by Ashley Laurel Wilson

Steve Jobs: Five Highlights and Lowlights That Have Kept the Apple CEO In the Limelight

Jan 09, 20094 mins
AppleInnovationIT Leadership

Known for being both creative and temperamental, Apple's Steve Jobs has also made headlines for his relationship with Microsoft's Bill Gates, his Macworld keynotes and rumors circulating about his ailing health.

Being the CEO of a company worth more than $100 billion makes a person newsworthy—especially if that CEO is Steve Jobs and that company is Apple. Maker of innovative technologies like the Macintosh, the iPod and the iPhone, Apple’s reputation has also been shaped by its sometimes controversial front man, Steve Jobs.

Jobs’ Creativity

The CEO of both Apple and Pixar is certainly a creative genius. It’s been reported that even as a child, Jobs always had something up his sleeve, especially at school.

After co-founding Apple in 1976—the self-proclaimed alternative to IBM—Jobs was worth an estimated $165 million by 1980. Though Jobs hasn’t been the only creative person at Apple over the years—especially with persons like Jonathan Ive around, the design mastermind behind items like the iPod and iPhone—Jobs has had some creative business ideas. After his return to Apple for example, he used his NeXT endeavor as a foundation for the Mac OS.

But though Jobs’ has been known to keep mum about new projects, he’s not afraid to speak his mind when something isn’t going his way.

The Flaring Temper

Notorious for a mixture of raging tantrums and cold silences when provoked, Jobs’ infamous temper has given him a volatile reputation both inside and outside of Apple.

In fact, in 1985 Jobs tried to oust Apple CEO John Sculley during a power struggle over control of the company, which ultimately backfired and resulted in Jobs quitting. Maybe he shouldn’t have tried to go behind Sculley’s back if the majority of the Apple board wasn’t on his side.

Jobs also sometimes slams books being published about him. In 2000, the book “The Second Coming of Steve Jobs”, published by Broadway, wasn’t well received by Jobs. He could’ve gotten a cut of the deal, but Jobs didn’t seem to want the publicity or need the money. In fact, in 2005, after the publishing house John Wiley & Sons—who publish educational books on subjects like computer usage—tried to publish a biography about Jobs, “iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business”, Jobs’ banned all the publisher’s books from Apple’s store shelves.

Though some of Jobs personal story might be better left untold, not everything can be kept quiet. Returning to the same company more than five years after leaving it would cause an internal stir in any company, but Jobs did it with a bang. He immediately let the flailing CEO Gil Amelio go and the company began to bear fruit again.

Mac vs. PC Translates to Jobs Vs. Gates

Apple and Microsoft have long been pitted against one another, but they’re not always bitter rivals. Since the 1970s, Jobs and Gates have collaborated, and more than once appeared together at industry events. In 1997, at the annual Wall Street Journal function “D: All Things Digital Conference” they even spent time joking about each other. That same year, Microsoft invested in Apple to keep it afloat—a decision that prompted many Apple fans to call Jobs a sellout.

The Mac and PC commercials reflect the image each company portrays, as well as how the founders are revered. In 1996, Apple started the competition with a commercial that positioned Mac to be the hip choice. In September 2008, the tide turned and Microsoft aired a commercial featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. In the end though, Microsoft’s commercial got a bad rap. As always, Jobs ended up as the cool guy and Gates as the dweeb.

Jobs’ “Death” and Other Health Rumors

Not everyone’s surgery makes headlines, but since his 2004 pancreatic cancer surgery, Jobs’ health has been a widely discussed topic.

By 2008, reports of his death began to circulate when Bloomberg accidentally released his obituary. Of course Gawker then published it online in case anyone missed it. Nearing the end of 2008 Jobs’ weight loss was the next topic of health-related discussion. Just five days after 2009 began, Jobs finally spoke out, saying he suffers from a hormone imbalance. And the speculation continues.

The Famous Macworld Keynotes

Rumors immediately spread as to the reason of Jobs’ no-show this year, some suggesting that it was due to his ailing health. It’s not a huge shock to many that this year marks Apple’s final showing at Macworld, but it’s still a downer, especially since Jobs didn’t do the final keynote speech. Though Jobs’ keynotes came to an end after 25 years, at least his Stevenotes are still alive and well.

Though not every story about Steve Jobs that’s gone public has been a rosy one, each one has kept Jobs in the public eye. After all, any publicity is good publicity. Isn’t it?