Steven Paul “Steve” Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American businessman, designer and inventor. He is best known as the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. Through Apple, he was widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution and for his influential career in the computer and consumer electronics fields. Jobs also co-founded and served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios; he became a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company in 2006, when Disney acquired Pixar.
In the late 1970s, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak engineered one of the first commercially successful lines of personal computers, the Apple II series. 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 Apple Lisa and, one year later, the Macintosh. By introducing the LaserWriter he enabled a revolution called desktop publishing.
After losing a power struggle with the board of directors in 1985, Jobs left Apple and founded NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher-education and business markets. In 1986, he acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm, which was spun off as Pixar. He was credited in Toy Story (1995) as an executive producer. He remained CEO and majority shareholder at 50.1 percent until its acquisition by The Walt Disney Company in 2006, making Jobs Disney’s largest individual shareholder at seven percent and a member of Disney’s Board of Directors.
After difficulties developing a new Mac operating system, Apple purchased NeXT in 1996 in order to use NeXTSTEP as the basis for what became Mac OS X. As part of the deal Jobs was named Apple advisor. As Apple floundered, Jobs took control of the company and was named “interim CEO” in 1997, or as he jokingly referred to it, “iCEO”. Under his leadership, Apple was saved from near bankruptcy, and became profitable by 1998. Over the next decade, Jobs oversaw the development of the iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, and iPad, and on the services side, the company’s Apple Retail Stores, iTunes Store and the App Store. The success of these products and services, providing several years of stable financial returns, propelled Apple to become the world’s most valuable publicly traded company in 2011. The reinvigoration of the company is regarded by many commentators as one of the greatest turnarounds in business history.
In 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreas neuroendocrine tumor. Though it was initially treated, he reported a hormone imbalance, underwent a liver transplant in 2009, and appeared progressively thinner as his health declined. On medical leave for most of 2011, Jobs resigned as Apple CEO in August that year and was elected Chairman of the Board. He died of respiratory arrest related to his metastatic tumor.
Jobs has received a number of honors and public recognition for his influence in the technology and music industries. He has widely been referred to as “legendary”, a “futurist” or simply “visionary”, and has been described as the “Father of the Digital Revolution”, a “master of innovation”, and a “design perfectionist”.