Job's history with Apple has always been intriguing. He founded the company with Steve Wozniak in 1976. Apple then introduced the first Macintosh computer in 1984, featuring the then radical new user interface, the mouse-controlled GUI.
One year later, Jobs was kicked out following an internal power struggle.He moved on to found NeXT computer, which developed an operating system later purchased by Apple as the foundation of OS X.
The 1997 NeXT purchase also saw Jobs return to Apple, where he became 'iCEO'. When he got back the company was on the rocks, with Dell CEO Michael Dell advising the returning Jobs should buy the shares and sell the company. Instead, Jobs added innovation with the launch of the iMac.
During his absence from Apple, Jobs also acquired a little known firm called Pixar. That company has churned out a multitude of incredibly succesful movies. Jobs sold Pixar to Disney in 2006, taking 7.1 percent of Disney shares as part of the deal. He is now the largest individual shareholder at that other US institution with a seat on its board of directors.
Britain's Financial Times last month named Jobs its "Person of the Year". President Barack Obama last year also said, "We celebrate somebody like a Steve Jobs, who has created two or three different revolutionary products."
Despite his high profile, Jobs dislikes discussing himself. Company staff say he wants to be known for his products. He keeps his own life and personality private.
However, in recent months there have been some signs that Jobs is ready to reveal a little more about himself:
- First, he recently began sending short emails to Apple users on specific matters.
- Then, last year it was claimed Jobs my be working with Walter Isaacson, former managing editor of Time magazine, on an official biography.
At present the best known public indication as to the nature of how Jobs thinks is contained within his Stanford University Commencement Speech (below), where he advises tomorrows innovators to "join the dots", and to "stay hungry, stay foolish".
The public outpouring of sympathy and support for Jobs has already begun. Despite his plea for privacy, Jobs has a special place in many in the sector. Commenters across the Web are wishing the CEO a safe recovery.
It is notable that the innovative impact of Jobs on the technology industry means his speedy return to health matters just as much to those who compete with Apple as those who use the company's products.
"Get better, Steve. The thoughts and prayers of many are with your during your recovery," wrote one typical commenter.
This story, "Reaction to Steve Jobs' New Medical Absence" was originally published by Computerworld.