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Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman of the board, former CEO of Apple and industry icon for decades, has died.

Apple released this statement:

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.

The front page of Apple.com displayed a picture of the late Steve Jobs, and the second page contained atribute to the industry leader:

 

Steve Jobs
1955-2011
Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who’ve been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve lost a dear friend and inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. 

If you would like to share your thoughts, memories, and condolences, please emailrememberingsteve@apple.com.

 

 

In August, when Steve Jobs stepped down from his position as CEO of Apple, he wrote the following in hisresignation letter:

“I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

“I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook released the following statement:

“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

We are planning a celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply emailrememberingsteve@apple.com.

No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time.”

Bill Gates, former CEO of Microsoft, was quoted by The New York Times as saying that he was “truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’s death.” He added: “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. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”

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Steven Paul Jobs, the co-founder and chairman of Apple,died Wednesday at the age of 56.

Born in San Francisco in 1955, Jobs grew up near Cupertino, Calif. After attending Reed College in Portland for one semester (and auditing classes for free for several more), Jobs took a job at Atari, designing circuit boards. In 1976, Jobs co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak.

The two young men started out with a few thousand dollars in cash and a vision of changing the world. Over the course of the past 35 years, the company and Jobs have gone on to change the world, the personal computing industry, the music and film industries and the mobile industry as we know.

Apple released its first mass-market product, the Apple II in 1976. The Apple II helped ignite what would become known as “the personal computer revolution” and thrust the charismatic Jobs into the spotlight. By the time IBM released its first PC in 1981 and Commodore released the Commodore 64 in 1982, Apple was already hard at work on the product that would cement Apple’s place in computing history, the Macintosh.

Brazenly introduced to the world in 1984 via a Super Bowl ad directed by Ridley Scott, the Macintosh helped set the standard for personal computing paradigms for the next decade.


Pixar, NeXT and Beyond


Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985 over disagreements concerning vision, style and attitude. At the time, Jobs was written off by many in the business and industry press as a flash in the pan. It was Wozniak, not Jobs, they said, that was the real innovator at Apple.

In the decade that followed, Jobs was out of the limelight. Bill Gates became the face of the industry and the tech story of the 1990s was the rise of Microsoft. It was Microsoft, not Apple, that would topple IBM.

After leaving Apple in 1985, Jobs and some of his Apple founded NeXT with a cadre of Apple alumni. NeXT was well-financed and its software and hardware were top notch. Still, the products failed to make an impact on the industry.

Jobs’s real success in the first half of the 1990s wasn’t in the computer industry, but in the film industry. Pixar, a small animation studio Jobs acquired in 1986, went from obscurity to industry game-changer after the release of 1995′s Toy Story. It was Pixar, not Apple — and not NeXT — that made Jobs a very rich man.

In late 1996, Jobs approached Apple to discuss his former company acquiring NeXT. Apple needed an operating system, NeXT had one, NeXTSTEP.

Within a few months of rejoining Apple, Jobs took over as interim CEO. It was at this point that the modern Jobs legacy began to take shape.

From 1997 until August 2011, Jobs was Apple’s CEO, presiding over what can only be described as thegreatest second and third acts in business history. Under his tutelage as CEO, Apple not only returned from the brink of bankruptcy to profitability, but products like the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad have single-handedly changed the consumer electronics and personal computing landscape.

In August 2004, Jobs revealed that he had undergone surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his pancreas. Jobs took a one month leave of absence to recover from surgery and returned to work in September 2004.

For the next seven years, Jobs would dodge rumors about his health. In June 2008, Jobs’s gaunt appearance at WWDC raised questions about his health. In January 2009, Jobs took a six-month leave of absence from Apple, to address “a hormone deficiency.” It was later revealed that Jobs had a liver transplant in April 2009. He returned to work in June 2009.

Jobs would continue to serve as Apple’s CEO until January 2011, when he took a medical leave of absence “to focus on his health.”

Jobs is survived by his wife Laurene and his family.

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It felt like I’d been slapped in the face. There it was: On  Twitter. In my email. On a phone call. Steve Jobs, the tech industry’s one true icon, was gone — taken from us far too soon, at the age of 56.

Say what you will about the dynamic maverick who built and rebuilt Apple over the course of four decades, but Steve Jobs was a visionary. A maker of things. A doer who intimately understood the excitement of a new product. How the interchange of 1s and 0s could produce a sublime piece of software. Steve Jobs got all this. We admired him for it. Some loved him for it. None of us will forget him for it.


On Stage


I had the privilege of attending many Apple product launches where I witnessed the master in action. Jobs may have ruled the boardroom, product meetings and led Apple’s strategy behind the scenes, but first and foremost he ruled the stage. He was a magnetic figure. No, Steve’s voice didn’t boom. Sometimes he sounded and looked like the nerd he was. Yet he knew when to pause, when to push, when to point to the right highlight — and when to stop, almost walk off stage, then produce that “one more thing” from his back pocket.

Jobs relished the stage, I think, because it was the place where he could share his delight in the new. I always believed Steve Jobs was truly in love with his own products. When he unveiled the iPad, Jobs was smiling from ear to ear. Granted, he had some really good stuff to show off. To this day, no other tablet has surpassed (or even come close) to the iPad — or its market share.

Steve Jobs taught an entire industry that product experience didn’t begin or end with the hardware or application. It started on stage, continued in the store, and was ultimately realized when an Apple customer opened the product packaging. Unboxing stories were invented because of Apple, and thus because of Jobs. Obviously, not every Apple idea sprung fully formed from his mind. But like any good leader, he surrounded himself with exceptional professionals who helped create the world we know know as the Apple ecosystem.


A Deep Loss


Jobs’ death comes less than 24 hours after Tim Cook took the stage for the first time as CEO and unveiled theiPhone 4s. It was an oddly subdued affair that felt like a change of direction for Apple. Cook is not Steve Jobs. He will do things his own way, and it was important for him to set a new tone. In hindsight, Tuesday felt like the beginning of the mourning process. I can’t guess whether or not Cook and other top Apple execs knew what was coming — but if they did, yesterday’s mood makes sense.

Having followed his career and products for so long — I was using an Mac SE in 1985 (and owned an Apple IIe before that) — I feel as if I’ve lost a relative. I simply cannot believe that Steve Jobs will not appear one more time on an Apple stage. Yes, he got thinner and weaker with each passing year (he battled cancer for almost seven years), but his energy on stage was unstoppable. The last time I saw him, it felt as if he had sucked up all the energy from the room, swallowed it and then sent it back out for the iOS 5 introduction. It was inspirational.


The Master


I am no Apple fanboy. I eventually gave up for Mac for a Windows PC. This was during the early 1990s, when Apple went through its darkest hour. Jobs was pushed out of the company in 1985, and Apple lost its way. When Jobs returned in 1997, he seemed more mature. He accelerated Apple’s product development, setting up a decade-long run of innovation rarely seen in any industry. One iconic product followed another, all with Jobs’ fingerprints on them. He leaves behind a strong of accomplishments and a legacy of products that will be remembered for decades to come.

In the coming days and weeks much will be said of the life of Steve Jobs. Eventually, the talk will turn to what’s next for Apple, and how Steve’s absence will affect the company he built. But for now, I will remember Steve Jobs on stage pausing just a moment, smiling wryly at the crowd, saying “and one more thing.” One more thing that will never pass this way again.

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Google has put rivalries aside to pay tribute to late Apple founder Steve Jobs on its homepage. Under the company’s trademark search box, a message simply reads: “Steve Jobs, 1955-2011,” and links to Apple’s homepage (which features its own tribute).

Apple announced that Jobs had passed away on Wednesday. Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple back in August, writing at the time that, “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”

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Here’s how a typical press interview with Steve Jobs used to go in the early 2000s. You wouldn’t be immediately ushered into his presence; you would be passed from PR person to PR person, corridor to corridor, waiting at each step, until you reached the inner sanctum.

You would often pass a fellow journalist on his way out, looking white as a sheet and shaking his head like he’d gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson. You would mentally prepare your questions about the latest Apple product, knowing that Steve would bat them away like flies and say what he wanted to say.

And then there you were, with the man himself: black turtleneck, jeans, white trainers, spiky salt-and-pepper stubble, and those no-nonsense eyes that could look straight into your soul. You’d sputter out a question while he sipped from a bottle of Odwalla. Perhaps he would deign to answer politely, or perhaps he would interrupt: “that’s a stupid question. That’s not what we should be talking about.”

If you could survive twenty minutes of this without cracking, his demeanor would soften. If you were lucky, then just for a moment the mask would slip, and Steve would break into a broad smile. It was a grin that acknowledged the silliness of this interview game — and that you both loved playing your roles in it.


Always Passionate


As a technology writer for Time magazine in the 1990s and 2000s, I went through this routine a dozen times. It’s easy to forget, but back then an Apple product launch was not a huge deal. The company was seen as struggling, a distant second to Microsoft, even years after Jobs had retaken the helm. I had to fight for a single page on the launch of the iPod in 2001, for instance, at a time when the headlines were all about war and terror.

But Jobs was always compelling. He was the news. His enormous passion for a product was unrivaled in any industry, before or since. As long as I could convey him on the page, Steve as he really was, Apple stories were an easy sell for my editors.


The Urgency of the Future


The more stories I did, the friendlier Steve got. He started calling me at home with story ideas and off-the-record information. He asked me to interview him on a video that would be broadcast at a Warner Music conference; this was when he was still trying to persuade the record labels to let him sell songs within iTunes.

I figured this meant we should start with a few softball questions about music in general, but Steve interrupted and got straight to the pitch: 99-cent MP3s would save the music industry. Of course, he was absolutely right, and of course, he got his way.

Here was a man who knew precisely what the future looked like, and had no patience for anyone or anything who got in the way. Not a second was to be wasted. The vision was too important. This is what he meant inthat famous Stanford commencement speech: “your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”


Making Airplanes In the Sun


But there was a whimsical side to him, too. Once Steve tried to pitch me a story on the architecture of Pixar’s headquarters. It wasn’t new; he was just eager to show it off, and hounded me until I agreed to take a tour with him. We must have sat down in every room in the building, Steve grinning like a proud parent the whole time. I patiently explained why it probably wasn’t going to be in the magazine (this was before modern Web journalism and its infinite capacity for stories).

It didn’t faze him one bit. In his mind, it was a worthy story, and that was all that mattered. For Steve Jobs, every day was like Christmas morning, and nothing could shake that feeling.

My most enduring memory of him speaks to that fact too. It was a Saturday afternoon in Palo Alto, and I was having lunch with a friend in an Italian restaurant. Suddenly, Steve came in and ordered takeout. He was wearing a T-shirt and cut-off jeans, just another happy suburban dad.

He took his food and left, and as he walked down that beautiful leafy street, he stretched out his arms like an airplane — like he was flying into the sunshine.

For all the times I’ve seen him at the height of his powers on stage, and for all the sweat-inducing interviews, that is how I will remember Steve Jobs — completely confident and carefree, being just who he wanted to be, flying straight into the future.

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For many, the name Steve Jobs is synonymous with inspiration.

Throughout the years, he’s not only changed our lives with innovative products, but also with memorable words.

Among the ways people are commemorating Jobs’ passing is posting their favorite Jobs-isms. We took to Tumblr to track down what Jobs quotes have resonated most with the tech world. Check out the gallery below to be inspired.

Do you have a favorite Jobs quote? Share it in the comments below.

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It’s official: the first official biography of Steve Jobs will be making its debut sometime in early 2012.

The book, iSteve: The Book of Jobs, is being penned by Walter Isaacson, famed biographer and the former CEO of CNN and managing editor of Time. While very little is known about the contents of the book, Isaacson did manage to obtain unprecedented access to Apple, Steve Jobs and even Jobs’ family. Simon & Schuster will publish and distribute the book.

This will be Isaacson’s fourth biography, following Kissinger: A BiographyBenjamin Franklin: An American LifeEinstein: His Life and Universe.

“This is the perfect match of subject and author, and it is certain to be a landmark book about one of the world’s greatest innovators. Just as he did with Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, Walter Isaacson is telling a unique story of revolutionary genius,” Simon & Schuster Publisher Jonathan Karp said in a statement.

Apple’s CEO is famously secretive about his personal life. Some of the details of his past have been unraveled in unauthorized biographies such as iCon: Steve Jobs and The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, but none of them paint a complete picture. Isaacson’s book should hopefully provide some concrete answers to unresolved questions about Jobs’s life, along with some new insights into how Jobs runs the world’s most valuable technology company.

Will you read the book? What do you hope his authorized biography reveals?

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