All hail King Steve

2011-09-03 13:40

10 things we owe to the genius of Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs

iPod and iTunes

1.For many consumers, the pint-sized gadget that first hit the scene in 2001 was their first entrée into digital music. At the time, there were other digital players but none had the staying power of the iconic iPod and offshoots like the iPod Touch. But perhaps even more revolutionary was Apple’s iTunes, the digital media player that launched in 2001.

That platform didn’t just become the ubiquitous means by which music was bought, sold and shared; it broke down the old model that gave record companies ultimate reign over the radio waves.

Independent musicians and artists didn’t need a record deal to be heard; they could now reach their audiences directly.

Not for the money

2.Long before Citigroup’s CEO Vikram Pandit was taking home $1 a year, Steve Jobs earned a measly $1 yearly salary.

When he rejoined the company in 1997 after being let go from Apple in 1985, Jobs set his salary at just $1. Though the tech pioneer is well-known for his wealth – thanks to his investments in Apple and Disney, among others – he has been quoted as saying: “I never did it for the money.”

Last year, his total compensation was again $1, according to a US SEC filing.

Focus on design

3.The original Macintosh computer aside, Jobs’ focus on sleek, lightweight and resilient design has led to a concerted effort among the technology community to deliver similarly ergonomic technologies.

Under his reign, dial-up modems, floppy drives, fax machines, just to name a few, got the axe.

Inspiring others

4.Not only do legions of entrepreneurs list Jobs as a source of inspiration, Apple’s ecosystem has helped fuel thousands of other businesses.

There are more than 500?000 applications listed on iTunes, and countless other technology firms have sprung up to furnish ancillary products.

From iPod battery-life extender Mophie, to Apple-accessories supplier Speck to app development firm Sweb Apps, Jobs’ creations for Apple have become critical to so many other businesses. Furthermore, applications developers and programmers have been building off the platform’s specifications for years.

The iPad

5.E-readers, computers and mobiles were already in existence when the iPad launched last January, but the gadget caught on – and beat record sales figures quarter after quarter.

The iPad also gave rise to new business concepts and uses. More than 90?000 applications have been developed for it.

Furthermore, other technology firms have since developed their own tablets, but none has come close to touching Apple’s success. Hewlett-Packard last week slashed the price of its TouchPad to $99 from the original sale price of $499, as it announced that it would discontinue the product.

Wowing investors

6.A decade ago, Apple’s stock was worth $9 a share. Today, it’s $372 (R2?634).

Second only to oil giant Exxon Mobil, at $345?billion, Apple is one of the world’s most valuable companies.

Being a visionary

7.Just ask Hewlett-Packard and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion if Jobs’ laser-like focus on design has been tough to beat.

Though notorious for being a micromanager, Jobs has managed to steer Apple in the direction of excellence.

He is a visionary in the sense that he developed products for consumers that he thought they needed – and they confirmed his hunches again and again.

Forcing innovation

8Thanks to the launch of iTunes, which demanded that songs sell for the low price of $1, record companies that wanted to reach consumers on iTunes were forced to comply.

In 2007, Cingular moved to redesign its voicemail system for the iPhone’s visual voicemail.

And in 2009, the typically guarded AT&T agreed to offer consumers a month-by-month data plan for the iPad without requiring a signed contract.

Proving a turnaround

9.In 1997 Jobs struck a deal with Microsoft to help ensure Apple’s survival. Microsoft invested $150?million for a non-voting minority stake, and the two agreed to “cooperate on several sales and technology fronts”. Next, Jobs installed the G3 PowerPC microprocessor in all Apple computers, making them faster than competing Pentium PCs.

He also spearheaded the development of the iMac in 1998. Apple quickly returned to profitability, and by the end of 1998, boasted sales of $5.9?billion.
Boosting employment

10.In 1997, the company and its worldwide subsidiaries had just 8?437

regular employees, and an additional 1?739 temporary or part-time

contractors and employees, according to SEC filings.

As of last September, Apple had approximately 46?600 full-time

equivalent employees and an additional 2?800 full-time equivalent

temporary employees and contractors. –

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