A Time To Reflect On Innovation

from the sad-news dept

When Steve Jobs retired, we didn’t jump on the bandwagon and post yet another story about the retirement. And now that the news has come out that he has passed away (at age 56, way too young), I don’t have much to say that won’t be said a million times elsewhere. But the fact is that Steve Jobs has had such a huge influence on innovation across a variety of different industries that his passing shouldn’t go unmentioned. It’s very sad news. Whether or not you liked his products and/or agreed with his strategies, you cannot deny the massive way he ended up impacting innovation and the lives of millions of people. It’s really worth the time to sit back and reflect on how different a world we might live in if it hadn’t been for Steve Jobs, and also to regret how much more he might have accomplished. Truly a sad day.

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Comments on “A Time To Reflect On Innovation”

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Tom Landry (profile) says:

A beautiful quote from Jobs:

A beautiful quote from Jobs:
‎”Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else?s life. Don?t be trapped by dogma ? which is living with the results of other people?s thinking. Don?t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Rest well sir.

DandonTRJ (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Greatest Skill of Steve Jobs

The critical thing about Steve Jobs is that he was one of the very few human beings on planet earth who truly understood user interfaces. It was Jobs’ ability to design intuitive, reliable interfaces which created the prosperity of Apple. The interface is why Apple consumer products swept away all others. The PC is an interesting case, because there, Microsoft managed, with Windows 95, to come up with an interface which was almost as good as the then Macintosh interface, but without the Macintosh vendor lock-in. That plus cheaper prices, from the magic of commercial competition, meant Windows won in the PC space.

The Linux guys display very much poorer understanding of user interfaces. They are trying, but they are still making boneheaded mistakes, which Jobs would not tolerate for a second.

The other aspect of Jobs was his abusive business practices. He was relentlessly proprietary and that cost him many customers, but it did help keep his margins high. However, the main thing keeping up his margins was the quality of his products. Design, particularly the user interface, is everything.

Apple is now in serious trouble. They can drift along quite happily for a while, but without Jobs to force them to avoid dumb design mistakes, they will struggle to develop new products and struggle to spot new opportunities. Jobs was a minimalist with good taste. Your average corporate psychopath is nothing like that. The psychopaths do not care about user interfaces, just the same as they do not care about how they hurt people in general.

John William Nelson (profile) says:

Re: Apple will be fine . . .

It will lose some of its dynamism, but the company has been designed quite well and been prepared quite a while for this to happen. Tim Cook has had a number of years as acting CEO.

Apple will miss Steve the showman, for sure, but Steve’s process of developing new tech is deeply ingrained in the company.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Apple will be fine . . .

“Tim Cook has had a number of years as acting CEO.” Being CEO and being chief designer are not the same thing.

“Steve’s process of developing new tech is deeply ingrained in the company.”

That should be “was deeply ingrained”. It is broken now. The process consisted of Steve Jobs giving instructions to others, then when the task was done, there would be a presentation to Jobs. If he liked it, then the task really was done. If Jobs was not happy, he would bluntly criticize, people might get sacked, and the task continued. Everybody associated with design lived in fear of what might happen at their next presentation to Steve Jobs.

At most companies, design approval is done by a committee. No person on the committee has the determination or the power to sack anybody. The committee is composed of managers, whose psychopathic tendencies mean that they are exclusively focused on office politics and care little about design. If they see something that looks “good enough”, it gets a pass. That is no way to make products which are “insanely great”, which was the standard enforced by Jobs.

John William Nelson (profile) says:

Terribly sad

Steve Jobs was a hero of mine. It’s funny, I didn’t really think of him that way until I found out he died. Yet, he is one of the people I hope to emulate. His passion for his work, his ability to bounce back from tough times, and his willingness to take risks are all admirable. Perhaps it is the still raw emotions of losing my father (and another of my heroes) last December, but I am terribly sad over this.

Peace be with his family and friends. A terrible blow, but a man who did so much.

out_of_the_blue says:

Jobs hideous influence on user interfaces:

“Even then, Mr. Jobs was a stickler about design details. Bruce Tognazzini, a former user-interface expert at Apple who joined the company in 1978, once said that Mr. Jobs was adamant than [sic] the keyboard not include “up”, “down,” “right” and “left” keys that allow users to move the cursor around their computer screens.

Thank you, great big giant heartless IBM, for arrow keys. And actually using two buttons on mice. And real hardware, not “gutless wonders”. For OPEN hardware fully disclosed, not quirky proprietary. For pioneering most of present computer-dom, not cutesy toys.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Jobs hideous influence on user interfaces:

I can personally tell you that this is true.

I was once a longtime Mac developer and card carrying fanboy. (1983-1997)

The original Macintosh did not have arrow keys.

Eventually it did. Not having them was a mistake IMO, and in a lot of other opinions as well. But Jobs was trying to force developers to not take shortcuts. Developing for the Mac, in 1984 required a different way of thinking. You couldn’t simply take green screen text software and port it to run on Mac. Jobs proactively wanted to do everything possible to undermine developers’ efforts to do that.

While I am rapidly becoming very anti-Apple today, the fact that the software we all use everyday is written using the same event driven GUI model is testament to Jobs vision and passion.

Risk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Still Possible To Be Optimistic

As much as I’ve come to despise Apple The Infernal Company and Steve The Jobsian Monster, they collectively were certainly pure masters of the marketing game and know very well how to manipulate the masses.

No matter what anyone thinks of Jobs, he and his dastardly evil machine called Apple were certainly exceptionally good for the industry as a whole.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes, but without IP, ideas often just die and the innovators just go to the fridge and get another beer. I know that things like open source often do okay in a few circumstances but IP provides the profits that pay for the health insurance and the salaries for all of the hard working engineers it takes to turn a great idea into a great product.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No, it’s actually pretty happy. If you “Mending Walls” by Robert Frost, you’ll understand that property rights aren’t so bad.

And no, ultimately profit isn’t the only motivation. I never said that. Yet you seem to be so brainwashed by the Openness Bullies that you can’t understand why it’s kind of nice to see a marketplace where people charge a fair price and people pay it grateful that someone’s doing the work for them.

Apple succeeded because they charged enough to be able to pay their engineers to devote the time to get the product working well. It was a nice feedback loop that paid off nicely for everyone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The circumstances that count.
The army want to build a crowdsource factory around the country to not let America fall behind and be dependant on China for the production of their own weapons.

You don’t see it, but open source is the way to bring back jobs to all.

IP coalesces to a big pool where few can control what others do and they do exercise that control to the detriment of society and the nation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

America’s rise as an industrial power was fueled by our willingness to ignore others’ patents. Our rise as an intellectual power was fueled by our willingness to ignore others’ copyrights. Ben Franklin didn’t pay royalties, and neither did most American publishers until our “balance of intellectual payments” with the world turned positive, late in the 19th century.

Fact is, trying to ring-fence intellectual property only impoverishes the ring-fencer. We will grow only if we are willing to compete, and we can win that competition only by focusing on what makes us strong, our openness and inventiveness, not our past glories.

Source: http://opensource.com/business/11/10/uneasy-relationship-between-open-source-and-profit

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The early rise may have been driven by pure copying, but that wasn’t innovation. It was just copying and it was just catching up.

Your point about ring-fencing might have made sense if America started to fall apart after recognizing intellectual property rights. But it didn’t. It went from what was still a relative backwater to a nation that was ready to lead the world after WWII — and that all happened after adopting your worst-case scenario.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

So not true. While a weak America was able to catch up with others by imitation and theft, America did not become the greatest nation until it started recognizing and protecting intellectual property. All of those medical advances? Paid for by patent-protected revenue. Wright Brothers? Edison? Bell? All patent-protected inventors. I could go on and on and on.

Heck even the success of the GPL-protected Linux wouldn’t be possible with total disrespect for IP.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Nope. Wrong. The GPL forces people to release the source if they release the binaries. Imagine that there’s no copyright. Someone takes some code, makes some improvements and starts to ship a binary. Does that person have to share the improvement? Nope. There’s no GPL so that person can keep the improvements proprietary and secret– something Google does with most of the improvements they make to open source code.

This is just a false assumption. The GPL sharing won’t work without copyright. That’s why we need the AGPL to force folks like Google to actually contribute back.

Get a clue dude.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

except Americal is NOT one of the greatest nations on earth ANYMORE, has not been that way for years and years and years.

The ONLY people who believe America is a ‘great nation’ or a world leader in innovation are Americans.
(and only the gullable ones at that)

Perhaps you might want to outline what area’s the US is “great” in ?

(list form is fine)

Science ? no, most of the big discoveries were from Europe, Greece, and the middle east.

Arts? No, most great artists are NOT American

Computers? No, computers were developed in the UK, Australia and Germany.

Mathematics ? NO Europe and UK again

Literiture ? No, great writers are usualy NOT Americal

Crafts and basic technology, (steam engines, glass, paper, mining etc ? NO.

Europe and mid east

Space technology ? no

High Energy Physics ? No

Education ? no the US is WAY DOWN THE LIST for quality of education.

Health care? NO … just NO

winning wars ???? HAHAHAHAHAH Oh mersey !!!

“land of the FREE” Yea right

Oh well, at least some Americans buy into your argument ๐Ÿ™‚

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Stealing ideas and stealing technology are not exactly the same thing, so maybe he was not being exactly hypocritical.

But, regardless, if that’s the way you decide whose death is going to make you sad, you should be skipping and whistling past many funerals. Lots of people contradict themselves.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m far more troubled by the nature of his hypocrisy than by hypocrisy in general. It’s the same thing with lies: some lies are worse than others, and I’m far more troubled by people who lie about matters of consequence than those who lie about trivial matters.

I’m not celebrating Jobs’ passing, but I’m also not going to pretend that I liked him.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Allow me to try and explain why we celebrate the passing of others by trying to find the good things about them.

Death is the time to celebrate the good that every flawed man or women brings to this world, it is a time to reach inside ourselves and celebrate the good parts and try to forgive the bad ones, it is a time when we can see what was good and how it looks like, and to acknowledge what we see as bad by not talking about when everybody knows what those parts were, it is a time to let go of grudges and practice that so we can learn to let go of the bad and concentrate on the good.

That is not hypocrisy, that is a social coping mechanism very important to us all.

If you believe it is hypocrite to try and find the good in people you too some day will suffer that at the hands of others

hmm (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I agree.

RIP Steve Jobs, though you had your detractors you did more good than harm overall and thats all any of us can aspire to.

We try to see the good in people so that we can look and take part of that goodness into our own lives and become better people.

It’s just sad that we can’t do that more whilst people are still with us.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Stealing ideas or technology today has no difference.
Just see the patent office to have proof of that.

Lawyers have destroyed the distinction between idea and implementation, the government is talking about “idea economy”, there is no distinction.

A great cancer has evolved in our society and the name of that cancer is “lawyer”.

They are the ones at the end of the money trail.
Lawyers groups are the ones making the most contribution to political campaigns, they are the ones making live unbearable for everyone.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t have very nice things to say about Jobs, but I believe tradition is how we pass the meat and potatoes of one generation to another, so I won’t engage in flamewars in this thread as a show of respect for somebody who I like it or not rocked my world, from the Apple II that I played Super with, and learned what sprites were to the iPhone that was the one device that got it right after hundreds of attempts to bring Star Trek like pads to the masses that failed before.

Steve Jobs was a man who could see and understand how others see and feel technology maybe it is because he was not able to do math or program anything he was outside of the group and could relate to the common person and new what they wanted. He was a smart man and had a tenacity that few have that is all the good I find it in me to say about him and so here I end with a rest in peace.

PaulT (profile) says:

Steve was a visionary, a leader and a great innovator. He wasn’t perfect (remember that Apple had as many failures as other companies), but when he was right it was game-changing, even world-changing.

It’s a shame that the passing of such a great man leads to trolling and pathetic attacks on him rather than remembrance of his legacy. It’s not surprising that these comments are coming from the poor examples of humanity we get on these boards daily. I despise much of what Bill Gates has done, but I’ll be sure to hold my tongue on the day he passes.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Here’s to Steve Jobs a thinker, a believer, a so far outside of the box imaginer he was most likely from an alternate universe type of box.

His legacy of innovation not just in Apple but other ‘NeXt’ generation technologies and methods will live on, and whether you hate, like, worship, or just don’t really think about Apple he will be missed.

A quote I have on the wall in my office states something that Apple stated in an Advertising campaign in 1997 and has been said by some said to of been written by (and about) Jobs himself.

“Here’s to the Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.

Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world – are the ones who DO!
– Think Different(1997) [video here]

So here’s to Steve Jobs wherever he may be, he was crazy enough to actually change the world!

Anonymous Coward says:



What he took away is more precious than given
He brought user friendliness, usability concepts to top of the pile, and caused computer technology to go for more style, but what he did with locking in his customers, limiting their freedoms and then making enormous profits over these, has caused almost all other companies to follow the same style. now every company, even google, is trying to lock in people to things so that they can cash-cow them. imagine how internet would be if it was limited to 10-15 companies and their app stores, estores, media stores etc from the start.

unfortunately, due to what he did, this is the direction the movers and shakers of the information technology are taking.

talk about the openness, freedom of apple at the starting stages, and talk about after jobs. i wonder if the other steve can turn things around and make apple more in line with the spirit of information technology freedom and progress again…

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

I Still Have The Six Colours

I was a Mac man from the early days (~1985) through most of the 1990s. In the 1980s I thought they were the most amazing computers, while the IBM PC and its clones were just a clunky hunk of junk. The Amiga had flashier hardware, but the Mac had a better software layer, which adapted better to changes in hardware (e.g. when the Mac II brought in larger screens, colour and 32-bit addressing), while Amiga apps were still stuck with hard-coded assumptions about screen resolution and the like.

It wasn?t until about the mid 1990s that I felt that Windows PCs could at last offer a credible alternative to the Mac. Much of the rest of the world felt the same, too, and that?s when Apple?s fortunes began to decline.

Then Steve Jobs came back. I never thought much of his NeXT machine (I remember some Apple engineers did a spoof ?NeVR? version of the logo), and it was clear the market wasn?t exactly enthusiastic about it either. But somehow the combination of him and Apple together again really began firing on all cylinders. His iMac single-handedly popularized USB (which had been languishing in a chicken-and-egg dilemma despite Intel?s best efforts)?you could tell it was the iMac and not Windows 98 which came out the same year that was responsible, because all the cool new USB devices came in translucent blue and other bright colours, so they could look good next to an iMac, rather than a drab beige Windows PC.

But I didn?t like what he did with OS X, which I saw as an attempt to foist the failed NeXT technologies on the large Mac installed base. So the last piece of Apple hardware I bought was a 2002-vintage G4 iMac. I had already been doing a bunch of Linux admin and programming work by that time, so I decided to concentrate more on that.

In retrospect, I chose the right time to part ways with Apple. As the company moved more and more into non-PC products (Ipod, Iphone), it became more and more controlling with its product strategy. I stuck with platforms where I could write and run whatever code I liked?or whatever my customers liked.

Then this thing called ?Android? came on the scene. It was built on a Linux kernel, which I already had some familiarity with. Earlier this year I had a client ask if I could do some development on the ?Apple mobile platform? (their words) for them. By this time it was clear which way the wind was blowing: I advised them that they would reach a wider market by going with Android rather than Apple.

And to put my money where my mouth was, I downloaded the Android SDK, installed it on my Linux box, and started to learn something about it. Unlike with Apple?s platform, I didn?t need to sign any licence agreement, register with any special program, abide by any NDA, or jump through hoops to get my code running on hardware that I own: I could just compile and go.

It?s fair to say that Android would not be where it is today without the competition from Apple. Apple, too, has shown signs of benefiting from the competition with Android; if it could only loosen up a bit, it could benefit a whole lot more. The legacy of Steve Jobs has taken it so far, but it?s not going to take it much further.

Oh, and the ?six colours? refers to the rainbow colours of the original Apple logo (dating from the founding of the company up until Jobs? return). I still have pullovers, carry bags and other tchotchkes bearing this logo, from the various conferences I went to in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in Australia and the US. Good times, meeting people who had previously been just names on the Internet, and exchanging our love of things Apple.

Ah well, time to get on with the rest of my life. One era ends, another begins.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I Still Have The Six Colours

Android’s downfall will be it’s openness. By allowing hardward vendor’s to limit access to the Android market and the ability to add their own user interface tweaks, Google, is fragmenting it’s own user experience. With an iOS device or even a Sybmian (gasp) device, moving from one model of phone to the next was easy, the user experience is consistent. The Android platform’s user experience is so fragmented that even phones offered by the same vendor have different user interfaces. This will cause a backlash as further generations of phones are developed. After a SINGLE bad upgrade experience, users will abandon an entire platform (and this applies to ALL consumer products).

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: I Still Have The Six Colours

> Android’s downfall will be it’s openness. By allowing
> hardward vendor’s to limit access to the Android market
> and the ability to add their own user interface tweaks,
> Google, is fragmenting it’s own user experience.

On the contrary. While hardware vendors are free to do what they like, customers are equally free to choose to buy some other vendors? products. There is nothing particularly saintly about Google?they can be just as amoral as any other corporation. But by open-sourcing Android, they have severely handicapped their own capacity for vendor lock-in. And not just their own, but that of all the device makers, too.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I Still Have The Six Colours

Tell you what, instead of having a dick waving contest about what’s “better” and who’s “right”, let’s all rejoice in the fact that there actually is a choice.

Everything you’ve stated so far is personal opinion. You’re entitled to it, of course, but you at least partially have Jobs to thank for that. Like it or not, his choices reinvigorated not only his own company but markets nobody else though were worth so much effort. I remember people scoffing at the iPhone when it was first announced, but do you honestly think you’d have so much choice of Android manufacturers if it hadn’t been so successful?

Vote with your wallet. I’ll vote with mine. Let’s not pretend either of our choices is superior because of the logo on the box, or because one balks at choices the other finds useful. May the best man “win”, though I’m certainly more interested in having the best tool for my needs, and competition to drive improvement.

Anonymous Coward says:

We will mis you Steve

I rarely used Apple products, I always consider them inferior from a technical standpoint and outrageously overpriced. Not to say they weren’t beautifully designed and they had great user interface.
That said however, Steve Jobs was one of the founding fathers of modern technology and computing. The tech world, and the world at at large has lost a great visionary and innovative and progressive person. It is a sad day indeed.

May your legacy and vision never be forgotten!
1955-211 R.I.P Steve Jobs

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: We will mis you Steve

“Inferior from a technical standpoint”? How so? Industry standard components, clean design, amazingly compact board design, green tech, etc…

And as for being “outrageously overpriced”, that argument has been made in the past and has proven to be false in recent years. If you think Apple products are overpriced, you aren’t comparing pricing on similarly equipped machines. Pick a macbook, not the macbook pro, then spec out a Dell machine identically and tell me the price difference. I am positive it will be within 20% and that is saying a great deal considering the inconsistent quality that Dell is currently shipping – I was once a Dell fan, but they have really gone downhill.

Anonymous Coward says:

First off, let me say RIP Steve Jobs, the world lost a unique person, someone who lead by example.

On a personal level, I think this is the death of style over substance. For years and years, Apple has been making what is often a second rate product, but has pushed it with a combination of style and snobbish attitude that has been a total turn off to me. Jobs was at the forefront, pretty much telling us that we were stupid if we didn’t “get it”. Far from being a true innovator, Jobs spent much of his early career shamelessly ripping everyone else off, and being proud of it (quote already provided above).

We lost a great man, but we didn’t lose our way… we just lost his way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Steve was not all success

The thermal issues of the Apple /// (all because fans harshed his calm), the way overpriced Lisa, the money spent on the Macintosh assembly line to meet the non-demand, claiming education would be the big market for the Mac (when Desktop Publishing is what kept it up) and then missing the market demand for the NeXT (Wall Street and the ‘spooks’ need for fast changing software kept that going).

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Just to add...

While we can all argue over what he did and how he did it, the sheer volume of what Steve Jobs accomplished in his life is something we should all strive for. Perhaps not in the same industry, or with the same goals, or with the same methods, but certainly with the same zeal and passion. Here was one man whose vision, love it or hate it, changed industries he was never involved in, ultimately for the positive.

RIP Steve Jobs. Hopefully your legacy won’t be in what you created, but what you inspire US to create….

Anonymous Coward says:

I knew the economy was bad but I thought they were exaggerating the rate at which we were losing Jobs. But fear not, people. Our bold visionary forward-thinking president is already on top of it as he got started weeks ago touting his plan to resurrect Jobs. If Congress would just get out of his way, he could have prevented us from losing our Jobs in the first place. No games. No politics. No delays.

bob (profile) says:

He pretty much broke every rule this site has ever endorsed

1) Give stuff away for free– Bah. Apple makes some of the most expensive computers on earth and they’re not shy about charging a premium that’s more than double.

2) Give intellectual property away– Apple has plenty of patent lawyers and they sue frequently. Practically everything coming out of the building except the garbage has a copyright symbol on it.

3) Be open — Apple forces everyone to sign tough non-disclosures and they enforce them with an iron glove. Does anyone really believe that those leakers committed suicide?

4) Encourage cross-fertilization and idea marketplaces– The iPhone is the most locked down computer outside of the NSA and CIA. Nothing happens without Cupertino’s permission and that’s one big black box.

5) Listen to fans– Jobs famously said that market research is worthless because the public doesn’t know what it wants.

6) Use Open Source– Well, Apple did use BSD and Mach the basis for the MacOS, but aside from some tepid sharing of Darwin, it’s pretty much kept everything secret. They contributed little beyond a few bug fixes but gained a ton of free research. So maybe they used open source in a different sense of “used”.

7) Connect with fans– Only select media and people who paid a fortune to go to MacWorld could go see the special events where Steve Jobs would only talk to the very important. Everyone else was stuck watching the Mac Rumor sites– sites that Apple often sued whenever it didn’t like the coverage.

8) Give people reason to buy– Apple does this but not by sharing or connecting with fans or collaborating or following any idea ever endorsed by this website. Nope. They lock everything down, deploy lawyers, and pay the very best to build the very best. Then the world comes and bangs on their door.

It’s an elite company driven by elitist and royalist tendencies and they could care less about the populism and mob rule embraced around here. It’s staggering how well Steve Jobs did by ignoring everything ever endorsed by this site.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: He pretty much broke every rule this site has ever endorsed

“He pretty much broke every rule this site has ever endorsed”

Except, you seem to have clearly misunderstood every “rule”, or are so blinded by partisanship you can’t even acknowledge the successes…

“1) Give stuff away for free”. Not a “rule” on Techdirt. What’s simply noted is that rather than trying to charge a premium for everything, give away the lower value stuff to sell the higher value. That’s what a lot of Apple’s business is built on, from giving away iTunes to sell iPods, to free apps on the app store, even to OS upgrades (I believe IOS5 will be free, unless I’ve been misled). They don’t give away everything, of course, but that’s not what’s usually said here.

“2) Give intellectual property away”. Where has this been stated as a “rule”? I’ve seen arguments for leveraging it without charge (see above) or criticisms of over-enforcing it, but simply giving it away without a model built around it – that’s the “give it away and pray” model of which this site has been highly critical.

“3) Be open”. I’ll admit this is a problem of the modern Apple, and something that has probably lost some sales. But, has it ever been said that “being open” means you have to invite everybody into your development cycle?

“4) Encourage cross-fertilization and idea marketplaces”. They do this in ways that don’t involve their core hardware business. Remember, they’re largely a hardware manufacturer who use software to sell their hardware, not the other way around. There’s definitely an Apple community out there.

“5) Listen to fans”. Jobs has been known to be wrong. There’s no fanboyism here, just an appreciation of a man who has gone with a vision. Apple have certainly responded to complaints and ideas from customers, even if Jobs didn’t procrastinate about it.

“6) Use Open Source”. This is an ideal, but I dare you to find an article that states that this is how everyone should operate. As a non-fanboy, I operate on the “best tool for the job” principle. I find Linux far more useful than Windows for most tasks, so I go there. I’ve had far better experiences with the iPhone than the Android devices I’ve personally tried, so I use that. If my experience changes, I’ll switch based on the product, not idealism.

“7) Connect with fans”. Isn’t every Jobs keynote available online? Other than that, what are their failing against, say Microsoft’s community approach? Haven’t many of their recent innovations been aimed squarely at communication?

“8) Give people reason to buy”. Apple regularly releases innovative and interesting products. They are usually of superior build quality compared to the competition (yeah, yeah, with a price tag to match). They usually need upgrading less often than similar devices on other platforms, and when they do they’re usually very cheap (compare Lion upgrades to Windows 7, for example), so the devices stay relevant more often. Although that reputation is being challenged, their products also have a reputation for being more secure and stable than MS.

Their walled garden approach is a problem, but it’s less of a dealbreaker than us more technical folk might realise, so long as it continues to supply people with what they want. If the model fails within their walled garden (see: AOL), expect problems, but that’s not happened yet…

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: He pretty much broke every rule this site has ever endorsed

Boy you’re such a fanboi you don’t even realize you’re being a fanboi.

1) First, Apple doesn’t give away the apps in the app store. The developers do. When Apple writes the apps as they did with programs like Keynote, they charge! And

It’s not really a gift when you give away software that only works with your product. If iTunes worked with other MP3 players or other stores, you might have a point. iTunes is just part of the package when you buy an iPod.

And I don’t know what you’re thinking about the OS upgrades. They give away the bug fixes but they sure charge for the upgrades. Didn’t they used to price the upgrades like 10.1 for as much as $99 just to encourage people to buy new hardware?

Now yes, they give away Safari on the PC but heck that may just be a money making ploy to earn cash on the search revenue.

I’m sure they give a few things away for free, but by and large they are one of the tightest companies I’ve ever seen. It’s rare to even see free Apple swag at the conferences. Heck, they don’t even go to MacWorld anymore.

2) Where is it stated that one must give away digital property? Why practically every day, this site goes out of its way to find some way to argue that piracy is somehow good for the creators. Let’s say some artist goes to a bar and gets lucky? This site would claim it’s because Pirate Bay increased attention or something like that.

3) Again, every day there’s usually some article saying that the only way forward is to be totally open. How about this one, “Has Sony Finally Realized that Open Platforms Are Good?”


4) Really? What have you been smoking? You need to pay to be an Apple Developer. If you read any of their sacred texts, you’re not allowed to comment upon them or share the information with anyone, even if they’re dreadfully dull details about anti-aliasing. They SUE developers who talk with other developers outside of the approved forums.

If Mike were running the Apple developer program, he would be giving the developers free computers and free software and probably free other stuff too. But he’s not. Yet the fanbois struggle to pay the Apple Tax just so they can be part of this so called “community.” The proper word is “plantation.”

6) Here’s an article that says that Palm is doing the right thing by being more open:


The implication is that they shouldn’t be following Apple’s move. But how did it work out for good, old TechDirt-believing Palm?

7) Uh, just putting your keynote online isn’t connecting. Paul Simon had to actually invite a fan up onto the stage without knowing whether the fan could even carry a tune.


Here’s another article that says, “It’s about actually figuring out what your community wants, interacting with them, and giving them what they want. It’s about actually participating in some manner.” (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100830/01563410815.shtml)

Yet what did Jobs do? Ignored market research and said that the fans didn’t know what they really wanted. Sounds diametrically opposed to what this blog preaches.

8) You seem to be agreeing with me. People don’t want the openness. Who has more fanbois? Jobs or Paul Simon? Has Steve Jobs ever invited some bloke from the audience on stage? Heck, he barely shared it with Phil Schiller before the board forced him to do it when the cancer came.

Get a clue. Jobs broke practically every single rule, guideline, suggestion, hint or rule-of-thumb that this blog endorsed. He did the exact opposite most of the time. Yet who’s the big winner? That slick MotoBoy celebrated by this blog or Apple?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: He pretty much broke every rule this site has ever endorsed

“Boy you’re such a fanboi you don’t even realize you’re being a fanboi.”

I’m someone who primarily uses Linux and Macs at home, works with Linux and Windows, and sees advantages in all of them under different circumstances. I’m about as far from a fanboy as you can get.

“First, Apple doesn’t give away the apps in the app store.”

Yes, they do. They also provide the infrastructure for others to give away free apps. Do they have to give everything away for free now for that to count?

“It’s not really a gift when you give away software that only works with your product. “

iTunes works with Windows, and while it’s geared toward syncing with iPods, all the music on there nowadays works with any AAC capable device. Even the free content, as well as the free infrastructure they supply for podcasts.

“And I don’t know what you’re thinking about the OS upgrades.”

You certainly don’t. Unless I’m mistaken, the upcoming IOS5 is a free upgrade. The latest OSX upgrade, Lion, was $30 for as many machines as you wanted under the same account. Try doing that with Windows.

“It’s rare to even see free Apple swag at the conferences.”

I’m talking the view of the general public, not the “fanboys” who attend an annual conference.

“Why practically every day, this site goes out of its way to find some way to argue that piracy is somehow good for the creators.”

Again, you seem to have completely misunderstood the major points raised here. Go back and try again, that’s not what’s being said.

“4) Really?”

Erm, yes, really. Nothing you said there seems to be relevant to the point I made.

“But how did it work out for good, old TechDirt-believing Palm?”

So, because one company failed, everything on this site is null and void?

“Yet what did Jobs do? Ignored market research and said that the fans didn’t know what they really wanted.”

He was an egotist and his hubris led him down to making more than one major mistake. Nobody’s claimed otherwise.

“Jobs broke practically every single rule, guideline, suggestion, hint or rule-of-thumb that this blog endorsed. “

Jobs is a man who became successful running a HARDWARE company. Most of the models suggested here have to do with SOFTWARE or CONTENT producers. Do you honestly not see the difference, and how most of the things you’re criticising aren’t even relevant to Jobs’ industry?

But, that’s really the central point. The music industry, for example, are criticised here because they think they’re a recording industry built on selling copies of records. This no longer works like it once did. The criticism here is that they should realise there’s more than recordings in the music industry and change to embrace the realities of the marketplace. This may involve giving away some or all of the content they used to sell, in order to leverage higher value sales. Instead, they try to force the recordings to be worth the same as they were in the 90s. A mistake, and it’s this lack of adaptation and overvaluing of the content that’s criticised.

Apple, under Jobs, had no such delusions. Yes, they produce software and content, but at heart they’re a hardware company. Everything they do, be it OSX, iTunes or whatever, is intended to make their primary hardware market more valuable. It works, primarily because Jobs took much of the above advise to heart before it even had to be given.

“That slick MotoBoy celebrated by this blog or Apple?”

False dichotomy, plus trying to compare a single musician and the CEO of a major corporation is a silly comparison anyway.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 He pretty much broke every rule this site has ever endorsed

Dude. Hardware is just software rendered in silicon. The chip companies could open source their chip designs and some have tried, but they’ve gone nowhere. The chip companies need the profits from overpricing their early models to pay for all of the research and engineering. That’s a sustainable business model.

The very same is true for software. Open source works best when it’s just cheap advertising or a way for several companies to collaborate without elaborate sharing contracts. But open source software needs cash to fuel itself just like any other business. Open source is only sustainable when it’s funded by something forces people to pony up the cash if they want to be in the club.

That’s why it’s hilarious to hear you say that Apple is giving away the infrastructure for the AppStore. Hah, hah. The developers do the work. The store infrastructure is just funded by iPhone sales and other app sales. You probably think that Macy’s is giving things away when they let people walk through the store on the way to the mall.

Let me repeat myself. You’re not giving something way if it only works with your hardware. You’re just shipping a bug fix or a feature update.

And I’ll believe you about iTunes when I see it sync with one of those cheap $20 MP3 players. Until then, Apple’s not giving anything away.

Now you talk about the realities of the marketplace, but I don’t think you see them. All of Mike’s experiments with openness, sharing, gifting, and connecting with fans are going nowhere fast. Oh, I think they’re cool and neat, but they’re nowhere near as successful as super-secretive Apple.

That’s the point I’m making. Mike’s examples just can’t hold a candle to Jobs’s relentless, brutal mercantilism. If you want to be in the Apple developer club, you have to pay heavily and keep your mouth shut. If you want to be an Apple owner, you’ve got to pay twice as much as the PC owner. He’s the biggest counterexample to everything that this blog stands for.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 He pretty much broke every rule this site has ever endorsed

“If you want to be an Apple owner, you’ve got to pay twice as much as the PC owner.”

This kind of encapsulates the fact that you’re missing every point made here.

If I pay more for an Apple product, I’m paying for the *hardware* not the *software*. I get the same value out of the hardware with OSX as I do if I nuke it and put Windows or Linux on the same box. I get the same value if I jailbreak an iPhone and install lots of non-Apple approved.

If I choose to pay more, it’s not because Steve Jobs has gotten me imprisoned or because iTunes won’t sync with some crap you got out of a dollar store (another misunderstanding of a point I made above). It’s because they sell high quality hardware, and I prefer it to Dell’s or Motorola’s or their other competitors. End of story.

If you continue to try to distort both my words and the points raised on this site to launch attacks against Apple and Techdirt, I think we’re done here.

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 He pretty much broke every rule this site has ever endorsed

High quality hardware? It’s the same Intel chips that are in Dell computers. The hard drives come from the same companies. The video chips come from the same companies. The network controller chips come from the same companies. ETC…. 90-98% of the hardware is exactly the same.

Oh sure, Apple makes nicer boxes with quieter fans, but for the most part the most significant differences are in the software and this is where Jobs is ignoring every lesson, suggestion or rule proposed by the folks in this echo chamber. He does not share. He does not connect with fans– at least according to the definition used here. He charges money to be a developer and then he SUES anyone who talks about the API. He breaks every single rule of this site for building a community, yet he succeeds.

So I’m afraid you’re the one who’s ignoring what I have to say. Jobs was a closed-minded, elitist, techno-snob who thumbed his nose at all of the kumbaya-singing, community building dreams shared around here. Face it. You can’t celebrate the ideas promoted here and celebrate the techno-fascist Apple at the same time. They couldn’t be more different.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 He pretty much broke every rule this site has ever endorsed

Wow, can’t let it go, can you?

“90-98% of the hardware is exactly the same.”

Indeed. But, it’s that 2-10% that makes all the difference. Or, are you trying to tell me there’s no point buying an Alienware or other high quality machine because I can still get Intel processors in a bargain basement Lenovo or Acer machine?

“Oh sure, Apple makes nicer boxes with quieter fans”

Let’s play the game of “spot the self-contradiction”!

“Jobs was a closed-minded, elitist, techno-snob who thumbed his nose at all of the kumbaya-singing, community building dreams shared around here. “

Yep, another idiot who can’t possibly formulate an argument without insults and misrepresentation. You’re frigging moron, sorry to break it to you.

“You can’t celebrate the ideas promoted here and celebrate the techno-fascist Apple at the same time.”

Perhaps if you understood the actual ideas represented here instead of tilting at windmills, you could.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 He pretty much broke every rule this site has ever endorsed

Bob got news for you, ALL HARDWARE at least consumer hardware is OPEN TECH, you can go out and buy or download the FULL SPECIFICATIONS, microcode and artechure of ANY CPU you can probably think of, and many more.

The whole idea is to make that information available to allow engineers (both software and hardware) to use that data to you know !!!! actaully DO STUFF !!!

bob (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 He pretty much broke every rule this site has ever endorsed

Dude, I’m not talking about the specs about the clock rate, I’m talking about the actual positions of the transistors when the engineers tape out. There’s no reason why Intel or the others couldn’t post those design docs immediately under a GPL-like license and let anyone with a fab start churning out the chips. But they don’t because it would be financial suicide.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: Steve Jobs And Open Source

Well, one key part of NeXT?s?and later, Apple?s?technology was Open Source: the Objective C compiler.

I?m not sure who originally developed it?whether it was Stepstone, or NeXT. But whoever it was chose to build it on top of GCC?the GNU Compiler Collection. But since GCC was published under the GPL, any ?derivative work? that was published also had to be done so under the GPL.

So the company had two choices: abandon GCC and redevelop the compiler from scratch, or acquiesce to the terms of the GPL. They chose the latter. Which is why, even to this day, developers for Apple?s platform will notice that they are using GCC to compile their Objective C code.

btrussell (profile) says:

Here is my favorite from right here in town.

“I woke up this morning with the sudden realization that I owe Steve Jobs my life.

I sometimes find the outpouring of emotion following the death of a famous person a bit, well, disingenuous. Princess Diana was a lovely lady, I’m sure, but her death had absolutely no measurable effect on my life or the life of anyone I know.”

staff says:

another biased article

“reflect on how different a world we might live in…”

His company spent millions in lobbying the US govt to pass laws such as the patent bill which would benefit his company and help them rob and kill their small and start-up competitors and the jobs they would have created in America instead of the jobs his company and others moved outside America. How different a world indeed!

Marc Telesha (profile) says:

Re: LOL Wikipedia??? That's funny


v. in?no?vat?ed, in?no?vat?ing, in?no?vates
To begin or introduce (something new) for or as if for the first time.
To begin or introduce something new.

How about this definition:

The process by which an idea or invention is translated into a good or service for which people will pay, or something that results from this process.

This is a better definition of Jobs key word “incremental”

Evolutionary innovations are brought about by numerous incremental advances in technology or processes


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