The world today mourns the loss of a creative genius that defined an era of technological marvel. Steve Jobs was without a doubt a remarkable individual. He who was a co-founder of Apple Inc. and took the company to its lofty height where it is perched today (with more disposable income than the US government). However, it wasn’t always so ‘hunky-dory’ – Jobs was once ousted in 1985 from the company that adores him today. But this didn’t stop Jobs. He went on to found NeXT Inc, which specialised in software that even current Apple MAC operating systems (OS) are based on, and Apple later bought out NeXT and subsequently Jobs returned to his former company, and was made CEO in 1997, and later reminisced about the situation in 2000 saying, “My position coming back to Apple was that our industry was in a coma. It reminded me of Detroit in the ’70s, when American cars were boats on wheels.”
I personally remember using my father’s first Apple Mac computer, the LC-475 – purchased in 1994 to be precise. It was one of the first computers of many in my household, but what really set it apart from the ‘Personal Computer’ (PC) was the simplicity of the operating system and the user-friendliness, not to mention the sleek Apple marketing campaigns that helped sell it in the first place. I can certainly think of many memorable moments and games that I used to play on the machine and it is probably still around somewhere in the junk heap that is my father’s treasure trove in the garden. But with the LC-475 and the few subsequent models that followed, Apple was failing in every single way and competition was stiff, with PCs outselling MACs by a huge margin. But thankfully, Jobs was reinstated as CEO with the acquisition of NeXT and took Apple out of the red and into the black.
Jobs reinvented the Apple wheel and gave rise to a cool and trendy looking iMac in 1998, dubbed as Apple’s new beginning, and this opened up the door for consumers to own one whole piece of hardware that came in various different colours, where previously Apple computers were regarded as a luxury purchase only for the creative design industry. From thereon, Jobs never looked back and the company went from strength to strength – which pertinently brings us to where we are today – with all the technological wizardry, the plush new metallic iMacs and the iPads that we can’t seem to live without.
Yet with Jobs it didn’t stop there. In 1986, he acquired the computer arm of Lucas Film (known for its legendary Star Wars films) and Pixar was born, leading the way for computer-generated animation. Pixar currently holds numerous film awards for its movies and loveable iconic characters who we all remember, such as Woody from Toy Story and Nemo from Finding Nemo.
In the fashionable Apple style that everyone has come to know, a simple tribute was paid to Steve Jobs on its corporate website, with his photo and a timeline that leads to an obituary that reads: “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.” Even Google managed to set-aside rivalry, and pay homage to Jobs on its search engine homepage which reads: “Steve Jobs, 1955-2011.”
And even though Jobs has passed away, I have to agree. He leaves behind a legacy and has definitely laid the “foundation of Apple” and, in this process, changed the world. Jobs who often appeared as a simple man even in product launch conferences, keeping his personal life private, managed to inspire a generation of entrepreneurs all over the world. And all of this despite dropping out of college and starting out of garage in 1976. One notable person of that pool of ‘entrepreneurs’ would be Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, who also paid tribute to Jobs.
Steve Jobs was estimated at a net-worth of $7 billion according to the Forbes rich list, although money was never his main motive: “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.” With such a substantial amount of money being juggled, there are moral questions to be asked. Maybe in this capitalistic and consumerist world if Jobs (or Apple) was involved in more philanthropic activities, much like his counterpart Bill Gates, who regularly gives away masses of his fortunes and has even pledged to give all of his billions to charity after he dies, this could have really provided some hope. Some may argue, however, that Jobs was a different breed of genius and has helped the world in a better way towards progression and development.
There are also some controversies in Jobs’ business ethics to question, one of them being a string of deaths in one of Apple’s chief product manufacturing plants in China. I recall making a conscientious decision not to buy Apple products after hearing this piece of news. However, it looks like I am set to make my first purchase of an iPad, as I publically pledged to buy one in honour of Steve Jobs when I first heard the news of his death. I’m not quite sure if I should splash out on this though. (Maybe The Platform readers would do me so well and advise by commenting below?).
What’s left for us to see now is how Apple will survive from the fallout of Steve Jobs’ death and, crucially, will it be able to still continue with the creative streak that has defined our modern era? No guesses here, but a little birdie tells me a new iPhone is coming out soon!
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