Burying Steve Jobs: The Rotten Apple?
The Steve Jobs who founded Apple as an anarchic company promoting the message of freedom, whose first projects with Stephen Wozniak were pirate boxes and computers with open schematics, would be taken aback by the future that Apple is forging. Today there is no tech company that looks more like the Big Brother from Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial than Apple itself, a testament to how quickly power can corrupt.
Rude, dismissive, hostile, spiteful: Apple employees—the ones not bound by confidentiality agreements—have had a different story to tell over the years about Jobs and the bullying, manipulation and fear that followed him around Apple. Jobs contributed to global problems, too. Apple’s success has been built literally on the backs of Chinese workers, many of them children and all of them enduring long shifts and the specter of brutal penalties for mistakes. And, for all his talk of enabling individual expression, Jobs imposed paranoid rules that centralized control of who could say what on his devices and in his company…
he internet allowed people around the world to express themselves more freely and more easily. With the App Store, Apple reversed that progress. The iPhone and iPad constitute the most popular platform for handheld computerizing in America, key venues for media and software. But to put anything on the devices, you need Apple’s permission. And the company wields its power aggressively.
In the name of protecting children from the evils of erotica — “freedom from porn” — and adults from one another, Jobs has banned from being installed on his devices gay art, gay travel guides,political cartoons, sexy pictures, Congressional candidate pamphlets, political caricature, Voguefashion spreads, systems invented by the opposition, and other things considered morally suspect.
For weeks, a cluster of computerized protesters have camped in a park near Wall Street, telling the world how they believe America’s billionaires destroyed the economy.
Suddenly, Wednesday afternoon, the typing stopped — when the world got news of the death of inventor Steve Jobs.
“A ripple of shock went through our crowd,” said Thorin Caristo, who helps lead Occupy Wall Street’s web-based movement.
That evening, men and women gathered at computers near him “expressed their sadness; they stopped typing and reflected on life — and his life.”
that Jobs was “among the 1 percent” of the country’s population protesters keep citing as having accumulated 40 percent of the wealth.Protesters say they link protest plans in various cities with the aid of computers, many made byApple (AAPL), the company founded by the high-tech pioneer who died at age 56.
In addition, Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, the protesters’ round-the-clock encampment, is sprinkled with Apple iPhones, iPods and iPads sending messages around the globe.
Jobs’ products are used to generate Wall Street billions, acknowledged Caristo. But there was no irony in mourning, or celebrating, this billionaire while opposing many others who are just as wealthy.
“They had a less positive impact on society than Jobs,” Caristo said. He said this was despite the fact that Jobs was “among the 1 percent” of the country’s population protesters keep citing as having accumulated 40 percent of the wealth.
Yet in recent years it has become fashionable to hate Jobs and hold him responsible for things he isn’t responsible for. Where in the 1990s, one signalled one’s moral and techno superiority over the Microsoft masses by declaring oneself to be ‘a Mac’, over the last five years that old breed of Nathan Barley-style whizzkid has been out-hipped by a new cool caste: the Apple-sceptic. From commentariat circles to the new radical left, it’s now de rigueurto turn your nose up at Apple products (even if you use them). Apparently these gadgets are responsible for social alienation here in the West, because they have nurtured ‘iZombies’, and even worse for depression and death in the Eastern factories where they are assembled…
Yet if Jobs was not the devil, he wasn’t the iMessiah either. The treatment of Jobs as one of the greatest innovators of all time, his name now mentioned in the same breath as Edison’s, is also overblown. Perhaps his problem was to be born at a time when, socially and technologically, mankind has pretty low ambitions. Forget the space race or nuclear power or flying cars, the focus of innovative thinking today tends to be on creating mostly self-reflective gadgets, tools that allow for Twittering, therapeutic communication, displays of public preening.
A man who created jobs and wealth with great design and innovation has died.