The Washington Post’s Samuelson: Steve Jobs will be a footnote in history, if that

“Before reading this, you should know the following: I do not own an iPad, an iPhone, an iPod or a Mac. I abandoned my typewriter only recently,” Robert J. Samuelson writes for The Washington Post. “In short, I have not enlisted in the digital revolution and have kept my involvement to a desktop computer, e-mail and the Internet.”

“Given all this, it’s not surprising that much commentary on Steve Jobs struck me as over the top. In death, he has been lionized as the era’s greatest business leader. Walt Mossberg, the able and influential personal technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal, declared Jobs to be a ‘historical figure on the scale of a Thomas Edison or Henry Ford,'” Samuelson writes. “Longtime financial columnist James Stewart, writing in The New York Times, approvingly quoted the head of a design studio: ‘Jobs is a revolutionary character. He shifted the industry and changed our lives through this amalgamation of culture and technology… That is truly revolutionary.'”

Samuelson writes, “By history’s measure, Jobs’s achievements are tiny. Transforming the music industry is not the same as transforming society. There are many technological advances that had a far larger impact on society: antibiotics, air travel, air conditioning and television. By contrast, many of Apple’s products are gadgets, as commentators have noted. Their ultimate social impact may be less than Facebook’s… [Jobs’] more modest legacy will fade with time. A century from now, historians and ordinary Americans will still remember Edison and Ford. Jobs will be a footnote, if that.”

Full article – Think Before You Click™here.

MacDailyNews Take: So, what’s The Washington Post going to waste their readers’ time with next, having Stevie Wonder critique the National Gallery’s Picasso exhibition?

We’ve iCal’ed this for our decendents to deploy on October 11, 2111.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

116 Comments

    1. Exactly! He might as well have started by saying, “Take the following editorial with a grain of salt, and read at your own risk. I’m no professional, and have no knowledge of the subject matter but I value my own opinion enough to weigh in on the matter.”

      I vote that from now on all analysts start their columns with: “Before reading this, you should know the following…”

      1. His should have started with “Before reading this, you should know the following… The words “cantankerous” and “crotchety” define me to a T. And, I’d appreciate it if you’d get off my goddamn lawn.”

    2. Actually I find many times that the replies that these articles generate more information as to public thought than the article. example from replies to article…

      “The ignorance and carelessness is pretty sad from Robert. Robert is one guy behind a desk, without a window, and no light on, and he is an authority on what Steve Jobs’ impact is?! He has no clue on the many thousands of ripples that have followed from Steve Jobs’ legacy. How else do you think you are posting to the world wide web? Seriously? Wow!

      I wouldn’t brag that you have been on the typewriter this long. It only indicates your fear, lack of confidence or maybe intelligence? At any rate you are most definitely not qualified to judge weather or not Steve Jobs holds a significant place in history or not. “

      1. Steve Jobs will be much more important than a footnote in any written history discussion. He helped invent all the equipment used to write the dad-gumm history. Steve is not just a footnote, he is the watermark on every page. Facebook is but a pimple on Apples big ole butt.

        Such a doofus.

        PS I bought a newspaper yesterday and now claim to be an expert in newspapers. Mr. Samuelson will be moved to the janitor’s closet due to undue diligence.

    1. And when all is said and done, a computer in almost every pocket.

      Fast-forward 100 years (and 5 or 10 billion pockets) and it’s hard to imagine the fantastic social change this will bring.

    2. Actually, you just summed it up completely. If he’s remember for nothing else, he was responsible for putting a computer in almost every household. That is a societal change by far.

    3. dc310 posted it nicely.

      A 100 years from now:

      S: Hey Dad, I read that computers used to be huge and filled an entire room! Then they became small. Who first made them small?

      D: That would be Apple. They were many others but Apple was the first successful one. Just like Henry Ford didn’t invent the car.
      The small computers were called “personal computers”. And they eliminated a whole class of workers doing paperwork in massive secretarial pools. The Personal Computer ushered in an era of massive productivity gains for two decades. And when they were networked these personal computers they were even more powerful.

      S: You mean like on the Web Dad? Who first made the web?

      D: Well the web was just one application of the Internet. But it was invented on a NeXT computer.

      S: Is it true you could not put pictures or movies on a computer then? When did that first happen?

      D: That was Apple. They made a computer named after a Apple called the Macintosh. It was the first computer that used pictures instead of just text.

      S: And when did computers get small and become part of communicators?

      D: They were called phones back then. And Apple made the first successful one that everyone copied.

      S: Could you just talk to them?
      Not at first.

      S: But you could touch them at least right?
      Yes. Apple was the first to make that massively successful after 10 years of the industry trying first with pointer sticks.

      S: Dad can I watch cartoons? Monsters Inc. again? Or Toy Story?

      D: Sure.

      S: Dad how come the old cartoons are best?

      ————–
      Yeah Steve Jobs. What a slacker. He will only be remembered for making money.

  1. Hey Samuelson….

    Apple’s got over 76 Billion in Cash (as of the end of July), zero debt, and the strongest product line ever…

    Apple plans to conduct a conference call to discuss financial results of its fourth fiscal quarter on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. PT.

    How’s the Washington Post doing?
    Washington Post earnings fall 67%
    http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2011/05/06/washington-post-earnings-fall-67.html

    I won’t even give your site the “hit”…
    Go have a coke and smile you jackass.

  2. The PC, the GUI, the portalble computer, the iPhone (utral portable computer), fucking voice activated AI assistant for crying out loud. All of these have or will changed the e way we live our lives. Steve brought us all these and more. He may not have invented all of them from scratch but he had th vison that they should all be available for the every day man and he made it happen. People are going to remember Steve for a very very long time.

  3. I think it could go either way, and it will really depend on how things change in the next 100 years.

    When I say it depends what I mean is this… Look at a guy like Henry Ford… Sure automobiles have changed , but the basics are still there. The basics of the manufacturing process that he built are still studied an used. Same with Edison, or Tesla in regards to electricity, lights and AC electric motors.

    So I think its going to really depend on where computing goes in the next 100 years. If some of the basic constructs that we use now are still a part of computing then Jobs will likely have a bigger paragraph in the history books. If it vastly changes and others come along who take it in ways that make what we currently have pail by comparison then it may well be a footnote.

    We won’t know until we get there!

    1. I could not agree more. We are way too close to the actual events and accomplishments to accurately assess their historical significance. That will be for future generations to decide.

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