Why #iDontLike Steve Jobs

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October 31st, 2011 J Jagannath

You tend to take people for granted as long as they are alive: be it your parents or, as it turned out to be, Steve Jobs. At least that’s what I gleaned looking at the outpouring of grief on social networking websites. #iSad was a top Twitter trend and that gloomy emoticon all I could see on my Facebook timeline. Once the brouhaha subsided I asked my friend, who is an avid Apple fan, what he loved about Steve Jobs. He said that his products were otherworldly, compact and any gadget freak’s dream.

He was one of those mule-headed people into whom I couldn’t instill any sense of this madness and this is what I would have told him. Steve Jobs is not a visionary like Thomas Edison as those fawning newspaper obituaries would have you believe. Edison created electricity. In comparison, Jobs only had to offer digital knick-knacks like iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Have they made any profound difference to anyone’s life is a million-dollar question. Electricity, for sure, did. Jobs is at best a terrific salesman. Like any astute salesman he made us believe that we needed these products that we didn’t even know we needed at all. He commodified music through his ginormous devices to the extent that the current generation doesn’t even know what it like is to listen to an original lossless track. He combined his sense of calligraphy and fine arts to create these sleek devices that are good but I doubt if they are ground breaking. The current fad for size zero figures has its roots in the way Jobs made us believe that sleek is the new cool.

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat wasn’t terribly impressed with Jobs either, “The iPhone and the iPad may be aesthetically perfect, but in an otherwise stagnant society their charms can be an invitation to solipsism — holding up mirrors to our vanity, instead of opening windows to breakthroughs more impressive than the latest app.” Here was a man who ensured that the sweatshops like Foxconn in China met his unreasonable demands. So excruciating were his demands that workers of Foxconn killed themselves. Why didn’t he generate jobs in the USA where the unemployment rate has for long been plateaud at the ten per cent mark? Why generate more jobs in downtrodden countries like Philippines where there are more Apple employees than government employees?

So as you see he was just another businessman who doesn’t deserve to be lionised as the poster child of modern-day technology. He never propagated open source software. It took lot of chivvying from his cohorts before he deigned to release iTunes for Windows users. Don’t get me wrong here, I have nothing against this man and the eight-billion-dollar fortune that he amassed. No one can deny the fact that his products are incredibly good.

It’s just that we need to realise that there’s a fine line between fandom and naivety.

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8 Responses to “Why #iDontLike Steve Jobs”

  1. Pradeep Singh Punia Says:

    I really agree with deep…making comment is easiest thing in this world..what we try is basically influence people through our comment…and India is god father of ill comments on any topics

  2. Jagannath Says:

    @omigosh: Please understand that I’m not being a contrarian for the sake of being a contrarian. You just need to clear the fog from your digital mirrors. This man didn’t give anything terribly original or life-changing to the society. The Shuffle button is the biggest post-9/11 monstrosity that has been dumped on us and we’re not understanding the gravity of it.

  3. Omigosh Says:

    Fashionable aint it, to bash Jobs? A pity that you too, someone whose writings are otherwise better informed, has jumped onto the Jobs-is-an-SOB bandwagon.

    Take a closer look at the man and what he wrought… (and that can be very demanding as a task) and then let’s talk.

    Otherwise, you betray your own ignorance in falling for the smear campaign that has been run against him by rightwing nuts.

  4. Jagannath Says:

    @deep: there’s a huge misconception about Steve Jobs that he is more than just a genius, a revolutionary sort of figure, which he certainly isn’t. He’s just another man in his pursuit for a quick buck. Let’s acknowledge that first.

    @priyesh: In that case only Bill Gates has any kind of authority to make a comment about this ‘great man’.

    @Ravi Das: you’re obviously missing woods for the trees here. Since you are being such a pedant let me jot down Edison’s achievements: incandescent filaments and lamps, magneto or dynamo-electric machines, electric lighting, electric meters and motors. Coming to your other query, I would like to know why didn’t he create a few more jobs in US.
    After all he criticised Bill Gates for his philanthropy and said that true philanthropy is creating more jobs.

  5. Ravi Das Says:

    Edison did not create electricity, you oaf. And what is wrong with creating employment in Phillipines?

  6. priyesh Says:

    I personally feel that you are not in a position based on your capability and experience to make any comment on steve jobs.

  7. deep Says:

    “So as you see he was just another businessman who doesn’t deserve to be lionised as the poster child of modern-day technology.”

    So that is the basic grouse u have…him being a businessman, as if, that were equivalent to being a criminal!

  8. Swapna Says:

    Good one!

    It is difficult to understand the outpouring of grief…why?

    Ra.One made $35 million in 5 days, right? Why?

    Is it correlated, I wonder…

    :)

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