Chairman Steve Jobs may no longer be running Apple, but his impact on the industry will be felt for years to come.
When Apples Steve Jobs announced last week that he was stepping down as CEO of the company he founded to take over as chairman of the tech giants board, it was an end of an era. People around the globe have watched for years as Jobs led a technology juggernaut from the brink of extinction in the mid-1990s to the worlds largest company in terms of market capitalization.
His success is nothing short of astounding. Its hard to remember now that Apple was nearly sold out to Sun Microsystems for a relative pittance in the late 90s before Jobs returned to head the then floundering company.
But Jobs legacy stretches far beyond what he accomplished at Apple. Jobs has brought products to the market that have helped spawn entirely new industries. And when he entered established markets, he quickly revolutionized how consumers thought about products and how the competition thought about its own offerings. Simply put, Steve Jobs has changed the technology space in a host of ways.
Read on to find out how:
1. He Slick Design a Requirement
First and foremost, Steve Jobs cared about product design. He realized long ago that consumers are attracted to good-looking products. Whether its a car or a computer, they want something that looks nicer than all similar products on the market. Thanks to his keen eye, Jobs was able to deliver that to them. In the process he proved to all other competitors that in order to keep up with Apple they better design products that are good-looking as well as innovative.
2. He brought secrecy to the fore
Looking around the technology space, there are a host of companies that have allowed leaks to run amok. They come up with ideas in-house, and next thing they know, information that they didnt want to share with the public got out. But at Apple, leaking information to the public is a crime thats punishable with firing and it can be ruthless about enforcing its secrecy policy. The effect of this policy, established and perfected by Jobs, is that it created a rumor mill unlike any other in the tech space that keeps Apples name and every possible move in the new.. Other companies wish they could enforce such a regimen as successfully.
3. A corporate culture customers were engaged in
One of the big mistakes companies in the technology industry make is create a corporate culture that only the employees know about. At Apple, Steve Jobs brought consumers and enterprise users into the culture, schooling them on the idea that his company was a premium provider of premium products. He has succeeded in getting Apples fan base to buy into this proposition. It was a tremendous move. Now its something that other companies in the space are now trying to emulate.
4. Leveraging a fan base
When Steve Jobs took over at Apple for the second time, he really wanted to capitalize on his companys small, but dedicated fan base. He realized that it was central to his firms future and he needed those folks to be unpaid spokespeople for his products. Since then, his companys fan base has exploded, and now, tens of millions of people around the globe will defend the brand at any cost. In many ways, that dedicated fan base has changed the technology industry in a major way. It guarantees Apples dominance; it keeps competitors at bay; and for third-party accessories makers or app developers its a potential cash cow. Make no mistake, Apples dedicated fan base means everything.
5. Better pricing doesnt mean cheaper
Too often today, companies think that in order to appeal to consumers, theyll need to beat the pricing of competitors. But Steve Jobs has shown the industry a different way. His products are more expensive than their counterparts and they have higher sales. Apple is able to do that because it has a reputation for delivering high quality for the money. Now, other companies are trying to establish the same approach. But whether or not they will be able to see the same sales performance (and high margins) remains to be seen.
6. Changing the face of entertainment
When Steve Jobs became CEO of Apple again, the music industry was enjoying itself. Physical media was the best way to get tracks, and consumers were forced to buy players that could only play a handful of songs at a time. But then he changed that with the iPoda device that, history has proven, to be one of the finest products ever launched. It transformed how people listen to music, it affected the retail industry, and it practically turned the music business on its head. Thats Steve Jobs for you: changing multiple industries with a single device.
7. Tablets galore
Prior to the iPads launch in 2009, tablets were available, but none rose above the level of niche products. In fact, the market was practically non-existent. But then the iPad entered the fray, and all that changed. Now, tablets are everywhere, and many believe that they will continue to take down netbooks and lightweight notebooks. Not bad. Thanks to Jobs, an entire marketplace was created and several others were drastically altered.
8. Touch screens everywhere
The iPads ability to revolutionize the industry wouldnt have been possible without the iPhone. That device, which came with a 3.5-inch touch screen at its launch in 2007, dramatically changed how people bought mobile products and what buyers expected to see in these devices. Prior to the iPhones launch, consumers were content with devices featuring smaller displays and physical keys. But now, thats not the case. Consumers today want devices with big displays and touch screens. Without them, devices will fail. Just ask RIM.
9. Making tech cool
Over the years, technology hasnt necessarily been viewed as the coolest thing for people to be into. But after Steve Jobs shook things up at Apple and offered up some of the finest products in the market all that changed. These days a neat gadget is a necessity for someone who wants to be viewed as a stylish or cool person. However, unfortunately for other companies, typically that means buying a Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
10. Ditching tired products
Steve Jobs has been known to ditch tired old products and bring on the latest and greatest technologies. Even as of late, he has been an agent of change. Rather than continue to include DVD drives in his companys computers, before he left as CEO, Jobs started to ditch them. He also offered up a disc-less version of Mac OS X Lion for download in the Mac App Store. But its not always discontinuing what he believes are old ideas. Jobs made Apple one of the first computer makers to adopt USB technology. Hes doing it again with the high-speed ThunderBolt I/O technology. Simply, Steve Jobs has never been shy about being the first to drop obsolescent technology and establishing new trends and technical standards. That trait alone could define his legacy.