I never switched my allegiance to Apple, although I wouldn’t part with my iPad2 for anything. No, I’m one of those business people still rooted in PCs and Windows. But I have to say…the death of Steve Jobs yesterday was a huge loss to innovation. He was the first of the technology icons that I’ve admired to leave this world, so it felt a bit like a personal loss as well. I’m sure Apple will feel his absence for a long time to come. As difficult as it was for Tim Cook to replace Steve Jobs in the hearts and minds of Apple fans while he was alive, it has to be even more difficult trying to step into the shoes of a legend.
Although Steve Jobs is clearly known for co-founding Apple, it really was his second act with the company in the mid-1990s that made him an icon. It’s hard to believe that the February 5, 1996, Business Week cover story was titled, “The Fall of an American Icon,” and it was talking about Apple’s then CEO Gil Amelio who was fighting for the life of the company against the onslaught of Microsoft’s Windows 95 operating system. If you know the history, at the ripe old age of 30, Jobs was fired by Apple’s board and in due course went off to start another company, NeXT, which, strangely enough, developed the technology that would eventually make Apple the company it is today. He also started Pixar, the most successful animation company studio in the world. But in 1997, Apple was nearing bankruptcy, and the board of directors begged Jobs to come back as interim CEO.