How Steve Jobs protected his family's privacy

Date: Oct 14, 2011

Steve Jobs - co-founder and former CEO of computing giant Apple and animation studio Pixar - died on October 5, surrounded by family and close friends.

The technology icon was revered in many sectors, having rallied a fledgling company and turned it into an industrial powerhouse that produced products that some say have changed the way we communicate.

The design elements used in the first series of Macintosh products were said to have stemmed from Jobs - his previous enjoyment of calligraphy inspiring him to include a range of responsive fonts from the very first iteration.

It was his singular vision that products should not just perform beautifully but be aesthetically pleasing that industry commentators said had his company stand out amongst the crowd of technology providers.

With the introduction of the iPod and iTunes to the marketplace in 2001, Jobs was able to revolutionise the industry - doing away with conventional purchasing avenues and altering the pricing structure to keep customers happy.

In addition to this, Jobs helped to put Pixar on the map - eventually joining Disney's board of directors after the company acquired the digital animation studio in 2006.

By that time he had been credited in a number of films as an executive producer, most notably the first hit movie Toy Story in 1995.

For all of his status in the technology world, Jobs was notoriously close-mouthed about his private life.

He constantly strove to keep his family - including wife Laurene and four children - out of reach of the media.

Famously, when Jobs announced that he and needed to take time off to recover from surgery for pancreatic cancer, staff members were later surprised to learn that he had received the initial diagnosis nearly a year earlier and had decided to keep it private.

Since his death, it has come to light that the enigmatic figure behind Apple's success may have continued with his endeavour to protect his family, using the estate planning process to place several properties in so-called 'living trusts'.

According to Forbes, Steve Jobs may have amassed assets worth around $7 billion - including shares in Disney that may account for as much as 7.4 per cent of total stock.

While the details surrounding his wealth are likely to be kept private, it is likely that Jobs has made sure that there is little room for his family's fortune to be the subject of an estate dispute.