Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco, California on February 24, 1955. His biological parents were unwed college graduates Joanne Simpson and Abdulfattah Jandali and had him adopted by a couple from south of the Bay Area, Paul and Clara Jobs. Paul and Clara called their son Steven Paul. While Steve was still a toddler, the couple moved to the Santa Clara county, later to be known as Silicon Valley. They adopted another baby, a girl called Patti, three years later in 1958.
Jobs attended Cupertino Junior High and Homestead High School in Cupertino, California. He frequented after-school lectures at the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto, California, and was later hired there, working with Steve Wozniak as a summer employee. Following high school graduation in 1972, Jobs enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Although he dropped out after only one semester, he continued auditing classes at Reed.
Founding of Apple Computer
In 1974, Jobs took a position as a video game designer with Atari. Several months later he left Atari to find spiritual enlightenment in India, traveling the country and experimenting with psychedelic drugs. In 1976, when Jobs was just 21, he and Steve Wozniak started Apple Computers. The duo started in the Jobs family garage, and funded their entrepreneurial venture after Jobs sold his Volkswagen bus and Wozniak sold his beloved scientific calculator.
In 1976, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, with funding from a then-semi-retired Intel product-marketing manager and engineer A.C. "Mike" Markkula Jr., founded Apple. Jobs and Wozniak had been friends for several years, having met in 1971, when their mutual friend, Bill Fernandez, introduced 21-year-old Wozniak to 16-year-old Jobs. Steve Jobs managed to interest Wozniak in assembling a computer and selling it. The first personal computer was sold for $666.66. By 1980, Apple had already released three improved versions of the personal computer. It had a wildly successful IPO, which made both founders millionaires many times over.
Jobs was among the first computer engineers to recognize the appeal of the mouse and the graphical interface, which let users operate computers by clicking on images instead of writing text. Apple’s pioneering Macintosh computer launched in early 1984 with a now-iconic, Orwellian-themed Super Bowl ad.
Apple’s first year in business consisted of assembling the boards in Steve’s garage and driving to local computer stores to try and sell them. Meanwhile, Woz worked on a new, much improved computer, the Apple II, which he basically finished in 1977. The Apple II soon became the symbol of the personal computing revolution worldwide. It crushed all competition both because of its breakthrough hardware features (including its color graphics) and its very large supply of compatible software. The key to Apple II’s success was actually VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program ever brought to market. Thousands of people bought Apple IIs just to use it. As a result, the company grew at a very fast rate, and went public after just four years of existence, in December 1980. Steve Jobs’ net worth passed the $200 million mark on that day — he was only 25.
At Apple’s annual shareholders meeting on January 24, 1984, emotional Jobs introduced the Macintosh to a wildly enthusiastic audience; Andy Hertzfeld described the scene as "pandemonium". The Macintosh became the first commercially successful small computer with a graphical user interface. The development of the Mac was started by Jef Raskin, and eventually taken over by Jobs.
Jobs got the pink slip
While Jobs was a persuasive and charismatic director for Apple, some of his employees from that time had described him as an erratic and temperamental manager. An industry-wide sales slump towards the end of 1984 caused a deterioration in Jobs’ working relationship with Sculley, and at the end of May 1985 – following an internal power struggle and an announcement of significant layoffs because of disappointing sales at the time – Sculley relieved Jobs of his duties as head of the Macintosh division. Jobs later claimed that being fired from Apple was the best thing that could happen to him. "The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life."
Success outside Apple
Then came a 10-year hiatus during which he founded NeXT Computer, whose pricey, cube-shaped computer workstations never caught on with consumers.
Jobs had more success when he bought Pixar Animation Studios from George Lucas before the company made it big with "Toy Story." Jobs brought the same marketing skill to Pixar that he became known for at Apple. His brief but emotional pitch for "Finding Nemo," for example, was a masterful bit of succinct storytelling.
Return to Apple Computers
In 1996, Apple bought NeXT, returning Jobs to the then-struggling company he had co-founded. Within a year, he was running Apple again — older and perhaps wiser but no less of a perfectionist. And in 2001, he took the stage to introduce the original iPod, the little white device that transformed portable music and kick-started Apple’s furious comeback.
In 2002, the company entered the high-end server market with the XServe. They also fought hard to catch up with the speed performances of the Wintel platform, and in June 2003, they unveiled the G5, a new chip they had developed with IBM that they claimed was the fastest in the world.
“Apple is strong”
But the biggest move was announced in June 2005, at Apple’s annual developers’ conference, WWDC. The company had just finished its complete transition to OS X after the release of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, which was adopted by a very large majority of Mac users. That day, Steve Jobs came on stage and announced to a stunned audience that Apple was going to switch away from IBM to using Intel processors in their Macs.
The move to Intel was decisive in Apple’s fight against the Windows supremacy. Given his company’s growing momentum, Steve appropriately concluded his WWDC keynote address with the words: “Apple is strong”.
Fight with Cancer
In 2003, Jobs discovered he had a neuroendocrine tumor, a rare but operable form of pancreatic cancer. Instead of immediately opting for surgery, Jobs chose to alter his pescovegetarian diet while weighing Eastern treatment options. For nine months Jobs postponed surgery, making Apple’s board of directors nervous. Executives feared that shareholders would pull their stocks if word got out that their CEO was ill. But in the end, Job’s confidentiality took precedence over shareholder disclosure. In 2004, he had a successful surgery to remove the pancreatic tumor. True to form, in subsequent years Jobs has disclosed little about his health.
The birth of ‘I’
With the introduction of the iPod portable music player, iTunes digital music software, and the iTunes Store, the company made forays into consumer electronics and music distribution. On June 29, 2007, Apple entered the cellular phone business with the introduction of the iPhone, a multi-touch display cell phone, which also included the features of an iPod and, with its own mobile browser, revolutionized the mobile browsing scene. While stimulating innovation, Jobs also reminded his employees that "real artists ship", by which he meant that delivering working products on time is as important as innovation and attractive design.
The biggest of all was undeniably on January 27, when Steve Jobs finally introduced iPad, Apple’s much-anticipated tablet. There were rumors on an Apple tablet even before there were rumors on an Apple phone, and for good reasons: the labs of Cupertino started working on a tablet years before they worked on iPhone. Then, on January 27, Steve Jobs finally took the stage and unveiled iPad to the world. The presentation was bare, almost simplistic, with Steve sitting on a couch and demoing the device for most of his keynote.
In August 2011, Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple, but remained at the company as chairman of the company’s board. Hours after the announcement, Apple Inc. (AAPL) shares dropped 5% in after-hour trading. The relatively small drop, when considering the importance of Jobs to Apple, was associated with the fact that Jobs’ health had been in the news for several years, and he was on medical leave since January 2011. It was believed, according to Forbes, that the impact would be felt in a negative way beyond Apple, including at The Walt Disney Company where Jobs served as director. In after-hour trading on the day of the announcement, Walt Disney Co. (DIS) shares dropped 1.5%.
Jobs was both admired and criticized for his consummate skill at persuasion and salesmanship, which has been dubbed the "reality distortion field" and was particularly evident during his keynote speeches (colloquially known as "Stevenotes") at Macworld Expos and at Apple’s own Worldwide Developers Conferences.
He also built a reputation as a hard-driving, mercurial and sometimes difficult boss who oversaw almost every detail of Apple’s products and rejected prototypes that didn’t meet his exacting standards.
Jobs’ climb to the top was complete in summer 2011, when Apple listed more cash reserves than the U.S. Treasury and even briefly surpassed Exxon Mobil as the world’s most valuable company.
Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple on August 24, 2011 and subsequently assumed the role of Chairman of the Board. He was succeeded by Tim Cook as the next Chief Executive Officer of Apple.
On October 5, 2011, Jobs passed away.