Apple, Pixar CEO Steve Jobs named The Sunday Times Business Person of 2004

“It is not often that a company boss gets to bathe in the success of a product that is a smash hit with consumers. It is rarer still for that product to be genuinely important, transforming not just the company that designed it but the face of an industry,” Paul Durman reports for The Sunday Times. “It is even more remarkable for one chief executive to enjoy this level of success, not at one company, but at two quite different businesses in the same year. And to accomplish all this while undergoing treatment for cancer – well, that’s just incredible.”

“Yet this is the story of 2004 for Mr Incredible himself – Steve Jobs, 49, chief executive of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios… The Sunday Times Business Person of 2004,” Durman reports. “His success with the Apple iPod and Pixar films has transformed two industries.”

Full article here.

14 Comments

  1. effwerd writes, “Apple has transformed? Into what? They were a hardware/software manufacturer before. What are they now?”

    **********

    effwerd, why are you stupid?

  2. Meros’s answer actually makes sense. Though I must admit I don’t understand Rick O’Shay’s comment. Maybe it’s because I’m so stupid.

    As far as I understand, though, a transformation is a process by which something changes from one thing to a distinct other thing, being altered in composition, character, or appearance. From what I can tell, Apple Computer is still Apple Computer. They are composed of the same components; they have the same character, and they use the same logo, i.e. appearance. I don’t know; maybe Paul is engaging in hyperbole. And maybe, just maybe, I responded with a hyperbolic question.

  3. Effwerd:

    I think you’re missing the fundamental point which is the fact that Jobs through his corporate alter egos has managed to create at least three trends, and that those three trends have become tuly mainstream over the last twelve to eighteen months.

    Arguably, the feature length CG animation that Pixar pioneered only truly became a trend when other studios wanted to follow suit with Shrek, Ice Age and A Shark’s Tale.

    Personal digital players have really only become ‘of the mainstream’ since the iPod reached its tipping point around September ’03, and legal downloads hadn’t really registered as an elegant, convenient way of buying music until the existence of iTMS became cross-platform.

    So Job’s contribution to the world is his ability to spot the zeitgeist in a way that Gates can only dream about, and Apple’s transformation can be characterised from being a producer of arguably the best personal computers in the world to the only company that is trying to deliver a coherent (i.e. usable) platform strategy for both the production (FCP/DVD SP/Shake/Motion/Logic and iLife) and consumption (iTunes/iPod/iTMS) for digital media.

  4. effwerd, you are not stupid. In fact, you are correct to say that Apple is still in the same basic business it was in before the return of Steve Jobs.

    The transformation is from the scorched and dying sapling Apple was in 1996, to the great and mighty tree, heavy laden with fruit, and surrounded by a field of flowers that it is today, eight years later.

    In the mid 1990s, Apple was in serious trouble. The company was going down in flames, fueled by its own greed, its mistakes, and the onslaught of Windows 95; as its board worked feverishly to redecorate their board room. Desperate for a next generation operating system to give the company a future (as its own attempts didn’t pan out), Apple bought the rights to Steve Jobs’ NeXT, and got Steve (who turned out to be a great tree surgeon) along with the deal. While his initial pruning hurt, it cleared the way for major growth: OS X and the offshoots into new markets it made possible, the iMacs, iLife and its professional counterparts making Apple strong again in the creative areas, Xserve (now the darling of Oracle, the big name in enterprise databases), Xserve cluster supercomputers making the top 5 supercomputers, the Apple Stores, the iPod/iTunes Store combo taking the digital music market by storm, etc.

    Now, no one jokes about Apple or announces its eminent demise. Instead, AAPL has shot up 195% to become the year’s superstock, and the accolades are rolling in for Steve Jobs.

  5. Meros
    Now they’re a software/hardware manufacturer who actually makes money

    While, I have to admit your post was amusing Meros, Apple had nearly 5 billion in cash in the bank before the start of 2004. I don’t think you get that kind of coin by not being profitable.

    Apple is merely far more profitable and even more of an iconic status than they were previously, with a product that is causing a cultural paradigm shift, the iPod. Who would have thought 3 years ago that a product so maligned by geeks and freaks and unknown by most everyone else at that time would cause so many big waves. And with such a goofy name too?

  6. Moth Maiden
    Xserve cluster supercomputers making the top 5 supercomputers

    Anyone happen to know what the fastest Intel based computer/cluster in the world is? What’s the fastest MS/Windows based computer in the world?

  7. “This has led to the 1,000-song mini iPod � even sleeker and more fashionable than its grown-up sibling, and just the right size for a girl�s handbag.”
    Methinks, MacBeth does not keep her’s in the handbag, or so she claims ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />.

  8. Thanks MCCFR and Moth Maiden. I really do understand what Paul was getting at in his article. As I said I was just matching hyperbole for hyperbole. And believe me, there has been a lot of it surrounding Apple and Jobs recently. I don’t begrudge Paul his exaggeration (thus the short snarky comment) but I don’t think it necessary to highlight or examine Jobs as a CEO and his effects on both Apple and Pixar. I think Moth Maiden’s term, “pruned,” is infinitely more applicable than “tranformed.” The Sunday Times would have been better off soliciting her to write the article than Paul, but given the iNcrediblly stupid headline (and the publishing of the article), the editors obviously aren’t too high caliber.

  9. To say that Jobs hasn’t “transformed” Apple since he returned is a bit disingenuous. I may be the “stupid” one here, but I do recall reading much in both the mainstream and tech media about Apple being out of business in a few years (billions in the bank or not) prior to Jobs taking on the iCEO role.

    I also recall the uproar by the “Macfanatifull” (my term for the Mac faithfull fanatics) when he negotiated the Microsoft investment into Apple to ensure continued devleopment of the Office suite.

    I’m sure I’m not mixing my stories up in believing he was involved in the launch of the multi coloured iMacs? They were certainly a new move compared to what Apple had been doing.

    The fact that now most stories I read in the mainstream and tech media are about how business is booming at Apple is a transformation, even if the ACTUAL basic business Apple is in hasn’t changed, its performance in that business has transformed.

    But there has been a transformation of sorts in the business itself.

    Also if Apple starts builing DVD players and TVs etc then according to effwerd they are still just a hardware and software company, because as far as I know these items are hardware and many have software running on them too!!! Come on!? The fact is the Apple MAC PC line, whilst what they have “always” done (I know Macs weren’t always in the line up), are VERY different to a media player device. And the iPod HAS defined and transformed an industry (practically built it even though it wasn’t the first!)

    So whilst Apple may still be making a hardware device, the fact remains it is in a COMPLETELY new area (hence the company has been transformed), they have made a product that has transformed an industry (that little two bit operation called the music business), and they now operate as a shop front for that industry (iTunes).

    I also have to fall back to Mac OSX. Jobs brought the foundation of that from NeXT. Mac OSX is often overlooked for its part in the resurgence of Apple.

    I guess in the end effwerd (and those that agree with him) have to answer this question –

    Do you know of (and REALLY believe) that there is another CEO in ANY other company of a comparable size that could have achieved the turn around for Apple that Jobs has?

    You see if there isn’t anyone else that comes to mind, then Time Business Person for 2004 is a perfectly apt title, and the description of what Jobs has done isn’t hyperbole.

    And we haven’t even touched on PIXAR (remember PIXAR was not started by Jobs, it was bought from George Lucas, so it has been transformed too from effects house, to production house)

    But hey 193% share price rise in 1 year, and the guy still isn’t worthy of praise.

    Disclaimer – I don’t own Apple or Pixar stocks, I bought my FIRST Apple product this year – yes it is an iPod, and it will mean that I will get a Mac in the future. And the Pixar movies are amoung my favourite animated (and in fact all) films. As someone from the “outside” looking in, I wish the CEOs of the companies I do own stocks in had achieved the performance that Jobs has from Apple and Pixar.

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