He was the man who revolutionized the world of computers and put them into the palm of your hand. The iPod, iPhone and iPad are associated with his name.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has died at the age of 56. The news was not unexpected. For years, Steve Jobs had been fighting a rare form of pancreatic cancer. In 2004 he underwent an operation, in 2009 he had a liver transplant and three times was forced to take time off from Apple, before finally stepping down from his post as CEO in August this year. Steve Jobs "died peacefully today surrounded by his family," according to a family statement issued by Apple.
The company's web site displayed a portrait of Jobs with the years 1955-2011. In a statement, Apple said: "Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being… his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple." Jobs started the Apple company with a high school friend, Stephen Wozniak, in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976. He was forced out of the company a decade later, only to return in 1997 to breathe new life into its products and its image. Shortly after the news broke, people around the world used Twitter and the Internet in general to comment on Jobs' death.
Millions of users of Apple products expressed their gratitude for his creations - as well as their sorrow at his death. "iSad, RIP Steve Jobs," "ThankYouSteve" or "Pirates of Silicon Valley" soon were among the most common. The last entry refers to the 1999 film about the development of the PC and the rivalry between Apple and Microsoft.
In light of the news of Jobs' death, though, there was no room for rivalry. "Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives," Microsoft's Bill Gates said in a statement. "The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come."
Apple products connect people all over the world, whether they be used by young Egyptians to organize demonstrations, or by students in Europe, Asia or the United States, who simply want to get in on the latest trends in music. President Obama pays tribute US President Barack Obama, who was presented with his own iPad by Steve Jobs himself before it officially went on the market, expressed his condolences.
Obama described Steve Jobs as one of America's greatest inventors who was "brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it." Obama said that when Jobs and his friend Stephen Wozniak got together in a garage in 1976 to start up what would become an internationally successful company, "he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity."
The US president also highlighted the fact that many had learned of Jobs' death through the very products that he and his company had created. "He transformed our lives, redefined entire industries and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: He changed the way each of us sees the world." Apple's co-founder Stephen Wozniak compared his feelings to what he many must have felt when John Lennon or Martin Luther King died. "What will we do now, where will we find another one?" Wozniak asked in an interview with American news broadcaster CNN.
The images of Steve Jobs and Apple simply went hand in hand - he personally unveiled every product that his company created. The recently haggard figure, appearing almost always in a casual turtleneck and jeans, made such events into a show, and was always met with great enthusiasm.
Apple and Jobs became cult. At the unveiling of the new iPhone4S on Tuesday, his successor, Tim Cook, was greeted far less enthusiastically. Apple's shares dropped on the stock markets. Jobs, the visionary, will certainly be difficult to replace. The multimillionaire was multifaceted, a quality he displayed in the creation of his own animation studio Pixar, which enjoyed international success and won a number of awards for films like "Toy Story."
Jobs, who was an adopted child and dropped out of university, lived by the motto that he quoted in a 2005 speech to graduating students of Stanford University: “have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Death, he said, "is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new." Author: Christina Bergmann, Washington / pfdEditor: Michael Lawton