The Steve Jobs Backlash Rears Its Head

Not everyone was a fan

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The Steve Jobs Backlash Rears Its Head
[ Technology]

Not everyone jumped on the “Godspeed, Steve Jobs” bandwagon when his death was announced. While the majority of the responses were of the “thank you” and “we’ll miss you” variety, not everyone broke out with a candlelight vigil to remember the fallen tech maven. In fact, some wondered why Jobs was being, well, deified to begin with. At first, the grumblings of backlash were hinted at, but now, a couple of days after the initial shock wore off, there are some very vocal counterpoints out there, ones that scoff at the idea of all the Jobs love that came forth.

It should be noted that this writer is not an Apple or Jobs hater. That being said, I’m not an Apple fanboy, either. I acknowledge the company made nice, but very expensive home computers, and you’d have to be a fool to disregard the impact the iPhone had on society, whether or not it was merely an “overpriced trinket,” or a crucial step in technology and communication evolution. For better or worse, people love their iDevices, be it the Phone, Pad, Pod, or Touch. With all of that in mind, however, not everyone has been praising Steve Jobs in light of his passing.

In fact, there’s a very real backlash going on, and, truth be told, some of it offers some very valid counterpoints to the “visionary” love Jobs has largely received since. The first place I noticed the backlash taking form as Internet content was from the “scumbag” meme that owes its origin to 4chan and Reddit users.

While it aimed at the #Occupy supporters, there’s also a little jab at Jobs as well:

Steve Jobs Troll

There’s also some poking towards the Apple fanboys as well, thanks to the following captured comment:


While these two instances could be considered mild, there were a couple of publications that skirted actual criticism,starting with a post over at Gawker.com, with the title, “What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs.” By and large, the post keeps a respectful approach, opting for a “he wasn’t perfect” reaction.


One thing he wasn’t, though, was perfect. Indeed there were things Jobs did while at Apple that were deeply disturbing. Rude, dismissive, hostile, spiteful: Apple employees—the ones not bound by confidentiality agreements—have had a different story to tell over the years about Jobs and the bullying, manipulation and fear that followed him around Apple. Jobs contributed to global problems, too. Apple’s success has been built literally on the backs of Chinese workers, many of them children and all of them enduring long shifts and the specter of brutal penalties for mistakes.


But then Jobs never seemed comfortable with the idea of fully empowered workers or a truly free press. Inside Apple, there is a culture of fear and control around communication; Apple’s “Worldwide Loyalty Team” specializes in hunting down leakers, confiscating mobile phones and searching computers.

It’s an interesting piece by a publication that opts for the “despite all this, Jobs made neat gadgets” conclusion, which is understandable. A company like Gawker can only feel indebted to the fact Apple gave Gizmodo, a Gawker property, so much content to work with.

There is, however, another degree of the Jobs backlash, and it’s safe to say the author of upcoming piece won’t be ending his thoughts with a “well, he made cool devices” caveat. No, it’s safe to say the author at Slated.org was not a Jobs fan. If the title — Good Riddance Steve Jobs — doesn’t clue you in, nothing will. Some examples of the writer’s beef:

According to the CIA World Factbook, 160,521 people die every day. Steve Jobs was just one, and from what I can see he must have been very, very far from the best of them. I bet very few of the other 160,520 people who died that day ever made sinister threats to ‘go after’ an altruistic software project like Theora, or ran around suing everyone for making ‘rounded rectangles’ and ‘green phone icons’.

The assault continues:

Or how about the time Jobs bribed the police to act like they were his private security agency, to kick down the front door to a journalist’s home, seize his property and interrogate him like a criminal, just because of some crap iGadget accidentally lost by an Apple employee, after that journalist had already voluntarily contacted Apple and returned it to them? Or how about the daughter Jobs abandoned, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, and her mother, Chris-Ann Brennan, whom he also abandoned and left to bring up their daughter on welfare, and lied in court about being ‘sterile’ in the process?

There’s more:

So given the sort of monster Steve Jobs was, witnessing the spectacle of everyone from Joe Blogs to El Presidente gushing over him, like a bunch of schoolgirls at a rock concert, is absolutely sickening… As for being a ‘visionary’ … the only ‘vision’ Jobs ever had was the one he nicked from Xerox PARC.

Stay for the strong finish:

Yet this is the guy everyone is now fawning over?

Oh, but I forgot … he made lots of money. Lots and lots and lots.

So did Al Capone.

Ah yes, American capitalism at its finest, folks.

While that’s the end of the article, the author doesn’t stop there, defending all of his points in the subsequent comments section, and he does so deftly. You may not agree with the sentiment, but you have to admire how the author stuck to his guns and didn’t back down. Clearly, these positions are not the most popular, but there is validity to them. None of the examples given in these criticisms are factually inaccurate. In fact, the authors went out of their respective ways to document and provide links throughout their pieces.

The question is, are these “too soon” moments, or are they valid positions to take in the light of Jobs’ death? Let us know what you think.

The Steve Jobs Backlash Rears Its Head
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  • http://www.Lexingtonrealestatesearch.com Whitney Pannell

    Wowza! Never knew all those things.. Hmm!

  • http://ronsrants.wordpress.com Ron Graves

    No problem at all with Good Riddance Steve Jobs. A very necessary counter to all the egregious, fawning, BS we’ve had to put up with this week.

  • http://www.twitter.com/john_westra John Westra

    The truth is always uglier than the fantasy we all want to believe. The truth is Steve Jobs “created” two iconic legacies in his lifetime, Apple and himself. Does anyone really wonder where the “i” in Apples products came from? It came from the ego of a brilliant and ruthless tech leader who changed the rules on personal computing. “I” for one have never been attracted to cults… Perhaps now that the “Messiah” of Mac is gone, people will wake up and realize that paying more for less is not a testament to “pure” genious, but rather, the antithesis of the brilliant Apple Mac commercial that launched Steve Jobs ascent towards Rock Star status. My advice to all who attend his memorial service… Don’t drink the “Purple Coolaid!”

    • Thomas Evergreen

      John, you’re so off key it’s unbelievable. The price for his products have been very reasonable and fair. It’s the “poor” and “mooching” that wants the brilliance of his devices to be as low as his Asian counterparts. As far as drinking the “Purple KOOLAID”, it’s people like you that feels, paying for pennies on a product will give you great quality. Just like Jobs said, they don’t sell junk. Yes, I am an Apple Fanboy and have been since the mid 80’s, but I am also a Microsoft, Adobe, Coca Cola, and many other things “fanboy”. One thing I know is that when you want products for practically nothing, you turn into the disease of this country that is helping put American workers out of business. Apple is no exception as they have workers in China, that is true for all of the mobile companies. There are many faults with all these companies. The biggest fault is settling and while the prices of all of his Asian competitors should have been higher (but they’re not because they’re cheap), he never settled. Rock Stars, Messiahs, and quality doesn’t settle, they change the world.

      • Thomas Evergreen

        BTW, just for the record. He oversaw all of his marketing and his business, so just to let you know, what you saw in those commercials and his ruthless business ethics was all in his genius. If you look at Apple’s numbers, they only prove his genius.

    • SBesedick

      If you add the cost of all the hardware parts together, you certainly do pay “less” for a PC than a Mac. But, when you look at the ENTIRE picture, software and hardware, the wintel world cannot touch the computing experience that Jobs brought to the world. There’s a great scene in the movie “Flash of Genius,” where Robert Kearns (taking on the Detroit automakers whom he claims stole his idea for the intermittent windshield wiper) defends his design. During a cross examination of an automotive expert, who testifies that the Kearns design is simply a construct of “off the shelf” components that can be purchased at any electrical parts store, Kearns has the expert repeat some seemingly unrelated english words . . . like was, it, times, worst, etc. When the experts legal team made and objection to this line of questioning, and the judge asks Kearns to clarify, Kearns complies by putting the random words into a sentence . . . It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, etc.. Simple, everyday words, which arranged in a masterful way, make art. This is Job’s legacy too! Taking technology to an artful level. From opening the box, to setup, to operation, everything is considered! Does this cost more? Yep! And its worth it to millions of people. For those who don’t care, there is an alternate choice.

    • Scott Clausen

      John, It’s hard to read your comments and believe that you have anything to do with the IT world or computers in general. You fail to realize that Jobs never forced anyone to buy an Apple product. Yes, they advertised well and people bought their products. Like it or not that’s considered successful in America.

      Having been a computer/IT for about 40 years I’ve seen many systems, from one of a kind military stuff to many of the systems, in existence today. I have a Windows machine, Linux OSes, and a Mac. I use the Mac because it’s the better tool for my needs. That, I believe, is the attitude of the majority of Apple product users. If a better one comes along I’m sure most would change in their desire for a better product. You assume Mac users drink the kool aid. In fact, you don’t know anything about Mac users.

      Your comments seem to be an example of what you accuse Jobs of being. You seem to infer a superiority because you, “have never been attracted to cults.” Rather then give us lucid comments you have given us sour grapes. Have a nice day.

  • Harold

    Reminds me of the backlash Patton received. Hated by many but highly effective. Let’s face it. Jobs was a dick but he changed the tech world for the better.

  • Don White

    In the light of what’s being said here Steve Jobs was not a perfect human being but who is. Think about some of the things you’ve done in your life that you’d like to take back. We’ve all had our share of inequities and we walk around judging others like our lives are perfect and well I’m not saying that I approve of everything Steve did who am I to be his judge when I myself have things I’ve done that I’m not proud of. What about you? Answer the question truthfully everyone are you perfect?

  • http://www.graphikamaal.com Qamaal Mustafa Sikander


    Just curious, isn’t it interesting that 93% (my rough estimate) of the tributes were typed ON A PC, by people who never touched an Apple in their life or somebody like me who used it but never liked?

    This is more a marketing ploy of Apple than genuine condolences.

  • robin

    that was the longest article i’ve ever read. Being 95% of it was quotes that were poorly strewn together to mask the authors discontempt for Apple and Jobs. Good job.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Richardson

      Um, the author — Me — says he’s not an Apple fanboy, but he also adds this:

      “I acknowledge the company made nice, but very expensive home computers, and you’d have to be a fool to disregard the impact the iPhone had on society”

      So yeah. You can be respectful without being a sycophant.

  • F

    Not an Apple “fanboy” but I regard Steve and Bill as two gods of IT world, the world I chose as my professional life.

    There will be Steve haters and Bill haters all over, but mostly are either delusional or don’t even belong to IT world, but for folks like myself, this media corporate propaganda and anti-propaganda bullshit does not matter. Seriously, it does not matter, I develop programs in both Windows and iOS platforms and just get on with it.
    Why I wrote it? Just so that you know the reality inside the world of complex programmers.

  • Mitch

    He didnt actually invent alot of these products but he did imrpove and bring them to the public, and he was part of pushing the Computer world with new features as introduction of USB’s as a standard and standarnised alot of standards or brought them to us.

    Same with the the Ipod they took MP3’s and made them better and effiencetly etc also the Iphone by bring to the Mass’s all touch phone with one button with gyro and other features.

    Yes he was a captitalist in a word with high prices on every thing even if the competitor had a better product and Apple was good at making its cult drink from there Milk even if it was a ripp off and over hyped etc, but he push things and to bad he had to die and will be missed by alot of people but at the end of the day life goes on

  • http://www.decorpiel.com/ Julian – Sofas piel

    Gracias por tu ayuda Steve, sin tus maravillosos equipos no hubiera sido posible muchas de las aventuras que iniciamos en la Red. d.e.p.

  • Frank Lee

    Good job. It’s about time we had some balance.

    As a longtime Mac user, I’ve still been disturbed by the hagiographies around Jobs. He was a bully and a narcissist, and he probably had borderline personality disorder. It’s disturbing that we sanctify people like this, no matter how many digital goodies they plied us with.

    Just shows how easily humans’ slavish devotion is bought, I guess.

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