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Tuesday, August 30, 2011
A TRIBUTE TO STEVE JOBS: Exit the King By Alan Deutschman!
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Alan Deutschman, thedailybeast.com / Aug 29, 2011 1:00 AM EDT.
If ever there was a showman who knew how to end on a high note—leaving his awed and adoring audience begging for more—it is the man in the trademark black mock turtleneck. Even as an ailing Steve Jobs announced to the world last week that “unfortunately, that day has come” for him to step down as chief executive officer of Apple, his timing was—yet again—impeccable. In the 14 years since Jobs regained control of his company in the summer of 1997 after a long, bitter exile, Apple shares have increased a stunning 110-fold. Having surpassed rival Microsoft a year ago, Apple’s $350 billion in market capitalization places it behind only ExxonMobil as the most valuable company in the world. Apple has made money so quickly and so prodigiously that it holds an outrageous $76 billion in cash and investments—an awesome sum thought to be parked in an obscure subsidiary, Braeburn Capital, located across the California border in Reno because the state of Nevada doesn’t have corporate or capital-gains taxes.
In his second time around at Apple, Jobs ultimately achieved what had eluded him in his early years there, from 1976 to 1985, when he was acclaimed as a visionary and a brilliant promoter but wasn’t respected as a businessman—not even by his board of directors, who pushed him aside for a more experienced executive. Now Jobs, 56, retires, having closely rivaled (or some might say eclipsed) Bill Gates as the most highly regarded business figure of our times. He proved himself the ultimate willful leader, forging his singular vision through a combination of inspiration, unilateralism, and gut instinct. Jobs didn’t just create products that instilled lust in consumers and enriched his company. He upended entire industries. Personal computing. The music business. Publishing. Hollywood. All have been radically transformed because of Steve Jobs.