tufty
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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:57 pm

Taken out of the DMR thread, which isn't really the place to bitch about someone else's achievements (or not).

Quote from caminati on October 15, 2011, 13:25
However, your remark is a sample of the typical form of unjustified hype I was referring to; I know it well because I faced some MacDevotees in real life
How do you know it's unjustified hype if, as you say,
Quote from caminati on October 15, 2011, 09:28
I never used anything apple-ish
Anyway, about that alleged handwaving and unjustified hype, let's take a look at some of what Apple came out with under Jobs.

The Apple II - modular, affordable, technically excellent. There was nothing at all like it in 1977.
Macintosh - the machine / OS combination that basically invented desktop publishing, WYSIWYG, and so on. And, of course, sorta inspired Microsoft's Windows, which still hasn't caught up with some of the ideas embodied in even the early releases.
iMac - the marriage of technology and industrial design. Proved that PCs don't have to be bland grey boxes. It threw away all the legacy crap and was the first computer that was equipped with that little-known and obvious technology failure, USB.
OSX / iOS - a pair of highly usable front ends over a highly scalable *n*x core. The bestselling Unix™ out there today, and with reason. It came, of course, from Jobs' NeXT days.
iPod - industrial design and ease of use did for the mp3 player what Sony's Walkman did for the cassette player.
iTunes Music Store - Yes, online music sales *can* work without reaming the customer too hard. Proved that you can make money from digital downloads, created a whole new market.
iPhone - A smartphone with no buttons. "It'll never catch on", said the media. Where are Nokia now?
iPad - another entire market created and (at least for the moment) owned by Apple.
Then there's NeXT, Pixar, etc...

The word "genius" has a specific meaning, and is not restricted in domain. I don't feel at all ashamed about using it to describe Jobs. Certainly, genius is rare, and Jobs was a rare individual. He was quite possibly an arsehole to boot, but since 1999, Apple has been manifesting his vision and his vision only. How (and if) they will manage without him is questionable.

Don't be fooled into thinking I think of him as a god. He threw away as much, if not more, innovation as he pushed into the marketplace, products and ideas that didn't fit into the big Steve egosphere, but one would be foolish to think of him as a mere marketeer.

Simon

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:19 pm

Great Jobs!

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:54 pm

Who is dmr? Wait, where'd UKScone's post go?

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:09 pm

Quote from Des_Zac on October 15, 2011, 18:54
Who is dmr? Wait, where'd UKScone's post go?

dmr = dennis ritchie
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.....is_Ritchie

i decided my post was too flamebaity and not suitable for this forum. i never liked jobs or the hype over him and personally think he was nothing but the billy mays of the computer world but i don't want to start a flamewar as noone wins them

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:12 pm

Not to bash on Jobs, but I believe the distinction being made here is that people are attributing him as the talent behind everything when he's not. As you said those products came out with him in charge of the company, but he didn't make them or even come up with the ideas for them. What he did do most exceptionally was marketing! He was a brilliant business man who took a product and made it hip. No one using it because it was second tier became no one using it because it was elitist and hipster!
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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:05 pm

Quote from tufty on October 15, 2011, 17:57
The Apple II - modular, affordable, technically excellent. There was nothing at all like it in 1977.


Nothing like it? Affordable? How about the Commodore PET which sold for half? While Apple most certainly had the superior machine it's not like they brought computing to the masses. At least they weren't the only ones. Had neither myself (Rank Xerox 820-II and moved on to Data General later) but I'd guess that Commodore, Sinclair and later Amstrad did more to bring competitively priced computers to people's homes. Not that they were terribly good machines, far from it but hey: a "computer" for £99.75! People like Gary Kildall laid the very foundation for computing as we know it, yet he's largely forgotten.
I'm not arguing that Steve Jobs and Apple don't have their place in history but you're exaggerating. OTOH I don't see him as a mere marketing man, he was more than that and I certainly admire both the man and his achievements.

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:38 am

Apple 1: one of several such PCs at the time.
Lisa (not Macinstosh): a mass-market version of NIH stuff (not invented here)
iMac: indeed, introduced PCs to fruity colors.
OSX/iOS: one of several modern OSes, the only one that found a home, but still, AmigaOS, BeOS, OS/2... things are easy when you can break compatibility.
iPod: inferior on all counts to toher PMP, a triumph of marketing
iTMS: the golden bridge to the "walled playpen", but good for them.
iPhone: not the first !
iPad: not the first either.

Apple specializes in taking stuff that's already there, and making it more desirable by making it sexy and easy to use. That's it. It's a lot, but it's basically re-packaging of others' stuff. And it is counterbalanced by the incredible locked-ness of the whole thing: lawsuits again mac-compatible vendors, no drag and drop to iDevices, 1 single appstore with self-serving rules, bad faith denials of quality and viruses issues...

Jobs was a marketing, design, and business genius. Not a technical one.

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:27 am

Quote from Tide on October 16, 2011, 00:05

Nothing like it? Affordable? How about the Commodore PET which sold for half?
Ah, I'd forgotten about the PET, and, surprisingly enough, the TRS-80. I'll take an easy out and blame it on a memory refresh error :) Scratch affordable. Those 3 machines were largely the driving force from "hobbyist" machines like the Kim-1 and Altair 8800 to a prepackaged "product" that you would end up being able to pick up in your local white-goods store.

I had a Microtan 65, myself (which came out *after* the Atari 400/800 series). Got given it, half-assembled and non-working, by my frustrated next-door-neighbour, who went on to buy himself a TRS-80 model II instead. Fixing and using the Microtan got me a job writing microcontroller code for active suspension systems and, less excitingly, pizza oven controllers, a year or so later (the aforementioned neighbour having an electronics company). But I digress.

Sinclair and Amstrad. I would argue that, although their impact was massive, they were merely following the inevitability of the market. If they hadn't released their machines, someone else's machine would have taken their places. How many short-lived machines sprouted and died on the vine in those exciting days 1979-1984 merely in the UK, without considering the US, European or Japanese markets? It's a long list.

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:46 am

Quote from tufty on October 15, 2011, 17:57

How do you know it's unjustified hype if, as you say,
Quote from caminati on October 15, 2011, 09:28
I never used anything apple-ish


You deceptively quoted this period out of context.
I had explained I garnered information before posting.
One does not necessarily have to have direct access to products to assess their importance.
Moreover, I have no money to waste in overpriced things, and that would deserve a separated thread.


Anyway, about that alleged handwaving and unjustified hype, let's take a look at some of what Apple came out with under Jobs.


As already noticed, your list is basically a sequence of repackages of others' work, repackages not even materially perpetrated by Jobs himself.
You seem to measure grandness of things by the amount of adoption Jobs managed to impose and the piles of dollars he hoarded from it, which is the fruit of just marketing and eyecandy, as I originally stated.
This reduces to a mere matter of convincing people, so you should praise Ron Hubbard as well, which had this talent in much larger amounts.
If you stand in admiration of such sort of achievements, and consequently apply the epiteth genius, that's ok.

I stand in admiration of beautiful architectures conceived by humand mind, and this sort of things usually belong to science or arts.
And it is often the case that the brains producing such fruits do this for their own sake; accolade and rewards follow as consequences, and sadly not necessarily.

If people with real guts, like Ritchie, had pursued the goals of Jobs, mankind would probably miss many things much more fundamental than the shiny boxes you revere (by the way, we would also miss Raspberry, and I take this occasion to thank the team for NOT pursuing Jobs' ideals).

So, if you claim geniality for Jobs, I claim it as well for the guy who wrote this:

http://thebestpageintheunivers.....=macs_cant

which at least made me laugh, while Jobs did nothing for me.

What I find really interesting, instead, is the zeal with which MacDevotees promote their church made of nothing, adopting promotional tones like their master; this thread is a blatant example of this: the ardor of praising your idol makes you deliver some plain false statements, like those on Apple II and on iPad.
I am just astonished that tech products generated religious followers, and wish some sociologist investigated that, which probably has happened.

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:00 am

Steve Jobs died, and there was an outburst of grief over the death of a salesman. He sold lots of Apple product and he was a "genius" as a salesman; how else would Apple have survived without being taken over and eventually withering away? But he worked by the salesmans rules of marketing pretty, easy to use products with built in obsolesence and locked in consumables. Just like razor manufacturers did before. His methodologies and preferred design cues were borrowed from the likes of Dieter Rams( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieter_Rams ), who worked with the German manufacturer Braun.

On the other hand Dennis Ritchie died and there was no outburst of media grief. Because the media only know what they are told, and they have been spoonfed a diet of Jobs greatness. Yet the influence dmr has on computing is far greater, more pervasive and, I would argue, more lasting benefit than anything Steve Jobs "facilitated". C underpins so much in the world of software, Unix and its direct cousins are either at the heart of or directly influence the operating system you use today. Linux, Android, OS X, iOS and Windows all owe their existence to dmr.

And don't you forget it.
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:03 am

Quote from Jongoleur on October 16, 2011, 10:00
His methodologies and preferred design cues were borrowed from the likes of Dieter Rams( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieter_Rams ), who worked with the German manufacturer Braun.


Thanks for the interesting connection with razors, will dig into it.


And don't you forget it.


Amen.

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:03 am

Quote from caminati on October 16, 2011, 08:46
Quote from caminati on October 15, 2011, 09:28
I never used anything apple-ish
You deceptively quoted this period out of context.
I had explained I garnered information before posting.
Nothing deceptive about it. Either you've used Apple products or you haven't. Doesn't matter how much reading you've done, if you haven't used a product you haven't used it.
Quote from caminati on October 16, 2011, 08:46
One does not necessarily have to have direct access to products to assess their importance.
I don't normally use smilies, but :o

I could claim that a Maserati is nothing but an overpriced toy for rich kids; after all, it's only a car, and my Fiat Panda does much the same thing at a fraction of the price. But, never having driven a Maserati (and, given my income, never being likely to), the validity of such a statement would be, at best, questionable.
Quote from caminati on October 16, 2011, 08:46
Moreover, I have no money to waste in overpriced things, and that would deserve a separated thread.
Quite possibly, but I'll have a shot at it anyway.

First, in terms of purchase price, one should compare the price to those of equivalently specced name brand hardware at the time of launch. The "Apple tax" is minimal (except for memory, which everyone should buy from crucial.com anyway).

There *is* an argument to be made that Apple's hardware lineup, being largely static for 12-18 months at a time, ends up being underspecced and overpriced towards the end of each "cycle", but that goes for pretty much all hardware manufacturer. There's also a perfectly valid argument to be made that Apple's lineup is very restricted, and if you need $INSERT_FEATURE_HERE you are required to go further up the "scale" than you might have done otherwise.

In terms of reliability, Apple's hardware is generally equivalent to that of similar name brands. Sure, they've come out with a few lemons, but hey. Reliability comes into the price issue, though - what is the cost of hardware failure? For "big" hardware failure, Apple are generally pretty good about taking machines in and turning them around really fast. they don't generally moan about it, it's usually done under warranty, and they do issue product recalls (and chase them up). The most common failure of any computer, though, is hard drive failure. It can be catastrophic, and OSX's "Time Machine" feature takes all of the pain out of it (yeah, been there, done that, total hard drive failure just before I was supposed to deliver a product, I lost the time it took me to drive down to the nearest computer shop, buy a replacement drive, drive back, and half-an-hour to recover my system to where it was ~10 minutes before the drive emitted its magic smoke.)

There's much to be made of the current almost total lack of viruses and malware. You don't need to defrag your drive, either. Ever.

I personally use OSX because I am significantly faster carrying out tasks using OSX than under any other operating system. And I've used a helluva lot of 'em over the years. Admittedly, part of that is due to familiarity with OSX, but I managed to blow away a friend (and inveterate PC user) by the speed with which I could set up and kick off a batch job to resize and rename ~40GB of photos for web usage. It took a while to do the batch, obviously, but there was no pissing about involved. the time taken to carry out a task is a significant part of the cost of a computer - it's a tool, not a paperweight, after all. None of which is to say that deciding to use Windows, or Linux, or any other OS is necessarily a wrong decision, just that it's not the right one for me.

At the other end of the lifecycle, there's resale value. Apple machines have it. Beige boxes get chucked in skips.
Quote from caminati on October 16, 2011, 08:46
You seem to measure grandness of things by the amount of adoption Jobs managed to impose and the piles of dollars he hoarded from it, which is the fruit of just marketing and eyecandy, as I originally stated.
Far from it. Jobs has forced the adoption of little (Apple's desktop market share is still a mere 1 in 10) and to bitch about a Fortune 500 CEO making money is rather like complaining that the local farmer always seems to have a lot of eggs. Even I wouldn't go that far, and I'm a member of the NPA.

I consider Jobs to have been responsible for the introduction of technologies that have positively improved the way we *all* use computers of all form factors today. Not just us poor, deluded Mac users, but also the evidently superior race who've taken the sage decision to use Microsoft's technology. Oh, and them *n*x lot, as well.

Quote from caminati on October 16, 2011, 08:46
http://thebestpageintheunivers.....=macs_cant

which at least made me laugh,
Made me laugh, too. Would have been funnier if it wasn't for the PC users who are continually trying to convince the mac users that their way is better, of course. You know, the sort of people who start a "obit" thread for someone by sticking the knife into someone else.

Quote from caminati on October 16, 2011, 08:46
What I find really interesting, instead, is the zeal with which MacDevotees promote their church made of nothing, adopting promotional tones like their master; this thread is a blatant example of this: the ardor of praising your idol makes you deliver some plain false statements, like those on Apple II and on iPad.
I am just astonished that tech products generated religious followers, and wish some sociologist investigated that, which probably has happened.
The same reflection can, of course, be made in the other direction.

By the way, what did I say that was false regarding the iPad?

Simon

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:53 pm

The original topic (for which you started a dedicated thread) was about Jobs being a genius.
You now push in a bunch of diversions, which sounds suspicious.
I wasted some minutes of my time digging your lavish rant looking for a response to that original issue, and did not find it.
Let us say that I am retarded and do not understand what the average MacDevotee you represent says, that is just fine for me.

Cheers.

Ps: I never bitched about Jobs being rich, and, as a matter of fact, I am not against anyone making money.
The fact that you tried to make me look like thinking that is alone worth a thousand words.

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:00 pm

<shrug>

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:56 pm

I actually have used a *ton* of mac products and everything caminati has been saying is quiet true. Especially the price thing, they're outrageously overpriced, *especially* at launch time. I'm not saying they don't make a decent enough product, but it is extremely overpriced compared to other products of the same quality (how much did you pay for that iPod? My MP3 player which did everything it could do cost $30 brand new). But like I said, he was a marketing guru, that's why mac people defend him to the death, because he hasn't really improved anything. I'm not trying to be rude with that statement, it's just if you take an objective look at it all, then it's true. Everyone like to say he invented the GUI, but the truth is he stole that idea from the Xerox PARC, people like to say he made the ultra thin computers, but I actually had a business laptop of extreme thinness from dell long before apple came out with their laptops. What he did do is take these products, slap an apple logo on the front, mark up the price, and sell it as a status symbol. And he did it amazingly well!
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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:36 am

Everyone like to say he invented the GUI, but the truth is he stole that idea from [...] Xerox PARC

Just a point on clarity. Apple gained access to PARC technologies in exchange for Xerox purchasing Apple shares pre-IPO. Xerox themselves didn't understand the value of the intellectual property at PARC. Xerox didn't turn the ideas PARC were generating into a product until 1973; had limited success with such products; and didn't even attempt to license the ideas until after the two visits by Apple in 1979.

The PARC teams were frustrated with their Xerox overloads, who fairly consistently failed to effectively commercialise their ideas for almost a decade. In contrast, Jobs immediately saw the value of PARCs innovations, and understood what was needed to complete and commercialise them. Jobs didn't steal IPR from Xerox - he took ruthless commercial advantage of their inability to understand the commercial value of their own assets.

And on an endnote, Apple's IPO was more successful than Jobs anticipated, so Xerox did better with the deal than both organisations expected.

http://www-sul.stanford.edu/ma...../parc.html

tufty
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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:26 am

Quote from Michael on October 22, 2011, 11:36
The PARC teams were frustrated with their Xerox overloads, who fairly consistently failed to effectively commercialise their ideas for almost a decade. In contrast, Jobs immediately saw the value of PARCs innovations, and understood what was needed to complete and commercialise them. Jobs didn't steal IPR from Xerox - he took ruthless commercial advantage of their inability to understand the commercial value of their own assets.
Absolutely. There's a couple of other things worth pointing out:

1 - Xerox had already "given the game away" by publishing papers about, and publicly demoing, most of what could have been considered their "crown jewels". This included not only the GUI work carried out on the Alto and Star systems, but the work that came out of Alan Kay's lab as well. Xerox were, I believe, unable to patent any of it due to legal constraints and the fact that it was "science" (you didn't patent science in those days).
2 - Apple (and later, MS) ended up employing staff from Xerox (indeed, one of the Lisa's main designers was from Xerox).

One amusing offshoot of the Xerox trips is how Lisa ended up with rounded windows (see here). Bill Atkinson, on the second visit to Xerox, was convinced he'd seen windows with rounded corners. Considering this to be the height of cool, he spent a significant amount of time working out how Xerox had done this without killing performance, and eventually managed to get it working and into QuickDraw. However, Xerox's systems didn't have rounded corners - he'd been mistaken all along.

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:57 pm

All of which is to say he still didn't come up with the idea himself. Someone else did, he saw it, had other people duplicate it, and marketed it. Which is really the whole point of what I've been saying. He was a great marketer, but he was no genius inventor which is what the OP was referring to. There's a big difference between the company you're running releasing a product and you thinking the product up yourself. I mean I would have even given props to the guy if he sat down with a design team and said "He's a new idea I had that's never been done, now go make it happen."
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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:19 pm

Quote from abishur on October 22, 2011, 15:57
He was a great marketer, but he was no genius inventor which is what the OP was referring to.
What the OP (me) originally said was
Jobs' genius was to know what innovations to nurture, and how to sell them to an audience.
I stand by that. He could have sold snow to Eskimos, and have them come back next year for an upgrade.

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:42 pm

Because snow can play 10,000 songs and it's ultra-portable.

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:11 pm

Point is you've got to be able to tell the white from the yellow snow.
Most people however are colour blind. As for the inventor vs marketing: you either end up with a product or with a pipe dream. Xerox wasn't interested in computers, it wasn't part of their corporate culture and not their core business. Do keep in mind who else decided to pull out of the pc market back then. Jobs not only saw the idea and its potential he knew how to get the funds, whom to take on board and how to sell it. That's more than "just marketing". Much more.

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:05 pm

Quote from tufty on October 22, 2011, 18:19
Quote from abishur on October 22, 2011, 15:57
He was a great marketer, but he was no genius inventor which is what the OP was referring to.
What the OP (me) originally said was
Jobs' genius was to know what innovations to nurture, and how to sell them to an audience.
I stand by that. He could have sold snow to Eskimos, and have them come back next year for an upgrade.

Simon

I'm having a little problem finding that quote in your posts, where did you say that? I do see this quote


Anyway, about that alleged handwaving and unjustified hype, let's take a look at some of what Apple came out with under Jobs.


And then you go on to list several product that his company produced, which is the only point I'm contending with.

@Tide, I'll concede that point and change it from a good marketer to a good business man, indeed a very charismatic business man, which is why his name appears on so many patents. It's not that he came up with the idea or built them, it's that his name is put on every patent which goes through his business, and hey, I'm not dissing him for that. I'm sure it's that way for all businesses, I'm just taking a dispassionate view on the situation and saying that calling him a genius inventor is far fetch.

I will also say this, I agree with the OP in saying I don't think Apple will do well without him. The man was quiet the charmer! I mean to release a product that drops calls because you're holding it, then to tell people that they're holding it wrong, it's not a hardware defect and they can buy a bumper case to fix their improper holding technique, AND have everyone both accept that answer and continue to buy that product. *That* is raw charisma right there! I don't think Apple is going to be attract the same clientele without there spokesman. I do, however, think they'll have an initial period where things continue to go well (I'm expecting a couple of "Steve Jobs" product lines featuring the last items he was around for), then a slow petering out just like the last time he wasn't around with apple.
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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:16 pm

Exactly. Xerox had thousands of people coming through Palo Alto, but only one group took what they saw and ran with it as a truly commercial product. And they did vast amounts of research before releasing - they were already looking at a GUI based machine before going to Xerox, and it took them 5 years of further research between that visit and the release of the Macintosh. Research into UI interactions, honing of the UI, developing the software that released with the Mac, man-years of research on the goddamn mouse. The original Mac UI guidelines are still a bible for desktop UI design.

But no. "Apple stole the GUI from Xerox".

abishur - the quote came from the dmr thread, which was in danger of becoming a misplaced flame war (hence I started this one). The list of "things Apple came out with" is really a list of "things Steve came up with", or at least the stuff from NeXT onwards - since '98 or so, Apple has existed pretty much to produce the stuff Jobs wanted them to produce. A lot of really good stuff got thrown away in the process (Newton, for example)

Simon

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Re: On Jobs, and Genius.

Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:50 pm

Yes, as much as people say Gates stole the GUI from Apple, Jobs, likewise stole it from Xerox. They both took an idea they saw somewhere else and re-did it themselves. And no Steve did not come up with the things on your list. Take the MP3 player for example. There were several modern (for the times) MP3 players out before Apple even got into the MP3 player scene. Again with the Tablet, Microsoft had a tablet out a decade before the iPad hit the scene (and they weren't the first either). I certainly agree that Jobs was the one responsible for what the company produced, that's the Job (no pun intended) of any CEO, but he did come up with the idea of creating a never before seen product, he saw other people's creations and said "hey let's put an Apple spin on that". Which is why he was a great business man, but hardly a genius inventor.
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