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This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades.

Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:. No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.

And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. Jobs gave that talk on June 12, Jobs had chosen the right audience for this announcement. Although developers would bear the brunt of the transition because of the need to adapt their apps to the x86 architecture, they were savvy enough to know that this was a step that Apple had to make.

But these aren't even the most important reasons. The most important reasons, Jobs said, were that the future PowerPC roadmap didn't provide processors that would fit with Apple's plans for less-power-hungry platforms. Intel's chips were simply better than the PowerPC in terms of power consumption, and would increasingly be so in future generations. Reactions to Jobs' decision were all over the map. All a chip change could do is probably slow that down because maybe there would be a big disruption with your ISV community What changes?

I don't know.

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One industry analyst castigated the switcheroo, telling PCWorld : "A wholesale move away from the IBM chips would be extremely foolish. Intel is not the 'de-facto leader in processor design' that it was a few years ago. Another analyst credited Jobs with making a canny move — and one that was as much marketing as it was technical.

OS type of situation," he reasoned, "this might be a good way [for Apple] to increase market share. It's clear today that Jobs' decision to move to Intel was a wise one, but that was certainly not the case on June 6, Again — not to belabor the point — Jobs was right, and his detractors wrong. During all this change at Apple, Jobs was still wearing another hat: CEO of Pixar, where he had his own set of problems to deal with.

It has been widely reported that Jobs' terms in that renegotiation were absurdly high, and designed to mightily tick off Eisner — the two men, simply put, loathed one another. In any case, after the renegotiation failed, Jobs said that any continuation of the Pixar-Disney partnership was a non-starter.

Jobs received some help in his anti-Eisner efforts from an unexpected source: Walt's nephew Roy, who sent a letter to Eisner, resigning from his seat on the Disney board of directors. Disney's letter, which was made public in accordance to SEC rules, detailing a series of Eisner's failings, and summing up: "In conclusion, Michael, it is my sincere belief that it is you who should by leaving and not me.

An ugly struggle for control of Disney ensued, including a rumor that Jobs would patch things up with Pixar if the Disney board fired Eisner.

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To make a long story short, Eisner was — eventually — stripped of his powers , he — eventually — tendered his resignation, and Disney president Robert Iger was — eventually — named CEO. Iger's promotion came in October One side note to this highly compressed review of the Disney-Pixar saga: rumors of the acquisition swirled for some time before the deal was announced, as is common in such mega-deals. One particularly entertaining one was that Disney was waiting to see how well its own computer-animated efforts, Chicken Little , would do at the box office, before it would pull the trigger on the Pixar deal.

By the way, the most recent Pixar-Disney film, Toy Story 3 , has earned over a billion dollars in box-office receipts alone. At this point in our retelling of the saga of the man who was eventually to be named the CEO of the Decade by Fortune magazine and immortalized in cheese , we're going to pick up the pace a bit.

During the past five years since the Intel transition was completed and the Pixar acquisition finalized, Jobs has become scrutinized from every angle, perspective, and viewpoint, and you, dear Reg reader, have been treated to well over a thousand articles on this website about him. Unless you've been retracing Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen's routes to both the North and South Poles for the past few years, you — as a savvy tech type — are likely familiar with Jobs' own route in the past five years.

There's little more we could tell you than what you already know, so we'll just touch upon a few more matters — such as this little thing called the iPhone that you may have heard about. Despite its many detractors and its demonstrable flaws, the iPhone has been a monumental success. Its supporters describe it as further proof that Jobs was a visionary who understood what consumers wanted before those consumers did themselves. Its detractors point to it as a ho-hum device that confirms their suspicions that most consumers are easily seduced by shiny-shiny, and that Jobs was a megalomaniac interested only in herding "sheeple" into his walled garden.

Among the chattering geekerati, sides are taken, insults are hurled, tempers flare — over a phone? Yes, over a phone, albeit one that runs apps. The iPhone started crazy. Even well before it was released, wacky speculation and rear-view-mirror shortsidedness ruled. On that last point, remember before its release the way many spoke of the iPhone as being essentially an iPod that made phone calls? Of the well over four thousand Reg articles that contain the word "iPhone", nearly two hundred were written before the damn thing even shipped. In , for example, we reported a rumored "iPhone" — yes, that's the term we used — being developed in an Apple-Sony partnership.

More rumors cropped up in , with Apple's suspected iPhone partner being Motorola, and in , with the partner being Japan's SoftBank. That year also saw a rather off-the-mark French magazine cover that featured the purported iPhone. One analyst confidently predicted that "the new phone's design will be similar to that of the [ first-generation ] iPod Nano, and is likely to come in three colors: white, black, and platinum".

That December, for example, one Reggie wrote : "As customers start to realise that the competition offers better functionality at a lower price The only question remaining is if, when the iPod phone fails, it will take the iPod with it. Well, history has proved that the "iPod phone" did, indeed, lead to the decline of the iPod — but not in the way that our usually clear-headed colleague imagined.

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Another Reg writer was kinder, reminding readers on the day after the iPhone's unveiling that Apple's Mac was successful only after it cornered the desktop publishing market. Perhaps the most well-known dissing of the iPhone was by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who famously guffawed in a video interview : "Five hundred dollars? Fully subsidized? With a plan? I said, 'That is the most expensive phone in the world! We can't resist relating a recent comment to that YouTube video: "i watched this on my iphone so fuck you ballmer".

Reality check: Apple sold It will report sales through September on October 18, and there's little evidence that they nosedived in anticipation of the recently announced iPhone 4S , and Apple seems poised to ship a goodly number of them during the holiday season. And speaking of the holiday season, the iPhone's larger, younger brother, the iPad, should also have a good next couple of months. The beancounters at Gartner, citing the fact that "Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services," project that Apple will sell about And 69 million in And million in It seems Jobs was right about that one, as well.

It may have driven technically astute observers crazy when he cooed that his " magical and revolutionary " iPad was the " most important product " that he had ever worked on, but it's hard to argue that fact that the iPad essentially invented an entirely new category of products. Well, it's hard to argue unless you're Bill Gates, who in a video interview with The Boston Globe said: "Tablet computing is an innovation where Microsoft has been ahead every step of the way.

So if you want to look at tablets, and touchscreens, and how students use those — that's a Windows phenomenon. That's the type of argument that might hold up in an IP battle, but not in the court of public opinion. The iPad, like the iPhone, went through a long gestation period in the tummy of the rumor mill. As we pointed out after one such rumor surfaced in January , "tablet Mac" rumors had appeared as early as November , and kept right on bubbling along until the iPad was formally announced by Jobs on January 27 of last year.

At that announcement , Jobs noted that Apple had "pondered [the] question for years" as to whether a device that would occupy the space between a laptop and a phone made sense, so it's entirely possible that some of the tablet rumors that cropped up every so often were based on fact. It's equally possible that Jobs surreptitiously floated some of them out into the rumor-sphere to gauge market interest. We may never know. Permit me now to drop into the first person, and speak directly as a Jobsian fanboi — a thoroughly thought-through label I wear with pride. I've been following Apple closely since the Homebrew Computer Club days , the past 22 years as a journalist.

Throughout those years I have been continually mystified by the intensity of the adoration and abhorrence inspired by Steven Paul Jobs. Certainly, he earned both. He could, indeed, be an asshole. One of my favorite stories in this vein was told by David Bunnell, describing how Jobs flipped the finger at a photographer when shooting the cover for the inaugural issue of Macworld magazine. There are many more such stories in the Jobsian canon — Jobs berating underlings, lying through his teeth, stroking his own sizable ego.

But to focus only on Bad Steve leads to such fervid overstatements as those made by one Forbes contributor , who distilled Jobs into a "a spooky, weird control freak who cultivated not so much fans as thought-slaves", adding that "Apple's real motto is, of course, 'Do Be Evil,' which means Jobs is essentially Mr Burns in a turtleneck". For every story about Bad Steve, there's an equal and opposite story of him inspiring a co-worker, waxing philosophical in late-night conversations with friends, and being a devoted dad and loving husband.

But to swing too far in the other direction is to be equally reductionist. It's difficult, for example, to be any more over-the-top hagiographic than the headline of another reminiscence in Forbes : "Steve Jobs Reinvented What It Means to be Human". Jobs invented little. But what he did do was in many ways more important than whose name ends up in the "inventor" field on a US Patent and Trademark Office document: Jobs looked far over the horizon and saw a world that he thought to be a good one, and he made multiple decisive decisions about how to get his team to create that world.

In some cases, his vision was not one that I believe to be a good one — the "walled garden", for one. But other decisions and directions, I would argue, were brilliant: stripping away complexity to reveal elegance, and making that elegance available to the greatest number of people, for example. But frankly, what one writer and editor thinks about Jobs and his visions matters little. And equally frankly, it's too soon to conclusively judge his contributions, both positive and negative, in the digital world.

But it's not too soon to say that he had a larger role than either you or I ever could imagine having.

To do so, we'd need the imagination of Steven Paul Jobs. And whether you come down on the side of Bad Steve or Good Steve, you have to admit that his imagination was formidable. Could he be brilliant? Could he be an asshole? Could he be inspiring?

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Could he be ruthless? Could he be magnanimous? Could he be childish? Could he be childlike? The other day, I ran into a video in which Jobs talks about his management philosophy.

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