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The decade was not without its glitches. In the mid-2000s, Apple was swept up in a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into stock options backdating, a practice that artificially raised the value of options grants. But Jobs and Apple emerged unscathed after two former executives took the fall and eventually settled with the SEC.
Jobs‘ personal ethos — a natural food lover who embraced Buddhism and New Age philosophy — was closely linked to the public persona he shaped for Apple. Apple itself became a statement against the commoditization of technology — a cynical view, to be sure, from a company whose computers can cost three or more times as much as those of its rivals.
For technology lovers, buying Apple products has meant gaining entrance to an exclusive club. At the top was a complicated and contradictory figure who was endlessly fascinating — even to his detractors, of which Jobs had many. Jobs was a hero to techno-geeks and a villain to partners he bullied and to workers whose projects he unceremoniously killed or claimed as his own.
Unauthorized biographer Alan Deutschman described him as “deeply moody and maddeningly erratic.” In his personal life, Jobs denied for two years that he was the father of Lisa, the baby born to his longtime girlfriend Chrisann Brennan in 1978.
Few seemed immune to Jobs‘ charisma and will. He could adeptly convince those in his presence of just about anything — even if they disagreed again when he left the room and his magic wore off.
“He always has an aura around his persona,” said Bajarin, who met Jobs several times while covering the company for more than 20 years as a Creative Strategies analyst. “When you talk to him, you know you’re really talking to a brilliant mind.”
Jobs valued his privacy, but some details of his romantic and family life have been uncovered. In the early 1980s, Jobs dated the folk singer Joan Baez, according to Deutschman.
In 1989, Jobs spoke at Stanford’s graduate business school and met his wife, Laurene Powell, who was then a student. When she became pregnant, Jobs at first refused to marry her. It was a near-repeat of what had happened more than a decade earlier with then-girlfriend Brennan, Deutschman said, but eventually Jobs relented.
Jobs started looking for his biological family in his teens, according to an interview he gave to The New York Times in 1997. He found his biological sister when he was 27. They became friends, and through her Jobs met his biological mother. Few details of those relationships have been made public.
But the extent of Apple secrecy didn’t become clear until Jobs revealed in 2004 that he had been diagonosed with — and “cured” of — a rare form of operable pancreatic cancer called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor. The company had sat on the news of his diagnosis for nine months while Jobs tried trumping the disease with a special diet, Fortune magazine reported in 2008.
In the years after his cancer was revealed, rumors about Jobs‘ health would spark runs on Apple stock as investors worried the company, with no clear succession plan, would fall apart without him. Apple did little to ease those concerns. It kept the state of Jobs‘ health a secret for as long as it could, then disclosed vague details when, in early 2009, it became clear he was again ill.
Jobs took a half-year medical leave of absence starting in January 2009, during which he had a liver transplant. Apple did not disclose the procedure at the time; two months later, The Wall Street Journal reported the fact and a doctor at the transplant hospital confirmed it.
In January 2011, Jobs announced another medical leave, his third, with no set duration. He returned to the spotlight briefly in March to personally unveil a second-generation iPad and again in June, when he showed off Apple’s iCloud music synching service. At both events, he looked frail in his signature jeans and mock turtleneck.
Less than three months later, Jobs resigned as CEO. In a letter addressed to Apple’s board and the “Apple community” Jobs said he “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. Unfortunately, that day has come.”
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