Steve Jobs, RIP.

The image from Apples website today.

Apple has confirmed that Steve Jobs passed away on Wednesday (US time) due to pancreatic cancer.

He was 56.

And the world now turns to discuss what ‘Fortune 500’s CEO of the Decade’ has achieved. In short, no matter your outlook on the Apple brand, it has been complete technological dominance. Apple is the biggest technology company in the world, worth more than $300 billion.

It has redesigned some of the most popular gadgets and reimagined what technology can do for us.

Steve, for his part, was the founder of the company. A brilliantly sharp man who didn’t follow trends, but tried to imagine what people needed before they needed it. He left the company in the late 80s after much friction but was welcomed back as the ‘Prodigal son’ in the late 1990s when Apple lost its way.

That’s when the tech magic happened. He took control of the design and marketing process with ruthless ideology and the result was the iPod. The music player that launched an array of products that people are still using today.

His former rival Bill Gates, who founded Microsoft, had this to say:

“I’m truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work.

Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives.

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.

Wired had this obituary:

A visionary inventor and entrepreneur, it would be impossible to overstate Steve Jobs’ impact on technology and how we use it. Apple’s mercurial, mysterious leader did more than reshape his entire industry: he completely changed how we interact with technology. He made gadgets easy to use, gorgeous to behold and essential to own. He made things we absolutely wanted, long before we even knew we wanted them. Jobs’ utter dedication to how people think, touch, feel and interact with machines dictated even the smallest detail of the computers Apple built and the software it wrote.

Jobs enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregan in 1972, but dropped out after six months – he later said he “didn’t see the value in it.” He eventually returned home to California. He got a job at Atari, renewed his friendship with Wozniak and started hanging out with the Homebrew Computer Club. After trekking to India in 1974 — a trip he, like so many others, made to find enlightenment – Jobs returned home and looked up Woz.

The two of them launched Apple in 1976. Their first project, the Apple I, wasn’t much to look at — just an assembled circuit board. Anyone who bought it had to add the case and keyboard. But it was enough for Jobs to convince Mike Markkula, a semi-retired Intel engineer and product marketing manager, that personal computing was the future. Markkula invested $250,000 in the fledgling enterprise.

The Apple I begat the Apple II in 1977. It was the first successful mass-market computer, and easy to use, too. That would become a hallmark of Apple under Jobs.

The Apple II had a huge impact on the tech business, but cheaper alternatives, like the Commodore 64 and the VIC-20, quickly eroded Apple’s market share. IBM’s open PC platform eventually won out over Apple’s closed approach, and the die was cast. The PC dominated the market.

Still, Apple was by any measure a success. By the time Jobs was 25 in 1980, he was worth more than $100 million. Not that it mattered to him.

“It wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money,” he once said.

Worth a read. Steve Jobs worked almost until his death.

Here’s an ad from Apple’s 1997 ‘Think Different’ campaign.

How will you remember the man?