Tribute to Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Update to previous post:Steve Jobs passed away Wednesday October 5, 2011.  Farewell, and thank you.

Here is the original post from August 24:

Steve Jobs, legendary of Apple Incorporated, resigned today as CEO. The Board of Directors of Apple named him chairman, then named Tim Cook as the new CEO according to an article that appeared in Reuters today, and a letter from Jobs posted on the Apple Web Site tonight.

As a practical matter, Steve has been on medical leave since January 17, 2011, and has been seen and heard from by the general public rarely during that period. While it is unclear to what extent Steve is been influencing the operations and direction of Apple since his bout with pancreatic cancer began, stepping down as CEO and becoming chairman may not, in fact, materially change the role he has been playing at the company for over a year.

However, as someone who is focusing on the emerging Mobile Commerce industry and has been waiting for Apple to make a stand in this new arena, I am particularly sorry to see him go at this time. The reason? In a word: innovation.

Steve Jobs has forever changed the landscape of personal computing, innovating that industry repeatedly since the Apple II. Then they changed mobile telephony by redefining the role of the SmartPhone as an appliance that could do much more than just voice conversations, text messages, and e-mail. He perfected a new form of the tablet computer which is already worked its way into the mainstream of electronics sales around the world.

But mobile commerce seems to have been positioned squarely in Steve’s sites. The credit and debit card business, which transits in excess of $12 trillion per year around the world, is soon to enter a transformative stage at the hands of mobile devices like the smartphone and the tablet that Steve Jobs defined. It would have been his biggest challenge ever, and positioned Apple to earn a tremendous new source of revenue over sustained period of time.

That’s not to say that Apple is not capable of executing plans that are likely already well underway at the company, but Apple simply innovates at a different rate of speed and effectiveness when Steve was not at the helm such as the period between 1985 and 1996 when he was forced out of Apple, and began a company called NeXT Computers, which in the end formed the new operating system for Apple after Steve’s return.

Let’s hope by now Steve has cultivated an extensive team of innovators capable of carrying on his tradition as Apple Corporation. If not, then we will have to be content to give Mr. Jobs a hearty ‘Thank You” for changing our electronic world.

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David W. Schropfer

David W. Schropfer is the CEO of SAFE (Smartphone Authentication For Everyone), a cybersecurity company in New York (  Every day, he and his team of professionals keep the people who use The SAFE Button protected from some of the most common traps, hacks and attacks that target computer systems of all sizes. David is the author of the bestselling cybersecurity book, Digital Habits: 5 Simple Tips to Help Keep You and Your Information Safe Online. His previous books, including The Smartphone Wallet and industry whitepapers, predicted some of the biggest trends in the payments, mobile, and security industries.  Since graduating Boston College, David earned an Executive MBA from the University of Miami.