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TODAY   |  October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs: Remembering a visionary

NBC’s George Lewis looks at the life and legacy of Apple’s Steve Jobs, the tech visionary and business titan who passed away Wednesday at 56.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

MATT LAUER, co-host: And I'm Matt Lauer . Because Steve Jobs was a guy who touched our lives in so many ways, reaction to his death has been pouring in from all around the world . Overnight a makeshift memorial is now in place outside of Apple 's headquarters -- that's in Cupertino , California -- following the sad death of that company's founder and visionary Steve Jobs . If you look this morning at -- simply at the apple .com on my iPad here, you will see a simple tribute to Jobs , a black-and-white photo with the dates that he was born and he died.

CURRY: Because it's hard to overstate the impact that he had on all of our lives. I mean, he never graduated from college ...

LAUER: Right.

CURRY: ...and yet who doesn't have at least an iPod or an iPad or an iPhone or a personal computer ?

LAUER: You know, I think -- obviously, this did not come as a shock to people, because we had watched his health deteriorate over the years...

CURRY: Hm.

LAUER: ...since he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer . He appeared very frail in recent months. But still, when it finally happens, you stop and you really take notice.

CURRY: No question, you know. He also -- in a commencement address to Stanford University in 2005 , he had something really pretty wonderful he -- to say. He said, "Remembering that you're going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose." And he added, "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life."

LAUER: Yeah, as I mentioned, tributes immediately poured in as the news of his death spread. President Obama released a statement saying in part, "There may be no greater tribute to Steve 's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device that he invented."

CURRY: Yeah. And Bill Gates , Jobs ' one-time rival and co-founder of

Microsoft, had this to say: "The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come." And then there's this from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg , who said, "Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world."

MATT LAUER, co-host: Let us get right to NBC 's George Lewis . He's at Apple 's headquarters in Cupertino , California . George , good morning to you.

GEORGE LEWIS reporting: Good morning, Matt. This is a very sad day for Apple 's 47,000 employees worldwide. They're mourning Steve Jobs , a man who dropped out of college and had no formal schooling in computer engineering but figured out a way to make tech sexy and transformed Apple into the world's most valuable company. He was a college dropout who co-founded Apple Computer in 1976 and within a few years became fabulously wealthy.

Mr. DAN LYONS (Newsweek): He's kind of a regular guy who started in his garage with this idea, with a friend, and built this thing into this multibillion-dollar business.

LEWIS: His secret, wow the consumers with cool designs and ease of use.

Mr. STEVE JOBS: When it comes to consumer computer users , the computer industry hasn't done a really good job of trying to understand them and understand their desires and their needs.

LEWIS: So in 1984 he introduced the Macintosh , calling it "insanely great." There was a famous Super Bowl ad for the Mac , running only once on TV but seen millions of times on YouTube .

LEWIS: Apple didn't always prevail. Faced with tough competition, the company struggled, trying to gain a share of the personal computer market. And Steve Jobs had an abrasive personality that contributed to his ouster from Apple in 1985 .

Mr. LYONS: There's a -- the brilliant, genius, visionary side of him that burned very, very bright, and there was this terrible dark side to him, too.

LEWIS: He went into the movie business, acquiring Pixar Studios in 1986 , making a string of hit computer-animated films starting with " Toy Story ."

LEWIS: Then, after an 11-year absence, he was brought back to Apple , where his creativity revitalized the company. The iPod changed the way people listened to their music.

Mr. JOBS: Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone.

LEWIS: And across the country, there were long lines for the first iPhones in 2007 . Then three years later, they lined up for the iPad , changing the way people consume media.

Mr. JOBS: Most of the great ideas, when you see them, you go, 'Of course!'

LEWIS: But while he was brimming with great ideas, Steve Jobs was battling declining health. He was operated on for pancreatic cancer in 2004 . A year later he spoke about that in a commencement address at Stanford University .

Mr. JOBS: This was the closest I've been to facing death and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. And yet death is the destination we all share.

LEWIS: Then in 2009 he underwent a liver transplant.

Mr. JOBS: I now have the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash and was generous enough to donate their organs.

LEWIS: On August 24th of this year, Jobs stepped down as Apple's CEO . Six years earlier he had this bit of advice for the Stanford grads.

Mr. JOBS: Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.

LEWIS: He was a man who followed his heart and intuition to become one of Silicon Valley 's great visionaries. Steve Jobs leaves behind a wife and four children. And a statement from the Jobs family says Steve died peacefully, surrounded by people he loved. Ann :