Millions of tributes to Steve Jobs have poured in from around the world, following the news of his death. Some of his fiercest critics and rivals gave glowing tributes to the inventor and innovator. The general sentiment was that the humanity has lost a man who cannot be replaced. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
You can quote, disagree with, glorify or vilify the crazy ones, but one thing you cannot do is ignore them.
So went – generally – the famed “Think Different” advertisement for Apple, which first aired in 1997. In the wake of former Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs’s death, the one thing we have all not been able to do is ignore it.
The amount of glorification that Jobs received from his industry peers and competitors perhaps supersedes that of war heroes.
Bill Gates, the creator of Microsoft (easily Apple’s oldest rival) said, “The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”
Today, in the world of applications on mobile devices, Google is Apple’s main rival. The search company created the Android operating system, which is now spread across tablet devices and mobile phones around the world, in hot competition with Apple iPad and iPhone devices.
The CEO of Google Larry Page said, “He always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking before you thought it. His focus on the user experience above all else has always been an inspiration to me. He was very kind to reach out to me as I became CEO of Google and spend time offering his advice and knowledge even though he was not at all well.”
Sergei Brin, Page’s co-founder of Google, said, “"From the earliest days of Google, whenever Larry and I sought inspiration for vision and leadership, we needed to look no farther than Cupertino. Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the Macbook I am writing this on right now). And I have witnessed it in person the few times we have met.”
And so it went, with US President Barack Obama, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Hewlett-Packard new CEO Meg Whitman, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and other luminaries expressing their admiration for Jobs, and offering commiserations to his family and loved ones.
On auspicious days, Google will normally put a doodle on their front page, which also acts as a link to a Google search on that particular subject. On 5 October 2011, the Google front page had a simple script below the search page reading: Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011. The link (very uncharacteristically for a Google doodle) led to Apple’s front page, which had a minimalist tribute to the man who led the company for 25 years.
But perhaps no other tribute was more fitting, or more touching, than the outpour of emotions from millions of ordinary people around the world.
At Apple’s campus in Cupertino, an impromptu memorial went up, with employees laying flowers and flags flying at half mast. Other memorials sprung up at Apple stores around the world.
According to some statistics, the news of Steve Jobs passing on may become the biggest ever event on the internet, in terms of chatter generated.
Inevitably, there was a fair amount of eye-rolling and groaning at the immediate and relentless hagiography of Jobs. But that is what he ultimately was – not only an inventor and entrepreneur, but a man who melded reality and inspired ordinary people, much like religious icons do.
Hate him (although, is it Apple acolytes you really hate?) or love him, it has been impossible to ignore the passing of Steve Jobs. His passing has left the planet Earth saddened, not quite yet knowing what do with the void. DM
- The Steve Jobs tribute at Wired.com;
- The Steve Jobs tribute at Apple.com;
- Jobs death prompts grief at Apple stores worldwide in Reuters;
- Jobs fans react: We will miss you, Steve in Wall Street Journal;
- Fans pay tribute to Steve Jobs at Apple stores and online in CNN.