Featured: Sadly - There Just Ain't An App For That

Can I begin by saying that I was sad to hear that Steve Jobs is still poorly and that, at a personal level, I have nothing but sympathy for the man. No one deserves to be sick, unfortunately though, there ain't an app for that.

Nevertheless the hype his resignation has generated is kinda over the top: they reported it on NPR and the BBC World Service in front of the fall of Tripoli... really?

Apple have had seven CEOs since their birth in 1977 and all of them have played crucial roles in the formation of a brand that we have all come to love to hate (and even hate to love) and when one takes a thorough look at the list it seems that Mr Jobs was far from being the most influential or important of them.

It's not that I don't think he is an important figure but when I heard Stephen Fry (a much-loved and respected British celebrity) say that "Steve Jobs is the most influential human being on the planet" all I heard was more of the overblown hype that seems to endlessly surround Apple.

The most influential human being on the planet? Has Fry not heard of Bill Gates or Sergey Brin? Do Barak Obama, Ronald Regan, Wen Jiabao, Lady GaGa or Vladimir Putin not figure on his list? And what about Steve Wozniak - the real technical genius behind Apple? As far as I know, he's still there!

Back when Apple first formed, Jobs and Woz were considered no more than kids and the first CEO, Michael Scott, ran the show for the first four years, turning the kid's garage hobby into a viable brand and transforming Apple, in the popular imagination, from a fruit to a computer.

After Scott came Mike Markkula, arguably the most influential but least known of all Apple CEOs, Having poured masses of his own money into the company to keep it afloat in those precarious early days, he also oversaw the first two versions of the Apple Mac. Without Markkula on the throne it is unlikely that Apple would even exist today and although he considered Jobs as something of a prodigy, Markkula was one of the first to try to rid the company of him in the 1985 uprising that ultimately led to Jobs' ousting. Even Wosniak credits Mike Markkula with being a more important figure in the history of Apple than himself.

Looking more deeply into that '85 insurgency, it would be wrong to ignore John Scully, Apple's third CEO and a strong opponent of Mr Jobs, siding with Markkula that year to get Jobs to walk the plank. Scully's only real error in his time in charge was to ignore the potential of the Intel CPU, having opted for the, now defunct, PowerPC chip. Nevertheless, Apple continued to make their mark under John and I doubt that there are many people on the planet that have never heard of them today. But... when Steve Jobs was brought back it was more for his charm than his genius. After all he is a hard man to dislike. All the same, the foundations of Apple were built by sounder, more professional, and better skilled men than himself and ultimately Steve Jobs has only played a small part in the creation of such an enormous, world dominating, business. He deserves credit but he is only (was only) a figurehead. Charming, attractive and pushy.

The beauty of Android is that most of us don't know what Andy Rubin looks like - we don't even care. Android is not about personalities, it's about openness and useability.

I have always admired Apple for their sense of style and their clever marketing strategies but we live in a world where huge numbers of people are not white, middle classed and rich. I use a PC not a Mac, because I have to - because I simply can't afford the extra few hundred dollars that it would cost to make my laptop look a bit cooler.

I don't want this to sound like an obituary ('cause it ain't) but, rightly or wrongly,  Steve Jobs will go down in history as one of the makers and shakers of the world we now live in. Without Apple there probably wouldn't be such a thing as Android and a life without my HTC Wildfire S would be a shoddy existence indeed.

The king is dead... long live the king.

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writer, programmer, layabout
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