Steve Jobs Influence, from Adobe to Advertising to Angry Birds

The companies, people and ideas that flourished thanks to the influence of Steve Jobs.

The death of Steve Jobs was quickly marked by an emotional overflow from luminaries, celebrities, and hordes of anonymous fans. From the mourning of the man who personalized computers and popularized technology came a clear and unsurprising theme—Steve Jobs influenced the lives of millions.

That’s not sentimental hyperbole when considered through the lens of corporate influence. The company he co-founded and resuscitated now employs 46,000. As well, the businesses that have flourished in the tech boom that he helped to mastermind—from the app creators to the software manufacturers to the mouse makers—employ hundreds of thousands more. With more than 927 million shares outstanding, plenty of investors have benefitted from Apple’s 30% average annual stock price growth since 2000. And then there are the consumers. Some 300 million iPods, 128 million iPhones, and 62 million iPads have been sold, in addition to the 18 billion apps and 10 billion downloads on iTunes.

Sure, as some have pointed out, Steve Jobs was not God. But, for better or worse, he was a cultural figurehead and one of the businessmen behind the design revolution in personal technology, the digital transformation in music and the transition to mobile computing. “He made creativity the centerpiece of corporate culture,” said Hartmut Esslinger, founder of the industrial design firm Frog Design, which worked on the first Apple laptop. “He made me a better person and I think he made a lot of people better people.”

To recognize his influence, The Daily Beast compiled a short list of some of the specific people, companies and innovations that flourished due to his work.

Plus, full coverage of Jobs: tributes, photos, videos, and more.

Courtesy of Rovio


Thanks to the mobile gaming potential of the iPhone, as well as Apple’s App Store, a small Finnish company made it big with the game about pig-attacking birds. Angry Birds is played by more than 40 million people around the world each month. The success allowed Rovio to squeeze $42 million from investors  this year, as well as expand the game for play on Android devices and the iPad. Of course, there are hundreds of companies with stories like Rovio, which drives the billion-dollar app industry. About 18 billion apps have been downloaded to date and the pace is increasing: According to Apple, 1 billion apps are now downloaded every month.

James Keyser


The first creation by Lotus Software was a graphics and spreadsheet program designed for the Apple II, the hugely popular early computer model released in the late '70s. Eventually, the company released an updated version called Lotus 1-2-3 that exceeded everyone’s expectations and helped the Massachusetts company expand to become one of the world’s largest software makers. (In 1995, IBM bought Lotus for $3.5 billion.)

Jet Band

Though he was accused of destroying the music industry with iTunes, Steve Jobs had a Midas touch for some bands. In 2004, Apple created a sharp, young ad campaign to promote the iPod 4G. In it, a black silhouette danced to the unmistakable Jet tune “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.” The exposure helped Jet sell more than 3 million copies of its album Get Born. Jet’s not alone—other indie acts have had similar luck with Apple ads, including Feist, The Ting Tings, and Yael Naim. For relatively unknown musicians, the stamp of approval from Apple was priceless.


It’s hard to fathom a time when the simple computer spreadsheet wasn’t a universal tool. But the very first spreadsheet program, VisiCalc, was created by Dan Brinklin and Bob Frankston in the early '80s. The machine it was designed for? The Apple II, of course. Apple’s innovative hardware paved the way for modern iterations like Microsoft Excel, which ultimately allowed personal computers to transition from a geek’s toy to an everyman’s tool.

Ron Janoff

Ron Janoff was a relatively new hire at the advertising firm Regis McKenna when he was “assigned to take on this new account for a company started by two guys named Steve,” as he described to The Daily Beast. The account was Apple Computer Inc. and the logo was of a bitten apple with rainbow stripes. The now-iconic symbol was developed with a nod to the color display screen of the Apple II. While Janoff said he was never paid for the logo beyond his salary at Regis McKenna, his work on Apple’s account “was a huge, huge thing for my career.”


Before the release of Toy Story in 1995, the notion of a successful full-length feature created by computer animation seemed unbelievable. Tastemakers in Hollywood and at Disney believed only hand-drawn animation would be able to create the type of nuance needed to keep viewers' attention. But the vision of Jobs, who bought the fledgling animation house in 1986 for $10 million, proved otherwise. As one Pixar employee told Businessweek in 2006, “Steve doesn't tell us what to do… Steve's our benevolent benefactor." The company created a string of blockbusters, and was bought in 2006 by Disney for $7.4 billion—a move that made Jobs the largest Disney shareholder.

Blogger cottage industry

As Apple’s following became more obsessive, expansive, and prevalent, so did the media attention devoted to the brand and its products. From John Gruber at Daring Fireball to Leander Kahney and the writers of Cult of Mac to the authors of TechCrunch, as well as the bloggers behind 9to5Mac, The Unofficial Apple Weblog and Crazy Apple Rumors (not to mention Newsweek/Daily Beast’s own Dan Lyons, who penned a blog as Fake Steve Jobs for years)—many writers and journalists have made a name for themselves, as well as a living, by following every Apple move.

RYAN ANSON / Getty Images

St. Croix, Levi’s and New Balance

Long before Mark Zuckerberg became the poster boy for Silicon Valley slouch, Steve Jobs perfected fashionable indifference. The brands behind Steve’s signature suit—black mock turtleneck by St. Croix, Levi’s 501 jeans and New Balance 992 sneakers—enjoyed some positive clout via the connection to the CEO. Of course, St. Croix didn’t quite maintain the tactful relationship after Jobs’ passing, announcing to the press that sales of Jobs’s turtleneck doubled in the hours after his death.

Alan Davidson / Getty Images

Jonathan Ive

The senior vice president of industrial design for Apple, Jonathan Ive is the man behind the design of the iPad, the iPhone, the original iPod as well as the iMac G3 (the candy-colored desktop introduced in 1998). Known as “Jony,” Ives' brilliance remains unchallenged, by his peers as well as consumers, but he reports directly to the CEO. For much of his tenure at Apple, Jobs was the one pushing him. “Jony has always been Jony —brilliant,” Don Norman, a former Apple employee told the Associated Press, “What he needed was a Steve Jobs to say, `Make this happen.’”


Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

There was little convention involved in the planning of Apple’s retail presence. Throwing out ideas of standard retail design, Apple stores are well-lit, overstaffed shrines to the ethos of Apple. Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, an architecture firm out of Pennsylvania, is one of several firms behind the commercial aesthetic. The firm designed several of the flagship stores, including Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue location, which is one of the city’s most photographed landmarks.

Lee Clow

Jobs’ go-to ad man, Lee Clow, first worked with the Apple co-founder in the early '80s when Clow helped to conceive the iconic “1984” television ad, directed by Ridley Scott. He was called on by Jobs again in 1997 to create a campaign for the iMac. Clow’s “Think Different” slogan, paired with images of luminaries like Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and Picasso, reinvigorated the company’s image. Clow considered Jobs to be a personal friend. In a memo to his staff at TBWA yesterday, he wrote, “He was the most amazing person I have ever known… To work with him, to share his vision, to share his passion, to be trusted by him with his ideas, is one of the great honors that we all have been able to share.”


Broadcom and Qualcomm

Just as the semiconductor industry has been waning thanks to declining sales of PCs, Broadcom has been lucky: It’s one of the biggest makers of parts for iPhones and iPads, for which demand is only growing. Another beneficiary: Qualcomm, the chipmaker that’s behind the chips in Apple’s mobile wonder products.

Steve Wozniak

Of course, Woz was one of the co-founders of Apple, one of the men huddled in Jobs’ garage amid piles of monitors and electronics. He was responsible for building the Apple I computer, and Jobs was responsible for convincing him to quit his job at Hewlett-Packard so the two could get their company off the ground. Though a 1981 plane crash derailed his career, he remains an Apple employee and shareholder.

Frog Design

The industrial design firm Frog Design created the first laptop for Apple, the Apple IIc, with an external keyboard and proportions that were intended to mimic the proportions of an adolescent. Hartmut Esslinger, founder of Frog, said Jobs “gave you complete freedom to do crazy things… Personally, I think my career would not have been as well without him.” Apple's business helped to bring the German firm, and European design sensibility in general, to the States. “He enabled Frog to be a different company. He helped to build the house of Frog. I know that sounds romantic, but it’s true,” said Esslinger.

China Photos / Getty Images

Terry Gou

The billionaire behind Foxconn, China's largest electronics manufacturer, has Steve Jobs to thank for some of his success, and vice versa. As the maker of iPads and iPhones, Foxconn has made itself an indispensible part of the growing market for Apple products. The company took a risk by installing more than 1,000 of the costly machines required to make an iPhone. Said Gou of Steve Jobs in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek last year, “I forced him to give me his business card.”


The software giant got its start in the mid-'80s with a consumer software program called Illustrator, designed for the Apple Macintosh. Previously, it had been competing with Apple in digital font creation. Subsequent programs, such as Photoshop, cemented Adobe as a leader in creative publishing software, and all were centered on Macintosh hardware.

Google +

Whether it’s a Facebook killer or not, Google’s latest foray into social networking derives some of its aesthetics from Apple. The chief designer of Google+ is Andy Hertzfeld, one of the original Apple team members in the 1980s who worked on the first Mac. As Hertzfeld revealed to Wired  this year, “I’ve heard in the past that Larry Page he didn’t like animations but that didn’t stop me from putting in a lot of animations in, and Larry told me he loves it.” says Hertzfeld. “Maybe Apple’s resurgence had a little bit to do with it.”