Enderle: Apple didn’t change the world

“One of the events that defined Apple’s early years was Steve Jobs’ recruitment of John Scully [sic]. John clearly didn’t want to leave Pepsi to sell computers; he didn’t really understand the market, and his position at Pepsi was not only very influential, but also extremely lucrative. While there is certainly irony in the fact that it was John Scully who first fired Steve Jobs, given that Steve talked him into taking the Apple CEO job, the real irony may be the words Steve used to capture John Scully: ‘Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling colored water, or do you want a chance to change the world?’ His goal wasn’t wealth — it was to make a real difference,” Rob Enderle writes for TechNewsWorld.

MacDailyNews Note: Actually, it’s Sculley, and the question was: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”

Enderle continues, “The irony is that upon returning, Steve Jobs’ greatest success was with the iPod — the technology equivalent of selling colored water. Yes, Apple dominates the MP3 player market — much like Pepsi and Coke dominate the soft drink market — but in terms of meaningful change-the-world things, Apple hasn’t achieved enough dominance anyplace else, not even with the iPhone, to effect the kind of change Steve himself clearly thought was important.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, except that when you devote an actual second to think about it, everyone uses a Mac today, whether it be the real thing or an upside-down and backwards fake (Windows) or a fake of an upside-down and backwards fake (the eternal mirage of desktop Linux). And, oh, by the way, Apple has defined the mobile computing paradigm for the next decade at the very least. That’s why every new so-called “smartphone” tries to either look and/or act like Apple’s iPhone. Endlerle could not be more wrong: Any honest observer can clearly see that Apple’s ideas dominate the personal computer, smartphone / mobile compting, and portable media player markets.

Enderle continues, “The company has Al Gore on its board and could lead in efforts to prevent global warming, but there is no effort to take Apple to solar power on record — or any other global warming program that I can find — and when it comes to green products, Apple had to be dragged kicking and screaming to make changes. Granted, that was mostly Greenpeace using Apple as a lightning rod, but Apple should have been leading there.”

MacDailyNews Take: While we’re all for limiting pollution and increasing energy efficiency, we’re not sure Al Gore or Apple or anybody, for that matter, could prevent global warming any more than they could prevent the planet from rotating. Apple could try to lead in fruitless efforts, but “prevent,” probably not. Maybe a big orbiting solar reflector with a giant Apple logo or daily Gas-X tabs for the planet’s entire bovine population? Perhaps Jobs is just adverse to throwing good money after bad?

The planet warms and cools in cycles, regardless of whether or not humans are trying to exploit what are largely natural processes to make a buck or not (and some people are trying to make a lot of bucks, which always makes us suspicious). The planet warmed and cooled before there were any humans and it’ll happen afterwards, too. That said, we repeat, we’re all for limiting pollution and increasing energy efficiency within reason. Cars and factories and power plants out pumping pollution is not good, but it’s not all bad either (or you wouldn’t be reading this). Regardless of whether or not you think humans are the main cause of “global warming” or a contributor on some level (major or minor), just take it totally out of the equation: We’d still all be better off with less pollutants in the air and water.

If Apple wanted to make the company an example and install some solar panels, that’d probably result in some good publicity for both Apple and solar panel makers. If you want to invest in your home and add solar or wind power generation, go for it! If everybody did it, it’d drive down costs and quite likely make for cleaner air at least until the wind blows around the globe from the countries that are heavy polluters. Yes, we know, everybody on earth will go solar or wind-powered or something, too, eventually. Hundreds of years from now, if that soon.

Anyway, Enderle seems to have swallowed the whole “humans are the cause of global warming” bit, hook, line, and sinker (we’re of an open mind on the issue; certainly industrial emissions play some role, but we remain unsure of the level to which human activity should be attributed to rising temperatures; does anybody really know for sure?) where we do actually agree with Enderle – gulp – beyond the fact that Greenpeace routinely abuses Apple for the publicity value alone, is that Apple is the type of company, with the type of customers, and the type of bank account, that should be leading in environmental issues – if not for “global warming prevention,” simply for cleaner air and water. All of that said, Apple already does a lot for which they do not seem to get enough or any credit. More info here: www.apple.com/environment/.

Oh, by the way, in a nice coincidence, CNN reports today that Smithsonian scientists are currently developing an iPhone app to help researchers study climate change.

Enderle continues, “Steve killed all of Apple’s philanthropic efforts shortly after he rejoined the company. Even though he promised to reverse that decision once Apple became profitable, it has been in the black for some time, and apparently he hasn’t reinstated the programs. How do any of these actions change the world? It actually seems as though Steve went out of his way not to do that.”

Enderle continues, “In the end, when Steve leaves he will likely leave a company that is too dependent on him. While it has been very profitable during Steve’s tenure, the one thing it didn’t do is change the world — which is the one thing he thought someone who joined Apple should want to do. If that was truly his goal, he will leave Apple crippled by his departure, having never really made the meaningful difference he imagined.”

Full article – Think Before You Click™here.

MacDailyNews Take: Whether Jobs leaves a company that is too dependent on him is debatable. That prospect grows less likely with each passing day. Apple is made up of thousands of bright, capable people. While leaders of Jobs’ caliber are rare, they do exist. When the time comes, hopefully many years from now, great people will be lining up, begging to lead such a company. As for Apple’s philanthropic efforts: perhaps Jobs is not about public displays of charity? How much do Apple employees, including Jobs, personally and privately give? Nobody knows, certainly not Rob Enderle.

Steve Jobs and Apple have changed the world many times. The Apple II brought the power of personal computing to millions around the world. The World Wide Web was created on one of Steve Jobs’ NeXT Cubes. Apple’s products – Mac, iPod, and iPhone – each define their respective markets. From personal computers and mobile computing, to operating systems, user interfaces, media and software distribution, and so much more, Apple’s ideas are the ideas that everyone else copied and are still copying. Apple contributions to the world in science, art, math, etc., etc., etc. over the past 3+ decades are incalculable. To assert otherwise is a display of horrible ignorance or willful denial.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.