One of the greatest visionaries in the media business and in tech has left us.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died Wednesday afternoon at the age of 56 due to a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. Jobs stepped down two months ago as CEO and handed the day-to-day reigns over to Tim Cook while retaining the title as Chairman.
Jobs of course, had two stints at Apple – he co-founded the company with Steve Wozniak from his parents’ garage. Jobs often clashed with his fellow execs at Apple and it led to his departure in 1985. He created Next computing a year later and returned to Apple in 1997, where he single handily rescued the company from near bankruptcy.
During his first stint at Apple, Jobs’ marketing team the advertising game forever with a groundbreaking commercial during Super Bowl XVIII, which showed a runner hurling a hammer through a big screen (at “Big Brother”… a.k.a. IBM) to introduce Macintosh products. The ad is often ranked as one of the best commercials ever made and established Apple as a household name (and not to mention introducing the Super Bowl commercial as a pop-culture fixation. Here’s the full-length ad below:)
A year after Jobs left Apple, he acquired Lucasfilm’s Graphics Group and renamed it Pixar, which hit it big with animated films such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. Jobs sold Pixar in 2006 to The Walt Disney Company, in a deal that made Jobs Disney’s biggest shareholder.
When Jobs returned to Apple, he introduced the iMac desktop computer, which was an instant hit. In October 2001, he introduced the iPod, which changed the way we listened to music, practically making the Walkman obsolete.
In 2005, Jobs introduces iTunes software for Macs – and Windows, where consumers can legally buy tracks and download songs, which changed the music industry forever. and made the CD nothing more than an expensive coaster. While Apple reached agreements with the major labels, a few regretted it as iTunes now accounts for 70 percent for all music purchases. When iPod models came with the availability to view videos, Disney became the first studio to offer TV shows through iTunes, opening up a brand new way to watch your favorite TV shows or movies on the go. Sometimes, Jobs clashed with Hollywood over these things, as many studios chafed under Apple’s terms.
When that wasn’t enough, Jobs and Apple revolutionized the ordinary cell phone with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 (and the iPod Touch) and introducing the word “app” (as in applications) into our vocabulary. A year later, Apple created an app store for iPhone and iPod Touch users, opening the door to developers. In 2010, Jobs and Apple did it again with the introduction of the iPad, which gave a huge boost to tablet computing.
Apple has also revolutionized TV production behind the scenes with Final Cut Pro, which many studios, production facilities, and television stations use, and has become the de facto choice in many newsrooms.
Let’s face it – without Steve Jobs, the way we communicate, the way we consume entertainment, the way products are marketed, and the way content is produced wouldn’t be at the level as it is today. He has made it easier – and more practical – to run our every day lives. Whether if its video teleconferencing, keeping and making appointments, downloading and watching a music video on your iPod Touch while riding home on Metra, or working out to the latest hip-hop song on your iPod at the gym – its all possible thanks to Steve Jobs.And at the same time, he was a visionary, a genius, and the best marketer around.
And for that, we should give thanks. Thank you, Steve.