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Steve Jobs, the visionary who led a mobile computer
revolution with the creation of wildly popular devices such as the iPhone, was
mourned Thursday by admirers and competitors as much of the world awoke to news
of his death.

Jobs’ death was announced Wednesday by Apple, the Silicon
Valley company he co-founded with Steve Wozniak. He was 56.

“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the
world has lost an amazing human being,” Apple said in a statement on its
website.
“Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and
work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor.”


The hard-driving executive pioneered the concept of the
personal computer and of navigating them by clicking onscreen images with a
mouse.

In more recent years, he introduced the iPod portable music
player, the iPhone and the iPad tablet — all of which changed how digital
content was consumed.
More than one pundit, praising Jobs’ ability to transform
industries with his inventions, called him a modern-day Leonardo da Vinci.

“Steve Jobs is one of the great innovators in the
history of modern capitalism,” New York Times columnist Joe Nocera said in
August. “His intuition has been phenomenal over the years.”
Others championed his leadership skills..

“He was a historical figure on the scale of a Thomas
Edison or a Henry Ford, and set the mold for many other corporate leaders in
many other industries,” wrote Walter Mossberg, a tech columnist for The
Wall Street Journal.

“He did what a CEO should: Hired and inspired great
people; managed for the long term, not the quarter of the short-term stock
price; made big bets and took big risks.”

Jobs’ death, while dreaded by Apple’s legions of fans, was
not unexpected. He had battled cancer for years, took a medical leave from
Apple in January and stepped down as chief executive in August because he could
“no longer meet (his) duties and expectations.”

Born on February 24, 1955, and then adopted, Jobs grew up in
Cupertino, California — which would become home to Apple’s headquarters — and
showed an early interest in electronics. As a teenager, he phoned William
Hewlett, president of Hewlett-Packard, to request parts for a school project.
He got them, along with an offer of a summer job at HP.

Jobs dropped out of Oregon’s Reed College after one semester,
although he returned to audit a class in calligraphy, which he says influenced
Apple’s graceful, minimalist aesthetic. He quit one of his first jobs,
designing video games for Atari, to backpack across India and take psychedelic
drugs. Those experiences, Jobs said later, shaped his creative vision.
While at HP, Jobs befriended Steve Wozniak, who impressed him
with his skill at assembling electronic components. The two later joined a
Silicon Valley computer hobbyists club, and when he was 21, Jobs teamed with Wozniak
and two other men to launch Apple Computer Inc.

“It’s like there is a big hole left in you,”
Wozniak said on CNN’s AC360 after learning of Jobs death. “And it’s very
hard to go back and … reflect on the feelings … and what it means.”

It’s long been Silicon Valley legend: Jobs and Wozniak built
their first commercial product, the Apple 1, in Jobs’ parents’ garage in 1976.
Jobs sold his Volkswagen van to help finance the venture. The primitive
computer, priced at $666.66, had no keyboard or display, and customers had to
assemble it themselves.

The following year, Apple unveiled the Apple II computer at
the inaugural West Coast Computer Faire.
“Steven Jobs was, and still is, an inspiration to many
individuals and companies all over the world. His passing is a loss to
innovators        and visionaries everywhere,”
said Jong-seok Park, president of LG Electronics.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer described him as “one of the
founders of our industry and a true visionary.”

Jobs was among the first computer engineers to recognize the
appeal of the mouse and the graphical interface, which let users operate
computers by clicking on images instead of writing text.
Apple’s pioneering Macintosh computer launched in early 1984
with a now-iconic, Orwellian-themed Super Bowl ad. The boxy beige Macintosh
sold well, but the demanding Jobs clashed frequently with colleagues, and in
1986, he was ousted from Apple after a power struggle.

Then came a 10-year hiatus during which he founded NeXT
Computer, whose pricey, cube-shaped computer workstations never caught on with
consumers.

Jobs had more success when he bought Pixar Animation Studios
from George Lucas before the company made it big with “Toy Story.”

In 1996, Apple bought NeXT, returning Jobs to the
then-struggling company he had co-founded. Within a year, he was running Apple
again — older and perhaps wiser but no less of a perfectionist. And in 2001,
he took the stage to introduce the original iPod, the little white device that
transformed portable music and kick-started Apple’s furious comeback.

Thus began one of the most remarkable second acts in the
history of business. Over the next decade, Jobs wowed launch-event audiences,
and consumers, with one game-changing hit after another: iTunes (2003), the
iPhone (2007), the App Store (2008), and the iPad (2010).

Observers marveled at Jobs’ skills as a pitchman, his ability
to inspire godlike devotion among Apple “fanboys” (and scorn from PC
fans) and his “one more thing” surprise announcements.
Time after time, he sold people on a product they didn’t know
they needed until he invented it. And all this on an official annual salary of
$1.

He also built a reputation as a hard-driving, mercurial and
sometimes difficult boss who oversaw almost every detail of Apple’s products
and rejected prototypes that didn’t meet his exacting standards.

By the late 2000s, his once-renegade tech company, the David
to Microsoft’s Goliath, was entrenched at the uppermost tier of American
business.

Apple now operates more than 300 retail stores in 11
countries. The company has sold more than 275 million iPods, 100 million
iPhones and 25 million iPads worldwide.

Jobs’ climb to the top was complete in summer 2011, when
Apple listed more cash reserves than the U.S. Treasury and even briefly
surpassed Exxon Mobil as the world’s most valuable company.
But Jobs’ health problems sometimes cast a shadow over his
company’s success.

In 2004, he announced to his employees that he was being
treated for pancreatic cancer. He lost weight and appeared unusually gaunt at
keynote speeches to Apple developers, spurring concerns about his health and
fluctuations in the company’s stock price. One wire service accidentally
published Jobs’ obituary.

Jobs had a secret liver transplant in 2009 in Tennessee
during a six-month medical leave of absence from Apple. He took another medical
leave in January this year.
Perhaps mindful of his legacy, he cooperated on his first
authorized biography, scheduled to be published by Simon & Schuster in
November.
Jobs is survived by his wife of 20 years, Laurene, and four
children, including one from a prior relationship.

He always spoke with immense pride about what he and his
engineers accomplished at Apple.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life,
and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.
And the only way to do great work is to love what you do,” he said while
delivering a 2005 commencement address at Stanford University.

“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t
settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like
any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll
on.”

Source: CNN

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