Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Death of Steve Jobs: Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg, Google cofounders react

Steve Jobs in 1981
World-class visionary, salesman nonpareil, China job creator and frequently cruel jerk Steve Jobs, who drank a bottle of ant poison as a child, has died after a long battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer. His powers of persuasion gave rise to the phrase "the Steve Jobs reality distortion field." Working for him was described by one programmer was described as being on a "hero-shithead roller coaster." Jobs changed computing by licensing, with Apple stock, software and hardware innovations like the mouse and a touchy-feely graphic user interface pioneered by Xerox's PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) which used the technology in its Star workstations but couldn't market its way out of a paper bag. At least Apple paid for what Microsoft simply appropriated.
     Jobs' instincts and insight were as close to prophetic as any 20th Century CEO could hope for. Example: even as "desktop publishing" was supplanting traditional typesetting in the 1980s, Jobs was telling reporters that the phrase was merely transitory. He was right, of course; it was merely a temporary label ushering in a new paradigm.

Here is what Bill Gates had to say about the passing of Apple's cofounder:
Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives.
     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.
Other reactions, from Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg and the cofounders of Google are here.

Correction: Larry Ellison has not yet made a statement about the passing of Jobs at the above link or anywhere else. Last summer, MacWorld excerpted part of a San Jose Mercury News interview with Ellison, who talked about Jobs, even then gravely ill:
We almost decided to wear T-shirts: "The Mercurial Steve Jobs" and "The Arrogant Larry Ellison."
     Steve Jobs is my best friend, and I love him dearly, and he is one of the most remarkable people on this planet. You watch him create Apple, then in one of the worst human-resources mistakes in the history of Silicon Valley — the only thing worse was when the French fired Napoleon — they fire Steve Jobs and Apple almost completely disintegrates. Then he comes back and he saves a company that was on life support.

     I never see this quoted about Steve, but they once asked Andy Grove who he most admired in the PC industry, and he said, "One guy: Steve Jobs. He invented the PC industry."

     You know, we live in a very egalitarian world. We don't like heroes. And Steve is one of these heroic guys whose accomplishments are of such epic proportions, and it gnaws away at our egalitarian sense of the world.
The most poignant reaction was from Jobs' business partner and Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, who, after Jobs stiffed some key Apple employees in its IPO, gave them 1/3 of his own stock.
He said he was "overwhelmed and could not get in touch with his emotions". His only words: "People sometimes have goals in life. Steve Jobs exceeded every goal he ever set for himself."
The most amusing reaction was from Rupert Murdoch who preposterously insinuated that he had a heart which "goes out to [Jobs'] family."

The best look back at Steve Jobs' life that AKSARBENT has seen is over at


  1. I don't see any comments from Larry Ellison on Jobs death anywhere on the web.

  2. LOL @ the Murdoch comment.

  3. Yes, I was expecting something from Larry Ellison. Maybe he said a word during Oracle Open World that was taking place at that time, and we do not know...

  4. Steve Jobs died about 4 minutes before Larry finished his Open World demo... then after Larry went backstage, he heard the news. According to folks back-stage at the time, he just took off. I'm still not sure if anybody knows where he is...

  5. Ellison spoke at the private funeral.