Jobs remembered for 'shaking it up'

'He just never gave up,' says one analyst on the news of Steve Jobs' death

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"This was a person who defined the PC, changed the universe of cell phones, the music industry and went on to redefine computing with the iPad," said Gartenberg, also in an email. "That's a pretty strong legacy to leave behind. He was a visionary of our time, but not just a visionary - he could take a vision and bring it to life.

But it was Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, who was most eloquent.

"There never was a personal computer industry without him," said Gottheil in an interview late Wednesday, talking about Jobs' presence in the business from its start. "I am very moved, very sad. Jobs made this a much better ride for me, and for hundreds of millions worldwide."

Gottheil, who from 1980 to 1993 was a product design manager with Lotus Development, the creator of Lotus 1-2-3, the spreadsheet for the IBM PC that in many ways sounded the death-knell of the Apple II's dominance in business, talked about the generational attraction of Jobs to those who started in the personal computer business alongside the early years of Apple.

"There was this cohort, these people of a certain age and common culture, a generation that took a trip with personal computers," said Gottheil. "It all seemed part of the sixties, and the buy-outs and the sell-outs of that decade. We all had a ride."

Jobs was instrumental to that ride, said Gottheil, and not only because he helped create the long line of Apple products, from the Apple II to the Mac, from the iPod to the iPhone and the iPad.

"What's important to remember is that he was always about bringing things in from the outside, he was always shaking it up," said Gottheil, referring first, but not only, to the Apple II.

"They were sold one by one, it was 'I want this thing' and it wasn't asking an institution if you could," Gottheil said. "What Jobs did was make something so compelling and useful that you took it in with you. That's what consumerization is all about."

McCracken, who bought his first personal computer in 1978 -- not an Apple II, but a Radio Shack TRS-80 -- recounted his favorite Jobs memory: Jobs, who had left Apple to found NeXT Computer, was demonstrating the new machine to the Boston Computer Society in the mid-80s.

"It was his demo of the NeXT on the East Coast," remembered McCracken. "It was him alone on stage, demoing the NeXT, and at the end someone played classical music, just as Apple events now end with music.

"He just blew me away," McCracken said. "By the time I walked out, I was smitten."

"Like a lot of our generation," said Gottheil, 61, "we were perhaps unjustifiably optimistic. And he was too. He just never gave up."

Apple has made available an email address -- rememberingsteve@apple.com -- that people can use to leave thoughts, memories and condolences.

Matt Hamblen contributed to this report.

Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder who resigned from the company in the mid-1980s and returned a decade later to make Apple one of the most successful technology companies in the world, has died.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer and Google+, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more articles by Gregg Keizer.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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