The passing of a legend: Steve Jobs dies
Though it's too soon for history to judge the role Steve Jobs played in shaping technology, the outpouring of tributes around the world when the 56-year-old Apple co-founder died on Oct. 5 was a testament to his iconic status. With Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (also born in 1955) as a foil, Jobs was one of the two key figures in the PC era, and perhaps the most important business leader ushering tech into the post-PC world. His life was an American success story: the tale of a comeback kid, ousted in tears from his own company in the 1980s, only to revolutionize animated movie-making in the '90s and return to lead Apple's march to dominance at the start of the 21st century. With Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Jobs fueled the PC revolution with the Apple II, and after his return to Apple led the company to redefine the music industry with the iPod and iTunes, the phone market with the iPhone, and the personal computer market yet again with the iPad. Jobs' triumphant return was capped in August when Apple overtook, at least for a time, Exxon Mobil as the most valuable company on the planet in terms of market capitalization. Though a difficult and even despotic leader by many accounts, no one denied Jobs' passion and singular position at the crossroads of technology and culture.