Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs Was NOT God

Steve Jobs was a brilliant innovator. His inventions did a lot of good. 
But he wasn't God. And I'm getting sick of hearing the adulation.

I remember Apple products back to the early 80s when I had a college friend whose family went into the software business and had one of the earliest Apple computers running a basic kids program called "Lemonade Stand"

I had an Apple II+ running game programs 23 years ago when I came down here to work in the library.

I remember getting the money from the Friends to upgrade to a IIGS, and going to the computer store to buy it, and putting it together. And the thrill of the wonderful new games.

Back in those days Apple was reliable, AFFORDABLE and highly user friendly:




Steve Jobs and company used to make wonderful, usable, affordable educational products.
But bit by bit, or perhaps "byte by byte", their products became status symbol toys for the well to do.
Expensive and proprietary.

And they are planned for obsolescence, because they know that the Apple fanboys and girls will buy each super duper new model the minute it hits the shelves, so it doesn't have to last long.

 Every time a new Apple product comes out and the NY Times does a piece like it's the Second Coming, I think of  dear Oliver Wendell Jones of "Bloom County", trashing his "Banana Jr 6000" computer when the new model with "TINT CONTROL!" comes out. Sheesh........

I don't ever recall hearing about Steve Jobs making huge charitable contributions of  the wealth his company produced. Indeed, when I went searching today, what I found was an article about how Jobs canceled Apple's charitable programs when he returned to the company and a lot of excuses to the tune of "entrepeneurs who make good don't owe the public anything" and "Jobs probably felt that he was helping poverty more by improving quality of  life with his inventions".

Now, I'm not knocking what PCs have done for every part of our lives. Hell, I'm writing a blog on a computer while listening to the BBC World Service on the computer, so I'm part of that revolution.

But please tell me how a $500 IPhone is going to improve the lives of a family in the 3rd World whose annual income doesn't even come close to $500.  How an IPad bought by a rich white American family to help enrich the lives of their privileged little offspring is going to benefit kids in places where the kids don't have books, or perhaps even pens and pencils and paper?


SC does have an IPod. But only because she managed to kill 2 or 3 MP3 players, and it's a heckuva lot easier to go and have an IPod fixed by a "genius" at the Apple Store than to deal with Sansa or other such companies.

But when her IPod's cord died--and it did within a few months, I also had to go to the Apple Store(a  place that makes my skin crawl) to buy a replacement, because reliable replacements are ONLY available through Apple. 
Meanwhile the rest of us have Sansa MP3 players that cost less than $100 and have cords so reliable we have extras from earlier players!


And the girls and I have Toshiba computers. Computers that run Windows. By Microsoft.

Where some of the profits go to the Gates Foundation, that helps kids all around the world. The sort of kids that Steve Jobs wouldn't have cared about.

Because their families wouldn't have been in the market for IPads. Or IPhones. Or IPods. Or I-anything.

4 comments:

De said...

I just want to hug you right now.

Saints and Spinners said...

In response to James Altucher's words (in the article linked) about this crazy idea that entrepreneurs "owe" anything to society in terms of charitable contributions, I am reminded of the Elizabeth Warren quote that you've probably seen:

"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."

The Library Lady said...

I want to hug you back, De!

I just got so fed up yesterday with the Saint Steven of Apple routine.
And when the NY Times asked people what they thought his most important invention was do you think they went for the computers that have gone into classrooms or the ways an IPad supposedly can help society?

Nope. They went for the IPod and ITunes!

Love the Warren quote. I didn't put it up here but I did put the clip of it on my Facebook page with the comment that I'd vote for her for president anyday!

The Library Lady said...

I want to hug you back, De!

I just got so fed up yesterday with the Saint Steven of Apple routine.
And when the NY Times asked people what they thought his most important invention was do you think they went for the computers that have gone into classrooms or the ways an IPad supposedly can help society?

Nope. They went for the IPod and ITunes!

Love the Warren quote. I didn't put it up here but I did put the clip of it on my Facebook page with the comment that I'd vote for her for president anyday!