Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, died yesterday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 56. He leaves behind a legacy of introducing outstanding technology to the population at large. Pundits have compared him with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison in terms of bringing new and visionary technological change to millions of not only Americans, but to people across the globe.
Jobs’ genius laid not in his business acumen, though he was an outstanding businessman. Nor was it in his demand for superior design (he wasn’t an engineer, though he could well be mistaken for one). It was his ability to consistently and routinely bring better and better products to market to hundreds of millions across the globe. And it was he who put in motion that process. What makes his achievements all the more surprising is that when he retook the reins at Apple in 2000, the company was on the verge of collapse. Under his management, he engineered a turnaround that can only be described as revolutionary. Apple is now the world’s largest company in terms of market capitalization, and it dwarfs its competitors.
Jobs was uniquely positioned to bring innovative technology to millions of people and modify the way that we interact with each other, whether it was through Mac Books, iPods, iPhones or any other Apple product. Consistently releasing products that pushed the envelope in terms of quality, design, functionality and the ability to integrate these products into the day to day lives of his customers was breathtaking. He never failed to exited, he never disappointed.
His death marks the end of an era for Apple. Their main challenge now, I think, has to do with broadening their market share, and integrating their systems so as to be compatible with PC operating systems without compromising their own quality. That ultimate democratization of Apple products is their next hurdle, and it’s going to take another leader of the caliber of Jobs to do it. My hat’s off to Steve Jobs and the work he did in bringing cutting edge technology to America and the globe. I hope, sincerely and fervently, that his work continues unabated.