Steven Paul Jobs was an American entrepreneur, inventor, business magnate, media proprietor, and investor. He was the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple; the chairman and majority shareholder of Pixar; a member of The Walt Disney Company’s board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar; and the founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT. He is widely recognized as a pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, along with his early business partner and fellow Apple co-founder. He and Wozniak co-founded Apple in 1976 to sell Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer. Together, the duo gained fame and wealth a year later with the Apple II, one of the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputers. Jobs saw the commercial potential of the Xerox Alto in 1979, which was mouse-driven and had a graphical user interface (GUI). This led to the development of the unsuccessful Apple Lisa in 1983, followed by the breakthrough Macintosh in 1984, the first mass-produced computer with a GUI. The Macintosh introduced the desktop publishing industry in 1985 with the addition of the Apple LaserWriter, the first laser printer to feature vector graphics.
Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985 after a long power struggle with the company’s board and its then-CEO John Sculley. That same year, Jobs took a few Apple employees with him to found NeXT, a computer platform development company that specialized in computers for higher-education and business markets. In addition, he helped to develop the visual effects industry when he funded the computer graphics division of George Lucas’s Lucasfilm in 1986. The new company was Pixar, which produced the first 3D computer-animated feature film Toy Story (1995) and went on to become a major animation studio, producing over 20 films since.
Jobs became CEO of Apple in 1997, following the company’s acquisition of NeXT. He was largely responsible for helping revive Apple, which had been on the verge of bankruptcy. He worked closely with English designer Jony Ive to develop a line of products that had larger cultural ramifications, beginning in 1997 with the “Think different” advertising campaign and leading to the Apple Store, App Store, iMac, iPad, iPod, iPhone, iTunes, and iTunes Store. In 2001, the original Mac OS was replaced with the completely new Mac OS X (now known as macOS), based on NeXT’s NeXTSTEP platform, giving the OS a modern Unix-based foundation for the first time. Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor in 2003. He died of respiratory arrest related to the tumor at age 56 on October 5, 2011.
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