There have been many computer geeks that have made it to the top of their profession, but none, not even Bill Gates, had the influence on the computer industry and the world like Steve Jobs.
With his narcissistic vision he took replaced the idea that a computer had to be the size of a building’s floor, weigh several tons, and have specialist PhD’s run the system. All so they could produce timely reports.
Even when IBM introduced its PC in 1983, the innovation was lackluster. They sold a lot of computers based on just the name IBM.
But when the Apple 2 came out, there were previews about what lay ahead. There were laser printers and networking operations available. Later, Steve Jobs rocked the world with the Macintosh. At that point he had taken off the aircraft carrier of technology. The sky was his.
While he lead Apple in its early years, he was replaced by the person he hired to run Apple. And Apple couldn’t find its way back to the top without Steve.
Microsoft, in the meantime was doing what it did very well, it copied technology from others in order to stay on top of the computer market. (like spreadsheets, document editors, sql databases, even internet operations) And why they never took over a hardware company to make their own computers is still a mystery. But the felt, undoubtedly, that they should just focus on software. They weren’t wrong about that. But it would take time, well into the 90’s, before Microsoft became a real innovator.
Steve Jobs on his return to Apple did what he was always good at, creating a vision. He was like the low-level employee who had great ideas, but couldn’t convince top management to take them on. (Steve Wosniak Apples co-founder was a low-level employee at HP. He showed them the PC he had designed. They laughed at him and said they weren’t interested.) Steve Jobs had that low-level employee enthusiasm, but he was CEO. He did what he wanted and followed his own vision.
The rest is easy to follow, he took a garage based company and built it into the most valued company in the world in about 40 years.
His vision will be remembered, and whether Apple can continue to work it is hard to predict. In all, he was the Thomas Edison of the late 20th Century. RIP.