‘He would charm the birds from the trees’

THIRTEEN years at the helm of Apple Cork meant that Dan Byrne, its former chief executive, met Steve Jobs on several occasions.

“I would have met him in Cork and in California and I was very saddened to hear of his death.

“He was extremely demanding, clearly a genius but he was very charismatic and a visionary. He was pernickety too. He would get into the minutest detail about the industrial design of products. But he could be very charming when trying to win business. He’d charm the birds from the trees.”

Even though Byrne and the world at large knew the Apple founder was dying, it still came as a shock to him yesterday.

“It’s truly the end of an era and the end of an icon. I worked for him for so long, I had great affection for Steve,” he said.

Byrne, now chairman and co-founder of Lincor Solutions Ltd, says he does not believe the Apple brand will suffer.

“As a shareholder, I don’t think Steve’s death will have a negative effect immediately. He built up a great team around him and built a culture within Apple. There is a longevity to that team. I don’t think his death will negatively effect the company for the next five years anyway.”

The Taoiseach also paid tribute to Jobs yesterday, describing him as a “creative genius who broke down walls in business and opened doors in people’s minds”.

“His innovative prowess in the area of technology has brought about a level of access to information for millions that few would have ever foreseen.

“His legacy will be not just his products and business achievements, but also the way in which he altered mindsets in the business world and in everyday life,” he said.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that Ireland had been a major beneficiary of Job’s vision.

“The Apple campus in Cork has provided highly skilled jobs for local graduates for more than 30 years. His influence and impact was profound. At a personal level, my various visits to the Apple HQ in Cupertino California helped convince me of the continuing emphasis that needs to be put on investment in research and innovation to keep our country competitive.”

IDA Ireland chief executive Barry O’Leary said: “Steve Jobs was an unrivalled innovator and visionary whose designs and products changed how people interact with technology”

Apple’s European base has been in Cork since 1980. It has about 2,000 employees in the city.

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