This blog tries to be even-handed and welcome all perspectives, and earlier we had a warm tribute to the man behind Apple.
So, I throw another opinion into the mix. Before we get to the man himself, let me address the company. From my standpoint, it appears Apple is primarily successful at marketing pretty products to a flock of sheep, who line up around the block to buy whatever the company makes--regardless of value or utility.
I have music players from several companies, and only Apple tries to block me from moving content from my player (iPod) back to a computer. Thanks, DRM fascists. Of course, Apple's products cost several times what the other companies' do, for the same--no, less--functionality.
At my house, Windows PCs and Android phones connect seamlessly with my wireless router. Apple products don't, and require multiple router resets, if they work at all. When a guest says, "Hey, I can't connect to your internet," it's a guarantee they just whipped out an iPad or MacBook. Haha sheep, I think, and go reset the router.
Now to the man himself. Picture the head of a deep-pocketed company, who can buy the best design and engineering talent out there. He does so, and tells them, Okay guys, let's make a phone. Then he waits for the various product ideas and designs to come to his desk.
"You're f**king imbeciles," he tells one design group. "Go jump off a bridge." To another, he barks, "This is garbage, you worthless rats. I can't believe you even have jobs here."
Then a group brings him a smart, handsome design, and he says, "Not bad, not bad at all. Now go back to work."
The engineers go back to slaving anonymously for their wages; meanwhile our hero gets on stage at the Consumer Electronics Show and presents his genius creation to the world. What a creator! What an innovator!
Hard-driving maniac with decent taste? Sure, his employees would give you that. But this guy is no Thomas Edison.
I'll leave aside his child-abandoning, back-stabbing, Chinese-labor-abusing, zero-philanthropy aspects...you can read about those at Gawker and elsewhere.
By his own self-congratulatory assessments and the recent sycophantic outpouring from the media, we get a picture of an iconoclastic champion for the world. Remember the "Think Different" campaign that (mis)appropriated the images of Gandhi and Martin Luther King? Surely that didn't go out without his beaming approval.
But Steve Jobs is no Gandhi, and he's no Martin Luther King. He did not suffer so that others might suffer less. To the contrary, he made others suffer so that he might bask in glory.
Sure, the guy can spin a motivational yarn that gets pasted and re-pasted all over Facebook. Call it one more product for the sheep; I'm not buying it.