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How Steve Jobs' Legacy Has Changed 420

On the anniversary of Steve Jobs' death, reader SternisheFan sends in a story from CNN about how the Apple co-founder's legacy has changed since then. "... in the 12 months since, as high-profile books have probed Jobs' life and career, that reputation has evolved somewhat. Nobody has questioned Jobs' seismic impact on computing and our communication culture. But as writers have documented Jobs' often callous, controlling personality, a fuller portrait of the mercurial Apple CEO has emerged. 'Everyone knows that Steve had his "rough" side. That's partially because he really did have a rough side and partially because the rough Steve was a better news story than the human Steve,' said Ken Segall, author of Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success.' ... In Steve Jobs, Isaacson crafted a compelling narrative of how Jobs' co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak, got pushed out of the struggling company a decade later and then returned in the late 1990s to begin one of the most triumphant second acts in the annals of American business. But he also spent many pages chronicling the arrogant, cruel behavior of a complicated figure who could inspire people one minute and demean them the next. According to the book, Jobs would often berate employees whose work he didn't like. He was notoriously difficult to please and viewed people and products in black and white terms. They were either brilliant or 'sh-t.' 'Among Apple employees, I'd say his reputation hasn't changed one bit. If anything, it's probably grown because they've realized how central his contributions were,' Lashinsky said. 'History tends to forgive people's foibles and recognize their accomplishments. When Jobs died, he was compared to Edison and Henry Ford and to Disney. I don't know what his place will be in history 30, 40, 50 years from now. And one year is certainly not enough time (to judge).'" Apple has posted a tribute video on their homepage today.
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How Steve Jobs' Legacy Has Changed

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  • A year already? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @08:48AM (#41557545)
    Since Steve Jobs has been in the headlines every freaking day since he died, I would never have guess it happened a whole year ago.
  • Last sentence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2012 @08:49AM (#41557551)

    "And one year is certainly not enough time (to judge)."

    So what's the point of this article then?

  • Re:A year already? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2012 @08:51AM (#41557573)

    Since Steve Jobs has been in the headlines every freaking day since he died, I would never have guess it happened a whole year ago.

    in our society we glorify sociopathic assholes who only care about making money and enforcing their narcissistic vision.

  • Re:Last sentence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @08:53AM (#41557593) Homepage

    So what's the point of this article then?

    pageviews and ad revenue, I presume.

  • You can get a lot done in this world if you don't care about people and give yourself free reign to push, abuse, over-praise, or cajole them to get where you want them to go. Its too bad you have to be horrible person to bring out the best in people.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:11AM (#41557761)

    He was notoriously difficult to please and viewed people and products in black and white terms.

    Black and white thinking is the thinking of someone who's in adolescence or an alcoholic.

    This explains quite a bit about his personality and his treatment of people.

    He may have been a fantastic businessman but he pretty much failed at everything else in his life - especially at things that I think a much more important than consumer gadgets; like being a loving father.

  • by Massacrifice ( 249974 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:14AM (#41557783)

    When Jobs died, he was compared to Edison and Henry Ford and to Disney

    These guys became popular because they provided something GOOD AND CHEAP to the masses - light, cars, culture. They weren't elitists, not did they try to create new churches (well maybe Disney). Jobs legacy will not endure as well as Gates, for he was never one to compromise in order to touch everybody. He created his own bubble and died within it. Had he had the clout to push his excellent design antics along with a all-american bargain price, then maybe he would have changed the world in a durable fashion. He just changed computer's GUIs.

  • Re:Last sentence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bhagwad ( 1426855 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:17AM (#41557801) Homepage

    I think 30-40 years later history will in fact judge him poorly compared to Edison and Ford. I mean refining a smartphone design is one thing. But do we really want to compare it with the world changing achievements of mass vehicular transport and light bulbs and DC current.

    Let's get some perspective huh?

  • by geogob ( 569250 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:17AM (#41557811)

    These kinds of comments make me sad. Obviously, the apple product have no appeal for you. You fail to see the interest in them, which is ok. But you also fail to understand others might have other views, other needs, other interests and different values. You fail to see that you fail to see. You believe your view is the only view; a sort of anti-fanboy.

    Although you are correct on many points - and I would understand anyone saying "these products are not for me" based on these points - you wave a positions as bad, if not worse, than those "fanboy" you cry about. You have the right to your view. But believing a large consumer group is misled based on your personal view is so arrogant. It makes me sad.

  • Re:One Year Later (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:21AM (#41557833)

    I'm not happy with how things are going because of him and Apple. It seems to now be considered acceptable to lock down personal computing devices as if they were game consoles. Look at the next version of Windows ... you must go through Microsoft to but something in their 'Modern interface'. No sideloading on windows phone I believe? How long do you think it will be before OS X is the same? I think the only thing stopping Microsoft from locking the whole OS right now is the legal implications.
    I've said it before; people have fough long and hard to break free of the iron grip IBM had on computing in the 70's and 80's, and after than from the walled garden of AOL. People realized the dim future of being locked in. Now, they seem to be sprinting towards it. At some point, people will likely realize that they want their freedom back, but I think the golden handcuffs will have to get a bit tighter.

  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:22AM (#41557847)

    It was his complete sociopathic disregard for even those in his non-work life that was the problem. This was a guy who tried to deny his daughter's paternity, had an almost pathological hatred of charity (even ending all of Apple's charitable programs when he came back in the 90's), and routinely screwed over even friends and family for money.

    His problem wasn't that he was demanding or brutally honest at work. I can respect that. His problem is that he was a complete and total heartless asshole in every aspect of his life. And, if Marley was right, I imagine he's wearing a very ponderous chain indeed right now, made of tons of electronic junk that will be forgotten within a matter of years.

  • by Vintermann ( 400722 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:22AM (#41557853) Homepage

    This comment is a good illustration of people's high opinion about Jobs.

    But no, we would absolutely not have floppy drives or serial connectors. And we would still have touchscreen UIs. And rounded corners.

  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:24AM (#41557873)

    The Commodore 64 and Jack Tramiel will be remembered for making the computer cheap enough to turn the masses into geeks.


  • Re:A year already? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Valor958 ( 2724297 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:41AM (#41558003)

    I certainly don't like Apple, and didn't like Jobs... but I completely understand why he did what he did, and the vision he had. He gave an interview on NPR I listened to, where he basically laid it all out. He was emulating his father and ideals he and his father shared. Make everything come together and function together. The walled garden approach the Apple embodies has it's ups and downs like any other business model. The major flaw, imho, is their approach and implementation. Jobs was a severely flawed person, and in a seat of power to make his flaws more glaringly apparent, with fuel for the fire.
    I say let the man rest in peace, and let Apple go where it may. Apple will NEVER advance if they keep trying to emulate Jobs. Jobs was not Apple, and Apple can and will survive without him. But now, they have the opportunity to change.

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:42AM (#41558009)

    But no, we would absolutely not have floppy drives or serial connectors. And we would still have touchscreen UIs. And rounded corners.

    You say the first part but can you prove it? I remember the uproar when Apple came out with a computer without a floppy drive. Was it the original iMac? Anyway, from what I recall, Apple introducing the usb port coincided with them withholding the floppy.

    The main complaint from people here, while acknowledging that it was absolutely past it's time in terms of data storage, was about the all powerful emergency boot disk. A lot of equipment still such as industrial robots or things like music synthesizers still use this. There was no USB drives around at the time and it was one of those circular problems - we can't get rid of the floppy because of this need, we don't want to spend time making another way to fulfill this need since the ubiquitous floppy fulfills it. When I looked just, like, 5 years ago, serial ports were still on a lot of the notebooks. Not so anymore. And the parallel port also had a particularly long life on desktops - way past it's prime.

    That was the nature of the PC industry. It's why Microsoft was backwards compatible to the point of being painful for an extremely long time. It comes down from established user base and was manifested when things like the iPad announcement when a huge percentage of posts here predicted its demise simply because they couldn't see using one, and thus unable to look past themselves, thought it was the same with everyone. The PC industry is rife with examples like that and to an extent the tail wags the dog - people sometime don't know what they want until they have it and most companies go by the consumer focus group approach which would have yielded very dissimilar results.

    It's works much the same way in the gaming console industry, with Nintendo playing the role of Apple.

    Now, while you can point at me and yell Apple fanboi, I think an Apple dominated world would have been disastrous (app store being the norm by the late 90s, total lockdown, anyone?), unless you have some concrete counterargument, I think I can leave now.

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @09:43AM (#41558011)

    This was a guy who tried to deny his daughter's paternity, had an almost pathological hatred of charity (even ending all of Apple's charitable programs when he came back in the 90's), and routinely screwed over even friends and family for money.

    And Henry Ford was an anti-semite, Walt Disney was at least accused of being one too. Edison was a bigger jerk. He even electrocuted an elephant in an effort to spread FUD about the competition. A public legacy often ignores some very glaring faults: society is fairly willing to forgive and forget the details. After all, we're not remembering those people so much as we are remembering what they did for us.

    That said, the culture on the internet is more cynical than people are talking around the watercooler. If this discussion right here is any indication, Jobs may have come a little too late for his personal foibles to be similarly forgotten. In fact, thanks to The Oatmeal, there seems to be some going back and adding those negative details into Edison's legacy.

  • by DavidinAla ( 639952 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @10:10AM (#41558255)
    It surprises me that some people act shocked to find out about the negative parts of Steve Jobs' personality. Anybody who was even halfway paying attention for the past few decades knew about his dark sides. It's very common, of course, for great achievers to come with strong negatives, so it was no surprise. But even if you didn't understand that it's true in general, the specifics have been out there about Jobs for many, many years. He was a visionary genius (even if a lot of technical-minded people still don't understand that), but he was also very cruel, selfish and overbearing at times. The truth has been very clear for a long time. Those trying to make him just a hero OR just a villain are off track. He was far too complicated for either of those roles.
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @10:10AM (#41558261)

    Black and white thinking is the thinking of someone who's in adolescence or an alcoholic.

    The irony in your statement is astounding.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @10:12AM (#41558285)

    Even in the US, the Apple II seemed to have occupied the same niche as Britain's BBC Micro - a "respectable" computer for the slightly-to-very wealthy, and agencies like schools answerable to the political elite.

    Nope. Apple II computers were in pretty much every school you cared to walk into during the 1980s at least in the US. In fact we still had Apple II computers in schools well into the 1990s. As a result Apple was often the first choice (budget permitting) of computer for people at home along for middle class (and up) families along with the cheaper C64. The IBM PC and clones were the dominant force from about 1984-5 onward along with the Mac to a much lesser extent. By 1988 the Apple II and C64 were in low single digit market share.

    The computers that built the revolution were the Commodore 64, Atari X[LE], the Sinclair Spectrum, et al. Those were the machines you'd find if you skydived into a random neighborhood and broke into the first house you saw. Those were the computers we used.

    Aside from the C64 the market share [jeremyreimer.com] numbers say otherwise. The Sinclair, and Atari computers barely made a dent and never got above 5% market share combined. The Apple II got up to between 10-15% market share and stayed there until about 1985 when the Mac was introduced.

    I'm not dissing Jobs here but I think Apple's contribution to the revolution is severely overrated.

    No, it probably isn't. Many of the things you take for granted these days were really made mainstream by Apple. (note I didn't say invented, just made mainstream) That's not to diminish the contributions of others, Apple certainly didn't do it all themselves by any means. But Apple played a key role in the way things actually played out. I'd say that the contributions of others might be underrated but I can't really say that Apple's contributions are overrated.

    But it's also obvious that without Apple, the revolution would have happened anyway.

    Yes it would have. And it would have been different. But that does not diminish the role that Apple played in what actually did happen.

  • Re:A year already? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Plumpaquatsch ( 2701653 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @11:03AM (#41558823) Journal

    And added nothing of value.

    It's like your posts are always answers to themselves. Every single time. How do you do that?

  • Re:A year already? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @11:08AM (#41558883) Journal
    I've said it before but I'll say it again: Steve Jobs was an asshole. But one with taste. Many people can emulate the assholeness (and do) but they have no sense of taste.

    You can scream at the chefs and cooks in the kitchen as much as you like but if you have no sense of taste your restaurant isn't going to do well. But if you have a sense of taste, when you scream at them because something isn't great deep down everybody knows you are right and so even though the screaming isn't pleasant (or maybe even necessary) a fair number will accept it. And if you have an exquisite sense of taste, when you go "This is Insanely Great", they know you are right too, and it feels like a real achievement and affirmation.

    I personally believe there is no need to be an asshole to get people to do great work. But you really do need to know what is good and what is crap.
  • by j-beda ( 85386 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @11:11AM (#41558915) Homepage

    "Those who have never experienced it, or who fell by the wayside, won't understand the rewards of working under this technique. But the proof is in the results."

    Sorry, but what you wrote really sounded inhumane to me. Maybe people are stronger or supposedly getting used to abuse where you live.

    Probably what the original writer experienced is similar to the essentiall hazing that goes on in many fields. North American medical residents are often subjected to insane work schedules, and those who survive come to believe that it is the only way to train doctors, absent any actual evidence to support that, for example.

    Take any group of people and toss out or force everyone who does not fit the mold you are striving for, and you will end up with a surviving group of people who do fit that mold - no big surprise. What is more challenging is to show that other less-destructive methods are effective at producing larger numbers of people with excellent skills. Even more challenging is to convince those in power, who themselves went through the earlier "trial-by-fire" system, to make changes to the training system to increase its humanity, even when those changes would increase the effectiveness.

  • Re:Last sentence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_B0fh ( 208483 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @11:21AM (#41559017) Homepage

    They didn't invent the smartphone. They invented a good and usable one.

    There's a reason why v0.1 of Android looked like the blackberry, and just about every single smartphone on the market looks like the iPhone now rather than the blackberry.

  • by siride ( 974284 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @11:23AM (#41559049)

    Catching and receiving are the same thing.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @11:51AM (#41559453) Homepage

    Everybody seems to miss this, but many of Jobs' successes were because he was a movie studio head. He was also CEO of Pixar.

    Jobs didn't really run Pixar; Lassiter did. Jobs had the sense to leave the moviemakers alone. But being a studio head gave him enormous clout in Hollywood. This is what make the iTunes store possible.

    A successful music-delivery service required deals with the music industry. Others, notably Napster, had tried to put deals together, without success. But Jobs had a big advantage.

    Hollywood is very hierarchical. At the top of the hierarchy are studio heads. Everybody in Hollywood will take a call from a studio head. Including the music industry, which is outranked by the film industry. Jobs was in a position to call up the heads of record labels and talk to them as an equal, if not a superior.

    When iTunes started, Apple was nowhere; under 10% market share in computers and unknown in consumer electronics. It wasn't Apple's clout that made iTunes happen. It was Jobs' status as head of Pixar.

    Everything since then has been a logical extension of Apple's entry into the entertainment industry. The iPod provided a smaller unit for delivering iTunes content. The iPhone added features in the iPod form factor. Movies, then apps, were fitted into the distribution chain designed for music.

  • Re:Last sentence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dixie_Flatline ( 5077 ) <vincent...jan...goh@@@gmail...com> on Friday October 05, 2012 @12:00PM (#41559583) Homepage

    It's not the re-invention of the smartphone that was Jobs' greatest contribution to the market, it was creating a phone that was designed the way he wanted (and the way consumers wanted) and then forcing the telecom industry to use his phone, and not dictate terms back to him.

    The reason why smartphones stagnated and were such a small niche before the iPhone wasn't purely on the basis of usability, it was also because telcos like calling the shots and bending you over.

    If you don't like that Steve Jobs was, by all accounts, a bit off his nut, just remember that it was THAT personality that turned the tables on the music and telecom industries. You can hate Jobs, but you can't help but admire someone that forged the way in making the technology that we want available to us. Perhaps it was bound to happen, but I bet it happened faster because of him.

    I loathe telecom companies, and the established music industry isn't far behind. Anyone that can wedge themselves in there and start breaking down their control is good in my books.

  • Re:Last sentence (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2012 @12:20PM (#41559813)

    " just about every single smartphone on the market looks like the iPhone now"

    Oh, just STOP already. The iPhone was the first to make the screen the size of the phone, true. Would all phones have ended up with that design if the iPhone hadn't existed? Yes.

    I'm just glad that Steve Jobs wasn't the first guy to roll clay between his hands. Everyone who ever rolled clay into a ball after that would be accused of stealing.

  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @12:37PM (#41560029) Journal

    I'm no fan of jobs... but
    Way back when, I bought an iPhone 3G. The alternative at the time was a blackberry.

    BB had a keyboard, but the screen, web-browser, and apps in general were shyte.
    Moreover, the iPhone could be rooted to install some pretty cool stuff. It had a decent touch-screen tech, and a bunch of apps (both on-market and in Cydia) which were useful to my lifestyle and profession. The design wasn't perfect: The lack of expandable storage capacity or removable battery pissed me off to no end, BUT I could do a lot more with it than a BB.

    Fast-forward a few years. I bought an Android (my first one was a Milestone/droid). It lacked the games and iTunes support, but I could do a lot more with it. It also brought back a physical keyboard, which is something that I always found as better on a BB.
    The Droid worked, but it lacked horsepower, and Motorola's support of updates was terrible. After the last update it ran slow as molasses (though better with GO launcher).
    I've had a GS2 since shortly after they were available in Canada, which supplanted the Motorola. I do miss the physical keyboard, but the higher-res screen somewhat compensates for that as at least I can still cram content above the onscreen keyboard.

    So what does the iPhone have to do with this? Well, somebody had to take a risk with these pricey multi-touch devices. Prior to iPhone, I mostly recall crappy stylus-style touchscreens.
    It was a gamble, one that SJ seems to have pushed. It paid off big for Apple, and later led to an improvement in the industry. Whatever you may say about the guy, he had the balls to push a relatively immature tech towards maturity+populatity.

  • Re:A year already? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hazah ( 807503 ) on Friday October 05, 2012 @12:43PM (#41560097)
    Never mind... i'm an idiot :). yeah a bit. Oh well.

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.