Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Steve Jobs makes Time's 'most influential' list

May 1, 2008: 6:10 PM ET

Not for the first time, Time Magazine has included Apple's (AAPL) CEO in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Here's what Barbara Kiviat, who wrote the item, had to say:

"Steve Jobs is great at playing the countercultural icon. He's a college dropout who once backpacked around India looking for spiritual enlightenment, and he takes only $1 a year in salary. There are righteous battles to fight, and with Macs and iTunes and iPhones, Jobs fights them, taking on the entrenched megaliths that try to dictate our tastes in computers and music and mobile phones.

But don't let the black mock turtleneck and denim trousers fool you. More than anything else, Jobs is a canny CEO who knows how to sell product. Steve Wozniak was the technical genius behind the first Apple computer; Jobs saw the marketability. He now presides over a company with $24 billion in annual sales and 22,000 employees. Jobs, 53, is revered by tech and design geeks, but the world's business-school students may have the most to learn from him. Apple's stock has shot up more than 70% over the past year, thanks to Jobs' strategy of focusing on his most profitable customers and coming up with new things to sell them -- the ultra-thin MacBook Air most recently -- rather than just chasing more market share.

Jobs may be a celebrity CEO, but he doesn't jump out of airplanes or traipse around Africa with bundles of cash. He is always in character and always on message, so much so that when late-night TV parodies him, he's invariably rolling out some new iProduct. Jobs gets called mercurial, egomaniacal, a micromanager. If that sounds a little like a CEO doing his job, maybe that's because he is -- and a mighty fine one."

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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