Many high-tech CEOs have risen to prominence by doing one thing well and then living off their dominant positions for years. Not so with 48-year-old Steven P. Jobs. He has moved beyond computers to establish himself in two businesses where newcomers rarely emerge unscathed: music and movies.
At Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL), Jobs was the first to find a way to compel consumers to pay for online music rather than trade it for free. Not that there is a lot of money to be made at 99 cents a song. But Apple's popular iTunes online store has done something just as good for the company: It has turbocharged sales of Apple's pricey iPod portable music players. Jobs' other company, Pixar Animation Studios (PIXR), continued a remarkable run of hits with Finding Nemo. The biggest animated box-office smash of all time, Nemo was also Pixar's fifth blockbuster in five tries. Even better, it comes just as Pixar is renegotiating its contract with its distributor and marketer, Walt Disney Co. (DIS) Disney will probably have to give Pixar more than the 37% of profits it now gets -- or risk Jobs turning to a rival studio.
-- Found a way to get consumers to pay for online music. Now Apple's iPod player dominates the market, and the iTunes online store has a 70% market share.
-- Pixar made Finding Nemo, the biggest animated box-office hit ever.