Steve Jobs died one year ago Friday and clearly his impact on the tech world and on the company he help found went well beyond that of the average CEO. For Apple, Jobs was a creative visionary who helped retool the company from a computer hardware maker fighting for survival to one of the most successful–and richest–corporations in the world thanks to the iPod, iPhone, iPad and other consumer hits.
Apple has carried on fairly well without Jobs, but clearly he’s not forgotten in Cupertino. That was evident on Friday, when the Apple website featured a tribute to jobs in the form of a video retrospective of his life. The video is just under two minutes long and features black and white images of Jobs over a soundtrack of audio samples culled from new product launches and interviews in which he details Apple’s corporate vision. The video is accompanied by a musical soundtrack featuring Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in G Major for Cello performed by world renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma, who was a close personal friend of Jobs. After the video concludes a tribute letter from current Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook appears and the regular website links return.
Ironically, it was Steve Jobs himself who had created the precedent of using Apple’s prime online real estate to pay tribute to people he admired upon their death. George Harrison and Rosa Parks had been so memorialized on the Apple site during Jobs’ life. Parks had been featured in Apple’s famous ‘Think Different’ advertising campaign and Harrison was in some ways an impetus for the name of the company itself, which legend suggests was co-opted from The Beatles ‘Apple Records’ company. At the very least, Jobs was a lifelong fan of the ‘Fab Four’ who worked tirelessly to bring the band’s catalog to iTunes.
While a corporate tribute to a fallen CEO might seem like self serving ‘overkill’ in most cases, to pay tribute to Steve Jobs in such a public manner seems perfectly appropriate. He created and recreated the company several times over and his contributions to the tech world are massive. He was a famously mercurial individual and not always the saintly Zen scholar that he’s best remembered for, but in many ways he completely redefined the worlds of computing and consumer media for the better.