BusinessWeek: Steve Jobs changed the world three times – with the Apple II, Pixar, and the iPod

“The tech world gulped on Aug. 1 upon hearing that Steven P. Jobs had been operated on for pancreatic cancer. The Apple Computer Inc. co-founder and chief executive, who broke the news in an e-mail typed from his hospital bed, said his prognosis was excellent. Still, everyone from artsy Mac lovers to buttoned-down Wall Street pros had to contemplate a future without one of the leading innovators of the Information Age,” Peter Burrows writes for BusinessWeek.

“Jobs’s contribution? More than anyone else, he brought digital technology to the masses. As a visionary, he saw that computers could be much more than drab productivity tools. Instead, they could help unleash human creativity and sheer enjoyment. A marketing genius, he conceived of elegant products that captured consumers’ imaginations. And as a relentless perfectionist, he came up with creations that actually delivered on their promise — raising the bar for rivals. ‘From the time he was a kid, Steve thought his products could change the world,’ says Lee Clow, chairman of TBWA/Chiat/Day and Jobs’ longtime ad man,” Burrows writes.

“So far, 49-year-old Jobs has done just that three times. Soon after he formed Apple in 1976 with high school friend Steve Wozniak, the Apple II became the first PC to hit it big. While the power of computing formerly had been available only to techies, it was suddenly delivered to classrooms, dens, and offices. A quarter-century later, he rocked the music business with Apple’s iPod music player and iTunes online store. This created a blueprint for the music biz in the Net era. And his Pixar Animation Studios was the first to show that computer animation could be used to tell imaginative, touching stories,” Burrows writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: So, Jobs has changed the world three times, according to Burrows: first with the Apple II, then with Pixar, and the third time with the iPod? Does anyone notice something missing? Although Burrows does mention the Macintosh later in his article, to not include the personal computer that 99+% of the world’s personal computers are or are modeled after is an astounding omission in the list of things Steve Jobs did to change the world. The Mac should be at the top of Burrows’ list; higher than Pixar, higher than the Apple II, and yes, even higher than the iPod. How soon they forget.

Want an interesting read? Here’s one from nearly a decade ago: Time Magazine’s “How the Mac Changed the World,” January 31, 1994.


  1. Ed Murrow (Pioneer/Father of Broadcast Journalism) used to tell new reporters that “just because your voice now reaches halfway around the world, you are no smarter than when it would only reach the end of the bar”. Someone needs to post that on the desk of EVERY writer and reporter in the print/broadcast media.

  2. Apple may not sell the most computers, but the millions of computers that sell each year are either Macs or imitation of Macs. Windows and DOS were unpopular until they could make it work like a Mac (poorly). So I agree that the Mac is Job’s 4th major innovation.

    However there is a 5th innovation that nobody has discussed. When Apple was close to dying and losing developer support, Jobs showed his future creation, resulting in keeping the support and basically saving Apple: the iMac. But the iMac went further–it changed the thinking of all manufacturers and users: computers should look good as well as work. Every computer that isn’t beige and doesn’t look like boxes is directly due to Jobs and the iMac. This interest went further than computers, too. Soon companies were make their products in the same five colors as the iMac, from radios to trashcans! The iMac reintroduced the concept that style can go along with form and function.

  3. pixar did change the world, not with just one movie, but with 5 mega-hits.

    they proved that a great story still seels seats in the theaters.

    the Apple II is more critical then the Mac – it LED to the the Mac. without it, the Mac would never been born.

  4. The ariticle paints in broad strokes. The Apple II brought the computer into the home. (remember the great line of then chief of IBM thinking the world maybe the world needed 5 computers, back in WWII) The iPod has changed music, and Pixar revivied animation, which was dying quickly. The Mac OS is not quite in the same category as these three, but it makes the computing experience worth while and not a “fingernails on the blackboard” situation.

  5. this buttmunch said the iMac would never sell because of distribution and it’s overpriced..

    two things this guy doesn’t realize

    a)MHz myth
    b)Dell’s distribution compared to Apple

    Both of these things would change Buttmunch’s tune..

  6. “pixar did change the world, not with just one movie, but with 5 mega-hits.”

    What about the movie industry has changed? Nothing. What about workaday life has changed? Nothing. What about anything of substance that can be equated with “the world” has changed? Nothing. Pixar changed Disney from an animation company to a hack media conglom making crappy live action and cell animation. That’s it.

  7. okay well it meant you could make millions upon millions of dollars without real actors..

    basically the characters in Toy Story were more believeable than the ones in previous Disney movies.. and Pixar’s approach to story-telling is different than Disney.

    Change the World? Pull your head out of your ass.. that’s like saying the Blair Witch Project changed the world because it brought on Reality TV..

    How about category killers.. the Apple II, the iPod and the Mac.. and maybe the iTMS

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