Steven Paul Jobs
Jobs, Steve 1955–
Chief executive officer, Apple Computer, and chief executive officer and chairman of the board, Pixar Animation Studios
Education: Attended Reed College, 1972.
Family: Adopted son of Paul (bill collector) and Clara (accountant) Jobs; married Laurene Powell; children: four.
Career: Atari, 1974, game designer; Apple Computer, 1975, co-founder; Apple Computer, 1975–1977, chairman of the board; 1977–1981, de facto chief executive officer; 1981–1984, chairman of the board; NeXT, 1985–1996, president and CEO; Pixar Animation Studios, 1986–, CEO and chairman of the board; Apple Computer, 1995–1997, consultant; 1997–2000, interim CEO; 2000–, CEO.
Awards: Technical Excellence Award and Lifetime Achievement, PC Magazine, 1997; Hall of Fame, Fortune, 2000.
Address: Apple, 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California 95014; http://www.apple.com.
■ Steven Paul (Steve) Jobs was responsible for building Apple Computer twice, as well as for rescuing Pixar Animation Studios and turning it into one of the world's most successful motion picture studios. He also built NeXT, a good idea that did not catch on. He was a hands-on manager, who studied even the minutest details of his products, with the heart and eye of an artist. His insistence on high-quality, good-looking products struck a chord with many people who appreciated the beauty of Apple products, resulting in such fabulous successes as the Macintosh computer and the iPod portable music system. These successes often reshaped how consumers viewed technology and also reshaped the technology itself. Steve Jobs and Microsoft's Bill Gates are the two people most often credited with the development of the mass-market personal computer, perhaps decades before it might otherwise have evolved.
Jobs was adopted in February 1955 by Paul and Clara Jobs, who were indulgent parents. They were so focused on their son's needs that they even moved from Mountain View, California, to Los Altos, California, in 1968, to put Jobs in a new school because he said that he could not get along with the children in his old school. (One account says that he told his parents that he was not learning anything at his old school.) He was an odd student, out of step with both classmates and teachers, with a mind that looked at science from unusual angles. He preferred to spend his time with older students rather than ones his own age, including Stephen Wozniak, an electronics genius four years older than Jobs.
Jobs worked during the summers, spending one summer in an apple orchard; he was so happy there that he later named his first legitimate business "Apple." Even in grade school he had shown a great aptitude for electronics, and he had been fortunate to have an engineer for a neighbor, who answered his many questions about how electronic devices worked. While he was in high school, he built electronic devices. Once, he wanted for his projects some rare parts made by Hewlett-Packard; he wrote to William Hewlett, cofounder of Hewlett-Packard, and asked for the parts to be sent to him. Hewlett responded by giving Jobs a summer job in a Hewlett-Packard factory. Wozniak already worked there as an up-and-coming engineer.
In 1972 Jobs attended Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, dropping out after one semester. He hung around the school for about a year longer, before submitting a résumé that greatly inflated his electronics experience to Atari, a pioneer in video gaming. For part of 1974 he worked as a game designer, helping create Breakout. After saving up enough money to pay his way, he left Atari and journeyed with friends to India to search for enlightenment. He shaved his head and walked through what he saw to be appalling poverty. He soon left India believing that Thomas Edison had done more for the betterment of humanity than all the gurus in the world. Jobs lived briefly in a farm commune and then returned to his parents' home. In 1975 he joined the Homebrew computer club, which included Wozniak among its members. Wozniak had discovered that a toy in Cap'n Crunch cereal boxes made the same tones that telephone companies used for long-distance switching. Soon, with Jobs's help, he was making small blue boxes that could be used with telephones to circumvent the safeguards of telephone companies and make free long-distance calls. It was Jobs who turned this into a business venture by selling the boxes to college students.
Wozniak was an electronics enthusiast. He enjoyed making gadgets and then sharing his inventions with anyone who was interested, without concern for patents or profit. It was Jobs who soon saw the potential marketability of Wozniak's circuit board combined with the microprocessor chips. In 1975 he and Wozniak became partners, and Jobs gave their enterprise the name "Apple." They designed their simple computer in Jobs's bedroom. When more space was needed, Jobs's father cleared out his home's garage, where Jobs and Wozniak cobbled together their combination of a circuit board, a microprocessor, a video screen, and Jobs's most important contribution, a typewriter-style keyboard. The inventors called it the Apple I.
Jobs had already discovered a local electronics store owner who wanted 50 personal computers to sell to college students, who were the bulk of electronics enthusiasts. Jobs and Wozniak gave the Apple I the whimsical price of $666.66 and ended up selling more than 600 of them, making $774,000. The Apple I was a hobbyist's machine, a clumsy-looking beast of wires and boards that invited tinkering. The partners wanted to build something more sophisticated and easier to use—making technology easier to use would become essential to Jobs's views for building his companies. In 1977 the former Intel executive Mike Markkula, a venture capitalist, invested in Apple, becoming its chairman of the board and bringing in outsiders to help govern the company. Jobs persuaded a successful publicist, Regis McKenna, to join Apple. That year the Apple II was introduced. It took only about four hours for a purchaser to set it up and have it running, and it could run some business programs, reducing to minutes from hours certain accounting tasks. With a canny sales campaign created by McKenna, and Jobs's own magnetic personality helping persuade corporate buyers, the Apple II became the first successful mass-market personal computer.
Jobs had to have been a concern for McKenna: Jobs had long hair and a scruffy beard, and he usually wore jeans when meeting the conservatively dressed businessmen who had the power to order dozens of Apple IIs at a time. But Jobs was charismatic. When he spoke of what his machines could do and of the future the machines would shape, he created what came to be known as his "reality distortion field." His power to persuade was remarkable, and he often had potential customers vying for his attention. He was soon perceived to be a visionary genius who foresaw how to marry high-technology electronics and everyday business.
CHANGING THE WORLD
The Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, known as PARC, attracted some of the best engineers in the world. It was a secretive place, but after years of trying, in 1979 Jobs was allowed to visit PARC with a few of his Apple colleagues. Legend has it that he saw Xerox's graphical interface, featuring drop-down menus and pictures that could be clicked on with arrows to start programs, and he was gripped by the potential marketability to which Xerox's employees seemed oblivious. The truth is more complex: The interface at Xerox was one of several that various computer developers had been toying with for several years, and Jobs was already very familiar with them. What he may have picked up from PARC was the utility of a little handheld device called a "mouse."
In December 1980 Apple had its initial public offering of stock, becoming Apple Computer. Shares opened at $22 but rose to $29, making Apple's value $1.2 billion. Jobs was the company's leading shareholder, with 15 percent of the stock. His shares were soon worth $239 million. In 1980 the Apple III was introduced, but the first 14,000 units were recalled be cause of defects. The Apple II remained the machine preferred by customers. In 1981 IBM introduced a personal computer. Whereas Apple made all of its machines proprietary, not allowing anyone to even license the technology, IBM made its machine an open architecture, meaning that outsiders were welcome to write programs for it and to build their own variations of it.
Jobs set about waging war for personal computer supremacy. A striking feature of his work over the next five years was that he had no official corporate authority; he ruled by force of personality, making numerous enemies with his ridiculing of the ideas of others, his unwillingness to hear views contrary to his own, and his outbursts of bad temper. In 1982 he hired the executive John Sculley away from PepsiCo to become CEO of Apple. In 1982 Apple for the first time grossed $1 billion.
In 1983 the Lisa computer was introduced. It had a 32-bit microprocessor as well as an inexpensive mouse. Jobs had worked on Lisa obsessively, demanding that it be easy to use, attractive to look at, and more powerful than any other personal computer. In the process, he pushed Lisa's costs too high; the machine was too expensive and flopped. Still, Jobs and Sculley already had put Apple to work developing a machine that would be called the Macintosh. It would use much of Lisa's internal architecture, but it would be simpler. In 1984 the machine debuted with a spectacular television commercial during the Super Bowl, showing a gallant woman athlete defying a monolithic, oppressive government by hurling her hammer into a screen that represented, without actually saying so, IBM. The first Macintosh was small and beige, featuring the style of graphical interface that would become the world's standard. It sold for $2,495 and was a hit.
Jobs was great recruiter of talent, but he tended to belittle and mock employees after he recruited them; Sculley, for one, had had enough of Jobs's bizarre behavior. He persuaded the board of directors to make Jobs chairman of the board but without any authority over anything. Too many of his colleagues avoided him, and Jobs found himself with no work to do. In 1985 he quit Apple and sold all but one share of his Apple stock, losing about $500 million by selling shares when the stock was low but still leaving with about $250 million.
In 1986 Jobs founded NeXT in Redwood City, California, investing $15 million of his own money to start the company. He discovered that he was held in high regard by most of the high-technology businesses in California's Silicon Valley, and his charisma was still magical. After seeing Jobs in a PBS documentary, the billionaire H. Ross Perot offered to help fund NeXT. Major businesses soon followed. In a couple of years, Jobs had raised over $250 million, mostly on his word alone.
Also in 1986 Jobs bought a computer animation studio from the motion picture magnate George Lucas, saving it from dissolution. Named Pixar Animation Studios, the newly independent company found in Jobs a CEO and chairman of the board who understood the creative process very well and who could combine his artistic nature with a sound understanding of computers. Further, Jobs financed the company himself and gave his new employees freedom to explore what they could do. It was part of Jobs's evolving vision of computers: he became an advocate of the technology as enhancing creativity, telling people that computers were not important but that what could be done with them was important. By 1988 Pixar had done well enough to win an Oscar for its computeranimated short film Tin Toy.
In October 1989 the NeXT computer was introduced. It was beautiful, with careful attention paid to the looks of every detail inside and out. To meet FCC rules on electronic interference, Jobs had the entire case made of magnesium poured into a single mold and then carefully sanded to remove sharp edges. The magnesium was good at containing electronic emissions and was strong, but it was hard to work with and drove manufacturing costs up. Repeatedly, Jobs had made workers redo work, trying to incorporate great power into NeXT while making it easy to use. It cost $9,950, too much for the mass market that might have appreciated it best. From 1989 to 1992 only 50,000 were sold.
In 1989 Jobs gave a lecture at Stanford University. While there, he met Laurene Powell, an MBA student. In 1991 they married, and they would have three children over the next dozen years. In May 1991 Jobs negotiated a contract with Walt Disney Pictures, under the terms of which Disney would pay for half the production costs of three computer-animated feature films and would receive half the income plus distribution fees for each motion picture. Pixar began work on Toy Story.
By 1993 NeXT was doing badly. Jobs was harshly criticized for supposedly wasting money and for bad management, even though those who worked for NeXT still believed that he knew what he was doing. He had spent much of his career defying criticism and insisting that he knew better than anyone else which choices were the best, but in February 1993, he closed NeXT's Fremont factory, laid off half of NeXT's employees, and stopped making computers, focusing instead on software. NeXT's computer had dazzled with its programming, and Jobs put the company's future in the open programming of Unix and the object-based programming of NeXT, which made programming simple enough that consumers could write their own programs to work with NeXT. In 1994 Digital Equipment Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun Microsystems contracted with NeXT to put NeXT operating software in their workstations.
Meanwhile, Apple was ailing. In 1993 Apple's share of the personal computer market was 8 percent; it had fallen to the status of an also-ran, becoming almost irrelevant to the future of computers. Sculley was fired and replaced by Michael Spindler as CEO. In 1995 Spindler left Apple and was replaced by Gilbert F. Amelio, who also became chairman of the board. Amelio found a company in disarray; the corporate culture was one of indifference and depression. When he would call meetings, people would not show up; his orders were ignored; and employees refused to cooperate with each other. Apple's share of the market had fallen to 5.3 percent. It may have been desperation or exasperation that led Amelio to ask Jobs to join the board of directors and become a consultant to management.
The year 1995 was good for Jobs. For the first time, NeXT turned a profit. He and his antagonist Bill Gates contracted for NeXT and Microsoft to collaborate on the designing of object-oriented software for Windows NT. On November 22, 1995, Toy Story was released to acclaim; by then Jobs had invested $60 million in Pixar. In its first release, Toy Story grossed $360 million worldwide. On November 29, 1995, Pixar had its initial public offering. Shares were offered at $22 but rose to $39. Jobs owned 80 million shares and had become a billionaire. In December 1995 Apple bought NeXT for $400 million.
By 1996 Apple's sales were in free fall. That year it shipped 3.7 million computers, for a 5.2 percent market share; in 1997 it was 2.6 million units for a 3.2 percent share. In 1997 Jobs was named "interim" CEO, at a salary of $1 per year, and Amelio left Apple. Jobs dropped the NeXT operating system that Apple had purchased. On August 6, 1997, Apple and Microsoft announced that Microsoft would invest $150 million for a minority stake in Apple. Many in the audience at the MacWorld convention in Boston booed the announcement. Although he was still certain that his vision for Apple was the only right one, Jobs's management style had radically changed from what it had been in 1985; he seemed more relaxed and open to ideas. In fact, he seemed to relish other people's ideas; perhaps his work at Pixar had improved his ability to work with the creative people at Apple. He wisely surrounded himself with top-notch executives in all the key corporate positions, and he held on to them rather than driving them away. Almost by willing it, he transformed the corporate culture into one in which employees wanted to come to work and where they saw themselves as part of a great company that had a mission to change the world for the better. Moreover, Jobs, the hobbyist of old, brought the fun back into tinkering with electronics.
In August 1998 one of Jobs's big risks, the iMac was released. It was sleek, with elegant lines, and the "i" was for "Internet"—that is, it was designed to work well with the Internet. Selling 278,000 units in its first six weeks, the iMac at first did not seem to be enough to pull Apple out of the doldrums, but then it took off, selling six million units and making Apple an important player in computers again. In 1999 Jobs had the iMac released in a choice of several colors, which proved popular. In January 2000 he was made CEO without the "interim" addition to the title. In March 2000 Apple shares peaked at $75 each. Apple grossed $7.98 billion and netted $786 million for fiscal 2000.
In 2001 Jobs began opening a chain of Apple retail stores, where customers could try out the computers, making multimedia shows and playing with the software, with unobtrusive salespeople ready to help, if asked. It was a big risk, but the idea was that if people had the opportunity to use Apple's goods, they would find them worth a higher price than competing brands. In 2003 the stores began turning a profit. Another event in 2001 launched Apple into a broader world of consumer electronics: in October, Apple introduced the iPod. So shiny and attractive that owners delighted in showing it off, it downloaded and played thousands of MP3 files, at first only from Apple computers but, in a year, from IBM compatibles as well. The iPod was pricey at $399 and a risk, but Apple had a cash reserve of $4.1 billion to fall back on, up from $280 million at the time Jobs had returned to the company. Even so, Apple shares dropped to about $25 for 2001.
In what may have been the most brilliant salesmanship of his career, Jobs persuaded every major record company to sell Apple the rights to market their songs on the Internet, even though the companies were suspicious of the Internet, viewing it as a haven for thieves of their music. In April 2003 Apple opened the online store iTunes, at first only for Macintoshes but soon for Windows operating system computers as well. At 99 cents per song, with 65 cents going to the music companies, 25 cents to overhead, and only 10 cents to Apple, iTunes seemed fated to lose money. But as Jobs pointed out, the idea was to sell iPods, which could download music from iTunes. By 2004 iPod was the world's dominant portable music player, with iTunes owning 70 percent of the market of downloaded music.
See also entries on Apple Computer, Inc. and Pixar Animation Studios in International Directory of Company Histories.
sources for further information
Landrum, Gene N., "Steven Jobs (Apple)–Autocratic," Profiles of Genius: Thirteen Men Who Changed the World. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1993.
Langer, Andy, "The God of Music? If Apple's Brash and Bold New Digital-Music Venture Works, That's Pretty Much What He'll Be: A Conversation with Steve Jobs," Esquire, July 2003, pp. 82–85.
Quittner, Josh, "Steve Jobs: The Fountain of Fresh Ideas," Time, April 26, 2004, p. 75.
Stross, Randall E., Steve Jobs and the NeXT Big Thing. New York: Atheneum, 1993.
—Kirk H. Beetz
February 24, 1955 • California
CEO of Apple, CEO and chairman of Pixar Animation Studios
Computers had been around long before Steve Jobs entered the field, but his contributions revolutionized the personal-computer industry. As the cofounder of Apple in 1976, Jobs introduced the concept of a small, relatively inexpensive desktop computer that the average person could own and operate. Since that time, Jobs has presided over a number of technological innovations with Apple. He has also made an impact in the field of animated movies as the head of Pixar, the studio responsible for such blockbusters as Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo. Jobs headed up yet another innovative success story with Apple's online music shop, iTunes, and with its portable digital music player, iPod. Jobs has a reputation for being intimidating to employees and difficult with peers, but he is also seen as a visionary who dreams big and enjoys taking risks. While not all of his risks have paid off, those that have succeeded have significantly altered the high-tech landscape and paved the way for future advances.
Searching for meaning
Steven Paul Jobs was born in California on February 24, 1955. His parents, unmarried and unable to care for a baby, put him up for adoption. He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs, who raised him in a northern California community surrounded by apricot orchards and farm country—a community that has since become the center of technological innovation known as Silicon Valley. When Jobs was in the seventh grade, he encountered troubles at school, the victim of bullies. He refused to return to that school, and his parents decided to move to Los Altos. Jobs attended Homestead High School in Cupertino, California, where he had a reputation as a loner and developed a keen interest in technology. During a school field trip to the plant of the Hewlett-Packard computer company in nearby Palo Alto, the concept of a desktop computer attracted Jobs's notice. Later, in pursuit of computer parts for a school project, Jobs went straight to the source, contacting William Hewlett, cofounder of Hewlett-Packard. Jobs got more than just the needed parts; he was also offered a summer job at the company.
"I think Apple has had a good hand in setting the direction for the whole industry now, again. And that's where we like to be."
During his internship at Hewlett-Packard, Jobs met Steve Wozniak (1950–), an electronics whiz who had attended Homestead High School a few years prior. They formed an immediate bond and soon began collaborating on various projects, including a device that would allow users to make free long-distance phone calls. Wozniak supplied the technological know-how, while Jobs dreamed up ways for consumers to use the products they developed. These roles would remain the same years later, when the two men became reacquainted for a new venture. In the meantime, Jobs graduated from high school in 1972 and then enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He dropped out after one semester, but he continued to spend time on campus, searching for life's meaning: he studied philosophy and meditation, experimented with drugs, and became a vegetarian.
Apple bites back
Jobs returned to California in 1974, restless and looking for work. He answered a help-wanted ad in the newspaper and was hired to work for Atari, a video-game manufacturer that had risen to prominence with Pong, a game that today looks extremely primitive but at the time seemed quite high-tech. According to a profile in Time magazine, Jobs's intense personality made him few friends at Atari. "His mind kept going a mile a minute," reported Al Alcorn, the chief engineer at Atari. "The engineers in the lab didn't like him. They thought he was arrogant and brash. Finally, we made an agreement that he come to work late at night." After a short time at Atari, Jobs left to take a trip to India, continuing his quest for spiritual fulfillment. After his return to the United States, Jobs traveled for a time and then got involved with the Homebrew Computer Club in 1975. At meetings for this club, computer enthusiasts would gather to share information and technology. Jobs's friend from Hewlett-Packard, Steve Wozniak, was a member of the club, and in 1975 Wozniak was still working at Hewlett-Packard and trying to build a computer in his spare time.
Jobs, excited by the prospect of building and selling reasonably priced personal computers, teamed up with Wozniak. While Jobs had a decent grasp on the technology, it was Wozniak who brought the brilliant engineering skills to the partnership. Jobs, on the other hand, was the entrepreneur, the person who understood what they would need to get their business off the ground, how the products would be used, and how to market the products to the public. Jobs and Wozniak formed a company, which Jobs named (he told Jay Cocks of Time: "One day I just told everyone that unless they came up with a better name by 5 p.m., we would go with Apple"), and they released their first product, the Apple I, for the price of $666. At that time, few people outside of computer hobbyists felt the need to own a desktop computer, but Jobs set out to change that. In 1977 Apple released the Apple II computer, which was a huge success and established the model for personal computers that all other companies attempted to imitate. Three years later, Apple's sales reached $139 million. The company then went public, selling shares to those who wished to invest in Apple.
The Man behind the Man: Edwin Catmull
While Edwin Catmull's name may not be as familiar to the average citizen as Steve Jobs's name, his contributions to Pixar have been unparalleled. "Put simply, computer animation and films like Toy Story would have never have happened without Ed Catmull," Jobs told Laura Ackley of Variety. As president and cofounder of Pixar, Catmull provides exceptional leadership, hiring talented people to work for him and continually striving to keep his employees productive and happy. He has also made tremendous technological contributions to the company, developing new and better ways to create computer-animated films. Catmull has received numerous awards, including three Scientific and Technical Engineering Academy Awards, for his work at Pixar.
Born in 1945, Catmull grew up in Utah. His love for animated movies as a child instilled in him a desire to become an animator, but he felt he lacked the drawing skills and instead studied physics and computer science in college. While pursuing a graduate degree (he has a Ph.D. in computer science), Catmull became interested in the relatively new field of computer graphics, a subject that allowed him to merge his interest in computers with his love for art. He was determined to use this new tool to make movies. During this time, in the early 1970s, Catmull made several technological innovations, including the invention of an animation technique called texture mapping, which allows for a more realistic depiction of an object's texture, whether the object is moving or standing still.
In 1974 Catmull moved to New York to work for Alexander Schure, a wealthy supporter of technological advancements whose passion for making computeranimated movies equaled Catmull's. After several years, Catmull decided to move to California and go to work for the computer-graphics division of Lucas-film, the company owned by George Lucas, who was then at work creating the first Star Wars trilogy. At Lucasfilm, Catmull continued to develop new technology to improve computer animation, and he established his reputation for hiring the right people. In spite of the great strides made by Catmull's division, Lucas decided in 1985 that he wanted to sell that segment of his company, and he instructed Catmull to start looking for a buyer. Catmull approached Steve Jobs, who expressed an interest in the division only as a potentially new computer company, not as a movie studio. Disappointed, Catmull kept looking for a buyer who had the same goal he had: to make the first feature film animated completely on the computer.
One year later, Jobs reconsidered and decided to buy Lucasfilm's computer-graphics division. Jobs named the company Pixar after a device invented by Catmull and George Smith, another computergraphics pioneer from Lucasfilm; the Pixar made great strides in increasing the speed of the animation process. Jobs appointed Catmull chief technological officer of Pixar, a position he held until 2001, when he was made president. As a top executive at Pixar, Catmull spent several years presiding over the effort to make the company's (and the world's) first feature-length computer-animated movie. That film, Toy Story, was released in 1995, and while it boasted great technical achievements, audiences connected with the warm, funny story and fully developed characters. The movie was a huge success, paving the way for Pixar's future efforts, each of which boasted more sophisticated technology than the last—and much of that technological development sprang from the mind of Catmull.
In 1979 Jobs oversaw the development of a radically new kind of personal computer, one that required little experience with computers and was the first to incorporate a mouse. Called the Lisa (Local Integrated Systems Architecture), the computer sold for $10,000 when released in 1983, a price that put it out of reach for most consumers. The development of the Lisa did lead to Apple's next great innovation, however—a computer that was not only affordable but also easy to use, a critical factor at a time when most people considered computers intimidating and foreign. The Macintosh, released in 1984, brought personal computing to the masses, with its easily understood graphics and point-and-click mouse. Rather than typing in complicated commands, users could simply click on an icon, or picture, on the screen. Jobs's obsession with developing the product, however, had caused problems at Apple. Many years and much of the company's money had been spent on the product's development, causing many at Apple to wonder whether Jobs had lost sight of the big picture. When Macintosh's initial sales were lower than expected, Jobs was pushed to resign by the company's president and CEO, John Sculley. In 1985 both Jobs and Wozniak left the company they had founded.
To infinity and beyond
While his departing deal with Apple included millions of dollars in severance pay, Jobs, thirty years old at the time, did not consider taking any sort of extended vacation from the high-tech industry. He formed the NeXT Computer Company, releasing his first product in 1988. While the NeXT computer had a number of desirable features—including fast processing speeds and sophisticated graphics and sound—it did not sell well due to its high price and an inability to network with other computers. Jobs then turned his attention to developing new software and improving operating systems, the programs that run all other programs on a computer. During this period, in 1991, Jobs married Laurene Powell; the couple has three children.
In 1986 Jobs bought the computer graphics division of the movie studio Lucasfilm Ltd., which had been formed by George Lucas (1944–), the multitalented filmmaker behind the Star Wars movies. With this new company, renamed Pixar Animation Studios, Jobs set out to create a major animated-movie studio. Pixar began by making commercials and short animated films, many of which won prestigious awards. The animation industry quickly understood that this new kid on the block was doing something quite different and doing it exceptionally well. In 1991 Pixar signed a deal with Disney to develop and distribute feature-length animated movies. Four years later Pixar released its debut film, Toy Story, the first movie to be completely computer animated. A huge success, Toy Story earned more than any other movie that year and came to be one of the most successful animated movies in history. It earned several Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. At that point, looking to concentrate on Pixar, Jobs sold NeXT to his former company, Apple, for $400 million.
The subsequent Pixar animated movies—A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo —continued in the Toy Story vein, hitting it big at the box office and earning the adoration of fans. Toy Story 2 earned the distinction of being the only animated sequel in history to earn more than the original, and it won a Golden Globe Award for Best Picture—Musical or Comedy. Released in 2003, Finding Nemo broke box-office records, earned an Academy Award for Best Animated Film, and sold an astonishing eight million copies on the first day of the DVD release.
During 2003, Jobs and Michael Eisner (1942–), CEO of Disney, began negotiating for a new contract between Disney and Pixar. Ten months later, in early 2004, the two companies ended their negotiations without an agreement and announced the upcoming end to their partnership, which would dissolve after the 2004 release of The Incredibles and the 2005 release of Cars. Jobs had demanded a greater percentage of the films' earnings (under the previous contract, the two companies evenly split the cost of making the films and then divided revenues in half, with Disney getting an additional fee for distributing the movies). Disney refused, and Pixar began its search for a new distribution partner. Taking into account the multibillion-dollar earnings of Pixar's first five films, a number of major studios put in hasty calls to Steve Jobs to talk about a partnership. As Andrew Simons wrote in the Los Angeles Business Journal, "Everyone wants to take Steve Jobs to the big dance."
Coming full circle
When Apple began to struggle in the mid-1990s, Jobs agreed to act as a consultant, offering advice on turning the company around. In 1997 he was named Apple's interim CEO—a position intended to be temporary until a permanent CEO was found. Three years later, a permanent CEO was named: Steve Jobs. After returning to the helm at Apple, Jobs made a number of decisive moves that immediately improved the company's fortunes. He simplified the product line, introduced a new version of the Apple operating system, and entered into a cooperative agreement with Microsoft. In 1998 Jobs introduced the iMac. This computer offered sufficiently powerful processors and an affordable price tag, but the key to its success may have been the PC's streamlined design and array of bright colors. Upon Jobs's return to Apple, the company pioneered a wireless technology called Air-Port, which enables users to surf the Internet and print without having anything plugged into their computers. A number of new products followed, some of which, like the iBook and PowerMac, were extremely successful, and some of which were not—including the G4 Cube, which sported a slick design but an out-of-reach price.
Jobs's endless quest for technological innovation soon led him to tackle the digital music industry. In 2001 Apple launched a sleek new handheld product, a portable digital music player called the iPod. Comparable to MP3 players introduced by other companies, the iPod allowed users to download music from CDs or from online sites. Thanks in part to a memorable advertising campaign and good word-of-mouth, Apple sold three million iPods in less than three years. By 2004, almost half of the digital music players bought by consumers were iPods.
Apple's next move, in 2003, was to open an online music store. The music industry had been in a sales slump, with many concerned that such free file-sharing services as Napster, which allowed users to download songs without paying a penny, would spell doom for CD sales. Soon after legal battles complicated the practice of downloading music for free, Jobs opened the iTunes Music Store. Others had attempted online music sales with little success, failing either because they offered a poor selection or because users rejected the notion of paying a monthly subscription fee to download songs. Jobs's iTunes offered simplicity: with the blessing of the world's major record labels, customers could download any of the two hundred thousand songs for just ninety-nine cents each. Users could then create their own CDs with the downloaded songs or transfer them to a portable digital music player, to take with them wherever they go. While iTunes did not live up to Jobs's high expectations of one hundred million downloads in the first year, it did perform astonishingly well. In the first week, one million songs were downloaded, with the total exceeding fifty million after one year. Many observers cautioned that Apple would have to continue to approach online music sales in a creative and aggressive way: while Apple was an early innovator, a number of major players, including Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and some record labels, soon followed suit, offering stiff competition to iTunes.
Many industry observers have noted that, for all its innovation and creativity, Apple has never become a powerhouse in terms of sales. Apple commands just a small percentage of the personal-computer market and earns a tiny fraction of the revenues of its primary software competitor, Microsoft. Jobs shrugs off such details, however, suggesting that it's more important to him to continually create new, original, high-quality products than to become the leader in PC sales. In an interview for Macworld on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Macintosh, Jobs summarized his point of view: "Apple's market share is bigger than BMW's or Mercedes's or Porsche's [is] in the automotive market. What's wrong with being BMW or Mercedes?"
For More Information
Ackley, Laura A. "Pixar's Deep Talent Pool Lured by Catmull's Vision." Variety (July 20, 1998): p. 32.
Burrows, Peter. "Pixar's Unsung Hero." Business Week (June 30, 2003): p. 68.
Burrows, Peter. "Rock On, iPod." Business Week (June 7, 2004): p. 130.
Cocks, Jay. "The Updated Book of Jobs." Time (January 3, 1983): p. 25.
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Apple Computer; Pixar
Maverick computer innovator Steven Jobs, along with his friend and partner, Steve Wozniak, is considered to be the one of the central figures in the development of the personal computer. Jobs and Wozniak formed the Apple Computer Company in the late 1970s, pioneering the design and development of desktop computers for the general public. The creation of the Macintosh computer in the mid–1980s ushered in a new era of tremendously widespread user–friendly machines. After being ousted from Apple, Jobs went on to form the NeXT Computer Company. He also bought Pixar Animation Studios, where Toy Story, the first wholly computer generated and animated film, was created. In the late 1990s, Jobs returned to Apple and oversaw its regeneration with the iMac products.
Jobs was born in 1955 and was placed for adoption by his unwed parents shortly after his birth. Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountain View, California, became his adoptive parents. The elder Jobs was a machinist who worked on lasers, and his wife was an accountant.
Jobs and his parents moved to Los Altos, California, before he entered high school. A statement the preteen Jobs made to his parents allegedly precipitated the move: He said that he wouldn't return to school in Mountain View, so his parents decided to move. While a high school student, Jobs showed a special interest in technology. He once went so far as to contact William Hewlett, the president of Hewlett Packard, for some parts he needed for an electronics project. Jobs not only obtained the parts, he was also offered a summer job at Hewlett Packard.
Jobs graduated from high school in 1972 and attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, for just one semester before dropping out. In 1974, he went to work for Atari Incorporated as a video game designer. After saving some money from his stint at Atari, Jobs was able to embark on a spiritual sojourn to the Indian subcontinent during the summer of 1974. While in India, Jobs sought to immerse himself in the Eastern way of life. A bout with dysentery in the autumn of 1974 cut his trip short, and Jobs moved back to California and into a commune.
When he was 23 years old, Jobs had a relationship that resulted in the birth of his daughter, Lisa. He reportedly dated folk singer Joan Baez for a time during his twenties. Jobs met Laurene Powell while on a lecture trip to Stanford University; the two married in 1991. Along with daughter Lisa, Jobs and his wife have three children; they live in Palo Alto, California.
By 1975 Jobs started to get involved with the Homebrew Computer Club, which was headed by Steve Wozniak, an acquaintance of his from Hewlett Packard. Wozniak was starting to develop what would become the prototype for the Apple Computer series. Jobs persuaded him to market his designs and prototypes, and the two of them began, in earnest, to develop what would ultimately become the first Apple Computer.
Jobs and Wozniak worked on the Apple I in Jobs' parents' garage, and by 1976 they offered models for sale. The most innovative feature of the $700 machine was its single board read–only memory (ROM), which instructed the computer to load and read other programs from outside sources.
The development and sale of the Apple II, which retained the unique features of its predecessor in an updated format, began in 1977. Jobs then got in touch with Mike Makkula, the former marketing manager at Intel, and brought him to Apple as the chairman. Jobs began to encourage independent programmers to create software for the Apple II, and soon over 16,000 programs were available, ranging from business management tools to video games.
First–year sales for Apple were almost $3 million. Impressive as that was, it paled in comparison to the figures reached by the beginning of the 1980s. By 1980, sales had ballooned to $200 million, and the phenomenal success of Apple helped to usher in the revolutionary personal computer era.
Throughout the 1980s, Apple was forced to continually update its systems to stay ahead of the competition. Jobs and Apple faltered a bit with the release of the Apple III in 1980. The model was riddled with technical and marketing problems and, as a result, sold poorly. However, sales picked up after the bugs were fixed. Nonetheless, the executive organization was restructured; Makkula became president, and Jobs became chairman. Apple went public in 1980, and the company's market value rose to $1.2 billion.
In 1983 Jobs pitched a model he named "Lisa" as the computer for business people who had limited computer expertise. Lisa did not sell well due to its high price and the increased competition from IBM who, by 1983, had gained half of Apple's market share. In the same year, Jobs lured PepsiCo president John Sculley to Apple as the new president and CEO.
In 1984 Apple released the Macintosh computer. Envisioned as the computer that would revitalize not only Apple but the computer industry as well, the Macintosh floundered at first. The initial downfall of the Macintosh in business circles was its lack of a letter–quality printer and a hard drive. The less–than–stellar sales of the Macintosh were instrumental in bringing about Jobs' forced resignation from Apple in 1985. Essentially, Jobs lost a boardroom powerstruggle with Sculley and resigned with $150 million in severance.
Jobs, who still remained chairman of the Apple board of directors, then formed the NeXT Computer Company. The NeXT computer, introduced in 1988, boasted a number of innovations, including extremely quick processing speeds, a superb graphics and sound system, and an optical disk drive. Despite all of these innovations, however, sales of the NeXT computer fell flat due to its steep price, black and white screen, and inability to network. Not to be deterred, Jobs pressed on with NeXT, changing the focus from hardware to software. NeXT eventually gained some prestige by helping to facilitate the establishment of the World Wide Web in the 1990s.
In 1986, Jobs acquired Pixar Animation Studios for $10 million from filmmaker George Lucas. Jobs poured large amounts of his own money into Pixar to develop and establish it as a premiere movie studio. His $50 million investment in Pixar paid off when the first wholly computer–animated film Toy Story, released by Walt Disney Pictures, was a certified smash hit when it opened in 1995. By 2000 Toy Story had become the second highest domestic grossing animated feature in history. A Bug's Life, released in 1998 and using even more sophisticated technology, was the highest grossing animated film of the year. Likewise, the sequel, Toy Story 2, which won a Golden Globe award for Best Picture, Musical, or Comedy, was the highest grossing animated film of 1999. The three films combined grossed $1.2 billion worldwide. By 1999 Jobs' 73 percent share of Pixar was worth $1.1 billion.
Hoping to concentrate more fully on developing Pixar, Jobs decided to sell NeXT; Apple bought the company in 1996 for $400 million. At the time, Apple was in need of an updated operating system, and NeXT had one to offer. NeXT had also developed an association with Internet users that Apple desired as well. Apple, which by then had lost about a third of its market share and was struggling to keep afloat, also acquired Jobs as a non–salaried, part–time consultant to Apple's CEO Gilbert Amelio.
The renewed relationship shifted into high gear in 1997 when Jobs agreed to take over as interim CEO of the troubled company after the board of directors ousted Amelio. Jobs implemented the eighth version of the Macintosh operating system, developed a dialogue with Microsoft, and eliminated Apple's clone licensing program. Jobs' leadership proved successful. In less than two years, he had pared Apple's confusing product line down to four basic models and introduced the innovative iMac. With its translucent case, bright color choices, and affordable price tag—just $1,199—the iMac was an astounding success. Launched in 1998, the iMac sold more than 1 million units in its first year and helped boost Apple's market share to about 6 percent. Following on the iMac's success, Jobs introduced the portable version, known as the iBook, in 1999. That year, the combined value of Apple and Pixar reached $6.3 billion.
Following Jobs' success with the iMac, and G3 and G4 PowerMacs, which addressed the needs of the publishing and multimedia markets long dominated by the Macintosh, Jobs brought out a moviemaking application, iMovie, that allowed non–experts to make their own home videos. Next came iTunes, which allowed novices to burn their own CDs. The latest offering is an application that allows users to make their own DVD discs at home. In January 2000, Jobs announced that he was taking over as the company's permanent CEO.
Jobs also remained the chairman and CEO of Pixar, which struck a deal in 1997 with Walt Disney Pictures to co–produce five animated films, sharing all associated costs and profits. Monsters, Inc., the first film under the new deal, was released November 2, 2001. The second film, Finding Nemo, is scheduled for release in 2003.
Chronology: Steve Jobs
1975: Joined Homebrew Computer Club.
1976: Formed Apple Computer Company with Steve Wozniak.
1977: Unveiled Apple II computer.
1984: Introduced Macintosh computer.
1985: Resigned from Apple.
1985: Formed NeXT Computer Company.
1986: Bought Pixar Animation Studios.
1995: Pixar released the animated feature, Toy Story.
1996: Rejoined Apple as consultant to CEO.
1997: Named Apple interim CEO.
1998: Launched iMac computer.
1999: iMac sales reached 1 million; introduced iBook portable computer.
2000: Became permanent CEO of Apple Computer Company.
2001: Introduced the iPod, a 1000–song MP3 player; Pixar released Monsters, Inc. with Walt Disney Studios.
Social and Economic Impact
Jobs was one of the most important figures in the development of the personal computer industry. The Apples and Macs produced by his company were user–friendly, enabling a whole generation of office workers and home users to become comfortable with computer use. Jobs was also instrumental in engineering the joint agreement between Apple and its great rival Microsoft. Both companies agreed to cooperate on selected marketing and technological issues of mutual interest, which helped to simplify choices for consumers.
Jobs' understanding of consumer preferences has been a big part of his success. By pitching his products to young, savvy audiences, he helped dispel the stereotype that computer users were socially inept "nerds." Jobs insisted on being directly involved, for instance, in Apple's "Think Different" advertising campaign, which focused on such cultural icons as Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Ghandi. And with his introduction of the immensely popular iMac, Jobs proved that consumers would respond to innovative design. "For most consumers," he said in a June 1999 Advertising Age article, "color is much more important than the megahertz, gigabytes and other gibberish associated with buying a typical PC."
This focus has served Jobs well in renewing creative energies and profitability at Apple. His leadership was "a superb example of what can happen when a CEO has a simple, focused vision and gets the whole company to focus on and implement that vision," commented marketing executive Allen Olivo in a June 1999 Advertising Age article. "He got everyone on the same page, at the same time and for the same goal." As Jobs himself put it in an interview in Fortune, "if [great artists like Bob Dylan and Picasso] keep on risking failure, they're still artists. . . . This Apple thing is that way for me. . . . If I try my best and fail, well, I tried my best."
As the PC market slowed down and many of his competitors were already lamenting the death of the PC, Job remained optimistic about its future—despite the fact that Apple's share of the PC market has fallen to 4 percent in the United States and 3 percent worldwide. (In Apple's defense, Jobs points out that no one holds more than 16 percent of the market.) In 2001 he prophesied about the coming age of the digital lifestyle, in which the computer would serve as the hub of a vast array of home appliances. "The personal computer has the power and the memory to do the things that all the devices we are beginning to use will not be able to do. The software will be the glue holding it all together," Jobs told Garry Barker of The Age.
Numerous factors are working against Jobs' pleasant predictions. First, Jobs' pet project, the G4 Cube, a more expensive Mac version just one–fourth the size of a regular PC, was a retail flop. Jobs was convinced that the $3,000 model would sell at a rate of at least 200,000 per quarter. In reality, the G4 Cube sold only 100,000 during the first quarter on the market; in the next two quarters, sales dwindled to only 29,000 and 12,000. In July 2001, Apple announced that it would scrap the model and rely on sales the more popular, less expensive regular desktop G4. The significant slowdown of the economy in 2001 also took its toll on Apple's profit. In the third quarter of 2001, Apple posted a 70 percent decline. Nonetheless, cash reserves, just $280 million in 1997, have grown to $4.1 billion under Jobs' leadership. And Jobs isn't resting on his laurels; in October 2001, Apple introduced the iPod, a pocket–sized 5–gigabyte MP3 player able to store 1000 songs and is equipped with an industry–leading 10–hour battery. Charles Haddad of BusinessWeek Online predicted, "this new handheld digital–music player will stand tall. Very tall. It's going to do for MP3 music what the original Palm Pilot did for handheld computing in the late '90s—that is, ignite demand like a match to dry twigs."
In Silicon Valley, Jobs remains widely admired, if not universally loved. He is lauded not only for his own ability but also for recognizing and hiring top quality personnel. He has a well–deserved reputation as one of the most demanding and intimidating bosses in the United States, if not the world. Stories still circulate about Apple employees being afraid to ride the elevator with their irascible boss lest they find themselves without a job when they reach their floor.
Sources of Information
Contact at: Apple Computer
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014
Business Phone: (408)996–1010
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Steve Jobs, cofounder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Apple Computer, Inc., may be one of the best examples of a modern business leader willing to "think outside the box." Jobs saw the potential of the personal computer as a tool for businesses, families, and schools at a time when computers were expensive and foreign to most people. At Apple and his other businesses, NeXT and Pixar, Jobs has always looked for what he calls the next "insanely great" product.
Electrical and Spiritual Interests
Steven Paul Jobs was put up for adoption shortly after his birth in 1955. His adoptive parents were Paul and Clara Jobs of San Francisco. When Jobs was a boy his family moved from the city to Mountain View, near Palo Alto. The Jobs moved again several years later, to Los Altos. Jobs grew up in "Silicon Valley," the heart of the U.S. computer industry.
"What is Apple after all? Apple is about people who think 'outside the box,' people who want to use computers to help them change the world, to help them create things that make a difference, and not just to get the job done."
A bright student, Jobs skipped a grade in elementary school. Shy and not very social, he developed an early interest in electronics. A neighbor encouraged Jobs to join an electronics club sponsored by Hewlett-Packard Company (see entry), one of the major corporations in Silicon Valley. At one of the meetings, Jobs saw his first computer. He was twelve years old.
Around 1970, Jobs met Steve Wozniak, who shared his interest in electronics and knew more than he did on the subject. By the time he left high school in 1972, Jobs had worked with Wozniak on several projects. By then Jobs was a "hippie," with long hair and ripped jeans. He went to Reed College in Oregon for two years then dropped out to pursue another interest—Eastern religions, particularly Zen Buddhism. He and a friend planned to travel to India, the birthplace of Buddhism more than twenty-five hundred years ago.
Before the trip, Jobs worked at Atari, a computer and video-game manufacturer based in Silicon Valley. An assignment with the company took him to Germany, and from there Jobs went on to India. After exploring Indian religions, Jobs returned to California and his job at Atari. The trip, and some later psychological therapy, seemed to change Jobs. One friend told Jeffrey S. Young, author of the Jobs biography The Journey is the Reward, "He was a lot easier to be with after that. He started to think a little more about how things he said might affect other people."
The Birth of Apple
While working at Atari, Jobs renewed his friendship with Wozniak. The two went to meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club, and Wozniak began building his own computer. While Wozniak and most of the other club members saw computers as a hobby, Jobs began to see their potential for business. Jobs convinced Wozniak they could build a computer that others would buy.
In April 1976, Wozniak and Jobs formed the Apple Computer Company to sell the computer Wozniak had designed. They assembled them in the Jobs family's garage. From the beginning, Wozniak's role was to improve the technology; Jobs took charge of finding money for the new company. When the second Apple computer, the Apple II, came on the market, Jobs also took the lead in convincing programmers to create software for the computer. With the Apple II, Jobs and Wozniak created the personal computer industry.
Although Wozniak designed the insides of the Apple II, Jobs played a role in how the computer looked. He insisted it come in a plastic case and look sleek sitting on a desk. He also wanted the computer to be quiet. Most computers need a fan to keep the parts cool and functioning properly. Jobs found an engineer who designed a power-supply unit that did not produce much heat and did not need a fan, creating a nearly silent machine.
Sales of the Apple II rose steadily the next few years. As Apple grew, Jobs tried to keep the atmosphere fun. Employees could wear t-shirts and the company threw many parties. Jobs, however, sometimes conflicted with top managers or anyone who questioned his decisions. He developed a reputation for having a large ego and always wanting things his way. When his ideas worked, Apple did well. When they did not, the company sometimes struggled.
One failure was the Lisa, a new computer introduced in 1983. Named for Jobs's daughter, the computer offered many new features but was overpriced. The next Apple product was the Macintosh, or "Mac." Jobs had been working with his engineers on the computer for several years. Like the Lisa, the Mac had features that made it easy to use. Unlike the Lisa, the Mac was affordable. Introduced in 1984, the Macintosh later turned out to be Apple's best seller.
When young Steve Jobs went to Germany on business, the engineers who met him did not believe that the longhaired "hippie" was really from Atari. Jobs amazed them when he solved a technical problem with a video game in just two hours.
By 1985, Jobs was chairman of Apple's board of directors. He shared control of the company with John Sculley, Apple's president and CEO. The company faced difficult times, trying to overcome early problems with the Mac, and Jobs and Sculley argued over how to turn around Apple's misfortunes. Finally, Sculley asserted his authority. He reorganized the company so that Jobs lost all his power. In September, Jobs resigned.
NeXT and Pixar
At thirty years old, Jobs was the most dynamic executive in Silicon Valley, a multimillionaire—and out of a job. He wasted no time starting a new company, NeXT, to build computers and design software. Jobs planned to target the education market, and he took several Apple employees with him to help build his new computer. Some of the money needed to start the new firm came from selling his shares in Apple. By 1986, he owned just one. That year, Jobs also bought a computer animation company, Pixar, from filmmaker George Lucas (1944-), the producer of the Star Wars films. Over the next several years, Jobs spent $40 million more on this new venture.
The Other Steve
Steve Jobs has always been the most public of Apple's two cofounders, but without Stephen Gary "Woz" Wozniak, the first Apple computer would not have been built. Born on August 11,1950, in San Jose, California, Wozniak designed his first computer while in sixth grade. In high school, he was president of the electronics clubs, won several awards for his creations, and worked as an intern at a local electronics company. Like jobs, Wozniak did not have many friends. Unlike his more serious partner, however, Wozniak was known as a practical joker. He once built a very realistic-looking fake bomb and put it in a friend's locker.
After high school, Wozniak worked for several electronics firms, continuing to design computers in his spare time. In 1975, he built the computer that became the Apple I, first testing it on equipment available at Hewlett-Packard Company (see entry), his employer at the time. Thanks to his partnership with Jobs and the founding of Apple, Wozniak made more money than he ever dreamed possible, but he never saw himself as a businessman. He told People in 1994, "I was meant to design computers, not hire and fire people."
In 1981, Wozniak was injured in a plane crash and took time off from Apple to recover. During his break from Apple, he went to college and sponsored two large rock concerts, the US Festivals. After he returned to work, Wozniak limited his involvement with the company and finally left in 1985. In 1992, he started a new job: teaching computers to elementary school students.
Wozniak kept his shares in Apple's stock, though he had given away a great number of shares right before the company went public in 1980. He also followed the company's progress through good and bad times. In 1996, during one of Apple's low points, he wrote in Newsweek that Apple's leaders—including him—had failed the company with some of their decisions. The biggest mistake, he wrote, was not letting other manufacturers use Apple's superior operating system. Wozniak added, "We were also naive to think that the best technology would prevail. It often doesn't."
Along with teaching, Wozniak did charitable work, giving time, money, and computer equipment to different groups. He also remained involved with new technologies. In 2001, he joined the board of directors of Danger, a company that designs wireless communication devices. The next year, Wozniak announced he was forming a new company, Wheels of Zeus (wOz) to design his own wireless products.
NeXT introduced its first computer in 1988. Housed in a black metal case, the machine looked beautiful. It also had its own operating system, better than existing ones. But NeXT could not compete with Apple and the Microsoft-based personal computers that dominated the market. In February 1993, Jobs announced that NeXT would stop selling computers to concentrate on designing software.
Jobs had better success with Pixar. Working with the Walt Disney Company (see entry), Pixar made the first full-length animation movie created totally by computers. This historic film, Toy Story, was released in 1995 and became an immediate hit. Shortly after the movie was released, Jobs appeared on Charlie Rose, an interview program on PBS. Jobs said he was "not really following the computer industry much anymore." Jobs's involvement in the industry shrank again in December 1996, when he sold NeXT to Apple.
Back to Apple
Just a few months later, Jobs was ready to return to the computer industry—as a consultant at Apple. The title did not indicate Jobs's true role, as he soon took charge again. At a convention for Mac users and programmers, Jobs received a standing ovation, a sign of the respect he had earned for his earlier successes at Apple. By some accounts, Jobs had mellowed. He was not as demanding as he had once been. But he still possessed what some journalists called the "Reality Distortion Field": his ability to make others believe even his wildest ideas were possible.
Under Jobs, Apple continued to introduce successful new products and a few that did not sell very well. His most important contribution may have been restoring a sense of enthusiasm to the Apple "family"—its employees and devoted customers. Even as the United States economy hit difficult times in 2001, Jobs was confident about the future. In January 2002 he told Time, "Victory in our industry is spelled survival. The way we're going to survive is to innovate our way out of this."
For More Information
Malone, Michael S. Infinite Loop. New York: Currency, 1999.
Young, Jeffrey S. Steve jobs: The Journey is the Reward. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1988.
Booth, Cathy. "Steve's Job: Restart Apple." Time (August 18, 1997): p. 28.
Collins, James. "High Stakes Winners." Time (February 19, 1996): p. 42.
Kahn, Joseph P. "Steven Jobs of Apple Computer: The Missionary of Micros." Inc. (April 1984): p. 82.
Min, Janice. "Wizard of Woz." People (February 14, 1994): p. 61.
Mossberg, Walter S. "Radical New iMacs Boast Power, Features, at Competitive Prices." Wall Street Journal (January 17, 2001).
Quittner, Josh. "Apple's New Core." Time (January 14, 2002): p. 46.
Schlender, Bret. "Apple's 21st-Century Walkman." Fortune (November 12, 2001): p. 213.
Wozniak, Steve. "How We Failed Apple." Newsweek (February 19, 1996): p. 48.
Apple Computers, Inc. [On-line] http://www.apple.com (accessed on August 15, 2002).
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"www.apple-history.com." [On-line] http://www.apple-history.com (accessed on August 15, 2002).
As the founder and CEO of Apple Computer Co., the prolific Steve Jobs was at the very heart of the computer revolution. The early Apple computers played an integral part in opening the personal computer market. Through the years, as Jobs shifted his focus to his myriad side projects, Apple's market strength dissipated. By the 2000s, however, Jobs was back in command at Apple, and was busily positioning the company to regain its position atop the personal computer market.
EARLY LIFE, 1955-1975
Steven Paul Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, in San Francisco and raised by adoptive parents, Paul and Clara Jobs. The Jobs family moved in 1961 to Mountain View, California, the heart of what would become Silicon Valley. Jobs reportedly saw his first computer when he was about 12 years old. After graduating from high school, Jobs briefly attended Reed College in Oregon. He soon dropped out of college and led an alternative lifestyle, working for a time as a video game designer at Atari to finance a trip to India.
PROFESSIONAL LIFE BEGAN IN 1975
Jobs returned to California and the family home in Los Altos in 1975. He began attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club with other computer professionals and hobbyists, including his friend Steve Wozniak. In 1976 Jobs and Wozniak founded Apple Computer Co. Jobs handled most of the business aspects of the company, including marketing and sales, while Wozniak was responsible for computer and software design. They built computers in Jobs' parents' garage. Jobs and Wozniak began selling their first computer, the Apple I, in 1976. Like other computers of the time, it was too complex to be used by anyone but computer professionals.
It was the Apple II, introduced in 1977, that began the personal computer revolution. The Apple II was the first fully programmable, fully assembleddesktop computer. Designed for computer novices and general users, it was smaller than other computers and included color graphics and a built-in keyboard, speaker, power supply, and case.
In 1984 Apple introduced the Macintosh, which featured a new operating system with a graphical user interface (GUI) instead of an operating system based strictly on text and text-based commands. The GUI used icons as well as text for commands and allowed users to point and click with a mouse. The first GUI was developed by Xerox Corp., but Apple was the first to apply it to a personal computer. The Macintosh was so easy to use that it came to be regarded as the first personal computer for the average person with no special computer training or knowledge.
JOBS SEPARATES FROM APPLE, 1985-1995
Jobs and Wozniak both left Apple in 1985 after Jobs hired John Sculley from PepsiCo to run the company. Jobs immediately started a new computer company, NeXT Computer Inc. At first NeXT built computers for colleges and universities. After the computers failed to become big sellers, the company turned to creating software. It developed an operating system, NextStep, which was soon overshadowed by Microsoft's Windows.
While continuing to run NeXT, Jobs became involved in another business. In 1986 he bought the special effects division of George Lucas's LucasFilm Ltd. for $10 million and renamed it Pixar. Under Jobs Pixar made workstations and software to enhance digital images. One of its notable software products was called RenderMan. It enabled computer graphic artists to add textures and color onto three-dimensional objects. One of the applications of RenderMan was to create the realistic skin and teeth on the dinosaurs in the 1993 film, Jurassic Park.
Another division of Pixar was involved in making short animated films. Although these films were designed to showcase Pixar's software, they began winning awards. The films were made under the direction of John Lasseter, who joined Pixar when it was a division of LucasFilm. In the early 1990's Lasseter and his colleagues teamed up with Walt Disney Co. to work on full-length animated feature films. Pixar developed a new way to create three-dimensional animation for use in film sequences, videos, CD-ROM games, and other applications.
Following the release of its first animated feature, Toy Story, in 1995, Pixar became financially successful. The company went public and followed up with two more hits, A Bug's Life in 1998 and Toy Story 2 in 1999. Following these successes, Jobs' share of the company was worth more than $1 billion.
JOBS RETURNED TO APPLE, 1996-2001
As Windows became the dominant operating system in the 1990s, Apple was struggling with dwindling sales and market share. In December 1996 Jobs sold NeXT to Apple for $400 million and returned to the company as a consultant. After then-CEO Gilbert Amelio was forced out by Apple's board of directors, Jobs assumed an expanded role as a key advisor to the company. Morale at the company returned to a higher level because of Jobs' new role, and the company's loyal customers looked forward to new developments.
In September 1997 Jobs was named interim CEO of Apple. At the time Apple had only about 10 percent of the personal computer market, compared to 85 percent for Windows. As interim CEO Jobs took steps to refocus the company and cut costs. He eliminated Apple's licensing program so that other manufacturers could not make computers based on the Macintosh operating system. He refocused the company's product lines to better serve the education, home, and desktop publishing segments. He cut costs by outsourcing manufacturing, cutting the number of distributors, and reducing the amount of inventory on hand.
Jobs and Microsoft head Bill Gates were able to reach an agreement whereby Microsoft agreed to settle Apple's long-standing patent-infringement lawsuit and invest $150 million in Apple. Microsoft announced that it would develop software to run on the Macintosh platform, thus giving Mac users more choices in software.
In August 1998 Apple introduced a new line of computers, the iMac, that came in different colors and featured a new, rounded shape. A bold advertising campaign featuring the slogan, "Think Different" launched the iMac and helped it become an immediate sensation. Following the introduction of the iMac, Apple's financial performance improved. As the company posted solid gains in earnings its stock rose on Wall Street, reaching an all-time high of $118 in December 1999.
In January 2000 Jobs dropped "interim" from his title and became CEO of Apple, but 2000 would prove to be a difficult year for the company. Its stock fell to a low of $13, and its new Power Mac G4 Cube was not well received and was subsequently discontinued.
RETOOLING APPLE, 2001 AND BEYOND
In January 2001 Apple announced its first quarterly loss since Jobs returned to the company. For the quarter ending December 30, 2000, Apple reported a $247 million loss from operations, due largely to the poor performance of the G4 Cube. It was the end of a disappointing year for Apple. Critics noted that Apple had anticipated strong demand for video, building DVD drives into its computers and installing its critically acclaimed video editing software. Instead, 2000 was the year in which consumers, downloading digital music files and burning their own audio CDs, wanted more audio from their computers. Apple failed to anticipate that demand and, in fact, none of its computers came with installed read/write CD drives.
Apple computers were also equipped with slower processors than Intel-powered PCs. At the end of 2000 the fastest processor in an Apple computer was the 500-megahertz G4 chip in Macs for the professional market. By contrast, Intel-based chips were up to 1.5 gigahertz, three times the size of Apple's largest processor.
To retool the company and focus on innovation, Jobs directed several initiatives at Apple in the first half of 2001. He announced plans to open up to 25 retail stores by the end of the year, starting with outlets in Glendale, California, and Tysons Corner, Virginia. To lead Apple's retail team, Jobs recruited former Target Corp. merchandising executive Ron Johnson, who designed a 4,500-foot open space divided into subsections that focused more on what people do with their computers than the computers themselves. Apple expected the stores to become profitable by fiscal 2002.
Apple also introduced version 10.1 of its OS X operating system and updated versions of the iBook notebook computer and the Titanium PowerBook G4. Strong sales of the PowerBook in 2000 helped offset the Cube's poor sales. The new G4 PowerBook would come with a choice of three processors: a 733 MHz, 867 MHz, or a high-end version with dual 800 MHz processors.
Jobs was also determined to recapture lost market share in the education market, where Apple held more than 50 percent of the market in 1997. Through its low-priced PC program, Dell Computer Corp. had captured 34.3 percent of the U.S. education market, compared to Apple's 19 percent, by 2001.
Judging by a 25 percent increase in attendance at the mid-2001 Macworld Expo, consumer interest remained strong in Apple's innovative products. A major concern among consumers and professionals who managed networks of Macintosh computers for businesses and educational institutions was a lack of new software for Apple's new Unix-based OS X operating system. To address those concerns, Jobs displayed demo products from 10 software makers, including Adobe and Microsoft, that would be available later in the year for OS X, at the 2001 Macworld Expo.
Jobs, known as a charismatic leader and adept marketer, appeared committed to transforming Apple into a high-performance company. Even though Apple only had a 5 or 6 percent share of the personal computer market, Jobs told Business Week, "We only have to convince another 6 percent of PC buyers to buy from us and we can double the size of our company. That's exciting."
"Apple." Business Week, July 31, 2000.
Bedell, Doug. "Ambitious Plan to Retool Apple Makes Jobs Lose Sleep." Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News, July 18, 2001.
Clark, Ken. "Next Act for Apple: Stores." Chain Store Age Executive with Shopping Center Age, July 2001.
——. "Despite Recent Stock Slip, Jobs Isn't Finished with Apple." Computer Reseller News, October 16, 2000.
Fortt, Jon. "Jobs Trying to Revive Apple after Disappointing Year." Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News, January 8, 2001.
"If the PC Doesn't Change, It'll Go the Way of the Dodo." Business Week, July 31, 2000.
Jobs, Steven. "Apple's One-Dollar-a-Year Man." Fortune, January 24, 2000.
Johnson, Cecil. "Warts-and-All Portrait of Steve Jobs a Valuable Account." Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News, November 9, 2000.
"Steve Jobs' Apple Gets Way Cooler." Fortune, January 24, 2000.
SEE ALSO: Apple Computer; Wozniak, Steve
Computer designer and corporate executive Steve Jobs is cofounder of Apple Computers. With his vision of affordable personal computers, he launched one of the largest industries of the past decades while still in his early twenties. He remains one of the most inventive and energetic minds in American technology.
Steven Jobs was born February 24, 1955, in San Francisco, California, and was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs. He grew up with one sister, Patty. Paul Jobs was a machinist and fixed cars as a hobby. Jobs remembers his father as being very skilled at working with his hands.
In 1961 the family moved to Mountain View, California. This area, just south of Palo Alto, California, was becoming a center for electronics. Electronics form the basic elements of devices such as radios, televisions, stereos, and computers. At that time people started to refer to the area as "Silicon Valley." This is because a substance called silicon is used in the manufacturing of electronic parts.
As a child, Jobs preferred doing things by himself. He swam competitively, but was not interested in team sports or other group activities. He showed an early interest in electronics and gadgetry. He spent a lot of time working in the garage workshop of a neighbor who worked at Hewlett-Packard, an electronics manufacturer.
Jobs also enrolled in the Hewlett-Packard Explorer Club. There he saw engineers demonstrate new products, and he saw his first computer at the age of twelve. He was very impressed, and knew right away that he wanted to work with computers.
While in high school Jobs attended lectures at the Hewlett-Packard plant. On one occasion he boldly asked William Hewlett (1931–2001), the president, for some parts he needed to complete a class project. Hewlett was so impressed he gave Jobs the parts, and offered him a summer internship at Hewlett-Packard.
College and travel
After graduating from high school in 1972, Jobs attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, for two years. He dropped out after one semester to visit India and study eastern religions in the summer of 1974. In 1975 Jobs joined a group known as the Homebrew Computer Club. One member, a technical whiz named Steve Wozniak (1950–), was trying to build a small computer. Jobs became fascinated with the marketing potential of such a computer. In 1976 he and Wozniak formed their own company. They called it Apple Computer Company, in memory of a happy summer Jobs had spent picking apples. They raised $1,300 in startup money by selling Jobs's microbus and Wozniak's calculator. At first they sold circuit boards (the boards that hold the internal components of a computer) while they worked on the computer prototype (sample).
Apple and the personal computer era
Jobs had realized there was a huge gap in the computer market. At that time almost all computers were mainframes. They were so large that one could fill a room, and so costly that individuals could not afford to buy them. Advances in electronics, however, meant that computer components were getting smaller and the power of the computer was increasing.
Jobs and Wozniak redesigned their computer, with the idea of selling it to individual users. The Apple II went to market in 1977, with impressive first year sales of $2.7 million. The company's sales grew to $200 million within three years. This was one of the most phenomenal cases of corporate growth in U.S. history. Jobs and Wozniak had opened an entirely new market—personal computers. Personal computers began an entirely new way of processing information.
By 1980 the personal computer era was well underway. Apple was continually forced to improve its products to remain ahead, as more competitors entered the marketplace. Apple introduced the Apple III, but the new model suffered technical and marketing problems. It was withdrawn from the market, and was later reworked and reintroduced.
Jobs continued to be the marketing force behind Apple. Early in 1983 he unveiled the Lisa. It was designed for people possessing minimal computer experience. It did not sell well, however, because it was more expensive than personal computers sold by competitors. Apple's biggest competitor was International Business Machines (IBM). By 1983 it was estimated that Apple had lost half of its market share (part of an industry's sales that a specific company has) to IBM.
In 1984 Apple introduced a revolutionary new model, the Macintosh. The on-screen display had small pictures called icons. To use the computer, the user pointed at an icon and clicked a button using a new device called a mouse. This process made the Macintosh very easy to use. The Macintosh did not sell well to businesses, however. It lacked features other personal computers had, such as a corresponding high quality printer. The failure of the Macintosh signaled the beginning of Jobs's downfall at Apple. Jobs resigned in 1985 from the company he had helped found, though he retained his title as chairman of its board of directors.
Jobs soon hired some of his former employees to begin a new computer company called NeXT. Late in 1988 the NeXT computer was introduced at a large gala event in San Francisco, aimed at the educational market. Initial reactions were generally good. The product was very user-friendly, and had a fast processing speed, excellent graphics displays, and an outstanding sound system. Despite the warm reception, however, the NeXT machine never caught on. It was too costly, had a black-and-white screen, and could not be linked to other computers or run common software.
NeXT was not, however, the end of Steve Jobs. In 1986 Jobs purchased a small company called Pixar from filmmaker George Lucas (1944–). Pixar specialized in computer animation. Nine years later Pixar released Toy Story, a huge box office hit. Pixar later went on to make Toy Story 2 and A Bug's Life, which Disney distributed, and Monsters, Inc. All these films have been extremely successful. Monsters, Inc. had the largest opening weekend ticket sales of any animated film in history.
NeXT and Apple
In December of 1996 Apple purchased NeXT Software for over $400 million. Jobs returned to Apple as a part-time consultant to the chief executive officer (CEO). The following year, in a surprising event, Apple entered into a partnership with its competitor Microsoft. The two companies, according to the New York Times, "agreed to cooperate on several sales and technology fronts." Over the next six years Apple introduced several new products and marketing strategies.
In November 1997 Jobs announced Apple would sell computers directly to users over the Internet and by telephone. The Apple Store became a runaway success. Within a week it was the third-largest e-commerce site on the Internet. In September of 1997 Jobs was named interim CEO of Apple.
In 1998 Jobs announced the release of the iMac, which featured powerful computing at an affordable price. The iBook was unveiled in July 1999. This is a clam-shaped laptop that is available in bright colors. It includes Apple's AirPort, a computer version of the cordless phone that would allow the user to surf the Internet wirelessly. In January 2000 Jobs unveiled Apple's new Internet strategy. It included a group of Macintosh-only Internet-based applications. Jobs also announced that he was becoming the permanent CEO of Apple.
In a February 1996 Time magazine article, Jobs said, "The thing that drives me and my colleagues … is that you see something very compelling to you, and you don't quite know how to get it, but you know, sometimes intuitively, it's within your grasp. And it's worth putting in years of your life to make it come into existence." Jobs has worked hard to translate his ideas into exciting and innovative products for businesses and consumers. He was instrumental in launching the age of the personal computer. Steve Jobs is truly a computer industry visionary.
For More Information
Brashares, Ann. Steve Jobs: Think Different. Brookfield, CT: Twenty-first Century Books, 2001.
Butcher, Lee. Accidental Millionaire: The Rise and Fall of Steven Jobs at Apple Computer. New York: Paragon House, 1987.
Wilson, Suzan. Steve Jobs: Wizard of Apple Computer. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 2001.
Young, Jeffrey S. Steve Jobs: The Journey is the Reward. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1988.
Computer designer and corporate executive Steven Jobs (born 1955) is cofounder of Apple Computers. With his vision of affordable personal computers, he launched one of the largest industries of the past decades while still in his early twenties and remains one of the most inventive and energetic minds in American technology.
Born in 1955, Steven Jobs was adopted shortly thereafter by a California couple, Paul and Clara Jobs. Jobs showed an early interest in electronics and gadgetry. As a high school student, he boldly asked William Hewlett, co-founder and president of the Hewlett-Packard computer firm, for some parts he needed to complete a class project. Hewlett was impressed enough to give Jobs the parts and offer him a summer internship at Hewlett-Packard.
Dropped Out of College
After graduating from high school in 1972, Jobs attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, for two years before dropping out, partly to ease his family's financial burden and partly to find himself. He hoped to visit India and study eastern spiritualism, but lacking necessary funds, went to work part-time for Atari Computers. He was able to save enough money to finance a trip to India in the summer of 1974. While there, he practiced meditation, studied eastern culture and religion, and even shaved his head. But by the fall, he became ill with dysentery and was forced to return to the United States.
For a short time, Jobs lived in a California commune but soon became disenchanted with the lifestyle. In 1975, he began associating with a group of computer aficionados known as the Homebrew Computer Club. One member, a technical whiz named Steve Wosniak, whom Jobs had first met at Hewlett-Packard, was trying to build a small computer. Jobs became fascinated with the marketing potential of such a computer, and in 1976 he and Wosniak formed their own company. The team was content to sell circuit boards designed by Wosniak until the computer prototype was complete. That same year, Wosniak succeeded in designing a small computer, and using Jobs's parents' garage, the two men worked to refine and market the product.
Cofounded Apple Computer Co.
Jobs saw a huge gap in the existing computer market, as no product was targeted for home use. Wosniak improved his initial computer while Jobs lined up investors and bank financing. Marketing manager A. C. Markkula eventually invested $250,000 and became an equal partner in the Apple Computer Company. With new capital, Jobs and Wosniak refined the prototype. The redesigned computer— christened the "Apple II"—hit the market in 1977, with impressive first year sales of $2.7 million. In one of the most phenomenal cases of corporate growth in U.S. history, the company's sales grew to $200 million within three years. Jobs and Wosniak had opened an entirely new market, that of personal computers, bringing the computational speed of business systems into people's homes and beginning a new era in information processing.
By 1980, the personal computer era was well underway. Apple was forced to continually improve its products to remain ahead in a growing marketplace. Competitors such as Radio Shack, Commodore, and IBM were gaining sales from Apple's market. In 1980, Apple introduced the Apple III computer, and improved version of the Apple II, but the new model suffered technical and marketing problems. It was withdrawn from the market, but was later reworked and reintroduced.
Jobs continued to be the marketing force behind Apple. He admitted that mistakes were made with the Apple III, but looked for innovative ways to meet new and existing consumer needs. Early in 1983, Jobs unveiled Lisa, another new computer, aimed this time at business executives. Lisa was designed for people possessing minimal computer experience. The model did not sell well, however, because of its high price and increased competition from IBM personal computers. By 1983, it was estimated that Apple lost half of its market share to IBM.
Macintosh falls, Jobs resigns
Faced with a declining market share, Apple introduced the Macintosh in 1984. In designing the model, Jobs apparently paid more attention to appearances than function. Although the Macintosh had "user-friendly" software and on-screen displays, Jobs failed to equip it with either a letter-quality printer or a hard disk drive. Lacking these features, the Macintosh did not sell well to businesses. The failure of the Macintosh signalled the beginning of Jobs's downfall at Apple Computer Company. In 1985, following a highly publicized showdown at Apple, Jobs resigned from the company he had founded, though he retained his title as chairman of its board of directors.
It was not long before Steve Jobs resurfaced, however. Soon after leaving Apple, he hired some of his former employees to begin a new computer company. The company was called NeXT, and Jobs invested $7 million of his own money to get it started. For three years, Jobs and his employees worked to produce the first NeXT computer, which was aimed at the educational market. Late in 1988, the NeXT computer was introduced at a large gala event in San Francisco. Initial reactions were generally good; the product was user-friendly, with very fast processing speed, excellent graphics displays, and an outstanding sound system. Other innovations included an optical disk drive instead of floppy disks, and a special sound chip to provide the fidelity of a compact disc. Judging from initial reactions, many critics were convinced that Steve Jobs had brought another revolutionary product to American consumers.
Despite the warm reception, however, the NeXT machine never caught on. It was too costly, had a black-and-white screen, and couldn't be linked to other computers or run common software, Joseph Nocera wrote in a biting profile of Jobs in Gentleman's Quarterly. Nocera argued that Jobs's charisma and persuasive charm duped his employees, the press, and Jobs himself into believing he could not fail—despite strong evidence to the contrary. "Jobs started NeXT with an unshakable faith in his own press clips, in which his mistakes were always overlooked while his supposed triumphs were always wildly oversold," Nocera wrote.
Nocera said he also fell victim to the Jobs myth when he visited NeXT in 1986. He witnessed Jobs brutalize employees who worshipped him, obsess over mindless details, and indulge his expensive tastes—yet Nocera reported none of the contradictions. "The point is," he wrote in 1993, "my willingness to be seduced by Steve Jobs caused me to miss what I was seeing with my own eyes. Even in 1986, the evidence strongly suggested that lightning was not going to strike twice. The incongruities were too severe, the dreams too farfetched…. You'd ask the people at NeXT how, exactly, their computer was going to change the world and they would lapse into gobbledygook; they really had no idea what they were trying to accomplish with this new machine."
Bought Pixar, Made Toy Story
NeXT was not, however, the end of Steve Jobs. Lightning, indeed, struck a second time. In 1986, Jobs paid filmmaker George Lucas $10 million for a small firm called Pixar that specialized in computer animation. "Over the next six years Jobs poured another $40 million of his own money into the company … as it set out to make the first-ever computer-animated feature film," Time magazine reported in February 1996. That film was Toy Story, a huge box office hit. Pixar's initial public stock offering was an enormous success. The share price climbed dramatically, and Jobs's 80 percent stake in Pixar suddenly was worth $1 billion.
"Jobs makes the point that Pixar, like other (initial public offering) overnight successes, was really anything but an overnight success," said the Time article. "-The things I've done in my life have required a lot of years of work before they took off,' he says. He and Wosniak started work on Apple in 1975. -So it was really six years of work before we went public. And Pixar has been 10 years…. The thing that drives me and my colleagues … is that you see something very compelling to you, and you don't quite know how to get it, but you know, sometimes intuitively, it's within your grasp. And it's worth putting in years of your life to make it come into existence."'
In December of 1996, Apple announced that it was purchasing Next Software for over $400 million. Jobs returned to Apple as a part-time consultant to CEO Gilbert Amelio. The following year, in August, Apple entered into a partnership with archrival Microsoft, in which the two companies, according to the New York Times, "agreed to cooperate on several sales and technology fronts." The alliance was an unprecedented one for the industry, but analysts predicted that Microsoft's support will ultimately save Apple, a company that had in the late 1990s come to serve a much more niche market than Microsoft. "We want to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose," Jobs said. In September of 1997, Jobs was named interim CEO of Apple while a replacement for the ousted Amelio was sought.
Butcher, Lee, Accidental Millionaire: The Rise and Fall of Steven Jobs at Apple Computer, Paragon House, 1987.
Young, Jeffrey S., Steve Jobs: The Journey Is the Reward, Scott, Foresman, 1988.
Esquire, December, 1986, pp. 84-101.
Fortune, February 20, 1984, pp. 86-88.
Gentleman's Quarterly, October 1993, pp. 105-111.
Newsweek, January 30, 1984, pp. 54-57; September 30, 1985, pp. 46-50; October 24, 1988, pp. 46-51.
Rolling Stone, April 4, 1996, pp. 51 °.
Time, February 15, 1982, pp. 40-41; January 3, 1983, pp. 25-27; January 30, 1984, pp. 68-69; February 19, 1996, pp. 43-47.
Business Week March 17, 1997, pp. 116. □
Jobs, Steven Paul
JOBS, STEVEN PAUL
Computer designer and corporate executive Steven Jobs (1955–) was the co-founder of Apple Computers. He helped create one of the first affordable personal computers for home use and launched one of the largest industries in the United States. Jobs, with his friend, Steve Wozniak (1950–), pioneered the design and development of desktop computers.
Born in 1955 and adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountainview, California, Steven Jobs grew up in the comfortable environment his adoptive parents provided. His father was a machinist, and his mother an accountant. Steve attended high school in Los Gatos, California, where his family had moved. While in high school he became involved with electronics projects and worked a summer job at a nearby computer firm, Hewlett Packard. After graduating in 1972 Jobs attended Reed College for two years before dropping out. He worked for the Atari computer company part time where he earned enough money to visit India to study Eastern spiritualism. While in India he practiced meditation and studied Eastern culture, but he became ill with dysentery after three months and was forced to return to the United States for adequate medical treatment.
In 1975 Jobs began associating with a group of computer aficionados known as the Homebrew Computer Club. There he met a technical whiz named Steve Wozniak, who was working on building a small computer. Jobs and Wozniak teamed up and formed Apple Computer Corporation in 1976. Wozniak finished the design of his small computer and, working out of Steve Jobs' parents' garage, the two men worked at refining and marketing their product.
Jobs saw a huge gap in the existing computer market at that time because no computer was yet targeted for home use. While Wozniak improved his initial computer, Jobs lined up investors and bank financing.
The redesigned computer, called the "Apple II," hit the marketplace in 1977. The first year sales reached $2.7 million and within three years had grown to $200 million. Jobs and Wozniak successfully and importantly opened an entirely new market—the home, or personal, computer. They brought the computational speed of business systems into people's homes and started a new era in information processing.
By 1980 the personal computer era was well underway and Apple had plenty of competition from Radio Shack, Commodore, and IBM. Fierce competition proved a good thing for the consumer public, but the Apple corporation stumbled in its efforts to stay ahead of the competition. When the Apple III was introduced to the public in 1980 it suffered from technical and marketing problems. In 1983 Jobs' introduction of the new computer Lisa failed in the marketplace because of its high price and stiff competition from IBM. Apple lost half of its market share in 1983. The Macintosh was introduced in 1984 and continued Apple's trend of poor marketplace performance. By 1985, following internal conflicts at Apple Corporation, Steve Jobs resigned from the company he had founded, retaining only his title as chairman of the board of directors.
That same year, Jobs sold his shares of Apple stock to launch another business in Redwood City, California, called "NEXT." The goal of NEXT was simple: to build a breakthrough computer that would revolutionize research and higher education. Jobs used $100 million of his own assets from Apple shares to start NEXT, and other entrepreneurs, like Texas billionaire Ross Perot (1930—), invested an additional $20 million in the project. Canon Corporation also invested heavily, $100 million in 1989, and an additional $15 million extended in credit to NEXT in 1992. The NEXT did not live up to its goals and Jobs was criticized by the business media as being more of a business huckster than a consistently productive business entrepreneur. However, lightning did strike twice for Jobs.
In 1986 Jobs had purchased a small firm from filmmaker, George Lucas (1945–), called PIXAR, a business specializing in computer animation. During the next six years Jobs put $40 million into PIXAR and set out to make the first-ever completely computer animated film. In 1996 the film "Toy Story" was released. Produced completely with PIXAR computer animation, it was an enormous success. PIXAR's market value for Steve Jobs, who owned 90 percent of the company, climbed suddenly to $1 billion.
Within a short time after PIXAR's success Jobs made headlines again. In 1995 Apple bought Jobs' NEXT company for $400 million and rehired Jobs as advisor to G.F. Amelio, the Apple chief executive officer (CEO). Jobs was also officially re-appointed to Apple's board of directors. Apple understood that it could not hope for a better salesman than Jobs. His genius for infecting others with his enthusiasm was recognized by critics and admirers alike.
By 1997 lightning struck Jobs a third time. Jobs and Bill Gates (1955–), CEO of Microsoft Corporation, announced that their companies were joining forces. Microsoft would invest $150 million for a nonvoting minority stake in Apple and the two companies would cooperate in several marketing and technology fronts. This alliance made Microsoft and Apple the two largest players in the still growing computer industry. Steve Jobs regained his former position as one of the richest and most successful people in the revolutionary marketplace of home and business computers.
See also: Computer Industry, Stephen Wozniak
Butcher, Lee. Accidental Millionaire: The Rise and Fall of Steven Jobs at Apple Computer. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 1987.
Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale Research, 1998, s.v. "Jobs, Steven."
Sculley, John. From Pepsi to Apple. New York: Harper & Row, 1987.
Stross, Randall. Steve Jobs and the Next Big Thing. New York: Atheneum, 1993.
Young, Jeffrey S. Steve Jobs: The Journey is the Reward. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1988.
Maverick computer innovator Steve Jobs, along with his friend and partner, Steve Wozniak, formed the Apple Computer Company in the late 1970s. They pioneered the design and development of desktop computers for the general public. The creation of the Macintosh computer in the mid-1980s ushered in a new era of tremendously widespread user friendly machines. After being ousted from Apple, Jobs went on to form the NeXT Computer Company. He also bought Pixar Animation Studios, where Toy Story, the first wholly computer generated and animated film, was created.
Jobs was born in 1955 and was put up for adoption by his unwed parents shortly after his birth. Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountainview, California, adopted him. The elder Jobs was a machinist who worked on lasers, while his wife was an accountant.
Jobs and his parents moved to Los Altos, California, before he entered high school. A statement the preteen Jobs made to his parents allegedly precipitated the move: he said that he wouldn't return to school in Mountainview, so his parents decided to move. While a high school student, Jobs contacted William Hewlett, the president of Hewlett Packard, and asked for some parts for an electronics project. Jobs not only obtained the parts he desired; he was offered a summer job at Hewlett Packard.
Jobs graduated from high school in 1972 and briefly attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon. In 1974, he went to work for Atari Incorporated as a video game designer. After saving some money from his stint at Atari, Jobs was able to embark on a spiritual sojourn to the Indian subcontinent during the summer of 1974. While in India, Jobs sought to immerse himself in the Eastern way of life. A bout with dysentery in the autumn of 1974 cut his trip short and Jobs moved back to California and into a commune.
By 1975, Jobs started to get involved with the Homebrew Computer Club, which was headed by Steve Wozniak, an acquaintance of his from Hewlett Packard. Wozniak was starting to develop what would become the prototype for the Apple Computer series. Jobs had persuaded him to market his designs and prototypes and the two of them began, in earnest, to develop what would ultimately become the first Apple Computer.
Jobs and Wozniak worked on the Apple I in Jobs' garage and by 1976 they offered models for sale. The most uniquely innovative feature of the $700 machine was its single board read-only memory (ROM), which instructed the computer to load and read other programs from outside sources.
The development and sale of the Apple II, which retained the unique features of its predecessor in an updated format, began in 1977. Jobs then got in touch with the former marketing manager at Intel and brought him to Apple. Jobs began to encourage independent programmers to create software for the Apple II, and soon everything from business management tools to video games became available for use on the Apple II.
First year sales for Apple were almost $3 million. Impressive as that was, it paled in comparison to the figures reached by the beginning of the 1980s. By 1980, sales had ballooned to $200 million, and the phenomenal success of Apple helped to usher in the revolutionary personal computer era.
Throughout the 1980s, Apple was forced to continuously update its systems in order to stay ahead of the competition. Jobs and Apple faltered a bit with the release of the Apple III in 1980. The model was riddled with technical and marketing problems and as a result, sold poorly.
In 1983, Jobs pitched Lisa as the computer for business people who had limited computer expertise. Lisa did not sell well due to its high price and the increased competition from IBM who, by 1983, had gained half of Apple's market share.
In 1984, Apple released the Macintosh computer. Envisioned as the computer that would revitalize not only Apple but the computer industry as well, the Macintosh floundered at first. The initial downfall of the Macintosh in business circles was its lack of a letter-quality printer and a hard drive. The less than stellar sales of the Macintosh were instrumental in bringing about Jobs' forced resignation from Apple.
Social and Economic Impact
Mounting pressure at Apple set the stage for Jobs' resignation, in 1985, although he still remained chairman of the board of directors of the company. Shortly after Jobs left Apple, he formed the NeXT Computer Company. In 1988, the NeXT computer boasted a number of innovations, including extremely quick processing speeds, a superb graphics and sound system, and an optical disk drive. Despite all of these innovations, however, sales of the NeXT computer fell flat, due to its steep price, black and white screen, and inability to network. Not to be deterred, Jobs pressed on with NeXT, changing the focus from hardware to software. NeXT eventually gained some prestige by helping to facilitate the establishment of the World Wide Web in the 1990s.
In 1986, Jobs acquired Pixar Animation Studios for $10 million from filmmaker George Lucas. Jobs poured large amounts of his own money into Pixar to develop and establish it as a premiere movie studio. His $50 million investment in Pixar paid off as the first wholly computer-animated film Toy Story was a certified smash hit when it was released in 1995. By 1997, Jobs' 80 percent share of Pixar was worth $1 billion.
By 1996, Jobs was looking to sell NeXT and more fully concentrate his efforts on Pixar. He eventually sold it to Apple for $400 million. At the time, Apple was in need of an updated operating system and NeXT had one to offer, plus NeXT had developed an association with Internet users that Apple desired as well. Apple also acquired Jobs as a part-time consultant for Apple's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gilbert Amelio.
Commenting on his return to Apple, Jobs told Steve Lohr of the New York Times Magazine, "It was like the first adult love of your life; something that is always special to you no matter how it turns out."
Jobs was instrumental in engineering the joint agreement between Apple and its great rival, Microsoft. Both companies agreed to cooperate on selected marketing and technological issues of mutual interest.
In September of 1997, Jobs was named interim CEO of Apple. After his return, he implemented the eighth version of the Macintosh operating system, developed a dialogue with Microsoft, and eliminated Apple's clone licensing program.
Chronology: Steve Jobs
1975: Joined Homebrew Computer Club.
1976: Formed Apple Computer Company with Steve Wozniak.
1977: Unveiled Apple II computer.
1984: Introduced Macintosh computer.
1985: Resigned from Apple.
1985: Formed NeXT Computer Company.
1986: Bought Pixar Animation Studios.
1997: Named interim chief executive officer (CEO) of Apple.
Emphasizing the past appeal of Apple, Jobs told Lohr, "Great products are a triumph of taste; of trying to expose yourself to the best things humans have done and trying to bring those things into what you are doing."
Sources of Information
Contact at: Apple Computer
10260 Bandley Drive
Cupertino, CA 95014
"Apple Names Steve Jobs as Interim Chief Executive." InfoWorld, 22 September 1997.
"Creating Jobs." New York Times Magazine, 12 January 1997.
"Picking Up the Pieces of a Shattered Dream." Computer Weekly, 18 February 1998.
Byers, Paula K. , and Suzanne Bourgoin, eds. Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998.
"Steven P. Jobs." PC Magazine, 16 December 1997.
"Steven P. Jobs." World of Invention. Detroit: Gale, 1994.
"Well Steve, What'll It Be?" Business Week, 30 March 1998.
Jobs, Steven Paul
Steven Paul Jobs (jŏbz), 1955–2011, American computer-industry executive, b. San Francisco. He dropped out of Reed College (1972), and working with Stephen Wozniak, helped launch the personal-computer revolution by founding (1976) the Apple company and introducing (1977) its first product, the Apple II computer. Jobs later successfully established Apple's line as a sleek, user-friendly, graphically oriented alternative to the IBM-Microsoft personal computer and an important factor in desktop publishing. He resigned in 1985 after losing a corporate power struggle.
In 1985 he founded the NeXT Computer Company and in 1986 bought Pixar Animation Studios, a computer animation firm founded by George Lucas. When Pixar went public in 1995, Jobs became an overnight billionaire. In 2006 Pixar was purchased by the Walt Disney Company, making Jobs the largest shareholder in Disney.
In 1996, Apple acquired NeXT and Jobs returned to the company, serving as chief executive from 1997 (interim CE0, 1997–2000). He played a key role in reviving the financially ailing company, and reconfirmed his reputation as an industry visionary. Jobs oversaw the development of elegantly designed digital music players, smartphones, and computer tablets whose enormous success also led Apple to become a significant music and software vendor. Seriously ill, he stepped down as chief executive in 2011 and was briefly Apple's chairman before he died.
See biography by W. Isaacson (2011); L. Butcher, Accidental Millionaire (1988); J. Young, Steve Jobs (1988); S. Levy, Insanely Great (1994); A. Deutschman, The Second Coming of Steve Jobs (2000); D. A. Price, The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company (2008); B. Schlender and R. Tetzell, Becoming Steve Jobs (2015).