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“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” - Steve Jobs.

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As news broke yesterday that Steve Jobs was to take medical leave for an indefinite period of time, shock rippled through the world of technology. Over the last few years Steve Jobs has faced a number of health issues starting with a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004, which was followed by a liver transplant a couple of years ago. No statements have been made about the reasons behind the recent decline in his health but it has been rumoured that it may be the return of the rare form of cancer. As Jobs is such an influential and well-loved figure in the technology community, he will be missed and the impact of his leave is predicted to impact the stock markets as well as the future of the company.

The Guardian reported that in March 2010, Barron’s estimated that Jobs was worth $25 billion to Apple – this is certain to be much higher now.  Although it’s a worrying time for investors, it’s also a time when privacy for him and his family must be respected. As Jobs takes a step back to focus on his health, it’s the perfect time to look back at his key achievements and see the impact that he has had on all of our lives. In 1976 Jobs co-founded Apple Computer Co with his mate Steve Wozniak.  The first computer was sold for $666.66. By 1980 there had been three versions of the computer and the founders had already made millions. After a disagreement with the board at Apple, Jobs resigned and started his own venture setting up NeXT. NeXT was not the success that Jobs had envisaged and when Apple made him an offer to return in 1997 following his departure 12 years previously, he accepted. Jobs then went on to reinvent Apple in the late 1990s after the company came close to bankruptcy.  In 1998 Apple officially returned to profit. More recently Jobs has been responsible for revolutionising the music industry with a product that has touched everyone’s lives – the iPod, which was launched in 2003.  The Telegraph reported that ‘More than a quarter of a billion of the digital music players have been sold since the first one was released in 2001.’ The iPod was shortly followed by iTunes in 2004, allowing people to manage their own music, then the iPhone in 2007.  Nearly everyone that I know has an iPhone.  Although I couldn’t find any stats on the number sold, I think it’s fair to say that like the iPod, this is a product that has been bought by millions. The last big new innovation was the iPad, launched at the beginning of 2010. Jobs is also the founder of Pixar Inc which was responsible for producing the Toy Story films and other animated films such as Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life and The Incredibles. Pixar merged with Disney in 2006 and Jobs is now on the Board of Directors. Truly an inspirational figure and we wish him all the best for his break to focus on his health, and hope to see him back soon with his latest round of innovative and exciting products. All the best Steve – hope to see you back soon!