6 Oct 2011

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs dies

11:34 pm on 6 October 2011

Steve Jobs, the man widely credited with transforming the way people interact with consumer technology, has died.

The Apple co-founder and former chief executive died on Wednesday after a long and highly public battle with pancreatic cancer and other health issues. He was 56.

The Silicon Valley icon who gave the world Macintosh personal computer and the hugely popular iPod and the iPhone resigned as chief executive of the world's largest technology corporation in August this year, handing the reins to current chief executive Tim Cook.

"Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve," the statement from Apple said.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said "the world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact that Steve has had" and would miss him "immensely".

United States president Barack Obama said Mr Jobs was a visionary and among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg compared Steve Jobs to Edison and Einstein.

From college dropout to tech guru

A college dropout, Buddhist and son of adoptive parents, Steve Jobs started Apple Computer with friend Steve Wozniak in the late 1970s. The company soon introduced the Apple I computer.

But it was the Apple II that became a huge success and gave Apple its position as a critical player in the PC industry, culminating in a 1980 share market listing that made Mr Jobs a multimillionaire.

Despite the subsequent success of the Mac, Steve Jobs' relationship with top management and the board soured. The company removed most of his powers, and in 1985 he was fired.

Apple's fortunes waned after that, however its purchase in 1997 of the computer company Mr Jobs founded after leaving Apple brought him back into the fold.

Later that year, he became interim chief executive and in 2000, the company dropped "interim" from his title.

Along the way he managed to revolutionise computer animation with his other company, Pixar, but it was the iPhone in 2007 that capped his legacy in the annals of modern technology history.

Millions of messages posted

Social media websites have been swamped with messages in response to the death of Steve Jobs.

In China, more than 35 million messages have been posted on the country's equivalent of Twitter.

Rivals and peers who watched Apple grow into one of the world's biggest companies also expressed their admiration.