Steve Jobs’s death broke news headlines on ABC, CBS, and NBC. Numerous newspapers around the world carried news of his death on their front pages the next day. Several notable people, including US President Barack Obama British Prime Minister David Cameron, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and The Walt Disney Company’s Bob Iger commented on the death of Jobs. Wired News collected reactions and posted them in tribute on their homepage. Other statements of condolence were made by many of Jobs’s friends and colleagues, such as Steve Wozniak and George Lucas. After Steve Jobs’s death, Adult Swim aired a 15-second segment with the words “hello” in a script font fading in and then changing into “goodbye”.
Major media published commemorative works. Time published a commemorative issue for Jobs on October 8, 2011. The issue’s cover featured a portrait of Jobs, taken by Norman Seeff, in which he is sitting in the lotus position holding the original Macintosh computer, first published in Rolling Stone in January 1984. The issue marked the eighth time Jobs was featured on the cover of Time, and included a photographic essay by Diana Walker, a retrospective on Apple by Harry McCracken and Lev Grossman, and a six-page essay by Walter Isaacson. Isaacson’s essay served as a preview of his biography, Steve Jobs.
Bloomberg Businessweek also published a commemorative, ad-free issue, featuring extensive essays by Steve Jurvetson, John Sculley, Sean Wisely, William Gibson, and Walter Isaacson. On its cover, Steve Jobs is pictured in gray scale, along with his name and lifespan.
At the time of his resignation, and again after his death, Jobs was widely described as a visionary, pioneer and genius—perhaps one of the foremost—in the field of business, innovation, and product design, and a man who had profoundly changed the face of the modern world revolutionized at least six different industries, and who was an “exemplar for all chief executives”. His death was widely mourned and considered a loss to the world by commentators across the globe.
After his resignation as Apple’s CEO, Jobs was characterized as the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford of his time. In his The Daily Show eulogy, Jon Stewart said that unlike others of Jobs’s ilk, such as Thomas Edison or Henry Ford, Jobs died young. He felt that we had, in a sense, “wrung everything out of” these other men, but his feeling on Jobs was that “we’re not done with you yet.” Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker asserted that “Jobs’s sensibility was editorial, not inventive. His gift lay in taking what was in front of him … and ruthlessly refining it.”
There was also a dissenting tone in some coverage of Jobs’ life and works in the media, where attention focused on his near-fanatical control mindset and business ruthlessness. A Los Angeles Times media critic reported that the eulogies “came courtesy of reporters who—after deadline and off the record—would tell stories about a company obsessed with secrecy to the point of paranoia. They remind us how Apple shut down a youthful fanboy blogger, punished a publisher that dared to print an unauthorized Jobs biography and repeatedly ran afoul of the most basic tenets of a free press.” Free software pioneer Richard Stallman drew attention to Apple’s strategy of tight corporate control over consumer computers and handheld devices, how Apple restricted news reporters, and persistently violated privacy: “Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died”. On his blog, Stallman has summarized Jobs as having a “malign influence” on computing because of Jobs’s leadership in guiding Apple to produce closed platforms. Silicon Valley reporter Dan Gillmor stated that under Jobs, Apple had taken stances that in his view were “outright hostile to the practice of journalism” these included suing three “small fry” bloggers who reported tips about the company and its unreleased products including attempts to use the courts to force them to reveal their sources, suing teenager Nicholas Ciarelli, who wrote enthusiastic speculation about Apple products beginning at age 13 (Rainey wrote that Apple wanted to kill his ‘ThinkSecret’ blog as “It thought any leaks, even favorable ones, diluted the punch of its highly choreographed product launches with Jobs, in his iconic jeans and mock turtleneck outfit, as the star.”).
Some have compared Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie who died a week later, and the respective media coverage of their deaths.