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In the midst of successive Arab events – news is constantly flowing. Divisions occur sporadically, a demonstration here and a revolution there, and a suicide attack here and an act of self-immolation there. However, an important news item recently emerged that did not receive much attention or adequate follow up. The giant technology company ‘Apple’ has announced its CEO Steve Jobs will be taking indefinite leave for health reasons. The news was revealed in a brief email, which did not give any details about his illness, the duration of leave, or the location in which he will spend it. The news comes from one of the most established and influential companies in the world, which directly and actively contributes to the direction of the technology and communications revolution.

In my opinion, Steve Jobs today is indeed one of the most influential figures in the world (without PR companies having to draw attention to his name on their ridiculous popularity lists). His biological father was a Syrian man (from the city of Homs), who gave him up for adoption, and thus he was raised by an [American] family. This was Steve Jobs’ first experience of rejection [from his biological family], and years later it was followed by another significant incident, when he dropped out of university. Subsequently, he entered into a partnership with his friend to manufacture a personal computer, in the garage of his house, whereby they created the first “Apple” product. It was a quantum leap in terms of facilitating the use of the personal computer, and simplifying its controls and commands. Jobs was faced with rejection for the third time when he was dismissed by the Board of Directors, from the company he founded, on the pretext of incompetence. As a result, he was forced to start from scratch once again. He went on to establish two further companies, named “NeXT” and “Pixar”, the latter of which developed a new method of making animated films, via the use of unprecedented, breathtaking technology.

Steve Jobs then returned as chairman of his beloved Apple, and reinvented the company by dividing it into three separate entities: The first was technology related, specializing in the production of desktop computers and laptops. The second branch focussed on recreational products, and produced unprecedented entertainment devices such as the “iPod”, in which songs, movies and television programmes can be downloaded from the “iTunes” website, and stored for personal use. Another product named “Apple TV” was also revealed, with an accompanying website, providing an instant and dazzling array of viewing options. The company’s third area of expertise was the field of telecommunications, as evidenced by Apple’s successful variety of “iPhone” products.

Today, the company is preparing to release its fifth version of the “iPhone”, which is expected to pose a serious challenge to telecommunication companies. The new device will be accompanied by a chip that will enable users to dispense with the services of communication providers (this is only preliminary information, leaked by some articles regarding the new device). Today Apple is redefining the use of technology, communication, and entertainment in people’s lives, and making them accessible to the widest audience possible. It is for this reason that Apple is ranked as the second largest company in terms of capital on the US stock exchange, behind the oil giant Exxon Mobil, and surpassing firms such as General Motors, General Electric, and so on. This is down to the genius Steve Jobs, with his black turtleneck sweater, blue jeans and sport shoes; a dress sense that does not depart from his extremely calm demeanour, and attention to detail.

Steve Jobs is the most important businessman in the second half of the 20th century, and even Bill Gates based his famous Windows programme on the Apple operating system. What an impressive man.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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