Steven P. Jobs Biography (1955-)

computer innovator

Steven Jobs is best known as the co-developer with Steven Wozniak of the first widely-popular desktop computer, the Apple II in the late 1970s, and as co-founder of the Apple Computer Corporation. Jobs was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and became interested in computers while in junior high school. He met electronic-expert Wozniak in 1971, and the two of them began their partnership by manufacturing "blue boxes," illegal electronic devices for makinglong-distance telephone calls without paying for them. After spending a period in India living in a commune, Jobs again met Wozniak. The personal computer(PC) was just being developed in the mid-1970s and Wozniak had designed one,but he was unable to interest a manufacturer. Jobs, however, immediately sawits marketing possibilities. Jobs gave it the friendly name of Apple, aimingthe machine at home users rather than computer enthusiasts, such as those inthe influential Home Brew Computer Club, of which Wozniak was a member. The"two Steves," as they were known, sold their few valuable possessions and setup their company in the Jobs family's garage. After sales success with the Apple I, Jobs quickly hired managerial and marketing experts, and cultivated venture capitalists to invest in their company. Together he and Wozniak designed an improved and even friendlier version, called the Apple II. By 1977, Apple Computer had moved to its own quarters in Cupertino, California, staffed in part by equally youthful experts. The company was a success from the beginning, earning almost $3 million that year. By the age of twenty-five, Jobs wasa multi-millionaire, and Apple Computer eventually became one of the Fortune500 largest companies. In the 1980s, Jobs took charge of developing the Apple Macintosh computer, the first personal computer to use a graphical user interface. However, the initial version was heavily criticized, and Jobs was forced out of the company. In 1986, he founded another firm, Next, Inc., to produce another innovative, though less popular, computer. In the 1990s, Jobs haschanged Next's emphasis from hardware to software. In 1997, Jobs left Next and returned to Apple as interim CEO. The interim tag was removed in 2000.)

Jobs presented Apple's iBook at the Mac World convention in July 1999. The iBook was a clam-shaped laptop that was available in bright colors and includedApple's AirPort technology. AirPort is a computer version of the cordless phone that allows the user to surf the Web wirelessly. Following his success with the stand-alone version of the iBook, the iMac, and later the G3 and G4 PowerMacs, which addressed the needs of the publishing and multimedia markets long dominated by the Macintosh, Jobs brought out a movie-making application,iMovie, that allowed non-experts to make their own home videos. Next came theiPod, in 2001, a portable digital music player. The original iPod held 1000songs and had a battery life of about 10 hours. Popular with consumers, the iPod dominated the market, though other computer companies introduced similarproducts. Apple followed the iPod with iTunes, which allowed novices to burntheir own CDs and download music from the Internet straight to their PC or iPod. Another innovative Apple product was an application that allowed users tomake their own DVD discs at home. In addition to acting as the long-standinginterim CEO of Apple, Jobs is also chairman of Pixar Animation Studios, which he co-founded in 1986. Pixar made the phenomenally successful films ToyStory, Toy Story 2, A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles, which Disney distributed. (Thedistribution agreement with Disney was to end after the release of Cars in 2005 or 2006.)

As the PC market slowed down, and many of his competitors were already lamenting the death of the PC, Jobs remained ebullient about its future. In 2001, he was instead prophesying about the coming age of the digital lifestyle, in which the computer would serve as the hub of a vast array of home appliances."The personal computer has the power and the memory to do the things that allthe devices we are beginning to use will not be able to do. The software will be the glue holding it all together," Jobs told Garry Barker of

Recent Updates

April 18, 2005: Jobs was named to the Time 100, the magazine'slist of the world's 100 most influential people. The 2005 list honors men andwomen whose power, talent, or moral example is transforming the world. Source: Time, April 18, 2005.March 14, 2006: Apple Computer reported that Jobs was paid $1 in totalcompensation in 2005. Source: Forbes,, March 15, 2006.

Further Reference



User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: