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Steve Paul Jobs
a man who made computers friendly
for everybody

    Steve Paul Jobs was born on February 24, 1955. He was raised by adoptive parents Paul and Clara in Mountain View and, later in Los Altos, California. His father was a machinist at Spectra-Physics, and his "early interest in machines was inspired by his father's work" (Notable).
     But Jobs was not happy in school, finding it boring and this precipitated the family's move to Los Altos. There he attended Homestead High. His electronics teacher, Holn McCollum, remembers Jobs as "something of a loner" and "always had a different way of looking at things" (Angelelli).

    When Jobs was a freshman in high school, William Hewlett offered him a summer job at the Hewlett-Packard plant. It was there, when Jobs was 13, that he met the man with whom he would invent "the first ready-made personal computer"--the 18 year old, college drop-out Steve Wozniak (Lemelson-MIT). At this time though, Jobs helped Wozniak sell his "'blue box' an illegal pocket-size telephone attachment that would allow the user to make free long-distance calls" (Angelelli). Jobs also worked on his entrepreneurial skills, selling and repairing stereos throughout his high school career, in addition to his job at the plant.
    In 1972, Jobs graduated from high school, and went to Reed College. After the first semester, he dropped out of the school, but stayed around the campus, "taking classes in philosophy and immersing himself in the counterculture" (Angelelli).
    In 1974, Jobs started working as a video game designer for Atari, Inc., "a pioneer in electronic arcade recreation" (Angelelli). After working for several months and saving his money, he then went to India with a friend in search of spiritual enlightenment.

When he returned, Jobs started attending weekly meetings of Wozniak's Homebrew Computer Club. While Wozniak was "content with the joy of electronics . . . . [Jobs] had his eye on marketability of electronic products and persuaded Wozniak to work with him toward building a personal computer" (Angelelli). So with Jobs' "passionate belief in bringing computer technology to everyone" and Wozniak's "engineering talent" they became a team (Lemelson-MIT).

They "designed the Apple I in Jobs' bedroom and . . . built the prototype in the Jobs' garage" (Angelelli). To finance their company, Jobs sold his Volkswagen van and Wozniak his programmable calculator to raise $1,300. Some weeks later, Jobs "secured the company's first sale: 50 Apple I computers at $666 each" (Angelelli). And Apple Computers Inc., was born.

    The Apple I lead to the Apple II. The successful Apple II has been described as "the Volkswagen of computers" (Angelelli). Jobs "created the sleek design for the Apple II" with its plastic casing and featuring the Apple logo, "an apple with a missing bite, playing on the word 'byte,' one of the central units of information in computer languages" (Notable).
    There were three main factors in the Apple II's success. One reason being it had an open system that allowed for add-ons like modems. The second was that after 1978 the computer came with a Wozniak engineered disk drive. Lastly, in the fall of 1979, two Apple devotees developed a spread sheet program that only ran on Apple Computers. Thus, in three years, Apple computers had a growth of 700 percent.
     But soon IBM had a version of the personal computer on the market and Apple began struggling to stay on top of the market. So in 1983, Jobs lured John Scully from Pepsi-Cola to help him compete, saying "If you come to Apple you can change the world" (Angelelli).
    After the failed Apple III and Lisa computers (Apple III had design flaws and Lisa, though user friendly was too expensive), Apple introduced the Macintosh. Jobs designed it to compete with the PC, and on Super Bowl Sunday in 1984, the Macintosh was unveiled with the promise that "1984 would not be like 1984" (Angelelli). The Macintosh, the first truly user-friendly computer, with its mouse, icons, and pop-up menus, was hailed by Jobs as being "not just great . . . but insanely great" (Levy, 27).
The Macintosh was a success, "over 400,000 Macs were sold in the first year of production," but it did not ease any of the tension at Apple (Making of). In 1985, Wozniak left and Scully demoted Jobs. Jobs then left Apple to form his own company. This company, NeXT, has a focus on educational computing. Though the final product sold poorly, its "workstation concept with high-level graphics and advanced technology resulted in Jobs receiving the 1989 Software Publishers Association's Lifetime Achievement Award" (Notable ).
    In 1991, Jobs married Laurene Powell and they now have two children. Jobs is presently using his prestige and influence which he earned at Apple to further advance computer technology and provide an alternative to Microsoft. Jobs feels "Microsoft has not transformed itself into an agent for improving things or a company that will lead the next revolution in software development" (Angelelli). Jobs has also become "concerned because he sees Microsoft competing very fiercely to put a lot of companies out of business . . .hurting innovation in the computer industry" (Angelelli). Jobs would rather the public use NeXT, instead of Microsoft.


Angelelli, Lee. Steve Jobs . 7 Dec. 1994. Online. Internet. 14 Jan. 1998. Available

The Lemelson-MIT Prize Program: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Online. Internet. 14 Jan. 1998.    Available

Levy, Steven. Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, The Computer thatChanged Everything.New York:  Viking, 1994.

The Making of Silicon Valley A Hundred Year Renaissance.1995 Online. Internet. 16 Jan. 1998. Available

Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists.Ed. Emily J. McMurray. New York: Gale Research Inc., 1995.

By Sarah Martin, CS 400 Web History Assignment