Apple announced today that its chairman and former CEO Steve Jobs has died. He was 56.
The company’s board released a press statement late Wednesday announcing the news:
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today.
“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.
“His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”
In late August, Steve Jobs announced his resignation as CEO and was replaced by Tim Cook, previously Apple’s chief operating officer.
Tess Vigeland: And the saddest of all days at Apple, where its legendary co-founder Steve Jobs is being mourned. Jobs died today at age 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. If you need any proof of Jobs’ incalculable effect on the everyday lives of Americans and consumers around the world, just think of how just many of you will have heard this news on an iPod. Or an iPhone. Or iPad. You’ll pull it off of iTunes. And perhaps save it onto your Macbook Air.
It goes beyond just the products, though. Jobs helped create the personal computer industry and will go down as one of the great corporate leaders of this era.
Our technology correspondent Steve Henn joins me now from Silicon Valley. Steve, can you walk us through his impact?
Steve Henn: Well you know, Tess, it’s enormous. As you said, Jobs did help create the personal computer industry. He was one of the handful of executives and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley who saw the potential of what computers could do and really brought them into the homes of millions and millions of Americans. From there, though, he went on to revolutionize that industry with the Mac, bringing the graphical user interface in the mouse to the public for the first time. And then he probably went through his toughest period as a professional and an executive — he was forced out of Apple and really left in disgrace, in some ways. And struggled. He went to invest a lot of his fortune, most of his fortune, in starting two other companies: Pixar and NeXT Computers. Pixar became a force of its own, and NeXT was eventually bought by Apple and fueled a lot of its resurgence in the later years.
Vigeland: And then, of course, the second act for him.
Henn: And the second act was really the most remarkable. He created the iPod — as you said — the iPhone, the iPad and really left Apple as one of the most valuable companies — and certainly the most successful tech company on the planet today.
Vigeland: Is it possible to say at this point what happens to Apple now?
Henn: You know, it’s really not. But obviously, Jobs left Apple in extraordinarily good shape. It has a very strong management team in place. Tim Cook is well-respected. Executives like Johnny Ives are widely thought to be brilliant. And it’s widely reported and understood that Apple has a product roadmap that will take them several years into the future. So it’s hard to imagine an executive doing more for a company, but it’s hard to picture Apple without him.
Vigeland: As we know, Steve Jobs actually stepped down from the company a couple of months ago, and of course they had a big announcement this week with the new iPhone 4S. Do you think that there is a difference between him stepping down and him being gone?
Henn: I think that is an interesting question, and I think that there actually is. I think there’s a tremendous amount of personal loyalty to Jobs within Apple, and that now he’s gone, that personal connection will cease to exist. And it’ll be interesting to see if Cook is able to keep the team in place that Jobs built.
Vigeland: Marketplace’s Steve Henn joining us from Silicon Valley. Thank you so much.
Henn: Sure thing.
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