Steve Jobs was a college dropout who built computers in his parents’ garage in the mid-1970s with a friend, Steve Wozniak.
They founded what is now Apple Inc. in 1976 to sell their creations. Apple, based in Cupertino, California, surpassed Microsoft Corp. in 2010 to become the world’s most valuable technology company.
A timeline of Jobs’s career follows:
Feb. 24, 1955: A boy is born in San Francisco to college graduate students Joanne Carole Schieble and Syrian immigrant Abdulfattah “John” Jandali. Jobs said in a 1997 New York Times Magazine article that he wouldn’t talk about his biological parents, citing privacy. He is adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs, who name him Steven Paul Jobs and raise him in the suburbs of Mountain View and Los Altos, California.
1972: Jobs graduates from Homestead High School, the Cupertino school that is also the alma mater of Wozniak, his future business partner. Jobs enrolls at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and drops out after one semester. “The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting,” he said during a June 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University.
1974: Jobs returns to California and works as a designer at Atari Corp., the video-game company. He later travels to India in search of spiritual enlightenment.
1975: Jobs and Wozniak hang out at Homebrew Computer Club, an informal gathering of engineers and hobbyists who swap parts and ideas. The two show off the Apple I and Apple II computers at the club meetings, according to an article written by Wozniak.
April 1, 1976: Jobs, Wozniak and Ron Wayne found Apple. Wayne, who worked with Jobs at Atari, gives up his 10 percent share of Apple less than two weeks later.
April 16, 1977: Wozniak and Jobs introduce the Apple II, which becomes one of the first successful personal computers.
May 1978: Jobs’ girlfriend, Chrisann Brennan, gives birth to a girl, Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Chrisann raises Lisa mainly on her own. Jobs later reconciles with Lisa.
Dec. 12, 1980: Apple goes public at $22 a share. Adjusted for splits since then, the initial public offering price is $2.75. Apple closed yesterday at $378.25.
February 1982: Jobs, 26, is featured on the cover of Time under the headline, “Striking It Rich, America’s Risk Takers.” He appears on the magazine’s cover more than a half dozen times.
January 1983: Apple releases the Lisa, the first commercially sold computer with a graphical user interface. The Lisa, with a price tag of $9,995, is a commercial failure.
January 1984: Apple announces the new Macintosh computer with an ad that airs only once, during the Super Bowl. The ad shows a woman throw a hammer at a giant screen as a voice reads, “On January 24, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh and you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’” The Mac, which sells for $2,500, becomes the first commercially successful personal computer to have a graphical user interface and mouse.
September 1985: After being stripped of responsibilities amid a power struggle with Chief Executive Officer John Sculley and the board, Jobs resigns as chairman. He tells the board: “I’ve been thinking a lot and it’s time for me to get on with my life. It’s obvious that I’ve got to do something. I’m 30 years old,” according to Sculley’s book, “Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple.” Jobs soon starts NeXT Computer Inc., which builds high-powered educational computers.
February 1986: Jobs buys George Lucas’s computer-graphics shop for $10 million and renames it Pixar Inc.
March 18, 1991: He marries Laurene Powell at a hotel in Yosemite National Park. Their first child, Reed, is born in September, followed by daughters Erin in 1995 and Eve in 1998.
February 1993: NeXT decides to stop making computer workstations and lays off more than half of its 540 employees.
November 1995: Pixar releases its first feature film, “Toy Story,” which grosses more than $360 million and is nominated for three Oscars. In the same month, the company goes public. Jobs would say in a 1998 BusinessWeek article, “I think Pixar has the opportunity to be the next Disney -- not replace Disney -- but be the next Disney.”
Dec. 20, 1996: Apple says it will buy NeXT for $400 million and rehire Jobs as a consultant to help the company revamp its flagship Macintosh software. The third-largest PC maker says it will incorporate NeXT’s technology into the next version of the Mac operating system. Apple was in such dire straits before the return of Jobs that BusinessWeek in February ran a cover article titled, “The Fall of an American Icon.”
July 9, 1997: After 17 months as Apple’s chairman and chief executive officer, Gilbert Amelio is forced to resign. Jobs later becomes interim CEO while Apple searches for a new leader.
Aug. 6, 1997: At the Macworld trade show in Boston, Jobs announces that longtime rival Microsoft Corp. will invest $150 million in Apple. Also, in a boardroom shake-up, Jobs and Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison are named as directors.
May 1998: Apple unveils the iMac, a $1,299 all-in-one PC encased in a translucent, curvy box. It’s the first of many “i” products, including the clamshell-shaped iBook that comes out the next year.
Jan. 6, 1998: Jobs announces at Macworld that Apple has returned to profitability after more than a year of losses, and the shares jump 19 percent.
Jan. 5, 2000: After 2 1/2 years as interim CEO, Jobs officially assumes the helm and receives a long, standing ovation at Macworld. He shows off the Mac OS X operating system, which is similar to the software he developed at NeXT. “Apple will be one of the 10 most profitable Internet companies in the next 10 years,” Jobs tells the gathering.
Jan. 9, 2001: Jobs introduces the digital hub strategy at Macworld, telling participants: “The PC is on the threshold of entering the third great age,” with computers at the center and devices that include cameras and music players. Apple’s next focus will be audio, Jobs says as he unveils iTunes, a free software program for organizing music. “We’re late to this party, and we’re about to leapfrog,” he says.
May 2001: Apple opens retail stores to attract new customers. The first are in McLean, Virginia, and Glendale, California. The company eventually expands to more than 300 stores worldwide.
Oct. 23, 2001: Apple introduces the iPod, its first portable digital-music player, a move beyond PCs as the industry heads for its worst slump in more than a decade. The iPod stores as many as 1,000 MP3-format songs and sells for $399.
April 28, 2003: Apple unveils the iTunes Music Store, which offers more than 200,000 digital songs from the top five record companies. “You’ll fall in love with music so much again that you’ll spend some money,” Jobs says. ITunes sells about 1 million tracks in the first week.
October 2003: Jobs is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer affecting the pancreas and tries to treat the illness by switching to a special diet to avoid surgery, according to a 2008 article in Fortune magazine that cites people familiar with the matter. Apple decided not to tell investors after consulting lawyers, the magazine reports.
Aug. 1, 2004: Jobs, then 49, discloses the cancer for the first time, saying he had successful surgery to extract a tumor and won’t need chemotherapy or radiation. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook runs Apple until Jobs returns to work in September.
June 12, 2005: Jobs talks about his cancer during a commencement speech at Stanford University, saying that he was diagnosed about a year earlier and that doctors told him he wouldn’t live longer than six months. The cancer turned out to be treatable with surgery “and I’m fine now,” he says.
January 2006: Walt Disney Co. announces it will buy Pixar. The $8.06 billion deal, completed in May, makes Jobs the largest shareholder of Disney and a board member.
Oct. 4, 2006: Apple says Jobs knew the company backdated stock-option grants to executives in some cases, though he didn’t benefit or know of the accounting implications of the practice. “I apologize to Apple’s shareholders and employees for these problems, which happened on my watch,” Jobs says in a statement. An internal probe later clears him of wrongdoing.
Jan. 9, 2007: Jobs takes the stage at Macworld to show off the new iPhone and announces Apple is dropping “Computer” from its name, highlighting its reliance on consumer electronics. Apple shares close at a record high on optimism the iPhone will boost sales by more than $1 billion. The device challenges Palm Inc. and Research In Motion Ltd.’s multifunction phones.
June 9, 2008: Jobs, while introducing the iPhone 3G at Apple’s developer conference, appears thinner and frail. The company blames a “common bug.”
July 21, 2008: Responding to concerns about Jobs’s appearance, Apple says that he has no plans to leave the company and that his health is a private matter. Apple also forecasts sales and profit that trail analysts’ estimates. The shares fall as much as 12 percent the next day.
July 23, 2008: Jobs has been telling associates and Apple’s board he is cancer-free, the New York Times reports. Jobs had a surgical procedure earlier in the year to address a problem that contributed to his weight loss, the newspaper says, citing people close to the executive.
Sept. 9, 2008: Jobs, introducing new iPod media players at an event in San Francisco, still looks thin. “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” he jokes.
Dec. 16, 2008: Apple says Jobs won’t give his usual speech at the Macworld conference, to be held the next month. He had used the forum to introduce new products for 11 straight years.
Jan. 5, 2009: Jobs says he has a hormone imbalance, causing him to lose weight, and vows to remain CEO during treatment. “The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward,” Jobs says in an open letter.
Jan. 14, 2009: He gives up day-to-day operations to Cook until June, saying his health problems are more complex than originally thought. He says he will remain involved in major strategic decisions.
June 23, 2009: Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis, Tennessee, confirms that Jobs had a liver transplant and has “an excellent prognosis.”
June 29, 2009: Apple announces Jobs’s return to work. At the time, Apple shares had risen about 70 percent since Jan. 15.
Sept. 9, 2009: Jobs makes his first public appearance since his return to work, introducing new iPod models in San Francisco. He says he was the recipient of a liver transplanted from a young adult who had died in a car crash.
Jan. 27, 2010: He introduces the iPad. Apple sells 7.3 million of the tablet computers in their debut quarter.
Jan. 17, 2011: Jobs begins another medical leave, telling employees in an e-mail that “I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can.” Cook again takes charge of day-to-day operations.
Feb. 23, 2011: Apple shareholders reject a proposal seeking more disclosure about its executive succession plans.
March 2, 2011: Jobs, 56, emerges from medical leave to introduce a new version of the iPad tablet. The appearance assures some investors that he still participates in decision-making.
March 23, 2011: Disney investors re-elect Jobs to the board of the entertainment company, rejecting calls from proxy advisers who say health issues might impair his ability to serve.
April 11, 2011: CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster sets the publication date for a Jobs biography for early 2012. The book is written by Walter Isaacson and initially titled “iSteve: The Book of Jobs.” The title is later changed to “Steve Jobs” and the publication date moved up to November 2011.
Aug. 24, 2011: Jobs resigns as Apple CEO, handing the reins to Cook and taking the title of chairman. “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,” Jobs says in a statement. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”
Oct. 5, 2011: Apple announces the death of Steve Jobs, saying his “brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives.”