Born to Joanne Simpson and an Egyptian Arab father (name not known). His biological sister is the novelist Mona Simpson. Steve was adopted soon after birth by Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountain View, Santa Clara County, California.
After graduating from Homestead High School in Cupertino, California, in 1972 Jobs enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where he dropped out after one semester. In the autumn of 1974, Jobs returned to California and began attending meetings of the "Homebrew Computer Club" with Stephen Wozniak. He took a job at Atari Inc., designing computer games with his friend, Wozniak.
In 1976, Steve Jobs, then 21, and Wozniak, 26, founded Apple Computer Co in the Jobs' family garage. Jobs and Wozniak put together their first computer, called the Apple I. They marketed it at a price of $666.66. In 1983, Jobs lured John Sculley from Pepsi-Cola to run Apple by telling Sculley that he could accomplish something more than just "selling sugar water". In 1985, after an internal power struggle, Jobs was stripped of his duties by Sculley and ousted from Apple. He departed to found NeXT Computer later that decade.
In 1986 Jobs bought Pixar, an Emeryville, California computer animation studio, from its founder George Lucas for $10 million. In 1991 Jobs married Laurene Powell; they have three children. In 1996, Apple bought NeXT for $200 million, and in 1997 Jobs returned to Apple as interim CEO after the departure of Gil Amelio. In 2000, Apple dropped the "interim" from Jobs' title after he had worked for several years at an annual salary of $1 and Apple returned to profitability.
Steve Jobs was born to an American mother, Joanne Carole Schieble, and a Syrian father, Abdulfattah John Jandali, a political science professor, in San Francisco, California on February 24, 1955. One week after
birth, Jobs was put up
for adoption by his unmarried
mother. Subsequently he was
adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs
of Mountain View, Santa Clara
County, California. They gave
him the name Steven Paul Jobs.
His biological parents later
married and gave birth to Jobs'
sister, the novelist Mona
Simpson. The siblings did not
meet until they were adults. The
marriage of his biological
parents ended in divorce years
later. To this day, Jobs
dislikes Paul and Clara Jobs
being called his adoptive
parents, and prefers to simply
refer to them as his "parents".
Jobs went to Homestead High School in Cupertino, California and attended after-school lectures at the Hewlett-Packard Co. in Palo Alto, California. Soon, he was hired there and worked with Stephen Wozniak as a summer employee. In 1972, Jobs graduated from high school and enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregon, but he dropped out after one semester. Years later, when speaking at a Stanford University graduation ceremony in 2005, Jobs said he remained at Reed attending classes, including one in calligraphy. "If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts," he said.
In the autumn of 1974, Jobs returned to California and began attending meetings of the "Homebrew Computer Club" with Steve Wozniak. He took a job at Atari, a manufacturer of popular video games, as a technician. During this time, it was discovered that a slightly modified toy whistle included in every box of Cap'n Crunch breakfast cereal was able to reproduce the 2600 Hz supervision tone used by the AT&T long distance telephone system. Jobs and Wozniak went into business briefly in 1974 to build "blue boxes" based on the idea that allowed for free long distance calls.
After Steve's spiritual trip to India, he returned to America bold and wearing traditional Indian wear. He also returned to his previous job at Atari, but he could only come to work when all the other designers had gone home- so that he didn't disturb the other employees. He was given the duty of creating a circuit board for the Atari game Breakout. According to Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell, Atari had offered $100 to each chip that was reduced in the machine. Unfortunately (and admittedly), Steve had little interest or knowledge in circuit board design. He made a deal with Stephen Wozniak- the bonus would be split evenly between them, if "Woz" could create a circuit board with a minimal number of computer chips and components. The project was completed, and much to the amazement of Atari- Wozniak had reduced the number of chips used by 50. Unfortunately, Wozniak had made the design so tight, it was impossible to reproduce on an assembly line. However, Jobs told Wozniak that Atari had really only given them $700 (when in reality the $5000 that was offered by Atari was given), Jobs suggested that Woz take $300 for his work. When Woz found out that Jobs had short changed him, their friendship was never really the same.
In 1976, Steve Jobs, then 21, and Wozniak, 26, founded Apple Computer Co. in the Jobs family garage. The first personal computer Jobs and Wozniak introduced was called the Apple I. It sold for $666.66, in reference to the phone number of Wozniak's Dial-a-Joke machine, which ended in -6666. In 1977, Jobs and Wozniak introduced the Apple II, which became a huge success in the home market and made Apple an important player in the nascent personal computer industry. In December 1980, Apple Computer became a publicly traded corporation, and with the successful IPO, Jobs's stature rose further. That same year, Apple Computer released the Apple III, but it met with much less success.
As Apple continued to grow, the company began looking for corporate management talent to help manage its expansion. In 1983, Jobs lured John Sculley, an executive with Pepsi-Cola, to serve as Apple's CEO, challenging him, "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?" That same year, Apple also released the technologically advanced but commercially unsuccessful Lisa.
1984 saw the introduction of the Macintosh, the first commercially successful computer with a graphical user interface. The development of the Mac was started by Jef Raskin, and the team was inspired by technology that had been developed at Xerox PARC, but not yet commercialized. Apple had paid a fee for use of the PARC technology. The success of the Macintosh led Apple to abandon the Apple II in favor of the Mac product line, which continues to this day.
Departure from Apple,
creation of NeXT
While Jobs was a persuasive and charismatic evangelist for Apple, critics also claimed he was an erratic and tempestuous manager. In 1985, after an internal power struggle, Jobs was stripped of his duties by the board of directors and resigned from Apple. Note that Jobs still remained chairman of Apple Computer at that time.
After leaving Apple, Steve Jobs founded another computer company, NeXT Computer. Like Apple's Lisa computer, the NeXT workstation (one of NeXT Computer's first products) was technologically advanced, but it never was able to break into the mainstream because of its high cost. Among those who could afford it, it did, however, garner a strong following due to its technical strengths, chief among them being its object-oriented software development system. Jobs marketed NeXT products toward the scientific and academic fields because of the innovative, experimental new technologies it incorporated (such as the Mach kernel, the DSP chip, and the built-in Ethernet port).
The NeXT Cube was Jobs' philosophical idea of an "interpersonal" computer, which he believed was the next monumental step after "personal" computing. That is, if computers could allow people to communicate and collaborate together in an easy way, it would solve a lot of the problems that "personal" computing had come up against. Jobs had been criticized for not including built-in networking features on the original Macintosh (calling it an "umbilical cord to the company"), and he was determined not to make the same mistake again. During a time when e-mail for most people was plain text, Jobs loved to demo the NeXT's e-mail system, NeXTMail, as an example of his "interpersonal" philosophy. NeXTMail was one of the first to support universally visible, clickable embedded graphics and audio within e-mail.
Jobs ran NeXT with an obsession for perfection at any cost. This eye for detail ultimately destroyed NeXT's hardware division, but, on the other hand, it also showed the world that Jobs could design a Macintosh that was arguably better than the original. The NeXT Cube's laser-cut magnesium case has popularly been cited as an example of the quest for perfection-at-any-cost.
Just as Steve Jobs railed against IBM at Apple, Jobs railed against Sun Microsystems as an Evil Empire while at NeXT. Later, after NeXT's hardware division was dropped in 1993 having sold only 50,000 machines, Jobs and Sun Microsystems' Scott McNealy introduced OPENSTEP together.
While Jobs' stint at NeXT is often glossed over in history books, the contributions of NeXT's engineers incidentally led to two unrelated events:
The World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee developed the original World Wide Web system at CERN on a NeXT workstation. Jobs' insistence that average people should be able to write custom "mission-critical" applications formed the basis of Interface Builder, which Berners-Lee utilized to do just that — write a program entitled "WorldWideWeb 1.0".
The Return of Apple Computer. Apple's reliance on ancient software and internal mismanagement, particularly its inability to release a major operating system upgrade, had brought it near bankruptcy in the mid 1990s. Jobs' progressive stance on Unix underpinnings were considered overly ambitious and somewhat backward in the 1980s, but his choice ultimately became an expandable, solid foundation for an operating system. Apple would later acquire this software and, under Jobs' leadership, experience a renaissance.
NeXT's technologies also helped the advancement of technologies such as object-oriented programming, Display PostScript, and magneto-optical devices.
In 1996, Apple bought NeXT for $402 million, bringing Jobs back to the company he founded. In 1997 he became Apple's interim CEO after the directors lost confidence in and ousted then-CEO Gil Amelio. Upon returning to the leadership of Apple, Jobs used the title of "iCEO". In March of 1997 Jobs abruptly terminated a number of projects such as Newton, Cyberdog, and OpenDoc.
In the coming months, many
employees developed a fear of
encountering Jobs while riding
in the elevator, "afraid that
they might not have a job when
the doors opened. The reality
was that Steve's summary
executions were rare, but a
handful of victims is enough to
terrorize a whole company."
With the purchase of NeXT, much of the company's technology found its way into Apple products, notably NeXTSTEP, which evolved into Mac OS X. Under Jobs' guidance the company increased sales significantly with the introduction of the iMac. Since then, appealing designs and powerful branding have worked well for Apple.
On the cover of TIME, holding an iPod. In recent years, the company has branched out. With the introduction of the iPod portable music player, iTunes digital music software, the iTunes Music Store, the company is making forays into personal electronics and online music. While stimulating innovation, Jobs also reminds his employees that "real artists ship," by which he means that delivering working products on time is as important as innovation and killer design. Steve Jobs hopes to repeat this success with the iPhone.
Jobs worked at Apple for several years with an annual salary of $1, and this earned him a listing in Guinness World Records as the "Lowest Paid Chief Executive Officer". At the 2000 keynote speech of Macworld Expo in San Francisco, the company dropped the "interim" from his title. His current salary at Apple officially remains $1 per year, although he has traditionally been the recipient of a number of lucrative "executive gifts" from the board, including a $90 million jet in 1999, and just under 30 million shares of restricted stock in 2000-2002. As such, Jobs is well compensated for his efforts at Apple despite the nominal one-dollar salary.
Jobs is both admired and criticized for his consummate skills of persuasion and salesmanship, which has been dubbed the "reality distortion field" and is particularly evident during his keynote speeches at Macworld Expos. This "RDF" shield is an encapsulating term, also referring to Apple's sometimes non-competitive market pricing, such as the overly expensive G4 cube, or making decisions outside the desire of market demands, such as the elimination of Macintosh clones. Not all of his decisions have met with widespread approval. Apple's marketing efforts, for example, in the 1980s, while excellent from a technical standpoint, were alienating to corporate buyers. Corporate buyers, consequently turned to IBM, resulting in a precipitous drop in market share. Microsoft further diminished Apple's lead by later developing its own GUI, Microsoft Windows, which eventually eclipsed and dominated over Apple's share.
In 2005, Jobs responded to criticism of Apple's poor recycling programs for electronic waste (or e-waste) in the U.S. by lashing out at environmental and other advocates at Apple's Annual Meeting in Cupertino in April. When asked by a representative of a socially responsible investment fund why Apple's programs lagged behind Dell's and HP's, Jobs wound up his critic by calling the advocates' complaints "bulls---." However, a few weeks later, Apple announced it would take back iPods for free at its retail stores. The Computer TakeBack Campaign responded by flying a banner from a plane over the Stanford University graduation at which Jobs was the keynote speaker. The banner read "Steve - Don't be a mini-player recycle all e-waste."
In 1986, Alvy Ray Smith,
Edwin Catmull and Steve Jobs
co-founded Pixar, an Emeryville,
California computer animation
studio. It was formed around
what was originally Lucasfilm's
computer graphics division,
which Jobs bought from its
founder, George Lucas, for $10
million. Pixar became famous
and successful nearly a decade
later with the breakthrough
feature movie Toy Story. It has
since produced the award-winning
films A Bug's Life in 1998, Toy
Story 2 in 1999, Monsters, Inc.
in 2001, Finding Nemo in 2003,
and The Incredibles in 2004.
Their next release, Cars, is due
for a 2006 summer release.
Finding Nemo and The Incredibles have each received the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Steve Jobs married Laurene Powell,
nine years his junior, on March
18, 1991 and has three children
with her. He also has a
daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, by
Chris Brennan, a woman he did
In "The Second Coming of Steve Jobs" author Alan Deutschman reports that Jobs once dated Joan Baez. Deutschman quotes Elizabeth Holmes, a friend of Jobs from his time at Reed College, as saying she "believed that Steve became the lover of Joan Baez in large measure because Baez had been the lover of (Bob) Dylan."
In iCon: Steve Jobs by Jeffrey S. Young & William L. Simon, the authors suggest that Jobs might have married Baez if not for the fact that her age at the time (41) could have cancelled out the possibility of having children. Baez and Jobs presumably remain friends, as evidenced by her mention of him in the acknowledgements of her 1987 memoir "And A Voice To Sing With".
Jobs is a pescetarian (not a vegetarian or vegan as is often claimed) — although he does not eat mammalian meat, he reportedly eats fish from time to time.
In 1982, Jobs bought an apartment in The San Remo, where Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, daughter of Rita Hayworth, also had an apartment. It was a New York apartment building with a politically progressive reputation. With the help of I.M. Pei, Jobs spent years renovating his apartment in the top two floors of the building's north tower, only to sell it almost two decades later to U2 frontman Bono. Jobs had never moved in.
In 1984, Steve Jobs purchased a 17,000 square foot, 14 bedroom, Spanish Colonial mansion, designed by George Washington Smith in Woodside, California. Although Jobs lived in the mansion for ten years, reportedly in an almost unfurnished state, and let Bill Clinton use it in 1998 while his daughter was studying nearby, the mansion was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. Planning to demolish the house and build a smaller home on the property, he met complaints from local preservationists over his plans. In June 2004, the Woodside Town Council gave Jobs approval to demolish the mansion, on the condition that he advertise the property for a year to see if someone would move it to another location and restore it. A number of people showed interest, including attorney Richard Pivnicka, who has experience restoring old property.
On July 31, 2004, Jobs underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his pancreas. He had a very rare form of pancreatic cancer, which is far less aggressive than the usual form of pancreatic cancer, and is known as islet cell neuroendocrine tumor. It did not even require chemotherapy or radiation therapy. During his absence, Tim Cook, head of worldwide sales and operations at Apple, ran the company.
In 2005, Steve Jobs banned all books published by John Wiley & Sons from the Apple retail stores in response to their publishing an unauthorized biography, iCon: Steve Jobs by Jeffrey Young and William L. Simon.
The aggressive and demanding
personality of Steve Jobs has
been much talked and written
about in a number of
unauthorized biographies, such
as The Little Kingdom by Michael
Moritz, Steve Jobs: The Journey
Is the Reward by Jeffrey S.
Young, The Second Coming of
Steve Jobs by Alan Deutschman
and iCon: Steve Jobs by Jeffrey
S. Young & William L. Simon.
In iCon: Steve Jobs the authors point out that Paul Jobs, his father by adoption, was also known for his aggressive side: "Paul was soon hired as a kind of strongarm man by a finance company that sought help collecting on auto loans—an early repo man. Both his bulk and his aggressive personality were well suited to this somewhat dangerous pursuit, and his mechanical bent enabled him to pick the locks of the cars he had to repossess and hot-wire them if necessary."
In the documentary Triumph of the Nerds, reaction to Jobs' famous firing from Apple Computer by CEO John Sculley and the Apple Board of Directors was talked about by various people:
Chris Espinosa: "The grandiose plans of what Macintosh was gonna be was just so far out of whack with the truth of what the product was doing. And the truth of what the product was doing was not horrible, it was salvageable. But the gap between the two was just so unthinkable that somebody had to do something, and that somebody was John Sculley."
John Sculley: "The board had to make a choice and I said look, it's Steve's company, I was brought in here to help. If you want him to run it, that's fine by me. But we gotta at least decide what we're gonna do and everybody's got to get behind it ... and ultimately after the board talked with Steve and talked with me, the decision was that we would go forward with my plans and Steve left."
Steve Jobs: "What can I say? I hired the wrong guy. He destroyed everything I spent 10 years working for; starting with me, but that wasn't the saddest part. I would have gladly left Apple if Apple would have turned out like I wanted it to."
Larry Tesler: "People in the company had very mixed feelings about it, everyone had been terrorized by Steve Jobs at some point or another, and so there was a certain relief that the terrorist would be gone. And on the other hand I think there was incredible respect for Steve Jobs by the very same people, and we were all very worried what would happen to this company without the visionary, without the founder, without the charisma."
Andy Hertzfeld: "He took it as a personal attack, started attacking Sculley, in which, you know, backed himself into a corner. Because he was sure that the board would support him and not Sculley ... Apple never recovered from losing Steve; Steve was the heart and soul and driving force; it would be quite a different place today; they lost their soul."
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