Tributes for Steve Jobs, the man who tamed technology


The death yesterday of the technologist and inventor Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, has roused a torrent of tributes from friends, colleagues, politicians and even his firm’s regular adversaries in the patent courts.

Jobs was an unstinting promoter of technology that is both easy and compelling to use, and famously intolerant of any product ideas that got in the way of that basic tenet. From the Macintosh computer to the iPod, iPhone and iPad, his insistence on usability at all costs has made Apple the watchword for friendly tech: as his Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told the BBC.

“He knew what made sense in a product,” said Wozniak.

The White House concurs.

“By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible but intuitive and fun,” US president Barack Obamasaid today.

Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, Jobs’s 1980s rival who later invested in Apple when it hit trouble, described working with him as “an insanely great honour”. “The world rarely sees someone who made such a profound impact.”

At movie studio Pixar, chief creative officer John Lasseter said: “Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of computer-animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply, ‘Make it great’… He will forever be part of Pixar’s DNA.”

Another firm Jobs founded, Next Computer, released a powerful, multimedia-enabled UNIX workstation in 1990 – and it was the machine on which Tim Berners-Lee wrote the software behind the world wide web. In a web posting, Berners-Lee reveals just what a user-friendly machine the Next machine was. “A big thing Steve Jobs did for the world was to insist that computers could be usable rather than totally infuriating,” he says.

Tributes to Jobs continue to pour in – including one from Samsung, a firm with which Apple is currently embroiled in a bitter patent lawsuit.

Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, Jobs had a liver transplant in 2009 – and in gratitude to the young donor, who had been killed in a motorbike accident, he afterwards urged that everyone should consider joining organ donor programmes.SRC

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