It’s only been a few days since Apple co-founder and technology visionary Steve Jobs passed away. The 56-year-old has been hailed as our generation’s Edison, forever changing the world through Apple’s innovative creations. These days you can’t FUNCTION without having been touched by Jobs’ genius in some way. Even if you don’t own an iPod, MacBook or iPhone, you can’t escape the impact Apple’s had on music, films, and the publishing industry. Simply put, Steves Jobs changed the world.
But for all the adulation Jobs has garnered over the past few days, many have come out to point out his faults.
Gawker recently published an article, “What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs,” which takes a look at Jobs’ imperfections, and radical Christian church Westboro Baptist has promised to protest his funeral. In the Gawker piece, the author explores Jobs’ sometimes “hostile” and “rude” treatment of employees, the global ills caused by Apple’s products, and his seemingly lack of giving back and supporting charities.
Although many feel Jobs’ critics are coming out too soon, Ryan Tate of Gawker argues now is the perfect time.
Tate writes: “He’s been hailed as ‘a genius”‘and ‘the greatest CEO of his generation’ by pundits and tech journalists. But a great man’s reputation can withstand a full accounting. And, truth be told, Jobs could be terrible to people, and his impact on the world was not uniformly positive.”
Tate points out some of the not-so-nice part of Jobs and Apple’s impact on the world. For instance, although Apple is credited with opening up the world and allowing us to connect in easier ways, Jobs and Apple frequently banned content they deemed morally “unacceptable” to be downloaded on its handheld devices (i.e. gay travel sites, political cartoons, Vogue fashion spreads, etc.). Also, for all the good Apple’s done around the world, Jobs has no public record of giving. In fact, Tate points out that Jobs dismantled Apple’s philanthropic programs when he returned to the company in 1997. And we can’t overlook the effect Apple has had on developing nations, both positively and negatively. While Apple has helped to aid in the improvement of developing nations, the company’s frequently been criticized for its employment of child workers and its mining practices in Africa–all while Steve Jobs was at the helm.
While it’s clear no one is perfect–and Jobs for all of his genius and forethought was clearly flawed–is it just too soon to expose his faults? Or are Jobs’ critics merely giving an accurate account of history?