“Few businessmen have captured the public’s consciousness as effectively as Steven Paul Jobs of Apple Computer and, now, Disney. Few American CEOs are idolized, much less made the central subject of two movies (Pirates of Silicon Valley and Triumph of the Nerds) and more than 10 by and large fawning books that herald his genius. Most recently, Jobs has managed to do for portable music what he did for personal computing in the 1980s – make it not merely practical but cool,” Kristiano Ang writes for PopMatters.
Ang writes, “Jobs, now 51, wasn’t supposed to end up at the pinnacle of a Fortune 500 company (let alone two). The story of how he launched a technological revolution from the once humble but now proverbial Silicon Valley garage with erstwhile partner Steven Wozniak has become a legend, an illustration of the American Dream in action.”
“Jobs was slated to become Time‘s Man of the Year in 1982 until sources within Apple painted an unflattering portrait of him (Macintosh engineer Jef Raskin famously proclaiming that Jobs would have ‘made an excellent King of France’), and he lost out to the personal computer itself,” Ang writes.
“Eventually Jobs’s reputation would soar because of his association with Macintosh, the machine Newsweek editor Steven Levy has called “the computer that changed everything.” Never mind the fact that Jobs had at first binned the project: only after Apple’s board forcibly removed him from his pet project, the Lisa, an expensive business-market computer (it cost almost $10,000 in 1983) now regarded as one of the company’s biggest blunders, would he become connected to the Macintosh and claim credit for it, pushing its actual inventor, Raskin, out of the spotlight,” Ang writes.
Ang writes, “In 1985, Jobs was booted from Apple after clashing with his anointed successor, former Pepsi CEO John Sculley, (Jobs had lured him to Apple with the now immortal sales pitch, “Would you rather spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or would you rather change the world?) and spent the better part of the next decade wasting Ross Perot’s money at NeXT Computer. NeXT’s technology, which featured support for graphics and audio within e-mail and technologies such as Ethernet ports, that have become part and parcel of computing today, was supposed to be the next big thing, and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, regarded as the father of the Internet, developed the first version of the World Wide Web on a NeXT machine. But like Lisa, it was overpriced for its time and never found popular acceptance.”
“Jobs’s fortuitous involvement with animation studio Pixar, however, kept him afloat, and in 1996, he returned to Apple in time for the candy-colored iMac, which would shake up a design-challenged PC industry in which style meant black or beige, and the iPod, which moved music to computers and launched an industry that still hasn’t found its ceiling,” Ang writes.
Ang writes, “As significant as the Macintosh or the iPod may be, neither of these may constitute Jobs’s most important contribution to our culture. Instead, it may be his ability to bridge between the two vastly differing fields of entertainment and technology, smoothing the way for portable digital video on demand, that makes up the third and most significant act of Jobs’s career.”
More in the full article, in which Ang tries to say that “Mac cultists” may just “switch” from the Mac to Linux as the Mac gains popularity, here.
MacDailyNews Take: We do not believe that Mac users are switching to Linux in any significant numbers and Ang offers no evidence to support that assertion save for one anecdote from a blogger. Apple’s growing Mac unit sales also refute Ang’s story. As for NeXT, which Ang describes as a “waste of money that never found popular acceptance,” Ang does not seem to understand that, in effect, NeXT took over Apple in 1997, keeping the Apple Computer company name, and that Mac OS X, with some 20 million users and the subject of feverish copying by Microsoft for Windows Vista, was born from NeXT’s NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP operating system. NeXT was certainly not a “waste of money that never found popular acceptance.” To answer our headline, the “cult” will grow.
You want back into the Mac market? Apologize to Mac users first – September 04, 2006
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005
NeXT’s OPENSTEP up and running on a MacBook Pro – April 25, 2006
The man who named Apple’s Macintosh, GUI pioneer Jef Raskin dies at 61 – February 27, 2005
How Apple evolved NeXTSTEP into Mac OS X – November 13, 2004
Inventor of World Wide Web uses Apple PowerBook, Mac OS X, and Safari browser – September 23, 2003