Editorial

Editorial: Steve Jobs' massive tech legacy

There are only a few people who could claim they have helped to change the entire world. Steve Jobs would likely not want that kind of a title but the truth is that his leadership of Apple, especially in his time as CEO from 1997 to this week, has influenced not just the tech industry but in communications, entertainment and more. During his time as CEO of Apple he quickly turned the company around from a place that was losing money and seemed old fashioned to one that was massively profitable and is now on the leading edge of developing new technology products.

Of course Jobs helped to found Apple back in 1976 and under his leadership at the time he created some of the most celebrated PCs ever made such as the Apple II and later the Macintosh. Jobs was kicked out of Apple in 1985 and later helped to found NeXT Computing and the Pixar 3D graphics company. While NeXT never really took off Pixar's achievements in CGI animation put Jobs on the map again.

It's easy to create a bullet point list of all the things that have happened at Apple since Jobs returned to lead the company as its CEO in 1997; the revival of the Mac PC platform with the iMac; the launch of the iPod music player line; the introduction of iTunes; the release of the iPhone and most recently the launch of the iPad. Jobs and the team at Apple have stuck to the company's most famous marketing slogan, "Think Different". The result is that other companies have been struggling to catch up to create products in new business areas that Apple basically created all by itself.

The key thing to Apple's success under the leadership of Jobs is seeing the future instead of blindly following obvious trends. Jobs wanted to make a PC that looked cooler and different than the normal Windows-based beige PC box. The result was the iMac; a cool looking all in one PC that could be ordered in one of several different colors. It was a small step but it worked to make Apple cool again.

Later Jobs began to realize that the era of playing music on compact disk players was looking archaic as PC hard drives got bigger and disk drives could be used to rip songs from CDs and played on PCs. The result was the concept that became the iPod; a portable music players that stored tracks on a small hard drive. Suddenly people could have their entire music collection on a small device that can be taken anywhere. The launch of the iTunes music service, where people could download not just full albums but individual songs, revolutionizes the music industry and opens it up for independent bands and singers would might not have access to national exposure.

The 2007 launch of the iPhone gave Apple yet another new audience and a new business model. While the phone had its flaws (including a fairly expensive price that Apple quickly solved just a few months later) the combination of the touch screen interface, the App Store download service and more was light years ahead of what other phone makers were creating. Even today, as other smartphone makers create products that match or even exceed the iPhone, people still want to get their hands on the next version of the device.

The iPad launch of 2010 was made fun of by some people who called just a "really big iPhone" but Jobs and Apple knew that the iPad was much more than than. The tablet PC device is already taking market share away from notebook makers and, like the iPod and iPhone before it, has also lead to a boatload of imitators that haven't yet been able to come close to the iPad's success (HP certainly found that out the hard way with the demise earlier this month of the TouchPad).

Even with all of these innovative products, Apple still makes Mac desktops and MacBook Pro notebooks for the faithful. Not all of these concepts have worked (the iMac G4, which looked like a lamp with a monitor on top, wasn't a huge hit and Apple TV is still considered a "hobby" project) but the Mac is still embraced by a core user group who wouldn't dare use a Windows PC.

The result of all this success is that Apple is now one of the biggest publicly traded companies in the world. When Jobs came in as CEO again in 1997 it was bleeding money; now Apple has a war chest of tens of billions of dollars.

Could Jobs have done some things differently while leading Apple? Sure. Apple has been criticized in the past for not embracing the video game industry like Microsoft did, first with Windows PC games and later with its Xbox console division. More recently Apple has been slammed for not allowing its iPhone and iPad devices to run Flash applications. But that's Apple's way of doing things under Jobs. It doesn't like to follow; it likes to lead and watch everyone else follow.

Jobs' health problems have been known for years but his sudden decision to resign as CEO of Apple on Wednesday was still a surprise and one which has made many worry that Jobs' health issues might be getting worse instead of better. We certainly wish Jobs and his family all the best as he enters into a new era in his life. In the short term, Apple should do fine in the near term under its new CEO Tim Cook. People will still want to purchase the iPhone 5 when it comes out later this year and the iPad 3 should also be a big hit when it comes out in early 2012.

The big question for Apple in the long term is if it can continue to innovate and predict what the consumer will embrace under its new leadership. While Cook is almost certainly an able business person, it remains to be seen if he will have the vision that Jobs had for the company in the past 14 years. Cook certainly has one of the biggest, if not the biggest, business shoes in the world that he has to fill.

Image via Wikipedia

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Happy 15th birthday Team Fortress

Next Story

20 years of Linux, the little kernel that could

54 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

The question is, who gave most to the technology, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?
This is just like the argument fought for Einstein and Newton.

Gates certainly reached many more people than any other company, and made some pretty darn accurate predictions several years ago. For music industry, slate form-factor etc...

FMH said,
The question is, who gave most to the technology, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?
This is just like the argument fought for Einstein and Newton.

Gates certainly reached many more people than any other company, and made some pretty darn accurate predictions several years ago. For music industry, slate form-factor etc...

It is a hard thing to say which is better, but an interesting thought popped into my head while reading your comment. Bill gates might have predicted changes in the music industry and the slate form factor, but it was Apple who got those products out first?

DomZ said,

It is a hard thing to say which is better, but an interesting thought popped into my head while reading your comment. Bill gates might have predicted changes in the music industry and the slate form factor, but it was Apple who got those products out first?

You could say he was more involved with philanthropy. Plus, he was known as a strategist at Microsoft in 2000s at least, Ballmer was said to be the one working on the product side.

This is a time to be honest, but only offer honorable truth.

This is about a person, and no matter what we think of Apple, we cannot conflate a person and a company.

I could offer a countless list of things I do not like about Apple's business practices and even many of them sanctioned by Jobs or created by Jobs. This is not the time or place.

Jobs is brilliant and has changed the world, even if it is not in ways the traditional media review would read for non-technical users. He did 'get' the importance of aesthetics, and also had a vision that used his access to his father's connections to gain access to hardware, and was the 'drive' behind taking what Woz was building to a commercial level, instead of it remaining a hobbyist project.

He understands that 'pretty' is important, and sometimes white space and simple make things easier. He also has an awesome sense of marketing, even if it does cross the lines of what I personally consider manipulation.

If it wasn't for Jobs, Microsoft would possibly not have been able to bring what they also brought to the world, as Microsoft's success and the Mac were symbiotic in the 1980s, giving business credibility to the Mac and a giving Microsoft a create environment to implement ideas that were impossible on other computers at the time.

At one time, Microsoft Word was coined the most advanced piece of software ever written, and this was because of Jobs and Macs that it was allowed to advanced in the 80s combined with the brilliant Word team at Microsoft, which created this level of technology in the early 90s.

(I don't have an illusion that it is what a typical non-technical Jobs fan would, and there are things he was a part of I do not like, but this is not the time or place.)

I take my hat off to Jobs and the good things he was a part of in bringing technology to what it is today, and I wish him well, as he needs to focus on health and the 'real' moments of life that money cannot offer.

I dont think Jobs' legacy or impact has been as mighty or godlike as some editorials are making it out to be but hey he led the company back from nothing, theyve convinced a generation of kids that style and brand count with electronics and their embracing of consumer mobile devices has been great and a broader benefit for the industry where MS dropped the ball.

Snide comments about a legacy of overpriced electronics says more about the consumer mentality than it does a negative reflection of the company.

I'm not sure I really like the Apple\jobs legacy

Overpriced dumbed down electronics, draconian control over said products, walled garden, zombie like fans that love to be abused, Douchey response to customers Etc.

Yea their a legacy but if you break it down it pretty much boils down to anti consumer controls and bad attitude toward everyone.

swanlee said,
I'm not sure I really like the Apple\jobs legacy

Overpriced dumbed down electronics, draconian control over said products, walled garden, zombie like fans that love to be abused, Douchey response to customers Etc.

Yea their a legacy but if you break it down it pretty much boils down to anti consumer controls and bad attitude toward everyone.


+1000

Fine, fanboys of all types, descend unto Neowin for the BATTLE OF AGES!!! No wait, it's already been going on for ages. Let me simply say this: If I could sell poodles for $4000 each, and I could sell oodles of poodles, then damn it, I would. I don't care if you hate me. I care that I have enough to take care of my family. If you don't like that, then eff off.
Now, I've never met Jobs, and I'm honestly not sure I'd want to. There's a lot about Apple products I don't like (2 USB ports on the 15" MBP...Stupid non-standard charging ports, other stuff too). And yes, I just bought a brand new iMac after years of buying ThinkPads. That being said, look at the damn profit they've netted. For good or ill, that should speak for itself. And that was with only a small percentage of the market. Around 10%, if the number I pulled out of my ass is correct. Now, if you don't mind, I've got this poodle I'm trying to sell for $5000. Oh, and the Tacoma-Narrows Bridge is on sale today at $5M. Only used twice.

Profit means nothing when you're infamous for being the biggest patent-troll in the world, lying about innovations and inventions that are not yours, known to buy out the media to display only Apple products and convince the general population that these are the only things which exist, slander competitors like Microsoft--who don't return the same kind of slander and insults to Apple, stab your own partners (Samsung and Intel) in the back, generate massive hype around your products and sucker your most loyal fans out of extra money just because you know that you can, set a precedent for restricting the user to a "walled garden" of software that harbors the most proprietary business model in the world, and on top of all that--insult and condescend your most loyal customers for a product defect that is your fault, which we've seen with the iPhone 4 issue when Jobs famously said "You're holding it wrong."

I'll admit it, they've made tons of money off of their business model. But money alone isn't going to make them a more moral, respectable, or less greedy company than Microsoft or the others. Apple can take their money and laugh at all of the people they stepped on (and still step on) to get it.

Don't worry, Apple will still be here tomorrow. So, if you like paying $3000 for a $1500 PC that won't be supported more than two years without mandatory OS upgrades or sudden processor switches, you can continue to do just that.

Jobs is a marketeer, Apple is all about marketing and n ot (so much) about innovation. They do not make their own products, they create a concept and have others create their product for them. And they are good at this.

I work with Macs and have no love for them, I prefer my win7 boxes just because they feel better to me .. You milage may vary I won't judge you for it. Macs are niche machines and a (life)style item. There is nothing they have over a win7 box that sets them apart, merely alongside in a different way.

Most people use Macs because.... they use Macs, not because they think win7 is crap. The odd fanboy is not relevant in the larger picture.

The iPad is the biggest markting trick of them all.. it _is_ in essence a bigger iPod Touch, which again is fine. But I just do not get the iOS thing and prefer Android. Again a choice..

So I do not hate Macs or iWhatever, I just have no love for them and the Apple hype does not grip me or make me feel either way... I like my HTC so when I do feel the need to get a tablet it will be a Flyer I will look at. Not because the rest is crap, but because I like HTC stuff..

In the end it's Apples and Oranges.. for real..

paulheu said,

The iPad is the biggest markting trick of them all.. it _is_ in essence a bigger iPod Touch, which again is fine. But I just do not get the iOS thing and prefer Android. Again a choice..

I like my HTC so when I do feel the need to get a tablet it will be a Flyer I will look at. Not because the rest is crap, but because I like HTC stuff....

So...

a iPad/iOS is all hype, but an Android tablet isn't?

even though iOS is more refined, has more apps, is less buggy and has a better ecosystem.
hmmm

please explain it to me who exactly one is hype and the other is not?

evo_spook said,

So...

a iPad/iOS is all hype, but an Android tablet isn't?

You obviously have trouble understanding (or at least reading) English.

But just the fact the iPad has limited ways of getting data on the device and basically forces me to use iTunes is where it's a nogo for me. I want to plug my device in a UB port and put on it whatever I choose however I choose to.

And when did you last _really_ check what is or is not availble for android? Guess it's been a while. Not that you care and neither should you, being an obvious Apple user. But do not make claims without the facts. And what Apple tells you is not the facts, it is what they want you to know/believe.

I was just trying to make a point that each individual should choose what he/she prefers and at the same time respect the different choice of another.

A concept which in the 'You need to be lead' universe Apple lives in is obviously alien.

I have my opinions on Apple, but if you choose to use their stuff.. good for you.

Edited by paulheu, Aug 25 2011, 12:42pm :

paulheu said,
You obviously have trouble understanding (or at least reading) English

So you are saying then that an Android tablet is also hype.

paulheu said,

And when did you last _really_ check what is or is not availble for android? Guess it's been a while. Not that you care and neither should you, being an obvious Apple user. But do not make claims without the facts. And what Apple tells you is not the facts, it is what they want you to know/believe.you.

I actually have a Transformer, thanks very much, so pretty much wrong on all your statements there.

seems I'm not the only one taken up with hype.

paulheu said,
Jobs is a marketeer, Apple is all about marketing and n ot (so much) about innovation. They do not make their own products, they create a concept and have others create their product for them. And they are good at this.

I work with Macs and have no love for them, I prefer my win7 boxes just because they feel better to me .. You milage may vary I won't judge you for it. Macs are niche machines and a (life)style item. There is nothing they have over a win7 box that sets them apart, merely alongside in a different way.

Most people use Macs because.... they use Macs, not because they think win7 is crap. The odd fanboy is not relevant in the larger picture.

The iPad is the biggest markting trick of them all.. it _is_ in essence a bigger iPod Touch, which again is fine. But I just do not get the iOS thing and prefer Android. Again a choice..

So I do not hate Macs or iWhatever, I just have no love for them and the Apple hype does not grip me or make me feel either way... I like my HTC so when I do feel the need to get a tablet it will be a Flyer I will look at. Not because the rest is crap, but because I like HTC stuff..

In the end it's Apples and Oranges.. for real..

nice life story. missed the part where this article was about peoples opinion of apple vs. windows/android...

why do people always feel the need to justify their hatred, indifference or liking of one product or the other? get over it.

houlty said,

nice life story. missed the part where this article was about peoples opinion of apple vs. windows/android...

why do people always feel the need to justify their hatred, indifference or liking of one product or the other? get over it.

paulheu said,

So I do not hate Macs or iWhatever, I just have no love for them and the Apple hype does not grip me or make me feel either way... I like my HTC so when I do feel the need to get a tablet it will be a Flyer I will look at. Not because the rest is crap, but because I like HTC stuff..

In the end it's Apples and Oranges.. for real..

So that makes an Apple user...

Here come a wave of awful Neowin commentor jokes.

I hope this has nothing to do with his health though... if so I hope he hangs in there.

The two big tech hero's have now both moved on...Would be cool to see a pic snapped of Gates and Jobs having some laughs over a coffee

Thanks for the good times Steve

Cash Money Billionaire said,
The two big tech hero's have now both moved on...Would be cool to see a pic snapped of Gates and Jobs having some laughs over a coffee

Thanks for the good times Steve

Indeed, but with Jobs health, I don't think that'll be happening until they both meet in heaven/hell/purgatory...

Cash Money Billionaire said,
The two big tech hero's have now both moved on...

True. But one of them is providing a legacy for the world while the other is a greedy, self absorbed ******. You can probably guess who is who.

speedstr3789 said,

True. But one of them is providing a legacy for the world while the other is a greedy, self absorbed ******. You can probably guess who is who.

No one can deny Bill Gates contributions as a philantropist, but that does not mean Steve Jobs make no contributions. Steve Jobs keeps his investments a secret, just like he runs Apple.

You can't know for sure he hasn't given any money to worthwhile causes. In fact, he may have given anonymous donations to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for all we know. The fact that he does not publicly announce his contributions or openly encourage people to give doesn't mean he is a greedy ******.

Thygod said,

No one can deny Bill Gates contributions as a philantropist, but that does not mean Steve Jobs make no contributions. Steve Jobs keeps his investments a secret, just like he runs Apple.

You can't know for sure he hasn't given any money to worthwhile causes. In fact, he may have given anonymous donations to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for all we know. The fact that he does not publicly announce his contributions or openly encourage people to give doesn't mean he is a greedy ******.

Looking at how Apple makes money, and it keeps increasing their money reserve, i dont think he has any interest in giving money, bill gates does and even when he was at Microsoft the company also gave money to Foundation, even today it still help the world in many ways, but apple doesn't do s**t, the wont even give you a free ipod shuffle if it wasn't marketing beneficial.

speedstr3789 said,

True. But one of them is providing a legacy for the world while the other is a greedy, self absorbed ******. You can probably guess who is who.

If Steve Jobs is so greedy why has his salary been $1/year for the last god knows how many years?

He's the majority shareholder in disney, has oodles of shares in Apple. He could have retired and lived the easy life a long time ago. Money isn't an issue for him. However he was driven by wanting to change how people used and interact with technology. He was driven by his passion for technology, which is more than a lot of people around here could say.

erikpienk said,

Looking at how Apple makes money, and it keeps increasing their money reserve, i dont think he has any interest in giving money, bill gates does and even when he was at Microsoft the company also gave money to Foundation, even today it still help the world in many ways, but apple doesn't do s**t, the wont even give you a free ipod shuffle if it wasn't marketing beneficial.

Apple could give more, that is not in dispute. They could also do away with slave labor in China, as could HP and Dell. The fact of the matter is that they do give money, and it is not fair to simply say they are greedy ***** and leave it at that without first doing a little bit of research.

A simple google search will give you information on some charity contributions. Such as Product RED, a foundation by U2 Bono, Bill Gates philantropist buddy. The foundation fights Malaria, AIDS and other.

They also have a corporate page to request sponsorships:

http://www.apple.com/au/contact/sponsor/

Can they give mor? probably yes. Do they give nothing? No, they don't.

DomZ said,

If Steve Jobs is so greedy why has his salary been $1/year for the last god knows how many years?

He's the majority shareholder in disney, has oodles of shares in Apple. He could have retired and lived the easy life a long time ago. Money isn't an issue for him. However he was driven by wanting to change how people used and interact with technology. He was driven by his passion for technology, which is more than a lot of people around here could say.


LOL, do you actually subscribe to that Apple BS? Steve was driven, of all things, by his desire to achieve respect through his narcissistic attempts. Not only has he deceived the consumer into thinking that he actually invented many things which he did not, he has also decieved them into thinking that the extra price which you pay for Apple products that are underpowered in comparison to the competition's is necessary. Steve may have changed the market--but certainly not for the best and in my opinion we've seen a major setback in how consumers choose their products based on their capabilities, rather than the hype which surrounds them.

DomZ said,

If Steve Jobs is so greedy why has his salary been $1/year for the last god knows how many years?

Lol...seriously?

Read up on the tax laws.