Steve Jobs: The Life And Legacy Of An Innovator

Steve Jobs' Story

The death of Steve Jobs Wednesday put a spotlight on a very private man who was a very public CEO. To many, it appeared that Jobs had a crystal ball, as so many of the products he designed answered a need the public didn't even know it had.

His life story is the quintessential American tale of a young man, who, against the odds, through hard work and a little bit of luck, became one of the most well known and respected innovators of our time.

Born Feb. 24, 1955 to unwed parents who put him up for adoption, Jobs was raised by Clara, an accountant, and Paul, a machinist, in California. Days with dad in the family's garage taking things apart and then rebuilding them set the foundation for the boy's eventual transformation into the founder of Apple Computer.

Jobs And Woz

Jobs graduated from Homestead High School in Cupertino, Calif. in 1972 and attended Reed College in Portland, Ore. He dropped out after one semester. Jobs bounced around, working briefly for Atari Computer and traveling to India before joining the Homebrew Computer Club led by Steve Wozniak in 1975.

The next year, Jobs persuaded Wozniak to start a business and the garage in which he tinkered as a child became the launch pad for Apple.

Apple Is Born

In 1976, after Jobs had worked briefly for Atari Computer and traveled in India, he and Apple co-founders Wosniak and Ronald Wayne created the Apple I, a PC kit that comprised a motherboard with a CPU, RAM and semiconductors for basic text-visual processing and which had a quirky price tag of $666.66. Each Apple I was hand-assembled by Wozniak.

Wozniak and Jobs incorporated Apple on Jan. 3, 1977, while Wayne, who among other things designed the first Apple logo, sold his 10 percent share of the company to his partners for $800, plus a later payment of $1,500. The value of Wayne's share today would be roughly $35 billion.

Behold: Apple II

On April 16, 1977, Jobs and Wozniak launched the Apple II series of computers. Distinguished from competitors such as the Commodore PET and Tandy Corp.'s TRS-80 by its color graphics and other advances, the Apple II was a commercial success. While the Apple I earned roughly a quarter of a million dollars, the new model brought in approximately $140 million. The Apple ship had set sail.

A History-Making Visit

In what would prove to be a watershed moment for Apple and the computer industry, Jobs and a number of other Apple engineers visited Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) in December 1979 to see the office equipment maker's PC, the Xerox Alto. Xerox, in return, was given the option to purchase 100,000 Apple stock options at $10 a share.

The Alto was the first computer to use a graphical user interface and a mouse. The Xerox PARC visit convinced Jobs that the GUI was the key to widespread adoption of personal computers for home and business.

An Apple IPO

In 1980, Apple went public. In the first day's trading, Apple's market value skyrocketed to a whopping $1.2 billion, making a then-25-year-old Steve Jobs worth $239 million.

Jobs would become Apple chairman the following year and in 1983 he wooed Pepsi President John Sculley to take the reins as Apple CEO.

The Lisa

The Lisa was born in 1982, with a retail cost of nearly $10,000, and then revised in 1984, with prices ranging from $3,500 to $5,500. The Lisa was supposed to be an upgrade of the Apple II, but the size of both the physical machine and the price tag scared away most buyers. The computer, which featured cooperative multi-tasking and virtual memory, was ahead of its time. It was the second commercially available computer, after the Xerox Star, to have a mouse-driven graphical user interface (GUI). The Lisa 2 saw the debut of the 3.5-in disk in Apple computers.

The Lisa was likely named for Jobs' daughter, born four years earlier. However, Apple said the name stood for Local Integrated Software Architecture, although the original documentation did not indicate "Lisa" was an acronym.

The Macintosh

Jobs took what he learned from the Lisas and in 1984 released the Macintosh. (Wosniak was away from the company from 1981 to 1983 recovering from a private plane crash.) The Macintosh was an all-in-one desktop computer that featured a graphical interface and a mouse. It sported a Motorola 6800 processor and originally had 128K of RAM, upgraded promptly to 512K. The 9-inch monochrome screen displayed a resolution of 512x342 pixels. Goodbye text based computing: No longer did users type words into a command field to get the computer to do something -- the Mac had the first successful implementation of a GUI.

The Macintosh was announced in a $1.5 million commercial directed by Ridley Scott, which aired during Super Bowl XVIII in January 1984.

On To The NeXT Phase

Jobs and then Apple CEO Sculley clashed with their competing visions for the company's future and that led to a showdown in 1985 before Apple's board of directors. Jobs lost out in the power struggle and the board stripped him of his management duties.

Later that year, Jobs left Apple entirely and started NeXT Inc. to design a line of workstations for businesses and the education market.

Sculley was at the helm in 1992, when the company released the 1-pound Newton, the first personal digital assistant. Sculley, known for his marketing skill, coined the PDA term.

Primed For Pixar

In addition to NeXT, Jobs also pursued the movie making business. In 1986, he bought a film studio that would become Pixar Animation Studios for $10 million from Lucasfilms owner and Star Wars creator George Lucas.

Several years later, in 1995, the Pixar released its first movie with Disney, "Toy Story." The film's success and Pixar going public make Jobs a billionaire.

Jobs invested $50 million in the company, and he became the largest stockholder of Pixar when Disney bought it in 2006 in a $7.4 billion stock deal. The deal made Jobs Disney's largest shareholder and he took a spot on its board of directors.

Wedding Bells; Back At Apple

In 1991, Steve Jobs married Laurene Powell. Jobs and Powell had met two years earlier while she was doing graduate work at Stanford.

While Jobs' personal life and wealth continued their upward trajectory, NeXT did not thrive. Apple bought NeXT in 1996 for $429 million. With Sculley out at Apple's chief executive, and Gil Amelio in, Jobs was brought back aboard as an advisor. A year later, Amelio was fired due to Apple's poor financial performance. Amelio's ousting was a boon for Jobs, who was named Apple's Interim CEO, a title he carried until the "interim" was dropped and Jobs became CEO in 2000.

Burying The Hatchet

Apple and archrival Microsoft shocked the industry in 1997 when they formed an alliance, including a $150 million investment by Microsoft in the financially struggling Apple. Microsoft also promised to develop versions of Office and Internet Explorer for the Mac.

The deal was disclosed during a Jobs keynote at Macworld in Boston in 1997, which included a surprise video appearance by Microsoft CEO Bill Gates.

Also in 1997, CRN inducted Jobs into the Industry Hall of Fame.


In 1998, the computing public learned that computers no longer had to be beige: Jobs introduced the iMac onto the desktop scene in a rainbow of colors. The original iMacs came with a 233 MHz PowerPC 750, 32 MB of RAM, a 4 GB hard drive, a 24x CD-ROM, ethernet, stereo speakers and a 15-inch monitor. The only items not encased in the egg-shaped chassis were the keyboard and the mouse. The iMac quickly became the fastest-selling personal computer in history.

Two years later, Jobs launched Mac OS X, Apple's operating system which is based on the NeXT OS.

The iPod Changes Music

In January 2001, Jobs and Apple introduced the iPod portable digital audio player, a wildly successful product that re-shaped how music is consumed (more than 100 million were sold between 2001 and 2007). The iPod launch presaged the company's success in the consumer electronics market.

Apple also launched its first Apple Store retail stores and, in 2003, Jobs and Co. unveiled the online iTunes store for music downloads.

Cancer Diagnosis

In 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with a rare but operable form of pancreatic cancer. Jobs waited nine months before having the operation, seeking to find an alternative treatment. In 2004, Jobs sent an e-mail to Apple employees that said he had the surgery, which was deemed "successful."


In a keynote speech at the Macworld show in January 2007 Jobs debuted the Apple iPhone a touch-screen smartphone that would alter the course of the mobile device market. By early 2011, total sales of the iPhone -- which at that point was in its fourth generation -- had surpassed 100 million and quarterly sales had grown to 20 million units.

During 2008's launch of the Apple iPhone 3G, Jobs also unveiled the Apple App Store, a storefront for third-party apps that again changed how data and content is used on a mobile device.

Liver Transplant

On Jan. 14, 2009, in an internal memo, Jobs announced that he was taking a six-month leave of absence from Apple for health reasons, specifically citing a "hormone imbalance." Rumors were rampant that the pancreatic cancer he'd been treated for in 2004 had returned. However, in June, doctors confirmed he had received a liver transplant at the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis. Jobs returned to work in June 2009.


Jobs again gazed into his crystal ball and emerged with a touch-screen tablet called the iPad. Announced during a Macworld keynote in January 2010, the Apple iPad tablet was a "magical" device, Jobs said, and captured a market that had previously eluded computer makers. The iPad hit the market that April and sold a half-million units in its first week alone.

Jobs and Apple followed up the iPad with the iPad 2 in March 2011.

Leave Of Absence, Resignation

Jobs took another medical leave of absence in January 2011 and in an e-mail to Apple employees set no specific length for his time off. The leave of absence didn't prevent Jobs from taking the stage two months later to launch the iPad 2.

On Aug. 24, 2011, Apple announced that Jobs had resigned as CEO, saying he "could no longer meet [his] duties and expectations as Apple's CEO." No other reason was given for Job's decision. Jobs was replaced by interim CEO Tim Cook but remained chairman of the board.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

Steve Jobs died from pancreatic cancer on Oct. 5, 2011. He leaves behind four children, a wife of 20 years, Laurene Powell Jobs, a sister, and his biological parents. Jobs' adoptive parents are both deceased.

Flags flew at half-staff at the Cupertino, Ca.-based company’s headquarters. Commemorations of the innovator's life took place nationwide: an iPhone-lit vigil was staged at the San Francisco Apple Store, and remembrances were placed on the sidewalk by the NYC Apple store. The NYC site is renovating its iconic glass cube outside, which was designed by Jobs. On the plywood surrounding the work site, a fan spray-painted the sentiment: "I Love Steve."

World and business leaders took to Twitter and other mediums to share their thoughts and condolences for one of the world's true innovators. And Apple is planning a celebration of Steve Jobs' life.