
and frequented after-school lectures at the Hewlett-Packard
Company in Palo Alto, California. He was soon hired there and
worked with Steve Wozniak as a summer employee.
In 1972, Jobs graduated from high school and enrolled in Reed
College in Portland, Oregon. Although he dropped out after only
he continued auditing classes at Reed, such as one in
calligraphy. Jobs later stated, "If I had never dropped in on
that single course in college, the Mac would have never had
multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts", he said.
In the autumn of 1974, Jobs returned to California and began
attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club with Steve
Wozniak. He took a job as a technician at Atari, a manufacturer
of popular video games, with the primary intent of saving money
for a spiritual retreat to India.
Jobs then travelled to India with a Reed College friend (and,
later, the first Apple employee), Daniel Kottke, in search of
spiritual enlightenment. He came back a Buddhist with his head
shaved and wearing traditional Indian clothing.
During this time, Jobs experimented with psychedelics, calling
his LSD experiences "one of the two or three most important
things [he had] done in [his] life."
He has stated that people around him who did not share his
countercultural roots could not fully relate to his thinking.
He returned to his previous job at Atari and was given the
task of creating a circuit board for the game Breakout.
According to Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, Atari had offered
US$100 for each chip that was reduced in the machine. Jobs had
little interest or knowledge in circuit board design and made a
deal with Wozniak to split the bonus evenly between them if
Wozniak could minimize the number of chips. Much to the
amazement of Atari, Wozniak reduced the number of chips by 50, a
design so tight that it was impossible to reproduce on an
assembly line. At the time, Jobs told Wozniak that Atari had
only given them $600 (instead of the actual $5000) and that
Wozniak's share was thus $300.
Beginnings of Apple Computer
In 1976, Steve Jobs, Stephen Wozniak, Ronald Wayne
, and later with funding from then a semi-retired Intel
product-marketing manager and engineer A.C. "Mike" Markkula Jr.,
founded Apple. Prior to co-founding Apple, Wozniak was an
electronics hacker. Jobs and Wozniak had been friends for
several years, having met in 1971, when their mutual friend,
Bill Fernandez, introduced 21-year-old Wozniak to 16-year-old
Jobs. Steve Jobs managed to interest Wozniak in assembling a
computer and selling it. As Apple continued to expand, the
company began looking for an experienced executive to help
manage its expansion. In 1983, Steve Jobs lured John Sculley
away from Pepsi-Cola to serve as Apple's CEO, asking, "Do you
want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water to
children, or do you want a chance to change the world?"
The following year, Apple set out to do just that, starting with
a Super Bowl television commercial titled, "1984." At Apple's
annual shareholders meeting on January 24, 1984, an emotional
Jobs introduced the Macintosh to a wildly enthusiastic audience;
Andy Hertzfeld described the scene as "pandemonium."
The Macintosh became the first commercially successful small
computer with a graphical user interface. The development of the
Mac was started by Jef Raskin, and eventually taken over by
While Jobs was a persuasive and charismatic director for
Apple, some of his employees from that time had described him as
an erratic and temperamental manager. An industry-wide sales
slump towards the end of 1984 caused a deterioration in Jobs's
working relationship with Sculley, and at the end of May 1985 –
following an internal power struggle and an announcement of
significant layoffs – Sculley relieved Jobs of his duties as
head of the Macintosh division.
Around the same time, Jobs founded another computer company,
NeXT Computer. Like the Apple Lisa, the NeXT workstation was
technologically advanced; however, it was largely dismissed by
industry as cost-prohibitive. Among those who could afford it,
however, the NeXT workstation garnered a strong following
because of its technical strengths, chief among them its
object-oriented software development system. Jobs marketed NeXT
products to the scientific and academic fields because of the
innovative, experimental new technologies it incorporated (such
as the Mach kernel, the digital signal processor chip, and the
built-in Ethernet port).
The NeXTcube was described by Jobs as an "interpersonal"
computer, which he believed was the next step after "personal"
computing. That is, if computers could allow people to
communicate and collaborate together in an easy way, it would
solve a lot of the problems that "personal" computing had come
up against. During a time when e-mail for most people was plain
text, Jobs loved to demo the NeXT's e-mail system, NeXTMail, as
an example of his "interpersonal" philosophy. NeXTMail was one
of the first to support universally visible, clickable embedded
graphics and audio within e-mail.
Jobs ran NeXT with an obsession for aesthetic perfection, as
evidenced by such things as the NeXTcube's magnesium case. This
put considerable strain on NeXT's hardware division, and in
1993, after having sold only 50,000 machines, NeXT transitioned
fully to software development with the release of NeXTSTEP/Intel.
In 1986, Jobs bought The Graphics Group (later renamed Pixar)
from Lucasfilm's computer graphics division for the price of $10
million, $5 million of which was given to the company as
The new company, which was originally based in San Rafael,
California, but has since relocated to Emeryville, California,
was initially intended to be a high-end graphics hardware
developer. After years of unprofitability selling the Pixar
Image Computer, it contracted with Disney to produce a number of
computer-animated feature films, which Disney would co-finance
The first film produced by the partnership, Toy Story,
brought fame and critical acclaim to the studio when it was
released in 1995. Over the next ten plus years, under Pixar's
creative chief John Lasseter, the company would produce the
box-office hits A Bug's Life (1998), Toy Story 2
(1999), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo
(2003), The Incredibles (2004), Cars (2006),
Ratatouille (2007), WALL-E (2008) and Up
(2009). Finding Nemo, The Incredibles,
Ratatouille, and WALL-E each received the Academy
Award for Best Animated Feature, an award introduced in 2001.
In the years 2003 and 2004, as Pixar's contract with Disney
was running out, Jobs and Disney chief executive Michael Eisner
tried but failed to negotiate a new partnership, and in early
2004 Jobs announced that Pixar would seek a new partner to
distribute its films once its contract with Disney expired.
In October 2005, Bob Iger replaced Eisner at Disney, and Iger
quickly worked to patch up relations with Jobs and Pixar. On
January 24, 2006, Jobs and Iger announced that Disney had agreed
to purchase Pixar in an all-stock transaction worth $7.4
billion. Once the deal closed, Jobs became The Walt Disney
Company's largest single shareholder with approximately 7% of
the company's stock.
Jobs's holdings in Disney far exceed those of Eisner, who holds
1.7%, and Disney family member Roy E. Disney, who held about 1%
of the company's stock and whose criticisms of Eisner included
the soured Pixar relationship and accelerated his ousting. Jobs
joined the company's board of directors upon completion of the
Jobs also helps oversee Disney and Pixar's combined animation
businesses with a seat on a special six-man steering committee.
In 1996, Apple announced that it would buy NeXT for $429
million. The deal was finalized in late 1996,
bringing Jobs back to the company he co-founded. He soon became
Apple's interim CEO after the directors lost confidence in and
ousted then-CEO Gil Amelio in a boardroom coup. In March 1998,
in order to concentrate Apple's efforts on returning to
profitability, Jobs immediately terminated a number of projects
such as Newton, Cyberdog, and OpenDoc. In the coming months,
many employees developed a fear of encountering Jobs while
riding in the elevator, "afraid that they might not have a job
when the doors opened. The reality was that Jobs' summary
executions were rare, but a handful of victims was enough to
terrorize a whole company."
With the purchase of NeXT, much of the company's technology
found its way into Apple products, most notably NeXTSTEP, which
evolved into Mac OS X. Under Jobs's guidance the company
increased sales significantly with the introduction of the iMac
and other new products; since then, appealing designs and
powerful branding have worked well for Apple. At the 2000
Macworld Expo, Jobs officially dropped the "interim" modifier
from his title at Apple and became permanent CEO. Jobs quipped
at the time that he would be using the title 'iCEO.'
In recent years, the company has branched out, introducing
and improving upon other digital appliances. With the
introduction of the iPod portable music player, iTunes digital
music software, and the iTunes Store, the company made forays
into consumer electronics and music distribution. In 2007, Apple
entered the cellular phone business with the introduction of the
iPhone, a multi-touch display cell phone, iPod, and internet
device. While stimulating innovation, Jobs also reminds his
employees that "real artists ship,"
by which he means that delivering working products on time is as
important as innovation and attractive design.
Jobs is both admired and criticized for his consummate skill
at persuasion and salesmanship, which has been dubbed the
"reality distortion field" and is particularly evident during
his keynote speeches (colloquially known as "Stevenotes") at
Macworld Expos and at Apple's own World Wide Developers
In 2005, Jobs responded to criticism of Apple's poor
recycling programs for e-waste in the U.S. by lashing out at
environmental and other advocates at Apple's Annual Meeting in
Cupertino in April. However, a few weeks later, Apple announced
it would take back iPods for free at its retail stores. The
Computer TakeBack Campaign responded by flying a banner from a
plane over the Stanford University graduation at which Jobs was
the commencement speaker.
The banner read "Steve — Don't be a mini-player recycle all
e-waste". In 2006, he further expanded Apple's recycling
programs to any U.S. customer who buys a new Mac. This program
includes shipping and "environmentally friendly disposal" of
their old systems.
Stock options backdating issue
In 2001, Steve Jobs was granted stock options in the amount
of 7.5 million shares of Apple with an exercise price of $18.30,
which allegedly should have been $21.10, thereby incurring
taxable income of $20,000,000 that he did not report as income.
This indicated backdating. Apple overstated its earnings by that
same amount. If found liable, Jobs might have faced a number of
criminal charges and civil penalties. Apple claimed that the
options were originally granted at a special board meeting that
may never have taken place. Furthermore, the investigation is
focusing on false dating of the options resulting in a
retroactive $20 million increase in the exercise price. The case
is the subject of active criminal and civil government
though an independent internal Apple investigation completed on
December 29, 2006 found that Jobs was unaware of these issues
and that the options granted to him were returned without being
exercised in 2003.
On July 1, 2008 a $7 billion class action suit was filed against
several members of the Apple Board of Directors for revenue lost
due to the alleged securities fraud.
Much has been made of Jobs' aggressive and demanding
personality. Fortune wrote that he "is considered one of
Silicon Valley's leading egomaniacs."
Commentaries on his temperamental style can be found in Mike
Moritz's The Little Kingdom, one of the few authorized
biographies of Jobs; Jeffrey S. Young's unauthorized Steve
Jobs: The Journey Is the Reward; The Second Coming of
Steve Jobs, by Alan Deutschman; and iCon: Steve Jobs,
by Jeffrey S. Young & William L. Simon.
Jef Raskin, a former colleague, once said that Jobs "would
have made an excellent king of France," alluding to Jobs'
compelling and larger-than-life persona.
Jobs has always aspired to position Apple and its products at
the forefront of the information technology industry by
foreseeing and setting trends, at least in terms of innovation
and style. He summed up that self-concept at the end of his
keynote speech at the Macworld Conference and Expo in January
2007 by quoting ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky:
“There's an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. 'I skate to
where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.' And we've
always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very very beginning.
And we always will."
Floyd Norman said that at Pixar, Jobs was a
"mature, mellow individual" and never interfered with the
creative process of the filmmakers.
Jobs married Laurene Powell, on March 18, 1991. Presiding
over the wedding was the Zen Buddhist monk Kobun Chino Otogowa.
The couple have a son, Reed Paul Jobs
and two other children. Jobs also has a daughter, Lisa
Brennan-Jobs (born 1978), from his relationship with Bay Area
painter Chrisann Brennan.
She briefly raised their daughter on welfare when Jobs denied
paternity, claiming that he was sterile; he later acknowledged
In the unauthorized biography The Second Coming of Steve
Jobs, author Alan Deutschman reports that Jobs once dated
Joan Baez. Deutschman quotes Elizabeth Holmes, a friend of Jobs
from his time at Reed College, as saying she "believed that
Steve became the lover of Joan Baez in large measure because
Baez had been the lover of Bob Dylan." In another unauthorized
biography, iCon: Steve Jobs by Jeffrey S. Young & William
L. Simon, the authors suggest that Jobs might have married Baez,
but her age at the time (41) meant it was unlikely the couple
could have children. Baez included a mention of Jobs in the
acknowledgments of her 1987 memoir And A Voice To Sing With.
Steve Jobs is also a devoted Beatles fan. He has
referenced them on more than one occasion at Keynotes and also
was interviewed on a showing of a Paul McCartney concert. When
asked about his business model on 60 Minutes, he replied:
“My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that
kept each other's negative tendencies in check; they balanced
each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts.
Great things in business are not done by one person, they are
done by a team of people.”
In 1982, Jobs bought an apartment
in The San Remo, an apartment building in New York City with a
politically progressive reputation, where Demi Moore, Steven
Spielberg, Steve Martin, and Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, daughter
of Rita Hayworth, also had apartments. With the help of I.M.
Pei, Jobs spent years renovating his apartment in the top two
floors of the building's north tower, only to sell it almost two
decades later to U2 frontman Bono. Jobs had never moved in.
In 1984, Jobs purchased a 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2),
14 bedroom Spanish Colonial mansion, designed by George
Washington Smith in Woodside, California, also known as Jackling
House. Although it reportedly remained in an almost unfurnished
state, Jobs lived in the mansion for ten years. According to
reports, he kept an old BMW motorcycle in the living room, and
let Bill Clinton use it in 1998. He allowed the mansion to fall
into a state of disrepair, planning to demolish the house and
build a smaller home on the property; but he met with complaints
from local preservationists over his plans. In June 2004, the
Woodside Town Council gave Jobs approval to demolish the
mansion, on the condition that he advertise the property for a
year to see if someone would move it to another location and
restore it. A number of people expressed interest, including
several with experience in restoring old property, but no
agreements to that effect were reached. Later that same year, a
local preservationist group began seeking legal action to
prevent demolition. In January 2007 Jobs was denied the right to
demolish the property, by a court decision.
He usually wears a black long-sleeved mock turtleneck made by
St. Croix, Levi's 501 blue jeans, and New Balance 991 sneakers.
He is a vegetarian.
Jobs had a public war of words with Dell Computer CEO Michael
Dell, starting when Jobs first criticized Dell for making
"un-innovative beige boxes."
On October 6, 1997, in a Gartner Symposium, when Michael Dell
was asked what he would do if he owned then-troubled Apple
Computer, he said "I'd shut it down and give the money back to
In 2006, Steve Jobs sent an email to all employees when Apple's
market capitalization rose above Dell's. The email read:
"Team, it turned out that Michael Dell wasn't perfect at
predicting the future. Based on today's stock market close,
Apple is worth more than Dell. Stocks go up and down, and things
may be different tomorrow, but I thought it was worth a moment
of reflection today. Steve."
In 2005, Steve Jobs banned all
books published by John Wiley & Sons from Apple Stores in
response to their publishing an unauthorized biography, iCon:
In mid-2004, Jobs announced to his employees that he had been
diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his pancreas.
The prognosis for pancreatic cancer is usually very grim; Jobs,
however, stated that he had a rare, far less aggressive type
known as islet cell neuroendocrine tumor.
After initially resisting the idea of conventional medical
intervention and embarking on a special diet to thwart the
disease, Jobs underwent a pancreaticoduodenectomy (or "Whipple
procedure") in July 2004 that appeared to successfully remove
Jobs apparently did not require nor receive chemotherapy or
During Jobs' absence, Timothy D. Cook, head of worldwide sales
and operations at Apple, ran the company.
In early August 2006, Jobs delivered the keynote for Apple's
annual Worldwide Developers Conference. His "thin, almost gaunt"
appearance and unusually "listless" delivery,
together with his choice to delegate significant portions of his
keynote to other presenters, inspired a flurry of media and
internet speculation about his health.
In contrast, according to an Ars Technica journal report,
WWDC attendees who saw Jobs in person said he "looked fine";
following the keynote, an Apple spokesperson said that "Steve's
health is robust."
Two years later, similar concerns followed Jobs' 2008 WWDC
Apple officials stated Jobs was victim to a "common bug" and
that he was taking antibiotics,
while others surmised his cachectic appearance was due to the
aforementioned Whipple procedure.
During a July conference call discussing Apple earnings,
participants responded to repeated questions about Steve Jobs'
health by insisting that it was a "private matter." Others,
however, opined that shareholders had a right to know more,
given Jobs' hands-on approach to running his company.
The New York Times published an article based on an
off-the-record phone conversation with Jobs, noting that "while
his health issues have amounted to a good deal more than 'a
common bug,' they weren’t life-threatening and he doesn’t have a
recurrence of cancer."
On August 28, 2008, Bloomberg mistakenly published a
2500-word obituary of Jobs in its corporate news service,
containing blank spaces for his age and cause of death. (News
carriers customarily stockpile up-to-date obituaries to
facilitate news delivery in the event of a well-known figure's
untimely death.) Although the error was promptly rectified, many
news carriers and blogs reported on it,
intensifying rumours concerning Jobs' health.
Jobs responded at Apple's September 2008 Let's Rock
keynote by quoting Mark Twain: "Reports of my death are greatly
at a subsequent media event, Jobs concluded his presentation
with a slide reading "110 / 70", referring to his blood
pressure, stating he would not address further questions about
On December 16, 2008, Apple announced that marketing
vice-president Phil Schiller would deliver the company's final
keynote address at the Macworld Conference and Expo 2009, again
reviving questions about Jobs' health.
In a statement given on January 5, 2009 on Apple.com,
Jobs said that he had been suffering from a "hormone imbalance"
for several months.
On January 14, 2009, in an internal Apple memo, Jobs wrote that
in the previous week he had "learned that my health-related
issues are more complex than I originally thought" and announced
a six-month leave of absence until the end of June 2009 to allow
him to better focus on his health. Tim Cook, who had previously
acted as CEO in Jobs' 2004 absence, became acting CEO of Apple,
with Jobs still involved with "major strategic decisions."
In April 2009, Jobs underwent a liver transplant at Methodist
University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis, Tennessee.
Jobs' prognosis was "excellent".
Jobs's private jet enabled him to successfully get on the
waiting list for an organ in Region 11 of the United Network for
Organ Sharing while also getting on the waiting list where he
resided in Region 5.
Jobs was prominently featured in three films about the
history of the personal computing industry:
- Triumph of the Nerds — a 1996 three-part
documentary for PBS, about the rise of the home
- Nerds 2.0.1 — a 1998 three-part documentary for
PBS, (and sequel to Triumph of the Nerds) which
chronicles the development of the Internet.
- Pirates of Silicon Valley — a 1999 docudrama
which chronicles the rise of Apple and Microsoft. He was
portrayed by Noah Wyle.
Jobs has also been frequently parodied:
- Mad Magazine — a feature called Calvin and
Jobs, a parody of Calvin and Hobbes, starring
Steve in the role of Hobbes and his attempts to explain to
Calvin his job.
- Jobs was also parodied in "Mypods and Boomsticks", a
2008 The Simpsons episode which features an adventure
into the 'world' of Mapple, MyPods, and "Steve Mobbs".
- 30 Rock parodied Jobs's keynote presentation
style, turtleneck and all in the episode "Cutbacks".
- The Onion featured a parody article titled "Apple
Unveils New Product-Unveiling Product," which contained a
picture showing Jobs introducing what appears to be another
- ceoSteveJobs is a parody Twitter account which features
140-character tweets from the eyes of the CEO.
- Daniel Lyons writes a popular blog called The Secret
Diary of Steve Jobs, and a book, Options: The Secret
Life of Steve Jobs.
He was awarded the National Medal of Technology from
President Ronald Reagan in 1985 with Steve Wozniak (the first
people to ever receive the honor),
and a Jefferson Award for Public Service in the category
"Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under"
(aka the Samuel S. Beard Award) in 1987.
On November 27, 2007, Jobs was named the most powerful person
in business by Fortune Magazine.
On December 5, 2007, California Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Jobs into
the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum
for History, Women and the Arts.
In August 2009, Jobs was selected the most admired
entrepreneur among teenagers on a survey by Junior Achievement.
On November 5, 2009, Jobs was named the CEO of the decade by
He is ranked #57 on Forbes: The World's Most Powerful People.