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Bennett

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Steve Jobs is Not a Visionary

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

This is a cross-post from Benzinga.com.

Apple used to be a terrible company. I remember when I was in grade school and the only places to have Mac computers were schools. Not even high schools, just elementary and middle schools. Then all of a sudden, in 2001, the iPod was released and all hell broke loose.

Apple is now heralded; no, Steve Jobs is heralded as the most innovative guy on Earth. Apparently everyone thinks he created the iPod, which eventually led to the iPhone and iPad. Guy must be a genius, right? I am sure Jobs was sitting on the couch, watching TV, when all of a sudden his brain twitched and he proclaimed “Eureka”. The rest is apparently history.

Unfortunately, that is all a lie. Steve Jobs did not have the foresight to recognize that big money lay in personal entertainment. Apple did not have the time and energy to try to come up with groundbreaking ideas. The company was trying its hardest to revamp its computing products, and was actually failing miserably.

The mastermind was a guy named Tony Fadell, who actually left Apple a few years ago. Fadell worked for Philips’ Strategy and Ventures Division and attempted to develop ‘digital audio strategies’. After his time at Philips, he started his own company called Fuse to further develop his vision: the iPod.

After venture capital funding ran out, Fadell pitched his ideas to companies, and Apple happened to latch on. At the time, Apple was having trouble with selling its computers, and Jobs spent most of his time trying to figure out ways to boost hardware sales. When Fadell came to Apple, his selling point was that his partners at PortalPlayer already had the software written, so Apple would not have to devote time to development.

Unfortunately for Apple cultists, the guy responsible for bringing Fadell on board was not Steve Jobs either. It was a man named Jon Rubinstein, who now works for HP.

Steve Jobs ultimately oversaw the project, but only because it was regarded as highly classified material. To be fair, Jobs spent a lot of time working with the iPod team, helping to refine its design and user interface. This does not mean he came up with the idea; he just helped oversee it and make it better.

Steve Jobs is not a visionary. He happened to employ people who recognized an innovation capable of changing the personal entertainment landscape. Jobs is a smart man; after all, his net worth is in the billions and he was capable of sustaining Apple’s explosive growth.

Regardless of his accomplishments, I am tired of people proclaiming their love for the man, solely on the notion that he is the greatest innovator ever. The man could run and market his company, and that is about it. He did not have crazy visions and insights into entertainment; he was a computer nerd who could manage people. Nothing more and nothing less.

Feel free to comment and convince each other that 1) Steve Jobs is the most brilliant innovator and that 2) you’re not an Apple cultist.
View more at:
http://www.designtaxi.com/article/101701/Steve-Jobs-is-Not-a-Visionary/

This is a cross-post from Benzinga.com.

Apple used to be a terrible company. I remember when I was in grade school and the only places to have Mac computers were schools. Not even high schools, just elementary and middle schools. Then all of a sudden,…