myself included. I’m also bitter about his decision to absorb Newton, Inc and kill the company and its products, rather than let them stand or fall on their own merits.
It was no real surprise that Jobs wanted the iPhone and iPad to be closed consumer appliances. He wanted the Mac to be the same way. The ability to buy more RAM for your Mac is not the way Steve wanted it. He didn’t want the iPhone to have an SDK or third-party applications either.
Sure, Steve Jobs he had a singular vision for good product design. But he often took minimalism too far, removing buttons from the iPod, making the iPad speaker point the wrong way, making batteries non-replaceable for the sake of a millimeter less thickness, and giving us that godawful circular mouse.
Jobs was a self-made billionaire, not a silver-spoon trust fund baby like Gates. That counts for something. But, and here we get to the big ‘but’… Steve Jobs was kind of a dick. He famously cheated Woz out of his share of a bonus while developing Breakout. He had an illegitimate child, denied paternity by lying to the court that he was infertile, and then married someone else and had three kids. He cut all Apple’s philanthropy programs, and kept them cut even after the company started making record profits again. He flouted the law by refusing to put a license plate on his car, and routinely parked it in handicapped spaces.
His management style was infamously abrasive. His standard response to any great new idea was to tell you it was stupid, wait a few days, then propose it as if he had thought of it. He would scream obscenities during meetings.
Some would no doubt say that you need to be an asshole to be brilliant or to be successful in business. I don’t buy it. I’ve met high level executives who are ruthlessly business-focused without being dicks; I’ve met geniuses who are humble. For a while, Steve Jobs was the single thing keeping me from wanting to work at Apple.
But Jobs’ force of personality, his so-called Reality Distortion Field, somehow made other people overlook his mistakes and terrible behavior. I never bought into it, which is why when he decided he wanted the right to tell me what software I was allowed to run on Apple hardware, I refused to cross that line. And it’s why I sit here with mixed feelings about the man. I actually hope that with the cult leader gone, people might start to apply a little more objectivity when examining Apple’s products and business practices. © mathew 2017
© mathew 2017