Thursday, 6 October 2011

Leaders pay tribute to Steve Jobs

Business and World leaders have paid tribute to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who has died at the age of 56 from pancreatic cancer.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates said it had been "an insanely great honour" to work with Steve Jobs. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called Jobs his "mentor and friend". US President Barack Obama and Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev said Mr Jobs had changed the world.

Apple said Jobs had been "the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives" and had made the world "immeasurably better".

Steve Jobs co-founded Apple in the 1976 with Steve Wozniak (shown on the right).

Apple grew dramatically as personal computers took off, yet Jobs was ousted from the company in a boardroom battle in 1985. Jobs then bought Pixar from George Lucas and also founded NeXT Computer, the later was eventually bought by Apple in 1996. During Jobs absence Apple's fortunes in the 1990's turned from bad to worse.

The acquisition of NeXT saw Jobs return to Apple in 1997. Jobs was later named CEO. He set about streamlining the product range and launched iMac in 1998. This was the start of the one of the most dramatic turnarounds in business history. Some of NeXT Computer's technology was the basis of Apple's new operating system OS X.

Jobs realised before most that computers would become 'digital hubs' in our homes for music, photos and movies. Apple secretly bought a Mac only music player program called SoundJam MP in 2000 that could encode CDs into MP3 files and manage MP3 playlists, hired the developers and reworked it into iTunes to support the launch of the iPod in 2001.

After nearly 3 years of secret development Apple launched the iPhone in 2007 which has become one of the best selling smart phones in history. The Apple apps store finally made installing software on a phone child's play and has been replicated by other manufacturers. The iPad followed in 2010 and is currently the tablet other manufacturers are trying to beat, with 75% market share in the US this year.

With a market value estimated at $351bn (£227bn), Apple has become the world's most valuable technology company. Yet to some, this huge multinational company still has cult status. According to Associated Press, thousand of people have been leaving flowers and lighting candles outside Apple stores around the world.

Steve Jobs was a man who broke the mould and wasn't happy to settle for second best. His visionary speech at Stanford in 2005 sums up his philosophy on life.

On October 5, 2011, Jobs died in California at age 56, seven years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
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