Monday, June 16, 2008
"Bill gates and steve jobs are the two monomals in the world of operating systems"
Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955) is the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. In 1986, he acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd which was spun off as Pixar Animation Studios. He remained CEO and majority shareholder until its acquisition by the Walt Disney Company in 2006. Jobs is currently the Walt Disney Company's largest individual shareholder and a member of its Board of Directors. He is considered a leading figure in both the computer and entertainment industries. Steve Jobs was listed as Fortune Magazine's Most Powerful Businessman of 2007.
Jobs' history in business has contributed greatly to the myths of the quirky, individualistic Silicon Valley entrepreneur, emphasizing the importance of design while understanding the crucial role aesthetics play in public appeal. His work driving forward the development of products that are both functional and elegant has earned him a devoted following.
Jobs, with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, helped popularize the personal computer in the late '70s. In the early '80s, still at Apple, Jobs was among the first to see the commercial potential of the mouse-driven GUI (Graphical User Interface). After losing a power struggle with the board of directors in 1985, Jobs resigned from Apple and founded NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher education and business markets. NeXT's subsequent 1997 buyout by Apple Inc brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded, and he has served as its CEO from then on.
Jobs was born in San Francisco and was adopted by Justin and Clara (née Hagopian) Jobs of Mountain View, Santa Clara County, California who named him Steven Paul. His biological parents, Joanne Carole Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali — a graduate student from Syria who became a political science professor — later married and gave birth to Jobs' sister, the novelist Mona Simpson.
Jobs attended Cupertino Junior High School and Homestead High School in Cupertino, California, and frequented after-school lectures at the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto, California. He was soon hired there and worked with Steve Wozniak as a summer employee. In 1972, Jobs graduated from high school and enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Although he dropped out after only one semester, he continued auditing classes at Reed, such as 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 as a technician at Atari, a manufacturer of popular video games, with the primary intent of saving money for a spiritual retreat to India.
Jobs then backpacked around India with a Reed College friend (and, later, the first Apple employee), Daniel Kottke, in search of philosophical enlightenment. He came back with his head shaved and wearing traditional Indian clothing. During this time, Jobs experimented with LSD, calling these experiences "one of the two or three most important things he has done in his life." He has stated that people around him who did not share his countercultural roots could not understand certain aspects of his thinking.
He returned to his previous job at Atari and was given the task of creating a circuit board for the game Breakout. According to Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell, Atari had offered US$100 for each chip that was reduced in the machine. Jobs had little interest or knowledge in circuit board design and made a deal with Wozniak to split the bonus evenly between them if Wozniak could minimize the number of chips. Much to the amazement of Atari, Wozniak reduced the number of chips by 50, a design so tight that it was impossible to reproduce on an assembly line. At the time, Jobs told Wozniak that Atari had only given them US$600 (instead of the actual US$5000) and that Wozniak's share was thus US$300.
Beginnings of Apple Computer
See also: History of Apple
As Apple continued to expand, the company began looking for an experienced executive to help manage its expansion. In 1983, Jobs lured John Sculley away from 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?" The following year, Apple set out to do just that, starting with a Super Bowl television commercial titled, "1984." Two days later at Apple's annual shareholders meeting on January 24, 1984, an emotional Jobs introduced the Macintosh to a wildly enthusiastic audience; Andy Hertzfeld described the scene as "pandemonium." The Macintosh became the first commercially successful computer with a graphical user interface, although it was heavily influenced by Xerox PARC. The development of the Mac was started by Jef Raskin, and eventually taken over by Jobs.
While Jobs was a persuasive and charismatic dictator for Apple, some of his employees from that time had described him as an erratic and tempestuous 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 – Sculley relieved Jobs of his duties as head of the Macintosh division.
Around the same time, Jobs founded another computer company, NeXT Computer. Like the Apple Lisa, the NeXT workstation was technologically advanced, but was never able to break into the mainstream mainly owing to its high cost. Among those who could afford it, however, the NeXT workstation garnered a strong following because of its technical strengths, chief among them its object-oriented software development system. Jobs marketed NeXT products to the scientific and academic fields because of the innovative, experimental new technologies it incorporated (such as the Mach kernel, the digital signal processor chip, and the built-in Ethernet port).
The NeXT Cube was described by Jobs as an "interpersonal" computer, which he believed was the next 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. 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 aesthetic perfection, as evidenced by such things as the NeXTcube's magnesium case. This put considerable strain on NeXT's hardware division, and in 1993, after having sold only 50,000 machines, NeXT transitioned fully to software development with the release of NeXTSTEP/Intel.
NeXT technology played a large role in catalyzing three unrelated events:
The World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee developed the original World Wide Web system at CERN on a NeXT workstation. Jean-Marie Hullot's 'SOS Interface' became the basic for Interface Builder which Hullot built for NeXT and which Berners-Lee also used in his project the program 'WorldWideWeb'.
NeXT computers were used in the development of the computer game Doom and later the series "Quake".
The return of Apple Computer. Apple's reliance on outdated software and internal mismanagement, particularly its inability to release a major operating system upgrade, had brought it near bankruptcy in the early-to-mid 1990s. Jobs' progressive stance on Unix and open source underpinnings was considered overly ambitious and somewhat backward in the 1980s but ultimately became an expandable solid foundation for an operating system. Apple would later acquire this software and under Jobs' leadership experience a renaissance.
“ 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. ”
“ There's an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. 'I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.' And we've always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very very beginning. And we always will." ”