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Jobs remembered for 'shaking it up'

Gregg Keizer | Oct. 7, 2011
News that former Apple CEO Steve Jobs had died staggered long-time technologists of all stripes, giving them pause and a chance to remember their passion for an industry that grew out of a garage -- one very specific garage.

"It's no exaggeration to say that Steve Jobs has transformed four different industries: mobile phone, computing, content distribution and animation," said Mark Hung, an analyst at Gartner Research, in an email. "Just as we're moving into a post-PC world that needs to integrate these disparate devices and content sources into a cohesive whole, he has unfortunately left us. Jobs created the PC for 'the rest of us,' and now we are left wondering what the post-PC world will look like without his vision and guidance."

Another Gartner analyst, Michael Gartenberg, added his own accolades.

"This was a person who defined the PC, changed the universe of cell phones, the music industry and went on to redefine computing with the iPad," said Gartenberg, also in an email. "That's a pretty strong legacy to leave behind. He was a visionary of our time, but not just a visionary - he could take a vision and bring it to life.

But it was Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, who was most eloquent.

"There never was a personal computer industry without him," said Gottheil in an interview late Wednesday, talking about Jobs' presence in the business from its start. "I am very moved, very sad. Jobs made this a much better ride for me, and for hundreds of millions worldwide."

Gottheil, who from 1980 to 1993 was a product design manager with Lotus Development, the creator of Lotus 1-2-3, the spreadsheet for the IBM PC that in many ways sounded the death-knell of the Apple II's dominance in business, talked about the generational attraction of Jobs to those who started in the personal computer business alongside the early years of Apple.

"There was this cohort, these people of a certain age and common culture, a generation that took a trip with personal computers," said Gottheil. "It all seemed part of the sixties, and the buy-outs and the sell-outs of that decade. We all had a ride."

Jobs was instrumental to that ride, said Gottheil, and not only because he helped create the long line of Apple products, from the Apple II to the Mac, from the iPod to the iPhone and the iPad.

"What's important to remember is that he was always about bringing things in from the outside, he was always shaking it up," said Gottheil, referring first, but not only, to the Apple II.

"They were sold one by one, it was 'I want this thing' and it wasn't asking an institution if you could," Gottheil said. "What Jobs did was make something so compelling and useful that you took it in with you. That's what consumerization is all about."


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