Starting as a chip-level intern with Atari, Steve jobs certainly has come a long way from his contemporaries. During the first two decades of his remarkable 30-year career, the Apple Inc. founder twice altered the direction of the computer industry. In 1977 the Apple II kicked off the PC era, and the graphical user interface launched by Macintosh in 1984 has been aped by every other computer since. Along the way, Jobs conceived of “desktop publishing,” gave the world the laser printer, and pioneered personal computer networks. As a side gig, he bankrolled Pixar, which fostered the development of the technology and a brand-new business model for creating computer-animated feature films. Since returning to Apple in 1997, he has changed the dynamics of consumer electronics with the iPod and persuaded the music industry, the television networks, and Hollywood to distribute their wares with the iTunes Music Store. He gave the big-box boys a lesson in high-margin, high-touch retailing with his hugely successful Apple Stores. And this year, at the height of his creative and promotional powers, Jobs orchestrated Apple’s entry into the cellular telephone business with the iPhone.
That’s five industries that Jobs has upended – computers, Hollywood, music, retailing, and wireless phones. At this moment, no one has more influence over a broader swath of business than Jobs. Jobs works at Apple for an annual salary of US$1, and this earned him a listing in Guinness World Records as the “Lowest Paid Chief Executive Officer.” His current salary at Apple officially remains US$1 per year. However, he has traditionally been the recipient of several lucrative “executive gifts” from the board, including a US$46 million jet in 1999 and just under 30 million shares of restricted stock in 2000–2002. As such, Jobs is well compensated for his efforts at Apple despite the nominal one-dollar salary. This approach reduces his tax liability because, under current U.S. tax law, salary income is taxed at a significantly higher rate (currently up to 35%) than the capital gains tax (now a maximum of 15%) applied to profits arising from the sale of stock grants. Obtaining remuneration through stock instead of salary is a common extrinsic rewarding technique that ties management performance to financial benefits. Furthermore, it acts as a tax minimization strategy. On the other hand, Bill Gates is giving all his money to Melinda, his wife, as a charity.