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Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco to American Joanne Carole Schieble and Syrian Abdulfattah John Jandali, a graduate student who later became a political science professor. One week after birth, Jobs was put up for adoption by his unmarried mother, who was also in graduate school. He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountain View, Santa Clara County, California. They gave him the name Steven Paul Jobs. His biological parents later married and gave birth to Jobs' sister, the novelist Mona Simpson, whom Jobs did not meet until they were adults. The marriage of his biological parents ended in divorce years later. Jobs dislikes hearing the "adoptive parents" appellation applied to Paul and Clara Jobs and refers to them as his only parents. He attended Cupertino Middle School and Homestead High School in Cupertino, California, and frequented after-school lectures at the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto, California. He was soon hired there and worked with Steve Wozniak as a summer employee. In 1972, Jobs graduated from high school and enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Although he dropped out after only one semester, he continued auditing classes at Reed, such as one in calligraphy. "If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts," he said.

In the autumn of 1974, Jobs returned to California and began attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club with Steve Wozniak. He took a job as a technician at Atari, a manufacturer of popular video games, with the primary intent of saving money for a spiritual retreat to India. During the 1960s, it had been discovered by phone phreakers (and popularized by John Draper) that a half taped over toy whistle included in every box of Cap'n Crunch breakfast cereal was able to reproduce the 2600 Hz supervision tone used by the AT&T long distance telephone system. After reading about it and later meeting with John Draper, Jobs and Wozniak went into business briefly in 1974 to build "blue boxes" that allowed illicit free long distance calls.

Jobs then backpacked around India with a Reed College friend (and, later, first Apple employee), Daniel Kottke, in search of philosophical enlightenment. He came back with his head shaved and wearing traditional Indian clothing. He returned to his previous job at Atari and was given the task of creating a circuit board for the game Breakout. According to Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell, Atari had offered US$100 for each chip that was reduced in the machine. Jobs had little interest or knowledge in circuit board design and made a deal with Wozniak to split the bonus evenly between them if Wozniak could minimize the number of chips. Much to the amazement of Atari, Wozniak reduced the number of chips by 50, a design so tight that it was impossible to reproduce on an assembly line. At the time, Jobs told Wozniak that Atari had only given them US$700 (instead of the actual US$5000) and that Wozniak's share was thus US$350.

When twenty-one-year-old Jobs saw a computer that Wozniak had designed for his own use, he convinced Wozniak to assist him and started a company to market the computer. Apple Computer Co. was founded as a partnership on April 1, 1976. Though their initial plan was to sell just printed circuit boards, Jobs and Wozniak ended up creating a batch of completely assembled computers and thus entered the personal computer business. The first personal computer Jobs and Wozniak introduced, the Apple I, sold for US$666.66, a number Wozniak came up with because he liked repeating digits. Its successor, the Apple II, was introduced the following year and became a huge success, turning Apple into an important player in the nascent personal computer industry. In December 1980, with a successful IPO, Apple Computer became a publicly traded corporation, making Jobs a multi-millionaire.

As Apple continued to expand, the company began looking for an experienced executive to help manage its expansion. In 1983, Jobs lured John Sculley away from Pepsi-Cola, to serve as Apple's CEO, challenging him, "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?" The following year, Apple set out to do just that, starting with a Super Bowl television commercial titled, "1984". Two days later at Apple's annual shareholders meeting on January 24, 1984, an emotional Jobs introduced the Apple Macintosh to a wildly enthusiastic audience; Andy Hertzfeld described the scene as "pandemonium". The Macintosh became the first commercially successful computer with a graphical user interface, although it was heavily influenced by Xerox PARC. The development of the Mac was started by Jef Raskin, and eventually taken over by Jobs.

While Jobs was a persuasive and charismatic evangelist for Apple, some of his employees from that time had described him as an erratic and tempestuous manager. An industry-wide sales slump towards the end of 1984 caused a deterioration in Jobs' working relationship with Sculley, and at the end of May 1985 - following an internal power struggle and an announcement of significant layoffs - Sculley relieved Jobs of his duties as head of the Macintosh division.

In 1986, finding himself sidelined by the company he had founded, Jobs sold all but one of his shares in Apple. Around the same time, Jobs founded another computer company, NeXT Computer. Like the Apple Lisa, the NeXT workstation was technologically advanced, but was never able to break into the mainstream mainly owing to its high cost. Among those who could afford it, however, the NeXT workstation garnered a strong following because of its technical strengths, chief among them its object-oriented software development system. Jobs marketed NeXT products to the scientific and academic fields because of the innovative, experimental new technologies it incorporated (such as the Mach kernel, the digital signal processor chip, and the built-in Ethernet port).

The NeXT Cube was described by Jobs as an "interpersonal" computer, which he believed was the next step after "personal" computing. That is, if computers could allow people to communicate and collaborate together in an easy way, it would solve a lot of the problems that "personal" computing had come up against. Jobs had been criticized for not including built-in networking features on the original Macintosh (calling it an "umbilical cord to the company"), and he was determined not to repeat the mistake. During a time when e-mail for most people was plain text, Jobs loved to demo the NeXT's e-mail system, NeXTMail, as an example of his "interpersonal" philosophy. NeXTMail was one of

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