Thursday, October 6, 2011

In a stunning move that ended his 14-year reign at the technology giant he co-founded in a garage, Silicon Valley legend Steve Jobs has resigned as chief executive of Apple Inc.

Steve Jobs is credited of single-handedly saving Apple, bringing a revolution in online music, creating a world-beating Smartphone and leading Pixar to dominate computer animation. With iPad launch in 2010, the tech czar once again rewrote computing history.

It's little surprising that Apple fortunes are often linked to Jobs' presence at the helm. A Pancreatic cancer survivor, the news of Jobs' illness has often sent Apple's stock into a tizzy.

College dropout

Not many people know that Steve Jobs is a college dropout. In 1972, Jobs graduated from Homestead High School in Cupertino, California and enrolled in Reed College in Oregon. One semester later he dropped out.

Jobs started Apple with a fellow college dropout Steve Wozniak in his family garage in Los Altos, California in April 1976. Jobs, then 21, was the 'sales' guy, while Wozniak worked as an engineer.

Wozniak said about Jobs during an Intel Corp conference in August 2008, "Every time I designed something great from when we were very young, he would say, "let's sell it." "It was always his idea to sell it."

Born to an Arab father!

Born on February 24, 1955, in San Francisco to then unmarried graduate student Joanne Carole Schieble and a Syrian father Abdulfattah Jandali, Steven Paul Jobs was adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs, a middle-class American couple.

Fan list includes Bill Gates

"In terms of an inspirational leader, Steve Jobs is really the best I have ever met," said former Microsoft Chairman and Chief Architect, Bill Gates in January 1998 when asked to name the CEO he most admired.

"He's got a belief in excellence of products. He's able to communicate that," said Gates.

Sought 'enlightenment' in India

Steve Job's quest for spiritual enlightenment brought him to India in the summer of 1974. Jobs came to India with one of his best friends from Reed College, Dan Kottke.

Deeply philosophical then, Jobs wanted to study and experience spiritualism and existentialism. In India, he wanted to visit the Neem Karoli Baba at his Kainchi Ashram. However, when they arrived they learn't that Baba has died.

Takes home $1 salary

One of the most admired CEOs, Jobs takes home a $1 salary. His compensation came to spotlight when the company gifted him a Gulf stream airplane in 2001.

According to a regulatory filing, Jobs took a salary of $1 in 2010. However, he owns some 5.5 million shares in the company, which are worth some $1.8 billion at the current price of around $333 a share, a rise of more than 50 per cent on the year.

Got 'Pinkslip' in the company he co-founded

In 1985, Jobs was ousted from Apple by John Sculley after a disagreement on how to run the company. Incidentally, Jobs had brought Sculley from Pepsi.

Fortune magazine, dated August 5, 1985, with cover story "The Fall Of Steve Jobs" dwelled on the Jobs exit from the company he founded: Here's an excerpt: "From the end of May to the middle of June, Apple reorganised in a rush, fired 20 per cent of its workforce, announced that will record its first-ever quarterly loss, saw its stock hit a three-year low of $14.25 per share, and stripped Steve P Jobs, Apple's 30-year-old co-founder and Chairman of all operating authority."

"Jobs fate aroused intense speculation. Not just another young entrepreneur, he is Johnny Appleseed of personal computing. Many insiders are shocked at his removal; they fear Apple has lost the spirit, and vision that made it into a business phenomenon. No players in the drama have explained publicly why Jobs come to grief. But several of them, promised anonymity, have revealed essential details to Fortune."

"What emerges from Apple sources is a tale of adversity -- a general slump in the PC business and disappointing sales at Mac division -- driving a wedge between Sculley and Jobs. Apple's board of directors played an important role in Job's downfall. On several occasions, beginning December, the board goaded Sculley to assert his authority over the company. Even then, Sculley put off acting partly from innate caution about organisational change and partly out of concern for Jobs' feelings."

Beatles' Apple

According to Jim Carlton, author of 'Apple: The Inside Story of Intrigue, Egomania, and Business Blunders', Steve Jobs chose the name Apple for his company because he admired Beatles' Apple Records. Beatles first began using an image of a Green Granny Smith apple on their recordings in the late 1960s. Apple's logo shows an image of the fruit with a bite taken out of it.

The choice led to a legal battle with Beatle's Apple Corp. Apple Corps is owned by Beatle band members

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono. The two sides settled the dispute in February 2007.

Jobs and Wozniak got a share of 45 per cent each, while the remaining 10 per cent went to Ron Wayne, an Atari engineer who had given hand to the duo.

Millionaire at 25

Apple had its first big success with Apple II, a machine that helped popularlise the idea of computers at home. Apple sales rose from $7.8 million in 1978 to $117 million in 1980, the year Apple went public. And, by age 25, Job's was a millionaire.

Mac surpassed the success of Apple II. It was the first successful PC built around graphic user interface. Mac used icons and a mouse to allow users to pint-and-click programmes. The GUI was later adopted by Microsoft in its rival Windows.

Mac became a fashion statement among graphic artists and students.

Steve's NeXT

Out from Apple, Jobs, then 30, started NeXT Computer Inc. The company developed a computer rival to Mac and PCs powered by Intel chips and Microsoft's Windows software.

Though NeXT computer won admiration for its technology prowess, the company failed to create a ripple in the market when it came to product sales. The NeXT's machines kept losing money and in 1993 Steve was forced to abandon NeXT's hardware operations.

Animation dreams

In 1986, Jobs bought the computer division of film director George Lucas' for $10 million. He named the computer animation studio Pixar, and signed a distribution deal with Walt Disney.

As the CEO of Pixar animation studios, Jobs promoted computer-generated story telling with movies including Toy Story, Finding Nemo, A Bug's Life and Monster Inc. The movies were a huge success and Jobs decide to take the company Public in 1995. He was back in business.

In 2006, Disney bought Pixar for $8.06 billion. Job was Disney's largest shareholder and got a seat on their board.

Second stint at Apple!

In 1995, Apple Computer was at its lowest point in history. The company was facing tough competition from Microsoft. Apple's CEO, Gil Amelio, was desperately looking for a way to save the company. In December 1996, Amelio bought NeXT for $400 million and welcomed back the company's founder, Jobs, as an 'informal adviser'.

Within eight months of the acquisition, Amelio was out and Steve Jobs became Apple's interim CEO. In 2000, the company dropped "interim" from his title. Jobs returned to the company after Apple had losses totaling $1.86 billion in a two-year period. As part of the turnaround, Jobs unveiled an unprecedented partnership with Microsoft CEO Bill Gates in August 1997, who invested $150 million in Apple. Apple on its part included Internet Explorer browser on the Mac.

However, Jobs' biggest coup came in May 1998, when he unveiled iMac. iMac combined computer and monitor into a single unit. A stunning success, iMac helped revive Apple sales and remains one of the biggest money makers. In 2007, Mac accounted for 43 per cent of the company's revenue.

In October 2001, Apple unveiled its first iPod, the digital music player further galvanised the company's position in the market. In 2007, came Apple iPhone and 2010 saw the launch of Apple iPad. Both products continue to rule in their respective categories.

Fought pancreatic cancer

In recent years, however, questions about his health and his ability to lead the company he created have threatened to overshadow his past achievements and cloud his prospects.

After recovering from a rare and highly treatable form of pancreatic cancer in 2004, Jobs took medical leave for the first half of 2009, saying his health issues were more complex than a "hormonal imbalance" he had previously complained of.

Rumors abounded on blogs about whether he was suffering from complications related to his previous tumor. He later said he had a liver transplant during this period.

According to a regulatory filing, Jobs took a salary of $1 in 2010. However, he owns some 5.5 million shares in the company, which are worth some $1.8 billion at the current price of around $333 a share, a rise of more than 50 per cent on the year.

A Buddhist and vegetarian

Few know that Steve Jobs is a Buddhist and a vegetarian.

Jobs has also never named a successor. He told shareholders in March 2008 that the board would have a variety of executives to choose from when he steps down due to any reason. He singled out two potential leaders: COO Timothy Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer.

'Shuns' computer!

In January 2007, Steve Jobs introduced iPhone, Apple's state-of-the-art mobile phone. With iPod and its accessories, Apple TV and the iPhone, it became clear that Apple is no longer a mere computer company. Hence, went the term `Computer' from its official name. On January 7th, 2007, Jobs announced that Apple Computer Inc has become Apple Inc.

Apple iPhone hit the market in June 2007. The device got updated this year and has been introduced in 22 countries across the globe. The second-generation iPhone runs on 3G network and supports business email system.

Read his obituary!

The tech czar is also probably the only corporate honcho to have the displeasure of reading his own obituary, which was fired by financial newswire Bloomberg to its subscribers.

Had the man who reinvented Apple Inc, and just about every rule in the game of personal electronics with iPod, and then in telecom with iPhone, finally lost his battle with pancreatic cancer?

No, the man was alive and kicking even as a red-faced Bloomberg -- usually sharpshooters when it comes to financial news -- had missed the mark by miles.

The gaffe happened when the American agency decided to update its 17-page stock obituary on Steve Jobs, and someone accidentally published it in the process. The story, which was meant to be sent to Bloomberg's internal wire, accidentally slipped out to its subscribers. And all hell broke loose!

The story that ran 'Hold for release' - 'Do not use' couldn't actually have been stopped as it was simply too big for global financial markets. The jitters subsided later when the agency promptly retracted it.


Blog Archive