But Jobs had an uncanny knack for reading future trends in computers and consumer electronics, helping Apple to lead the market with must-have products.
He helped ignite the PC revolution with one of the first personal computers, the Apple I, which he introduced with "the other Steve," Steve Wozniak. Jobs' expertise was in marketing the product while Wozniak focused on technical aspects.
Jobs' entrepreneurial skills became evident at a young age. In 1968 he and a friend created the "blue box," an illegal phone attachment that allowed users to make long distance calls. He also sold and repaired stereos during his high school years.
As a young man he dabbled in counterculture. In 1974, Jobs spent his savings from working at Atari to travel to India, where he sought spiritual enlightenment. He also dated folk music icon Joan Baez in his 20s. He preferred to wear informal attire to work and his favorite musician was Bob Dylan.
Wozniak and Jobs became friends after meeting at Hewlett-Packard in 1971. In 1976, they built the Apple I computer in Wozniak's parents' garage after raising $1,750 -- for which Jobs sold his Volkswagen minibus, and Wozniak his HP scientific calculator.
In 1976, the duo founded Apple Computer Co., named after Jobs had spent a summer working at an Oregon orchard. The company changed its name to Apple Computer Inc. a year later. Apple's second PC, the Apple II, was a success, recording sales of $139 million from 1977-1979.
Apple's introduction of the Macintosh in 1984 introduced the graphical user interface to mainstream desktop computing. The Mac ran on a 32-bit processor (compared to 16-bit processors for other PCs at the time) and had 128K bytes of memory, expandable to 192K bytes. It was an immediate success: more than 400,000 Macintosh computers were sold in the first year.
In 1985, Jobs and John Sculley, Apple's president and CEO at the time, clashed over differences about running the company, resulting in Jobs being ousted. He left the company he had co-founded with a net worth of $150 million and started his next venture, Next Computer, which was only moderately successful but planted the seeds for future Apple hardware and software.
In addition to starting Next, Jobs bought feature animation company Pixar in 1986 for $10 million from George Lucas. Since then it has created five of the most successful English-language animation films of all time: Monsters, Inc. (2001); Finding Nemo (2003); The Incredibles (2004); Up (2009) and Toy Story 3 (2010). Pixar also collected more than 100 awards and nominations for animated films, commercials and technical contributions.
In 1996 Jobs returned to Apple after it bought Next Computer. He was named interim CEO in 1997 and set about reviving the financially strapped company. Jobs took Apple into the music business with the iPod in 2001 and the iTunes Music Store two years later.
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