CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Christmas Gift Guide
Tech Industry

Steve Jobs lauded by Apple execs on fourth anniversary of his death

CEO Tim Cook, iTunes head Eddy Cue and others remember Apple's co-founder in messages posted to the company's internal site. One recalls the time Jobs mooned Al Gore.

Steve Jobs is honored on the fourth anniversary of his death. Apple

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died four years ago today. To mark the anniversary, CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives paid tribute to the man and his legacy.

In an email sent Monday to Apple employees, Cook remembered Jobs both as a family man and the force behind the company and its popular products. Cook said Jobs "loved his family above all, he loved Apple and he loved the people with whom he worked so closely and achieved so much."

Cook and other people who worked with Jobs also posted messages to Apple's internal website. The messages, viewed by CNET, are excerpted below.

The anniversary comes as a new movie about Jobs is set to open in limited release on Friday and more widely later this month. The film, titled simply "Steve Jobs," has been poorly received by Jobs' widow and by some of his former colleagues.

Laurene Powell Jobs has reportedly attempted to block the film. She called on Sony Pictures and Universal Pictures, which developed the script and produced the film, respectively, to stop the picture, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Written by Aaron Sorkin, the film is based on Walter Isaacson's 2011 biography of Jobs.

"She refused to discuss anything in Aaron's script that bothered her despite my repeated entreaties," producer Scott Rudin told the Journal. She also, he said, "continued to say how much she disliked the book, and that any movie based on the book could not possibly be accurate."

In mid-September, Cook was asked about the new film by "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert. The Apple CEO said, " I think a lot of people are trying to be opportunistic and I hate this."

Jobs died October 5, 2011, at the age of 56 of respiratory arrest following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He has remained in the public eye through books and films that attempt to portray his life, career and personality. Jobs was a controversial figure. His efforts paved the way for products like the iMac and the iPhone, but his sense of perfectionism was said to have caused him to lash out at employees and others who didn't live up to his standards.

Excerpt from Cook's post on Apple's intranet

Cook's message Monday lauded Jobs for "small acts of friendship," like stopping by Cook's office almost every day before heading home or putting friends above himself. Cook shared a memory from 2009 when Jobs took a leave of absence from Apple to deal with his liver troubles.

In February of 2009, Steve was on a leave of absence from Apple and spending his time at his home. I would drop by after work and discuss many things with him. He was waiting for a liver transplant and his health seemed to be rapidly deteriorating. One day in particular, he seemed especially ill and I left feeling so distraught that I threw up in his yard.

I was worried he would not live long enough to reach the top of the waiting list for a cadaver liver. After checking out my own health and researching donor liver transplants, I visited Steve again and told him I wanted to give him a portion of my liver. Despite his condition and the uncertainty of whether he would live long enough to be at the top of the waiting list, he adamantly refused to accept my offer for fear it would place my own health in jeopardy.

That was the kind of person he was. He was unselfish in the face of his own mortality. Even when his outlook was bleak and he had every right to accept help, he refused, rather than put a friend's health at risk. He put his compassion for me above his own needs, and I will never forget it.

Cook has shared similar tributes about Jobs over the years, as have Jobs' other colleagues.

Andrea Jung, Apple board member

Andrea Jung, who is also CEO of Grameen America, a New York-based nonprofit microfinance organization, on Monday remembered Jobs as "being down to earth and good on his word."

As a CEO, you have good days and bad days, and I remember I had a bad press day. Steve was a true friend -- he called me on the phone and said, "Just ignore it. It's hard but I've learned to. If you don't fail, you're not trying. Some of the world's biggest successes come from learning from mistakes. Keep moving forward." He was thoughtful and caring. That's the Steve I knew. Those little touches.

Eddy Cue, senior VP of Internet software and services

Eddy Cue, who runs iTunes and Apple Pay, wrote that Jobs felt more like a family member than a boss.

Working with him, I always felt that there was a personal connection. It wasn't just work. And in a way, sometimes he was a brother; sometimes he was a father figure, depending on what it was. But it was a family member nonetheless. And it was somebody you didn't want to disappoint. I've never felt that way about anybody else that I've worked with. You feel that way about your family. You don't want to disappoint your dad, you may not want to disappoint your brother or your kids or your wife. But you generally don't feel that way about your boss, per se. There was a different feeling. He had that. He created that. And I think that's part of the personal touch of the relationship that at least I felt I had with him around it.

Phil Schiller, head of marketing

Phil Schiller, the longest-serving member of Apple's executive team, talked about Jobs' sense of humor and an incident with Al Gore, the former US vice president and one of Apple's board members.

Steve also had a great sense of humor. We would screw around all of the time. In 2003, we were working on a keynote demo of video conferencing with iChat on the Mac, and Al Gore was gracious enough during his busy schedule to make time to do the demo remotely with us. We were rehearsing the day before the keynote and Al is up on the giant 35-foot screen, and Steve in front of the Mac, and they were going back and forth discussing about what they were going to talk about. Al and Steve start joking a little bit, and as a comeback to something Al said, Steve turned around and mooned Al. He literally dropped his pants. Now, it was PG -- he had his boxers on -- but he mooned Al. All of us working on it were just dying.

Bud Tribble, original Mac team member

Bud Tribble, one of the original members of the Mac design team, remembered how Jobs and Apple were different from other companies in Silicon Valley.

Steve was not a lecturer. If he really wanted to impart or teach you something, he would show you. In 1981, just when the original Mac team had formed - there were maybe a dozen people - we were still trying to figure out what we were building. What should it be? What should it do? What should it look like? And Steve came in one day and said, "We're going to go on a field trip." And we all thought it would be some team-building exercise. Then he said, "We're going to San Francisco to the de Young museum. They have a Louis Comfort Tiffany exhibit and we're going to just spend the whole day there, looking at what this guy did."

It turned out to be an incredibly good lesson and it set the tone for the Mac group. The electric light had been invented and Thomas Edison wanted to have not just a burning bulb, but a beautiful thing. He convinced Tiffany, an artist, to make lamps. Tiffany used glass and chemistry and metallurgy to build art that was very useful to control light.

I think it was very illustrative of how Steve interacted with his teams and the people who were working for him. And it was an example of art meets technology, and probably one of the first times I saw that from Steve. Just this burning feeling he had - that was so different from what you found in the Valley, you know? Everything was bits and bytes and how fast it was and how much silicon and how many computations can it do. And here was Steve saying, "We're building something, but it's equally if not more important that it be an artistic act of creation." Because these computers we're making are going to be part of our environment, and if we didn't pay attention to the aesthetics and the artistic nature of what we were doing, then who would? It would end up like the ugly bare bulb burning at the end of the wire.

I spent a lot of time with Steve. He was one of a kind. Really for the world to understand the impact of Steve on the world we live in, it's going to require a lot more time and perspective.

Cook's full message to employees

Here's the full text from Cook's message to employees.

Team,

Today marks four years since Steve passed away. On that day, the world lost a visionary. We at Apple lost a leader, a mentor, and many of us lost a dear friend.

Steve was a brilliant person, and his priorities were very simple. He loved his family above all, he loved Apple, and he loved the people with whom he worked so closely and achieved so much.

Each year since his passing, I have reminded everyone in the Apple community that we share the privilege and responsibility of continuing the work Steve loved so much.

What is his legacy? I see it all around us: An incredible team that embodies his spirit of innovation and creativity. The greatest products on earth, beloved by customers and empowering hundreds of millions of people around the world. Soaring achievements in technology and architecture. Experiences of surprise and delight. A company that only he could have built. A company with an intense determination to change the world for the better.

And, of course, the joy he brought his loved ones.

He told me several times in his final years that he hoped to live long enough to see some of the milestones in his children's lives. I was in his office over the summer with Laurene and their youngest daughter. Messages and drawings from his kids to their father are still there on Steve's whiteboard.

If you never knew Steve, you probably work with someone who did or who was here when he led Apple. Please stop one of us today and ask what he was really like. Several of us have posted our personal remembrances on AppleWeb, and I encourage you to read them.

Thank you for honoring Steve by continuing the work he started, and for remembering both who he was and what he stood for.