I think what Wu and his brethren believe is not that companies win by being “open”, but that they win by offering choices.
Who is Apple to decide which apps are in the App Store? That no phone will have a hardware keyboard or removable battery? That modern devices are better off without Flash Player and Java?
Where others offer choices, Apple makes decisions. What some of us appreciate is what so rankles the others — that those decisions have so often and consistently been right.
Probably the most relevant 88 words in a 3600+ word piece.
Its the same post we’ve read a thousand times already: somebody who thinks their opinion has value claims to know what they need to do to successfully run a computer company, despite the fact that they do not run a computer company, successful or not. Instead, they rather enjoy manipulating stock prices through arbitrary puff pieces like the one Gruber destroys here that say nothing while claiming to say everything.
And again, I say: if there were another Steve Jobs hiding among the tech industry CEOs, we’d know. If there were another Tim Cook, we’d know.
Perhaps time will produce one. Perhaps if they ever, for the love of all that is holy, evict Ballmer from his position, one will emerge at Microsoft (but I doubt it). Until then, these wild claims from nameless people who don’t matter stating they hold the keys to the castle in terms of profitability and making the Right Choices (or not, depending on which side of that argument you fall) for a tech company are just those, wild claims from nameless people.
So last month I posted this talking about why I agreed with the geek consensus that the Steve Jobs biography left a lot to be desired.
This video made me finally nail down one of the things nagging at me, and after a bit of reflection, I can see both sides of why (1. why it nags at me. 2. why it was left out).
This video was from 1997. Jobs looked at the tech available then, looked at what was on the horizon, and predicted the future, in a way that came eerily true. That was the year before Google was founded. Pentiums were the hot processor. 486DX’s were still the rage. Windows 98 hadn’t been released yet.
Three years after that, in 2000, video Apple introduced iTools, which became .Mac in 2002, which became MobileMe in 2008, which became iCloud in 2011. Everybody who says Apple just jumped into the “cloud” game hasn’t been paying attention. Everybody who says they weren’t very good at it, well, there is merit to that.
So back to the Isaacson book; the missing piece is represented by this video. The book gave no insight into The Vision.
Granted, biographies aren’t meant to be forward-looking, but when covering somebody like Steve Jobs, I mean come on. We didn’t get but small tastes of where he thought we were headed. Not just Apple, but technology in general. With his status in the technological community, he would have access and insight into areas of the industry that mere mortals like myself won’t get to see or ponder about for years. Combined with an obvious passion and, dare I say, refined genius, I can only dream at what would have crossed his mind as being the future.
Now, that’s not to say he didn’t share those visions. His closet lieutenants at Apple were undoubtedly burdened by ideas and concepts not yet attainable with today’s means, but they could be made possible with tomorrow’s. And given the culture of Apple, I really think we’re going to see awesome things coming from them in a multitude of markets over the next 20 years. And given that, it makes perfect sense why he would have withheld any and all of his vision from Isaacson, even if Isaacson had been willing to include The Future in a book chronicling The Past. Jobs gave Isaacson access to his past, but ever the showman, Jobs retained control of his (and Apple’s) future.