Life, business as usual

Steve Jobs is much like a friend to a generation of 50-year-olds who grew up with Macintosh computers — his own creation — long before he went on to conquer the younger generation by overseeing the design and production of sleek gadgets like the iPhone, the iPod and the iPad.

The 56-year-old inventor and entrepreneur on Wednesday resigned as chief executive at Apple Inc. He did so by sending out one of his usual letters, addressed to Apple?s board and the ?Apple community? and signed simply ?Steve,? announcing that he could no longer fulfill his duties and expectations.

Earlier this month, the California-based company which Jobs founded in 1976, briefly became the most valuable company in America, surpassing Exxon Mobil.

The ingenuity, the wealth and the success of the most charismatic businessman and inventor of the past decades were not enough to spare him of the common man?s fate.

Pancreatic cancer and a liver transplant have taken their toll on this former California hippie, a college dropout, son of adoptive parents, eccentric billionaire who liked to dress in Levi?s jeans and black mock-turtlenecks, and Buddhist who took faith in the design of detail.

More than anyone else, Jobs expressed the spirit of Silicon Valley and the transformation of pop culture, the injection of technology with the libertarian spirit of hippie culture, individualism and imagination, the passage from romanticism and the counter-cultures of the 1960s and 70s to the consumer-driven society of the 80s and 90s and the imaginary communities of the Internet, on to the blind worship of the i-gadget.

The transformation is captured in the company logo: the rainbow-colored apple has been substituted by white and raw-aluminium color schemes.

Steve Jobs has been with us from the time of the Mac Plus with its 800K floppy disk drive to the 21.5 inch iMac which I am now using to write these lines; from the cream-colored units with the 9-inch black-and-white monitors to the glass-and-aluminium shell of the MacBook Air.

At the end of the day, all these machines perform the same task. Just as we all share the same fate; the one which is now pulling Steve Jobs from dizzying heights down into the ground.