The Last Word   |  October 05, 2011

A look back at the life of Steve Jobs

CNBC's Jon Fort has more about the life and work of Steve Jobs on The Last Word.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back with more breaking news coverage of the death today of steve jobs . at the age of 56. cnbc's jon fortt has more about the life and work of steve jobs .

>> reporter: visionary. rule breaker. creative genius. steve jobs , more than any other figure, shaped our digital era on his own terms and created hundreds of billions of tldollars of value along the way. his story has an unlikely beginning. steven paul jobs was born in san francisco in 1955 . given up by his birth parents, he was adopted by a family in the heart of silicon valley . he dropped out of college to pursue his ideas and teamed up with a friend to build a new kind of computer, one anybody could use. the company they founded was the first to make computers truly personal. at a time when pcs were green text on black screens. apple brought graphics and the mouse. at a time of beige boxes, it brought design. along the way, jobs reinvented music with a little gadget called an ipod.

>> i have one right here in my pocket, in fact. there it is right there.

>> reporter: and from there, went on to reinvent the phone.

>> i think this is where the world's going.

>> reporter: apple 's total market value recently reached about $340 billion. its valuation is neck in neck with exxonmobil at the top of the heap for public companies. the company has 47,000 employees. those are just numbers. by the time jobs was done, he set a new standard for geeks, dreamers and business schools everywhere. built silicon valley 's most valuable company and brought industries to their knees. but it wasn't all glory and success for jobs. apple 's board forced him out in the '80s and for years he struggled to regain his footing. during those middle years, he bought a tiny animation studio from george lucas and started another computer company that seemed to go nowhere. then one of the great american comebacks. a decade after he was shown the door at apple , jobs returned to save it. that other computer company he founded, its software brought the luster back to apple 's product line. and that little studio --

>> to infinity and beyond.

>> reporter: -- pixar's 12 films have an average gross of nearly $600 million each. that's the best record in hollywood history. jobs sold pixar to disney for $7.4 billion. so how did it all happen? the main catalyst for jobs' renaissance had to be itunes. hello, hello

>> reporter: apple launched it as mac-only software in january 2001 . when jobs unveiled the ipod music player later that year, it seamlessly connected with itunes and kicked off apple 's strategy of marrying hardware, software and internet services in one premium package . next came the itunes music store , selling songs for 99 cents . today, apple 's itunes is the top music retailer in the world. bar none . with more than 10 billion songs sold. for a generation, jobs simply redefined a listening experience.

>> millions of people are going to buy this to listen to their music.

>> reporter: on the strength of itunes, jobs remade apple as a mobile powerhouse and never looked back.

>> today apple is going to reinvent the phone.

>> reporter: in 2007 , he launched the iphone. three years later, he announced apple 's first $20 billion quarter. but jobs' changing physical appearance as he announced one triumph after another was a signpost to his health problems. as itunes took off, he announced he had surgery for a tumor on his pank creas. soon after, he had a liver transplant .

>> so i now spr thave the liver of a mid 20s person who died in a car crash and was generous enough to donate their organs. and i wouldn't be here without such generosity.

>> reporter: after the ipad's blockbuster holiday season , he said he would step away again. we saw him as apple launched the ipad 2 and its icloud initiative, but then jobs announced his resignation saying he could no longer perform his duties as apple ceo . a creative titan of american business. he's survived by his wife, laurene, and four children. we're america's