Farewell to Steve Jobs

“Many people are mourning the loss of Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple Computer. It is sad to see someone who is so competent at their job succumb to what we all must do someday.” That is what I wrote when he resigned from Apple.

My only perspective relating to Steve Jobs is through the products he delivers. As a technologist, I doubt there will be parallel achievements in my lifetime. I attribute Apple’s success to these:

* Adoption of Unix as the operating system,
* A low cost developer platform,
* Creation of the iTunes Store (selling inexpensive, music, video and applications),
* Portable media players,
* Apple’s skill at intuitive GUI programming,
* Seamless integration with all devices it sells,
* Creating value for customers, and
* Semiconductors having the right performance, density, and power consumption (put another way, this could not have happened ten years ago).

Have you ever heard Steve Jobs talk about market share? I haven’t. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft speak of nothing else. While market share matters to Wall Street, value matters to the customer. Value is a subjective measure, but for Apple it is off the charts. It is value – from the design to the packaging to the performance – that makes Apple the company it is (and ironically eclipses market share).

For Mr. Jobs, it was about creating perfect products, and he has indeed accomplished this. The day I learned of his death, I had a toast to with my family during supper. At the table were my wife, along with my nine, six, and four year old children. The toast was to a person who was able to change the way people on Earth think and interact with each other. Not many (good) people can list this as an accomplishment, yet Steve Jobs can.

Job well done.

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