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`Mr. Apple` Jobs engineered human revolution via IT innovations

`Mr. Apple` Jobs engineered human revolution via IT innovations

Posted October. 07, 2011 04:12,   


When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 after being ousted in 1985 from the company he founded, he launched the advertising campaign “Think Different.”

Jobs selected several of his heroes and innovators for the campaign: Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Mahatma Gandhi and Pablo Picasso.

“Here`s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people, who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

If an epitaph perfectly describes Jobs` life, this ad does. Everyone called him crazy and a troublemaker.

Jobs and his company thought different, however. He created insanely great products and changed the world. The entrepreneur lived a great 56 years and changed the world he lived in.

○ How Apple started

Born in 1955 to a single mother, Jobs was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs as an infant. Jobs disliked his parents being called adoptive parents because to him, they were his true parents.

He was raised in Northern California, not too far from what later became Silicon Valley, and lived near NASA’s Ames Research Center, where he saw his first computer terminal.

Jobs enrolled in Reed College in Oregon but dropped out after a semester. He then returned to California and attended meetings of a computer club where he met Steve Wozniak, who was five years older. Wozniak later created Apple’s first hit product Apple II.

In 1976, Jobs and Wozniak founded Apple Computer out of Job`s family garage and Wozniak’s kitchen. Jobs had just 1,000 U.S. dollars but was confident that computers Wozniak made would sell like refrigerators and washing machines, and that he could change the world.

No one bought Jobs’ idea. People thought he was crazy. Computers were expensive and had exclusively been used by research centers and companies, not individuals. Defying standard convention, however, Jobs and Wozniak introduced the Apple II in 1977, which saw brisk sales and ushered in the age of personal computers.

○ Consecutive failures

Jobs’ success came to a halt when he created the Macintosh in 1984. Mac was a revolution. Jobs and his employees applied the mouse and graphic user interface onto the computer developed by Palo Alto Research Center.

While a keyboard was used to type commands into the computer, Mac did that with a mouse as a future-oriented computer.

The problem, however, was its high price. Since Mac was far ahead of its time, consumers avoided it and Jobs was ousted from the company.

Job’s idea was spot on, however. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, whose company was making software for Mac computers, copied the Mac approach and introduced the Windows operating system.

After getting fired by Apple, Jobs formed another computer company called NeXT. He wanted to make a perfected computer with sleek design, high performance and far better software.

He failed to gauge what consumers wanted, however. NeXT’s computer targeted college students but was pricier than the Mac.

In 1986, Jobs bought a computer graphics spin-off from "Star Wars" creator George Lucas for 10 million dollars. Lucas sold it to pay for the divorce settlement with his ex-wife.

Jobs later changed the company name to Pixar. Ultimately the more successful venture, Pixar at first seemed like a bottomless money pit. "Toy Story," Pixar`s first computer-animated full-length feature, saw huge commercial success in 1995, but Jobs suffered huge losses nine years prior to that.

After receiving news of Jobs’ death, Pixar co-founder Edwin Catmull said Jobs truly believed he could make animation with computers and created the opportunity to do so.

○ Jobs’ return

Jobs returned to Apple in 1997. Since the company was in dire straits, however, everything he did was criticized and blamed.

His first job after his return was to seek an alliance with Microsoft. Jobs went to Gates offering the use of Apple’s patents in return for investment. The same year, Jobs made a keynote speech in which he announced an alliance with Microsoft, with Gates appearing on the back screen. Apple fans booed and hissed.

Jobs was going in the right direction, however. He turned Apple around and set the stage for his amazing comeback.

The iPod, an MP3 player released in 2001, also had an unfortunate start. Sony had dominated the digital music-player market for decades and MP3 makers were professional companies. Fears arose over whether Apple, which specialized in computers, could make an MP3 player.

The answer came soon enough as the iPod exploded in popularity, becoming the world`s bestselling MP3 player.

Speculation was also rife over the release of the iPhone in 2007. Clients of mobile phone manufacturers are telecom service providers, not consumers, and Apple had neither networking ties with telecom carriers nor sales marketing experience.

After the iPhone became the world`s top selling smartphone, however, iPhone-crazy consumers pressured telecom service providers to sell the iPhone, and telecom carriers that did not carry the iPhone fell behind in the competition. Jobs changed the market dynamics of the smartphone industry.

The same criticism arose last year after the release of the iPad. The tablet PC was blasted as a just a bigger version of iPhone, but the device instead led to the creation of a new market and damaged the PC market.

Jobs often compared Apple to the Beatles. “My model for business is the Beatles. There were four guys who kept each other`s, kind of, negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. And that’s how I see business. You know, great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people,” he said.