Steve Jobs: don’t believe the hype
Soon after this date I felt personally compelled to respond to the sycophantic media coverage (even indulged in by a comment piece in The Badger) proclaiming him as a technical saint, a leader of innovation and someone who could be considered selfless due to his apparently meager salary of one Dollar a year.
These articles left a bitter taste in my mouth. My mind filled with a wealth of things that directly conflicted with the image of Jobs being portrayed, the first of these being the five or so broken iPods chilling out in my top draw that seriously question the fact that Apple products are famously ‘reliable’.
Worshippers of Steve Jobs and the ‘Cult of Apple’ seem to hail Apple as a leader of innovation, a fact that those wiser of the specifics of the technology market will know is truly false.
The design faults that caused my iPods to break were two-fold (over five ‘generations’ of ‘innovation’): the first being a moving-parts hard-drive falling out of place (known or heard as ‘click-whirr’ syndrome), and the second being a battery becoming disconnected due to faulty or weak soldering. Both of these failures can be seen as unwillingness by Apple to use contemporary technology in their iPods.
When I bought my iPod, liquid-state hard-drives (a more durable and smaller hard-drive) were common in all manner of other (cheaper) hand-held electronic devices, and solder is the cheapest component in the iPod (leaving me wondering why it was not plentiful enough).
These two things are small examples of the problems in Apple’s bigger picture. Modern technology is withheld to make the next release more appealing, and equipment is made poorly so that after the one year guarantee runs out the piece of hardware is destined to break (no matter how well you keep it) and you are forced to buy a new one.
The proclamation of Mr. Jobs as a leader of innovation is only overshadowed by the idea that he ‘was never about the money’ because he only took a ‘meager’ $1 salary. Obviously, people who believe this have only a very rudimentary (or non-existent) knowledge of taxation laws in the USA, which places income tax far higher than Capital Gains tax.
It is on this note that I highlight that although the selfless Steve only took a one dollar salary he did, in fact, hold 5.426 million Apple shares, as well as 138 million shares in Disney, which I guess isn’t actually that meager at all.
To add to this great hypocrisy, it can also be argued that Steve even stole from his own company, (allegedly) back dating his Apple share price from $21.10 to $18.30, on a transaction of 7.5 million shares taken by him in 2001, meaning he missed about 20 million dollars of taxable income (on that single occasion).
To conclude, I wonder if The Badger will publish an article proclaiming Bill Gates as a leader of innovation once he is buried. Or maybe we will see an article about Phillip Green’s selfless salary.
The only thing in which Apple has been truly innovative is how to effectively con consumers into buying products by using a cool ‘aesthetic philosophy’ and placing a pretty veneer on what are essentially under-taxed, over-priced, crap pieces of technology.