Steve Jobs' indelible mark on the computer industry

There's unlikely to be another visionary like him

There is unlikely to be another visionary like Apple Chairman Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday at age 56 , no one who will have anything approaching his impact on the computer and electronics industries.

Ultimately, Jobs' stubbornly held convictions about how people should use computers and other devices won out against all his competitors and critics. The Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and iPad are all success stories. And Apple under his leadership seemed to get better and better at combining his vision with economic success.

The Macintosh may not have won the market share war, but the iPod and iPad certainly have. And the iPhone is in a two-horse race.

Apple has surpassed every other tech company in the U.S. in market cap. No matter what you think of the company's products, you have to tip your hat to its financial success, which after all, is what business is about.

The question left to answer is: What will Jobs' ultimate legacy be? Has he left behind a company now lacking the critical vision that was instrumental to its success, a company that will be crippled by his death? Or was Jobs the truly superb CEO that many believe him to be? Did he plan for succession and bring key members of his staff along to carry the torch for him after his departure?

We're about to find out.

I hope for Apple's millions of customers that Jobs was able to rein in his ego--that piece of him that was probably requisite to sticking to his guns on product design and functionality--just enough to do everything he could to make Apple continue on course without him. The man had eight years to come to terms with his death and do what was needed. I think he did that in his own way -- just look at the quick transition to CEO Tim Cook in August. For now, we should give Apple the benefit of the doubt.

Jobs' passing is a profound event for Apple, and for the tech industry. In one way, it's the end of the era of the computer industry's early, meteoric rise. In another, it's the fitting ending to a fairy-tale story of a man whose soaring highs and deep lows were merely the introduction to the story of his gradual return to success, against great odds.

In short, it's another example of the American dream with a truth-is-stranger-the-fiction Hollywood-esque quality about it. Even if you weren't an Apple fan, you may have found yourself rooting for Jobs. His brilliance was and is inescapable.

Scot Finnie is Computerworld's editor in chief. Follow Scot on Twitter at @scotfinnie or subscribe to his RSS feeds:articles | blogs . His e-mail address is sfinnien@computerworld.com .

Read more about it industry in Computerworld's IT Industry Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags IT industrybusiness issuesApplepersonnelMacintoshMac OS

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scot Finnie

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?