India RIPs Steve Jobs

India today (Oct 6, 2011) woke up to a shocking news – death of Steve Jobs (Oct 5, 2011). Everyone knew it was a matter of time before he would die but yet everyone was shocked and “saddened”.  Today was going to be a special day in India – Dasara was being celebrated across the country.

The main significance of Dasara being end of evil (corruption if you may) and we hear the death of a good man. Yes, his competitors did see Steve Jobs as “evil” as his quality was so superior that it hurt their balance sheets.
apple logo by jonathan mak

My Introduction to Apple Products

In my first job in the US (EVB Software Engineering), during 1992-93 time frame I used a Macintosh for the first time. The monitor size was “impressive enough” during those days, today it seems smart phones screens are almost as big as those old screens! Macs were very expensive during those days and most of us stuck onto the sluggish Windows 3.1.

My daughter’s first computer definitely was a Macintosh!

For a brief period I programmed in Objective-C on NeXT computers.

By no means I was a “power” user of a Mac. After a long gap we bought our first Apple product at home – iPod, followed by iPad and just recently an iMac.

Steve Jobs – The India Connection

Steve Jobs at 18 (in 1973) visited India  in search of enlightenment or ‘nirvana’ and went back unsatisfied. If he had visited now, wonder how many hours he would have lasted in India (2G, CWG, land scams)!

He came to India with his friend Dan Kottke to meet his guru Neem Karori Baba, but before they could reach the ashram Neem died.

Somehow things never worked between Steve Jobs & India – he tried to setup something in India but shelved it quickly (his reasons could be a worry for India). China gained in a big way from Apple, it directly/indirectly employed over a million in China.

A Buddhist and vegetarian, he wanted to avoid surgery and try alternative medicine to cure his pancreatic cancer (diagnosed in 2003).  In his famous Stanford Commencement Address he said,

I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it.

Tweets, Condolences in India

The entire day twitter has been filled with #SteveJobs tweets. Politicians, celebrities in India have been acknowledging his contribution. Even our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had something to say about Steve Jobs (we weren’t aware our PM was Apple savvy) – “Jobs was an innovative man who taught the world to connect” – glad the standard obituary message wasn’t released from the PM’s office.

TV channels have been continuously playing the Stanford speech [video]. The best tribute today in India came QUICKLY from Amul (assuming it is from them),

Amul ad for Apple's Steve Jobs

In India when a politician or movie actor dies (especially in South India) innocent citizens feel the wrath for no reason. It is usually an ugly turn of events. Apple’s homepage was simple and classy.

He Could Predict What The User Would Want

Steve Jobs and Liberal Arts
“We’ve always tried to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, to be able to get the best of both, to make extremely advanced products from a technology point of view, but also have them be intuitive, easy to use, fun to use, so that they really fit the users – the users don’t have to come to them, they come to the user.”

—Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs – Perfectionist, Innovator, Entrepreneur

This incident will demonstrate the level of his perfection – He did not want to hear the fan noise  in a Macintosh [in 1984], it took six months for engineers to get rid of fan, yet dissipate the heat.

Next Computers LogoOn Sept 17, 1985 he quit Apple. Steve Jobs sold all of his Apple stock, kept one share for $100m to start NeXT Computers. He spent $100k to design the logo, simply because he wanted it to be special and perfect. NeXT developed OpenStep over which most of the current Mac OS X has been built. Apple bought NeXT in 1996 and Steve Jobs was back in Apple.

In 1986 he bought Pixar for $10m. In 2006 Walt Disney bought Pixar at a valuation of $7.4 billion, making Jobs the largest shareholder of Disney ($4.4 billion/ 7% of Disney at the time of his death).

He introduced iPod in 2001 at a whopping $400 a piece, a gamble which worked and changed Apple’s fortunes. Launched iPhone in 2007, iPad in 2010. His recent series of successes seem to have wiped out his failures. He personally introduced products on stage for over 30 years.

While it sounds trivial today, Steve Jobs insisted on giving the ability for the end user to “change fonts“.

Surge in Apple Stock

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, if you had bought 100 shares for about $400, today it would have been worth approximately $38,000 (source: CNN).

Last reported he owned about 5.5 billion shares of Apple (worth $2.1 billion at the time of his death), took an annual salary of $1! His net worth was reported to be approximately $7-8 billion.

(Lack of ) Innovation in India

Steve Jobs undoubtedly was known for his innovation. Just few days ago Narayana Murthy commented on the deteriorating quality of IIT graduates, his concern is the lack of innovation from the cream of India. Our culture doesn’t allow us to innovate, question people – we are afraid of failures. Needless to say this needs to change.

India is very conscious about the school from which you “earn” your degree. One must note that Steve Jobs was a school dropout, it was his hunger that brought him the success.

Apple Products in India

Lately Apple products have become very popular in India. The official showrooms are having roaring business. Reasonably sure all his fans in India would say RIP.


  1. Bonnie Dancy says:

    A special memory … in 1985 I joined EVB working with Ed and the rest of those talented engineers. In 1986 the company became a software engineering affiliate of Apple, and developed some very interesting prototypes in Ada! Of course, we worked on the Mac, and actually demonstrated at Apple conferences I believe it was the quality of the the hardware and software that made Ed and the team as hopeful and devoted to their efforts.

    Of course, the ultimate failure of the Ada language, and the success of the Microsoft, was a great disappointment!

    Thank you for your article, and your perceptions.

    Bonnie Dancy

    Ps. If you search for EVB Software Engineering and/or Greg Bowen you’ll find some of this info.

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