It's hard to overestimate the effect that the late Steve Jobs had on the technology industry as a whole, and enterprise technology in particular. The Apple co-founder and former CEO sparked innovations in tablets and smartphones that kicked off the current rush toward mobility that will almost certainly define the space for years to come.
Jobs died on Oct. 5, 2011, at age 56. The cause of death was not announced, although Jobs had fought a rare form of pancreatic cancer and received a liver transplant a few years ago.
Jobs co-founded Apple, only to leave following a bitter internal dispute in the 1980s. By mid-1997, however, he had returned to seize Apple's reins and from there launched a series of innovative products, starting with the iMac and iPod, that revived the company's then-flagging fortunes.
Over the past decade, a string of subsequent hits -- including the iPhone, MacBook Air and iPod -- helped elevate the company to one of the most valuable in the world, and assured Jobs' legend.
Although Apple products are primarily geared toward consumers, enthusiasm for the iPhone, iPad and Macs--coupled with businesses' increased willingness to accept employees' personal devices into their IT ecosystem--have led a transformation in enterprise technology. Apple products have an increasingly significant presence in the enterprise and small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and are, arguably, the catalyst for the oft-discussed "consumerization of IT." During a July earnings call, Apple executives claimed some 86 percent of the Fortune 500 had either tested or deployed the iPad.
Jobs' impact on the tech sphere will be analyzed for years to come. What's indisputable is that he changed it his way.