Thursday 6th October 2011
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Steve Jobs, the innovative co-founder of Apple who transformed personal use of technology as well as entire industries with products such as the iPod, iPad, iPhone, Macintosh computer and the iTunes music store, has died.
The Apple chairman was 56.
The iconic American CEO, whose impact many have compared to auto magnate Henry Ford and Walt Disney— whom Jobs openly admires — abruptly stepped down from his position as CEO of Apple in August 2011 because of health concerns. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, a former Apple board member, called Jobs the best CEO of the past 50 years — perhaps 100 years.
A seminal business and technology leader, Jobs' success flowed from a relentless focus on making products that were easy and intuitive for the average consumer to use. His products were characterized by groundbreaking design and style that, along with their technological usefulness, made them objects of intense desire by consumers around the world.
He was known as a demanding, mercurial boss and an almost mystical figure in technology circles as well as American popular culture. Author and business consultant Jim Collins once called Jobs the "Beethoven of business."
He was one of the figures who made Silicon Valley the capital of technological innovation and related venture capital fortunes.
His creation of iTunes as an online way to purchase music digitally helped transform the music industry and delivered a blow to the standard industry practice of packaging music in albums or CDs. With iTunes, consumers could buy individual songs for 99 cents. The music industry didn't welcome the change at first, but, after waging an intense battle against illegal music downloads, it came to rely on the business model iTunes created.
Jobs' work at Apple and other projects made him a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine in 2011 at $8.3 billion. He was No.110 on Forbes' list of billionaires worldwide and No.34 in the United States, as of the magazine's March 2011 estimates.
Unlike tech rival Bill Gates of Microsoft or business leader Warren Buffett, Jobs did not make a practice of public philanthropy. While he may have made anonymous gifts to charity, he did not publicly embrace Gates' and Buffett's call for the wealthiest Americans to pledge to donate half their fortunes.
Jobs was married to Laurene Powell Jobs, 47. He had four children, three with Powell Jobs. A fourth child, Lisa, had an early Apple computer -- a predecessor to the Macintosh -- named after her. Though the family succeeded in keeping the children out of the spotlight and largely unknown to the public. He was Buddhist.
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