Innovation works in mysterious ways
Was it salesmanship or engineering? Creativity or ruthlessness? Or was Steve Jobs simply gifted with vision and impeccable taste? Whatever the true source of his success, there was more than a touch of genius about Jobs. Even his side project, Pixar, was an astounding achievement. His first love, Apple, he built from nothing and then dragged back from the brink to make it the most valuable company in the world. No wonder so many of us felt sad at the news of his passing: surely he had more to offer.
I spend my life in front of a computer, and that life is better because of what Steve Jobs created. But here's the strange thing: I've never owned an Apple product for longer than the two weeks it took to give up and send it back. (Apple's customer returns department is impeccable, by the way.) My Macbook Air? Glorious hardware, but fussy software and a counterintuitive interface. My iPad? Beautiful – but also heavy, not too fond of wireless, and refused even to turn on until I did some most impertinent things to my Windows laptop.
我每天的生活都是在電腦前度過的，是喬布斯的諸多創造讓我的生活更美好。但奇怪之處在於：我擁有蘋果產品的時間從沒有超過兩週，兩週時間已足以讓我放棄，並把它退還給蘋果公司了。 （順便說一下，蘋果公司的顧客退貨部也是讓人無可挑剔！）我的Macbook Air？硬件炫極了，可軟件有些花里胡哨，界面也不夠直觀。我的iPad？華麗得很，可它太重了，不太喜歡無線網絡，而且直到我在Windows筆記本電腦上進行了一些極其荒謬的操作之後，它才可以開機。
Apple never made a penny from me. Why, then, do I say that Steve Jobs improved my life? It's because I am surrounded by technology that looks good and works well because others followed where Apple led. Without Apple's refinement and popularisation of the WIMP environment (window, icon, menu and pointer), how long would we have waited for a graphic interface from Microsoft – and how awful might it have been? It's hard to imagine Bill Gates would have shown much interest in fonts without Apple's beautiful typography. Beyond desktop computers, there's a similar story to tell: I own an Android phone that owes more than a passing debt to the iPhone; I'm still waiting to own a Windows machine to rival the Mac Air; and every tablet in the world bows to the iPad.
蘋果從來沒有從我身上賺到過一分錢。那麼，為什麼我要說史蒂夫•喬布斯改善了我的生活呢？理由是，我被各種外觀出色效率出眾的技術所圍繞，正是因為其它公司都在追隨蘋果的腳步。若不是蘋果對WIMP（窗口、圖標、菜單和光標）環境的改進和推廣，我們不知要多久才能等到微軟(Microsoft)的圖形界面——那會是多麼可怕的一種情形啊！很難想像，要不是因為蘋果的漂亮字體，比爾•蓋茨(Bill Gates)會對字體產生多大的興趣。除了台式機以外，我還有類似的經歷告訴大家：我有一部Android手機，它欠iPhone的可不止一星半點；我還在期待可以擁有一台能與Mac Air相媲美的Windows筆記本；還有，世界上的每一台平板電腦都應該向iPad致以敬意。
To an economist the lesson is obvious: innovative profits are imperfectly appropriable. In more user-friendly language: when an entrepreneur bakes a cake, he only gets to keep a thin slice for himself. This is worrying if it discourages innovation, and in some industries innovators may be discouraged by the prospect that they must take big risks and sink big costs while society sits back and hopes to reap the benefits. Yet in the computer industry, plenty of entrepreneurs seem happy to take risks for the prospect of a thin slice of the social benefits.
A discussion paper published in 2004 by the economist William Nordhaus attempts to establish exactly how thin that slice is. Nordhaus reckons that innovators capture a “minuscule” 2.2 per cent of the total social benefit of their innovations. The other 97.8 per cent goes to consumers , partly because competitors soon catch on, and partly because no company, even a monopolist, can charge each consumer a price reflecting her individual willingness to pay.
Professor Nordhaus's estimate can be regarded as, at best, an educated guess, partly because Nordhaus is only able to focus on innovations which lead to lower production costs and thus lower prices. If that's the metric, developments such as the world wide web or penicillin barely register. Still, I think it's safe to say that both Tim Berners-Lee (the web) and Alexander Fleming (penicillin) reaped far less than 2.2 per cent of the total value to society of their insights.
諾德豪斯教授的估算充其量可以被看作一種推測，部分原因是他只能夠集中研究那些促進生產成本下降、進而降低價格的發明創造。如果那就是衡量標準，萬維網(World Wide Web)和盤尼西林(penicillin)等發明勉強說來也算符合。不過，我覺得可以有把握地說，萬維網創造者蒂姆•伯納斯-李(Tim Berners-Lee)和盤尼西林的發現者亞歷山大•弗萊明(Alexander Fleming)從他們的創意想法給社會帶來的總價值中收穫的份額遠遠低於2.2%。
Was Jobs an exception? Chris Dillow of the Investor's Chronicle, who called my attention to the Nordhaus paper, reckons that Jobs's gift for branding and design helped Apple retain an unusually large slice of the innovator's cake. Perhaps that's true. Apple's shareholders have certainly enjoyed a profitable few years. But the greater benefit has flowed to customers – and not only the customers of Apple.
喬布斯是一個例外嗎？使我注意到諾德豪斯論文的是《投資者年鑑》(Investors' Chronicle)的克里斯•迪洛(Chris Dillow)。他認為，喬布斯在品牌塑造和設計方面的天分幫助蘋果公司從創新者的蛋糕上分得了出奇大的一片。或許他說的對。蘋果的股東們近幾年無疑賺得盆滿缽盈。但更多的收益還是流向了顧客——而且不僅僅是蘋果的顧客。
Tim Harford's latest book is 'Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure' (Little, Brown)
蒂姆•哈福德的新書名為《適者生存：為何失敗是成功之母》(Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure)，由利特爾-布朗公司(Little, Brown)出版。
蘋果公司（Apple Inc.）董事長、公司創始人之一喬布斯（Steven P. Jobs）於週三去世。他是個人電腦行業的先驅﹐改變了人們對科技的思考方式。
在 三十多年的職業生涯中﹐喬布斯改變了硅谷﹐幫助這片曾經廣袤荒涼的果園變成科技行業的創新中心。與微軟公司（Microsoft Corp.）創始人之一蓋茨（Bill Gates）和甲骨文公司（Oracle Corp.）創始人埃里森（Larry Ellison）一道﹐喬布斯為現代高科技產業奠定了基礎。此外﹐他還證明了﹐具有視覺沖擊力的設計優良產品比僅憑科技本身之力的產品更有吸引力﹐他同時 改變了消費者在日益數字化的世界里與科技互動的方式。
然而﹐與蓋茨和埃里森不同的是﹐喬布斯職業生涯中最具成效的篇章出現在他即將走到生 命盡頭之時﹐iPod、iPhone和iPad等一連串大獲成功的創新產品從根本上改變了個人電腦、電子產品和數字媒體行業。與此同時﹐他通過精心策劃的 廣告攻勢和開設零售店的方式推廣和銷售這些產品﹐幫助蘋果公司成為了流行文化偶像。
喬 布斯單在科技領域就已經取得了舉世矚目的成就﹐但他在娛樂業發揮了同樣具有開創性的作用。他讓蘋果成為了最大的音樂零售商﹐在擔任皮克斯動畫工作室 （Pixar Animation Studios）投資人和首席執行長期間推動了電腦動畫電影的普及。後來他將皮克斯賣給了華特•迪斯尼公司（Walt Disney Co.）。喬布斯在改變人們使用互聯網的方式﹐消費音樂、電視劇、電影和書籍的方式方面是個關鍵人物。在這一過程中﹐他也顛覆多個行業。
雖 然喬布斯8月將蘋果公司的大權正式交給了長期的副手庫克（Tim Cook）﹐但他的辭世依然引發了一個利害攸關的問題﹐那就是沒有了喬布斯的遠見和指導﹐過去十年大多數時間一直是技術創新先鋒的蘋果公司如何能夠維持自 己的成功。華特•迪斯尼、沃爾瑪（Wal-Mart Stores Inc.）和國際商業機器公司（International Business Machines Corp.）等其他美國資本主義的象徵在其魅力非凡的創始人離去後﹐也經歷過一些過渡期的困難﹐但最終都成功取得蓬勃發展。
喬 布斯變化無常的管理風格也留下了無數的故事﹐比如他不喜歡某些東西時習慣稱自己的員工或其想法“愚蠢”。對微軟公司、谷歌公司（Google Inc.）和亞馬遜公司（Amazon.com Inc.）等對手他更是毫不留情。2010年4月﹐Adobe Systems Inc.因蘋果iPhone和iPad不支持Adobe Flash視頻格式而發起攻勢時﹐喬布斯寫了一份1,600字的長文﹐敘述Adobe軟件為何已經過時且不適用於移動設備。
喬布斯對公司 硬件和軟件維持著不可動搖的標準﹐要求從消費者踏進時髦的蘋果店那一刻起﹐就感受到產品在美學上的“極致卓越”以及易用性。他在開發和設計過程中對最微小 細節的注重在形成蘋果產品最獨特的一些功能上起到了關鍵作用﹐而他精心準備的台上演示則激起了人們的熱情﹐這是其他同行無法比擬的。
喬 布斯生於1955年2月24日﹐自幼被加州帕羅奧多（Palo Alto, Calif）一個家庭收養。他很早就建立了科技創新者的名聲。他從大學輟學﹐1976年21歲時與好友沃茲尼亞克（Steve Wozniak）在家中的車庫創建了蘋果電腦公司（Apple Computer Inc.）。據《華爾街日報》記者卡爾頓（Jim Carlton）撰寫的《蘋果公司興衰內幕》（Apple: The Inside Story of Intrigue, Egomania, and Business Blunders）一書介紹﹐喬布斯選擇這個名字的一個原因是﹐他是披頭士樂隊（Beatles）的歌迷﹐並且很喜歡樂隊的蘋果唱片商標。
1977 年﹐二人推出了蘋果電腦第二代（Apple II）﹐這是一款開創性的電腦﹐價格相對合理﹐並且針對的人群是大眾消費者而非發燒友。蘋果二代繼而成為第一款取得商業成功的個人電腦之一﹐1980年蘋 果公司上市時﹐年銷售額就達到了1.17億美元。蘋果上市使喬布斯立即成為了百萬富翁。
喬布斯早期的點子並非全都獲得了成功。蘋果公司分 別於1980年和1983年推出的Apple III和Lisa電腦都是失敗之作。但極具特點的一體式Macintosh電腦確立了現代電腦操作系統的設計標準﹐在Macintosh的操作系統中﹐用 戶可以直接用鼠標點擊圖標﹐而不用輸入命令。當時蘋果從喬治•奧威爾(George Orwell)的小說《1984》中獲得靈感﹐製作了一則石破天驚的電視廣告預告Macintosh的面世﹐這則廣告廣為人知地只播放了一次。
喬 布斯對於美感的追求有時到了近乎極端的程度。上世紀80年代以及1998至2005年在蘋果擔任工程師的喬治•克勞(George Crow)回憶起喬布斯希望連電腦的內部都能賞心悅目。克勞說﹐在最早的Macintosh PC機上﹐喬布斯希望電腦里的線路用蘋果早期的彩虹標志的顏色。克勞說﹐他最終說服了喬布斯﹐讓他相信這是不必要的開支。
喬布斯關於 Macintosh的許多想法來自1979年參觀施樂公司(Xerox Corp.)帕洛阿爾托研究中心(Palo Alto Research)的經歷。他在那裡看到一台名為Xerox Alto的機器﹐它有一個粗糙的圖形用戶界面﹐還有一個鼠標。這一插曲突出了他一再扮演的角色﹐即現有發明的改進者和推廣者。
隨 著蘋果的擴張﹐喬布斯決定讓更富經驗的管理者來領導公司。1983年﹐他從百事公司(Pepsi Co.)挖來約翰•斯卡利(John Sculley)擔任蘋果首席執行長﹐喬布斯問了斯卡利一句名言：他是只想“向孩子們賣糖水”還是想幫助改變世界﹐這句話讓斯卡利改變了最初的猶疑態度。
隨 後喬布斯創建了NeXT Inc.﹐這家初創企業受到密切關注﹐1988年﹐該公司推出一款與眾不同的黑色台式電腦﹐配備了先進的軟件﹐最初是針對學術計算市場。但這款電腦過高的 價格和一些關鍵的設計決策對它形成了阻礙﹐包括它採用光盤驅動﹐並使用摩托羅拉公司(Motorola Inc.)的微處理器﹐而當時英特爾(Intel Corp.)的芯片和軟盤驅動已經成為主流。
1986 年﹐喬布斯用來自蘋果的部分財富﹐以1,000萬美元從電影導演喬治•盧卡斯（George Lucas）手中收購了盧卡斯電影公司（Lucasfilm Ltd.）旗下的計算機圖形部門。他用這些資產創建了皮克斯動畫工作室﹐先是賣硬件﹐接著賣軟件﹐後來又開始製作故事片。隨後﹐從《玩具總動員》（Toy Story）到2008年的《瓦力》（Wall-E）﹐皮克斯創造了一系列賣座的動畫片。2006年1月﹐喬布斯以74億美元將皮克斯賣給了迪斯尼﹐這筆 交易給了他一個迪斯尼董事會的席位﹐並使他成為迪斯尼最大股東。
到 1997年﹐蘋果在兩年內虧損了近20億美元﹐股價跌至歷史最低水平﹐當時擔任首席執行長的是阿梅里奧（Gil Amelio）﹐他是四年里的第三任CEO。蘋果在1996年12月收購了NeXT。8個月後﹐阿梅里奧被解職﹐喬布斯被任命為臨時CEO﹐2000年1 月成為常任CEO。一位蘋果前員工回憶說﹐喬布斯在回歸後不久開玩笑說：瘋子佔領了精神病院﹐我們可以為所欲為了。
1998 年5月﹐他推出了iMac﹐這是一款與眾不同的一體機﹐擁有藍綠色和灰色的半透明彩色外殼。這款受歡迎的機器促使競爭對手紛紛改善自己的設計。蘋果為 iMac製作了一個大膽的廣告宣傳片﹐廣告語是“另類思考”（Think Different）﹐並配上愛因斯坦（Albert Einstein）和《芝麻街》木偶創作者漢森（Jim Henson）等喬布斯崇拜的偶像的圖片。
在股東們為這些改革叫好之際﹐喬布斯 則在蘋果位於加州Cupertino的總部大展拳腳。接管後的幾個月內﹐他就用NeXT前下屬替換了五位高管中的四位。他發郵件禁止員工在這個素以悠閑輕 鬆而聞名的總部將寵物帶到辦公室﹐甚至禁止員工在停車場吸煙﹐並威脅說只要發現有人泄露公司文件就會被解雇。
但 大受歡迎的產品隨之而來。2001年﹐蘋果推出了一款用鈦制成的PowerBook筆記本﹐這種金屬常用於戰鬥機。同年﹐蘋果推出了iPod﹐用流線型的 外觀和類似於DJ操作台的歌曲導航等特色改變了數字音樂播放器。從上市至2010年9月﹐蘋果共售出逾2.75億台iPod﹐在數字音樂播放器市場佔據超 過70%的份額。
一個關鍵的分水嶺是2003年開放的iTunes音樂商店。當 時音樂行業基本處於數字革命的邊緣地帶﹐受到違法下載的重創但又無法找到簡單而廉價的方法在網上銷售歌曲。但喬布斯幫助說服了主要唱片公司以每張0.99 美元的價格出售歌曲﹐並實施大多數消費者都能接受的反盜版限制條款。
與 此同時﹐喬布斯正在創建一個資歷深厚的管理團隊。20世紀90年代﹐他聘請前康柏電腦公司（Compaq Computer Corp.）高管庫克（Tim Cook）來加強蘋果的運營﹐後來將他提拔為首席運營長。零售業務高級副總裁約翰遜（Ron Johnson）是2000年從連鎖廉價超市Target Corp.加入蘋果﹐負責在全球開設蘋果零售店的。蘋果首席工業設計師艾夫（Jonathan Ive）負責公司產品的外觀和質感﹐據說他擁有和喬布斯一樣對設計的敏感性。
2004年﹐喬布斯不得不依賴這個團隊﹐他透露自己做了移 除胰腺惡性腫瘤的手術。蘋果在2004年8月初透露了喬布斯做手術的消息﹐但一位知情人士說﹐喬布斯首次得知自己患腫瘤是在9個月前做常規腹部掃描的時 候。這位知情人士說﹐在喬布斯通過調節飲食治療腫瘤期間﹐蘋果董事會和喬布斯沒有對蘋果股東透露任何信息。
喬 布斯在iPhone的開發上和以往一樣親力親為。知情人士說﹐2007年在Macworld展覽會發佈iPhone後決定將iPhone屏幕由塑料改為玻 璃的就是喬布斯。iPhone團隊匆忙採購符合喬布斯嚴格標準的玻璃﹐從而使iPhone的生產能及時趕上發佈。發佈會於七個月後召開。
儘 管當時有人懷疑蘋果是否能夠進入Research in Motion Ltd.黑莓手機等設備主導的競爭已經很激烈的市場﹐但蘋果迅速成為了手機市場的強力軍﹐到2010年12月共售出了9,200萬部iPhone。今年早 些時候﹐蘋果說除美國電話電報公司（AT&T）外﹐還將開始通過Verizon Wireless銷售iPhone﹐導致iPhone勢頭更加迅猛。
去年﹐喬布斯還在一片讚美聲中發佈了iPad平板電腦﹐稱其是“神奇 的和革命性的”。在iPad發佈後的頭九個月﹐蘋果售出了1,480萬台iPad﹐消費者紛紛搶購﹐將其作為休閑多媒體設備進行收發郵件、看視頻和閱讀等 活動。與喬布斯有過密切工作的人士說﹐這個項目對喬布斯太重要了﹐以至於他在從2009年肝臟移植手術恢復的同時都在親自參與iPad的計劃。
後 來蘋果披露說﹐喬布斯參與選擇了有利的期權日期﹐但否認喬布斯有任何不當行為﹐因為喬布斯不瞭解自己行為的審計後果。蘋果調查的最後結果是﹐蘋果前法律總 顧問海能（Nancy Heinen）和前首席財務官安德森（Fred Anderson）兩位高管為日期倒填事件負責。後來兩人都被證券交易委員會（Securities and Exchange Commission）起訴。最後達成了和解。喬布斯從未被指控有任何不當行為。
YUKARI IWATANI KANE / GEOFFREY A. FOWLER
蒂 夫•喬布斯（Steve Jobs）是天才﹐他對多個產業和幾十億人的生活都產生了巨大影響﹐自從他今年八月辭去蘋果公司（Apple）首席執行長以來﹐有關他的文章已經數不勝 數。他是一位可與托馬斯•愛迪生（Thomas Edison）或亨利•福特（Henry Ford）比肩的歷史人物。
他 做了一名首席執行長應該做的事。他聘用和啟發了許多優秀的人﹔他立足於長遠來管理公司﹐而不是把眼光只鎖定在季度收益或短期股價上﹔他在業務上押下重注並 承擔了巨大風險。他堅持要求產品必須有最好的質量﹐堅持要求要為取悅和充分滿足實際用戶的需求來生產產品﹐而不是把滿足企業IT部門負責人等中間用戶的需 求擺在首位。就像他喜歡說的那樣﹐他生活在科技與人文科學的交匯點上。
喬 布斯在中途離開蘋果公司以前我並不認識他。那時我還不報道科技領域。在喬布斯離開蘋果的那段時間我只與他見過一次面。他在1997年重返蘋果後幾天開始給 我打電話﹐而且是在週日晚上。他連續四、五個週末在週日夜間往我家裡打電話。作為一名老記者﹐我知道他想取悅我﹐好讓我站在當時舉步維艱的蘋果公司一邊﹐ 我曾經推薦過蘋果的產品﹐但喬布斯給我打電話前不久我曾建議讀者們不要買蘋果的產品。
當 蘋果開設第一家零售專賣店時﹐他的這種特質得以展現。他組織媒體記者參觀﹐對專賣店的自豪之情溢於言表﹐就像個為第一個孩子而驕傲的父親。我當時評論說﹐ 肯定只會有寥寥幾家門店﹐並質疑蘋果對零售有何瞭解。他看著我﹐就像我是個瘋子一樣﹐他說﹐會有很多很多門店﹐而且蘋果公司已經花了一年時間﹐在一個秘密 地點利用模型來調整門店佈局。我曾打趣式地問喬布斯﹐他是否曾在從事首席執行長的繁重工作之餘﹐撥冗來拍板產品玻璃的透明度和木質材料的顏色等細節小事。 他說﹐當然了﹐就是這樣。
有 時候﹐但並不總是﹐他會邀請我去看蘋果公司某些尚未對外界公佈的重磅產品。他或許也讓其他記者去看過。這種時候我們會在一間巨大的會議室里碰面﹐同時在場 的只有他少數幾名助手。喬布斯會堅持用布把這些新產品蓋住（即使是在私下場合）﹐然後他會像玩雜耍般把幕布揭開﹐這時他眼裡閃著光﹐聲音里充滿著激情。接 著我們會坐下來長時間地談論現在和未來﹐以及行業內的逸聞趣事。
我仍然記得他向我展示蘋果公司首款iPod那天的情況。我對一家電腦公司 居然涉足音樂播放器領域感到吃驚﹐而他則解釋說﹐他將蘋果視為一家數字產品公司﹐而不是一家電腦公司。他並沒有就此提供更多細節。喬布斯向我展示蘋果公司 的iPhone手機、iTunes音樂網店時也是這種情況。後來到iPad平板電腦時﹐他是讓我去他家裡看尚未展現給世人的iPad的﹐因為他那時已經病 重得不能去辦公室了。
在第五屆“全數字化大會”（All Things Digital Conference）上﹐喬布斯和他的長期競爭對手──才華橫溢的比爾•蓋茨（Bill Gates）出人意料地同意一同出席﹐這是他倆第一次同在一個講台上接受長時間的採訪。但這次訪談幾乎沒有搞成。
Walter S. Mossberg
The co-founder and chairman of Apple Inc. and one of the century's greatest business leaders died Oct. 5, 2011, at 56 — leaving behind a legacy of innovation and world-changing products
If Steve Jobs hadn't been so restless, so unimaginably stubborn, the world would be a meaningfully different place
Steven P. Jobs, 1955-2011
Apple’s Visionary Redefined Digital Age
Steven P. Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple who helped usher in the era of personal computers and then led a cultural transformation in the way music, movies and mobile communications were experienced in the digital age, died Wednesday. He was 56.
Jobs’s Death Draws Outpouring of Grief and Tributes (October 6, 2011)
A Tough Balancing Act Remains Ahead for Apple (October 6, 2011)
Media Decoder Blog: Jobs Biography Is Highly Anticipated (October 5, 2011)
Related in Opinion
Editorial | Appreciations: Steven Paul Jobs (October 7, 2011)
Joe Nocera: What Makes Steve Jobs Great (August 27, 2011)
Jim Wilson/The New York Times
The death was announced by Apple, the company Mr. Jobs and his high school friend Stephen Wozniak started in 1976 in a suburban California garage. A friend of the family said the cause was complications of pancreatic cancer.
Mr. Jobs had waged a long and public struggle with the disease, remaining the face of the company even as he underwent treatment, introducing new products for a global market in his trademark blue jeans even as he grew gaunt and frail.
He underwent surgery in 2004, received a liver transplant in 2009 and took three medical leaves of absence as Apple’s chief executive before stepping down in August and turning over the helm to Timothy D. Cook, the chief operating officer. When he left, he was still engaged in the company’s affairs, negotiating with another Silicon Valley executive only weeks earlier.
“I have always said that if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s C.E.O., I would be the first to let you know,” Mr. Jobs said in a letter released by the company. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”
By then, having mastered digital technology and capitalized on his intuitive marketing sense, Mr. Jobs had largely come to define the personal computer industry and an array of digital consumer and entertainment businesses centered on the Internet. He had also become a very rich man, worth an estimated $8.3 billion.
Tributes to Mr. Jobs flowed quickly on Wednesday evening, in formal statements and in the flow of social networks, with President Obama, technology industry leaders and legions of Apple fans weighing in.
“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with Steve, it’s been an insanely great honor,” said Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder. “I will miss Steve immensely.”
A Twitter user named Matt Galligan wrote: “R.I.P. Steve Jobs. You touched an ugly world of technology and made it beautiful.”
Eight years after founding Apple, Mr. Jobs led the team that designed the Macintosh computer, a breakthrough in making personal computers easier to use. After a 12-year separation from the company, prompted by a bitter falling-out with his chief executive, John Sculley, he returned in 1997 to oversee the creation of one innovative digital device after another — the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. These transformed not only product categories like music players and cellphones but also entire industries, like music and mobile communications.
During his years outside Apple, he bought a tiny computer graphics spinoff from the director George Lucas and built a team of computer scientists, artists and animators that became Pixar Animation Studios.
Starting with “Toy Story” in 1995, Pixar produced a string of hit movies, won several Academy Awards for artistic and technological excellence, and made the full-length computer-animated film a mainstream art form enjoyed by children and adults worldwide.
Mr. Jobs was neither a hardware engineer nor a software programmer, nor did he think of himself as a manager. He considered himself a technology leader, choosing the best people possible, encouraging and prodding them, and making the final call on product design.
It was an executive style that had evolved. In his early years at Apple, his meddling in tiny details maddened colleagues, and his criticism could be caustic and even humiliating. But he grew to elicit extraordinary loyalty.
“He was the most passionate leader one could hope for, a motivating force without parallel,” wrote Steven Levy, author of the 1994 book “Insanely Great,” which chronicles the creation of the Mac. “Tom Sawyer could have picked up tricks from Steve Jobs.”
“Toy Story,” for example, took four years to make while Pixar struggled, yet Mr. Jobs never let up on his colleagues. “‘You need a lot more than vision — you need a stubbornness, tenacity, belief and patience to stay the course,” said Edwin Catmull, a computer scientist and a co-founder of Pixar. “In Steve’s case, he pushes right to the edge, to try to make the next big step forward.”
Mr. Jobs was the ultimate arbiter of Apple products, and his standards were exacting. Over the course of a year he tossed out two iPhone prototypes, for example, before approving the third, and began shipping it in June 2007.
To his understanding of technology he brought an immersion in popular culture. In his 20s, he dated Joan Baez; Ella Fitzgerald sang at his 30th birthday party. His worldview was shaped by the ’60s counterculture in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he had grown up, the adopted son of a Silicon Valley machinist. When he graduated from high school in Cupertino in 1972, he said, ”the very strong scent of the 1960s was still there.”
After dropping out of Reed College, a stronghold of liberal thought in Portland, Ore., in 1972, Mr. Jobs led a countercultural lifestyle himself. He told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life. He said there were things about him that people who had not tried psychedelics — even people who knew him well, including his wife — could never understand.
Decades later he flew around the world in his own corporate jet, but he maintained emotional ties to the period in which he grew up. He often felt like an outsider in the corporate world, he said. When discussing the Silicon Valley’s lasting contributions to humanity, he mentioned in the same breath the invention of the microchip and “The Whole Earth Catalog,” a 1960s counterculture publication.
Apple’s very name reflected his unconventionality. In an era when engineers and hobbyists tended to describe their machines with model numbers, he chose the name of a fruit, supposedly because of his dietary habits at the time.
Coming on the scene just as computing began to move beyond the walls of research laboratories and corporations in the 1970s, Mr. Jobs saw that computing was becoming personal — that it could do more than crunch numbers and solve scientific and business problems — and that it could even be a force for social and economic change. And at a time when hobbyist computers were boxy wooden affairs with metal chassis, he designed the Apple II as a sleek, low-slung plastic package intended for the den or the kitchen. He was offering not just products but a digital lifestyle.
He put much stock in the notion of “taste,” a word he used frequently. It was a sensibility that shone in products that looked like works of art and delighted users. Great products, he said, were a triumph of taste, of “trying to expose yourself to the best things humans have done and then trying to bring those things into what you are doing.”
Regis McKenna, a longtime Silicon Valley marketing executive to whom Mr. Jobs turned in the late 1970s to help shape the Apple brand, said Mr. Jobs’s genius lay in his ability to simplify complex, highly engineered products, “to strip away the excess layers of business, design and innovation until only the simple, elegant reality remained.”
Mr. Jobs’s own research and intuition, not focus groups, were his guide. When asked what market research went into the iPad, Mr. Jobs replied: “None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.”
Steven Paul Jobs was born in San Francisco on Feb. 24, 1955, and surrendered for adoption by his biological parents, Joanne Carole Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali, a graduate student from Syria who became a political science professor. He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs.
The elder Mr. Jobs, who worked in finance and real estate before returning to his original trade as a machinist, moved his family down the San Francisco Peninsula to Mountain View and then to Los Altos in the 1960s.
Mr. Jobs developed an early interest in electronics. He was mentored by a neighbor, an electronics hobbyist, who built Heathkit do-it-yourself electronics projects. He was brash from an early age. As an eighth grader, after discovering that a crucial part was missing from a frequency counter he was assembling, he telephoned William Hewlett, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard. Mr. Hewlett spoke with the boy for 20 minutes, prepared a bag of parts for him to pick up and offered him a job as a summer intern.
Mr. Jobs met Mr. Wozniak while attending Homestead High School in neighboring Cupertino. The two took an introductory electronics class there.
The spark that ignited their partnership was provided by Mr. Wozniak’s mother. Mr. Wozniak had graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, when she sent him an article from the October 1971 issue of Esquire magazine. The article, “Secrets of the Little Blue Box,” by Ron Rosenbaum, detailed an underground hobbyist culture of young men known as phone phreaks who were illicitly exploring the nation’s phone system.
Mr. Wozniak shared the article with Mr. Jobs, and the two set out to track down an elusive figure identified in the article as Captain Crunch. The man had taken the name from his discovery that a whistle that came in boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereal was tuned to a frequency that made it possible to make free long-distance calls simply by blowing the whistle next to a phone handset.
Captain Crunch was John Draper, a former Air Force electronic technician, and finding him took several weeks. Learning that the two young hobbyists were searching for him, Mr. Draper had arranged to come to Mr. Wozniak’s Berkeley dormitory room. Mr. Jobs, who was still in high school, had traveled to Berkeley for the meeting. When Mr. Draper arrived, he entered the room saying simply, “It is I!”
Based on information they gleaned from Mr. Draper, Mr. Wozniak and Mr. Jobs later collaborated on building and selling blue boxes, devices that were widely used for making free — and illegal — phone calls. They raised a total of $6,000 from the effort.
After enrolling at Reed College in 1972, Mr. Jobs left after one semester, but remained in Portland for another 18 months auditing classes. In a commencement address given at Stanford in 2005, he said he had decided to leave college because it was consuming all of his parents’ savings.
Leaving school, however, also freed his curiosity to follow his interests. “I didn’t have a dorm room,” he said in his Stanford speech, “so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned Coke bottles for the 5-cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.”
He returned to Silicon Valley in 1974 and took a job there as a technician at Atari, the video game manufacturer. Still searching for his calling, he left after several months and traveled to India with a college friend, Daniel Kottke, who would later become an early Apple employee. Mr. Jobs returned to Atari that fall. In 1975, he and Mr. Wozniak, then working as an engineer at H.P., began attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club, a hobbyist group that met at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park, Calif. Personal computing had been pioneered at research laboratories adjacent to Stanford, and it was spreading to the outside world.
“What I remember is how intense he looked,” said Lee Felsenstein, a computer designer who was a Homebrew member. “He was everywhere, and he seemed to be trying to hear everything people had to say.”
Mr. Wozniak designed the original Apple I computer simply to show it off to his friends at the Homebrew. It was Mr. Jobs who had the inspiration that it could be a commercial product.
In early 1976, he and Mr. Wozniak, using their own money, began Apple with an initial investment of $1,300; they later gained the backing of a former Intel executive, A. C. Markkula, who lent them $250,000. Mr. Wozniak would be the technical half and Mr. Jobs the marketing half of the original Apple I Computer. Starting out in the Jobs family garage in Los Altos, they moved the company to a small office in Cupertino shortly thereafter.
In April 1977, Mr. Jobs and Mr. Wozniak introduced Apple II at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco. It created a sensation. Faced with a gaggle of small and large competitors in the emerging computer market, Apple, with its Apple II, had figured out a way to straddle the business and consumer markets by building a computer that could be customized for specific applications.
Sales skyrocketed, from $2 million in 1977 to $600 million in 1981, the year the company went public. By 1983 Apple was in the Fortune 500. No company had ever joined the list so quickly.
The Apple III, introduced in May 1980, was intended to dominate the desktop computer market. I.B.M. would not introduce its original personal computer until 1981. But the Apple III had a host of technical problems, and Mr. Jobs shifted his focus to a new and ultimately short-lived project, an office workstation computer code-named Lisa.
An Apocalyptic Moment
By then Mr. Jobs had made his much-chronicled 1979 visit to Xerox’s research center in Palo Alto, where he saw the Alto, an experimental personal computer system that foreshadowed modern desktop computing. The Alto, controlled by a mouse pointing device, was one of the first computers to employ a graphical video display, which presented the user with a view of documents and programs, adopting the metaphor of an office desktop.
“It was one of those sort of apocalyptic moments,” Mr. Jobs said of his visit in a 1995 oral history interview for the Smithsonian Institution. “I remember within 10 minutes of seeing the graphical user interface stuff, just knowing that every computer would work this way someday. It was so obvious once you saw it. It didn’t require tremendous intellect. It was so clear.”
In 1981 he joined a small group of Apple engineers pursuing a separate project, a lower-cost system code-named Macintosh. The machine was introduced in January 1984 and trumpeted during the Super Bowl telecast by a 60-second commercial, directed by Ridley Scott, that linked I.B.M., then the dominant PC maker, with Orwell’s Big Brother.
A year earlier Mr. Jobs had lured Mr. Sculley to Apple to be its chief executive. A former Pepsi-Cola chief executive, Mr. Sculley was impressed by Mr. Jobs’s pitch: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?”
He went on to help Mr. Jobs introduce a number of new computer models, including an advanced version of the Apple II and later the Lisa and Macintosh desktop computers. Through them Mr. Jobs popularized the graphical user interface, which, based on a mouse pointing device, would become the standard way to control computers.
But when the Lisa failed commercially and early Macintosh sales proved disappointing, the two men became estranged and a power struggle ensued, and Mr. Jobs lost control of the Lisa project. The board ultimately stripped him of his operational role, taking control of the Lisa project away from him, and 1,200 Apple employees were laid off. He left Apple in 1985.
“I don’t wear the right kind of pants to run this company,” he told a small gathering of Apple employees before he left, according to a member of the original Macintosh development team. He was barefoot as he spoke, and wearing blue jeans.
That September he announced a new venture, NeXT Inc. The aim was to build a workstation computer for the higher-education market. The next year, the Texas industrialist H. Ross Perot invested $20 million in the effort. But it did not achieve Mr. Jobs’s goals.
Mr. Jobs also established a personal philanthropic foundation after leaving Apple but soon had a change of heart, deciding instead to spend much of his fortune — $10 million — on acquiring Pixar, a struggling graphics supercomputing company owned by the filmmaker George Lucas.
The purchase was a significant gamble; there was little market at the time for computer-animated movies. But that changed in 1995, when the company, with Walt Disney Pictures, released “Toy Story.” That film’s box-office receipts ultimately reached $362 million, and when Pixar went public in a record-breaking offering, Mr. Jobs emerged a billionaire. In 2006, the Walt Disney Company agreed to purchase Pixar for $7.4 billion. The sale made Mr. Jobs Disney’s largest single shareholder, with about 7 percent of the company’s stock.
His personal life also became more public. He had a number of well-publicized romantic relationships, including one with the folk singer Joan Baez, before marrying Laurene Powell. In 1996, his sister Mona Simpson, a novelist, threw a spotlight on her relationship with Mr. Jobs in the novel “A Regular Guy.” The two did not meet until they were adults. The novel centered on a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who bore a close resemblance to Mr. Jobs. It was not an entirely flattering portrait. Mr. Jobs said about a quarter of it was accurate.
“We’re family,” he said of Ms. Simpson in an interview with The New York Times Magazine. “She’s one of my best friends in the world. I call her and talk to her every couple of days.”
His wife and Ms. Simpson survive him, as do his three children with Ms. Powell, his daughters Eve Jobs and Erin Sienna Jobs and a son, Reed; another daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, from a relationship with Chrisann Brennan; and another sister, Patti Jobs.
Return to Apple
Eventually, Mr. Jobs refocused NeXT from the education to the business market and dropped the hardware part of the company, deciding to sell just an operating system. Although NeXT never became a significant computer industry player, it had a huge impact: a young programmer, Tim Berners-Lee, used a NeXT machine to develop the first version of the World Wide Web at the Swiss physics research center CERN in 1990.
In 1996, after unsuccessful efforts to develop next-generation operating systems, Apple, with Gilbert Amelio now in command, acquired NeXT for $430 million. The next year, Mr. Jobs returned to Apple as an adviser. He became chief executive again in 2000.
Shortly after returning, Mr. Jobs publicly ended Apple’s long feud with its archrival Microsoft, which agreed to continue developing its Office software for the Macintosh and invested $150 million in Apple.
Once in control of Apple again, Mr. Jobs set out to reshape the consumer electronics industry. He pushed the company into the digital music business, introducing first iTunes and then the iPod MP3 player. The music arm grew rapidly, reaching almost 50 percent of the company’s revenue by June 2008.
In 2005, Mr. Jobs announced that he would end Apple’s business relationship with I.B.M. and Motorola and build Macintosh computers based on Intel microprocessors.
His fight with cancer was now publicly known. Apple had announced in 2004 that Mr. Jobs had a rare but curable form of pancreatic cancer and that he had undergone successful surgery. Four years later, questions about his health returned when he appeared at a company event looking gaunt. Afterward, he said he had suffered from a “common bug.” Privately, he said his cancer surgery had created digestive problems but insisted they were not life-threatening.
Apple began selling the iPhone in June 2007. Mr. Jobs’s goal was to sell 10 million of the handsets in 2008, equivalent to 1 percent of the global cellphone market. The company sold 11.6 million.
Although smartphones were already commonplace, the iPhone dispensed with a stylus and pioneered a touch-screen interface that quickly set the standard for the mobile computing market. Rolled out with much anticipation and fanfare, iPhone rocketed to popularity; by the end of 2010 the company had sold almost 90 million units.
Although Mr. Jobs took just a nominal $1 salary when he returned to Apple, his compensation became the source of a Silicon Valley scandal in 2006 over the backdating of millions of shares of stock options. But after a company investigation and one by the Securities and Exchange Commission, he was found not to have benefited financially from the backdating and no charges were brought.
The episode did little to taint Mr. Jobs’s standing in the business and technology world. As the gravity of his illness became known, and particularly after he announced he was stepping down, he was increasingly hailed for his genius and true achievement: his ability to blend product design and business market innovation by integrating consumer-oriented software, microelectronic components, industrial design and new business strategies in a way that has not been matched.
If he had a motto, it may have come from “The Whole Earth Catalog,” which he said had deeply influenced him as a young man. The book, he said in his commencement address at Stanford in 2005, ends with the admonition “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”
“I have always wished that for myself,” he said.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: October 7, 2011
An earlier version of this obituary misstated the year in which NeXT shifted its focus from the education to the business market as 1986.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: October 7, 2011
An obituary on Thursday about Steven P. Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, misidentified, in some editions and at one point, the city in California where he went to high school. It is Cupertino, not Los Altos.