When Apple Inc. announced the death of company co-founder and long time CEO Steve Jobs last week, the news spread quickly on social media and cable news networks, with many concerned it was yet another hoax or false report. But with the news coming directly from the company, we found out that Jobs had indeed passed due to the pancreatic cancer that had been haunting him for years.
Other tech icons posted their tributes to Jobs via Twitter, with the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin pouring out heartfelt statements that declared Jobs as a inspiration, competitor and innovator. Gates said that working alongside Jobs was an "insanely great honor."
While Jobs was undoubtedly successful, many opinions exist on his company’s products, his contributions to computing and technology, and what he’s referred to as "post- PC devices," the mobile phones and tablets rapidly replacing the computer as consumers’ primary tool for accessing the internet.
Many of Apple’s most dedicated customers border on fanaticism, waiting in long lines for new products and holding their often hostile opinions towards the company’s competitors. Their dedication and affection for the company has been called a lifestyle, or even a religion. Regardless of opinions, it is impossible to deny Apple the role of chief innovator in its industry.
While they currently only hold a mere 12% market share in personal computers,
they are reported to dominate the tablet and smart phone market with a 43%
Looking at these newer markets, and what’s left of the stand-alone music player category that they defined with the iPod, a clear pattern emerges. Apple spots viable trends and innovates, and other notable companies follow the trail blazed by Jobs and Co. We are just starting to see potential iPad killers coming from Motorola and Samsung, but I’ve been wondering why it’s taken them so long. Microsoft is still developing their answer to the iPad, and their Windows Phone series lies in the dust of Apple and Google’s Android platform.
There are plenty of stories about Jobs that paint his character in a bad way. When Jobs and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak created the classic game Breakout for Atari in 1975, Wozniak handled the technical aspects of designing the chips for the game, and Jobs acted as the middleman between their development and Atari. When Wozniak exceeded Atari’s production specifications far beyond what they had thought was possible, Atari awarded the two with a $5,000 bonus on top of the initial $750 compensation.
After Wozniak stayed awake for four straight days, shattered Atari’s expectations and delivered a game that is now heralded as a classic, Jobs paid Wozniak a measly $375, keeping the huge bonus a secret from his friend whom he would go on to create Apple with in his garage.
While they eventually split and Wozniak left Apple due to differences in business philosophies, Wozniak has had plenty of kind words for Jobs over the years, including a teary-eyed reaction to Jobs’ death captured by the Associated Press. His fondness for Jobs after all they had been through must serve as a testament to the friend Jobs was to his colleagues.
With Jobs gone, we must look forward to the next generation of innovators. Who will be touted as the next Steve Jobs? The next innovator who shows no fear and refuses to compromise may be someone we recognize, but it could also be someone we have yet to discover.
The next time you use one of your mobile Internet devices or power up your computer, remember Steve Jobs, the pioneer who showed no fear and refused to compromise.