Biography of Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple Computers

Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955–October 5, 2011) is best remembered as the co-founder of Apple Computers. He teamed up with inventor Steve Wozniak to create one of the first ready-made PCs. Besides his legacy with Apple, Jobs was also a smart businessman who became a multimillionaire before the age of 30. In 1984, he founded NeXT computers. In 1986, he bought the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd. and started Pixar Animation Studios.

Fast Facts: Steve Jobs

  • Known For: Co-founding Apple Computer Company and playing a pioneering role in the development of personal computing
  • Also Known As: Steven Paul Jobs
  • Born: February 24, 1955 in San Francisco, California
  • Parents: Abdulfattah Jandali and Joanne Schieble (biological parents); Paul Jobs and Clara Hagopian (adoptive parents)
  • Died: October 5, 2011 in Palo Alto, California
  • Education: Reed College
  • Awards and Honors: National Medal of Technology (with Steve Wozniak), Jefferson Award for Public Service, named the most powerful person in business by Fortune magazine, Inducted into the California Hall of Fame, inducted as a Disney Legend
  • Spouse: Laurene Powell
  • Children: Lisa (by Chrisann Brennan), Reed, Erin, Eve
  • Notable Quote: "Of all the inventions of humans, the computer is going to rank near or at the top as history unfolds and we look back. It is the most awesome tool that we have ever invented. I feel incredibly lucky to be at exactly the right place in Silicon Valley, at exactly the right time, historically, where this invention has taken form."

Early Life

Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, in San Francisco, California. The biological child of Abdulfattah Jandali and Joanne Schieble, he was later adopted by Paul Jobs and Clara Hagopian. During his high school years, Jobs worked summers at Hewlett-Packard. It was there that he first met and became partners with Steve Wozniak.

As an undergraduate, he studied physics, literature, and poetry at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Formally, he only attended one semester there. However, he remained at Reed and crashed on friends' sofas and audited courses that included a calligraphy class, which he attributes as being the reason Apple computers had such elegant typefaces.


After leaving Oregon in 1974 to return to California, Jobs started working for Atari, an early pioneer in the manufacturing of personal computers. Jobs' close friend Wozniak was also working for Atari. The future founders of Apple teamed up to design games for Atari computers.


Jobs and Wozniak proved their skills as hackers by designing a telephone blue box. A blue box was an electronic device that simulated a telephone operator's dialing console and provided the user with free phone calls. Jobs spent plenty of time at Wozniak's Homebrew Computer Club, a haven for computer geeks and a source of invaluable information about the field of personal computers.

Out of Mom and Pop's Garage

By the late 1970s, Jobs and Wozniak had learned enough to try their hand at building personal computers. Using Jobs' family garage as a base of operation, the team produced 50 fully assembled computers that were sold to a local Mountain View electronics store called the Byte Shop. The sale encouraged the pair to start Apple Computer, Inc. on April 1, 1979.

Apple Corporation

The Apple Corporation was named after Jobs' favorite fruit. The Apple logo was a representation of the fruit with a bite taken out of it. The bite represented a play on words: bite and byte.

Jobs co-invented the Apple I and Apple II computers together with Wozniak, who was the main designer, and others. The Apple II is considered to be one of the first commercially successful lines of personal computers. In 1984, Wozniak, Jobs, and others co-invented the Apple Macintosh computer, the first successful home computer with a mouse-driven graphical user interface. It was, however, based on (or, according to some sources, stolen from) the Xerox Alto, a concept machine built at the Xerox PARC research facility. According to the Computer History Museum, the Alto included:

A mouse. Removable data storage. Networking. A visual user interface. Easy-to-use graphics software. “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) printing, with printed documents matching what users saw on screen. E-mail. Alto for the first time combined these and other now-familiar elements in one small computer.

During the early 1980s, Jobs controlled the business side of the Apple Corporation. Steve Wozniak was in charge of the design side. However, a power struggle with the board of directors led to Jobs leaving Apple in 1985.


After leaving Apple, Jobs founded NeXT, a high-end computer company. Ironically, Apple bought NeXT in 1996 and Jobs returned to his old company to serve once more as its CEO from 1997 until his retirement in 2011.

The NeXT was an impressive workstation computer that sold poorly. The world's first web browser was created on a NeXT, and the technology in NeXT software was transferred to the Macintosh and the iPhone.

Disney Pixar

In 1986, Jobs bought "The Graphics Group" from Lucasfilm's computer graphics division for $10 million. The company was later renamed Pixar. At first, Jobs intended for Pixar to become a high-end graphics hardware developer, but that goal was never met. Pixar moved on to do what it now does best, which is make animated films. Jobs negotiated a deal to allow Pixar and Disney to collaborate on a number of animated projects that included the film "Toy Story." In 2006, Disney bought Pixar from Jobs.

Expanding Apple

After Jobs returned to Apple as its CEO in 1997, Apple Computers had a renaissance in product development with the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and more.

Before his death, Jobs was listed as the inventor and/or co-inventor on 342 United States patents, with technologies ranging from computer and portable devices to user interfaces, speakers, keyboards, power adapters, staircases, clasps, sleeves, lanyards, and packages. His last patent was issued for the Mac OS X Dock user interface and was granted the day before his death.


Steve Jobs died at his home in Palo Alto, California, on October 5, 2011. He had been ill for a long time with pancreatic cancer, which he had treated using alternative techniques. His family reported that his final words were, "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."


Steve Jobs was a true computer pioneer and entrepreneur whose impact is felt in almost every aspect of contemporary business, communication, and design. Jobs was absolutely dedicated to every detail of his products—according to some sources, he was obsessive—but the outcome can be seen in the sleek, user-friendly, future-facing designs of Apple products from the very start. It was Apple that placed the PC on every desk, provided digital tools for design and creativity, and pushed forward the ubiquitous smartphone which has, arguably, changed the ways in which humans think, create, and interact.


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Bellis, Mary. "Biography of Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple Computers." ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2020, Bellis, Mary. (2020, August 29). Biography of Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple Computers. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "Biography of Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple Computers." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 3, 2023).