Steve Jobs backlash: five anti-Jobs stories

Oct 10, 2011

Apple founder didn’t give to charity and made tech company like ‘Big Brother’, say critics

THE BEATIFICATION of Steve Jobs, the late founder and former CEO of technology giant Apple, has been rapid and well-publicised. For some, however, he was not quite the saint that many are making him out to be. Here are five examples of the negative press Jobs has received since his death.

• Apple doesn't like press leaks of its products, and its 'Worldwide Loyalty Team' aggressively pursues anyone who falls foul of its rules. Last year, police raided the home of an editor of gadget website Gizmodo after they ran a video of the new iPhone 4, while just last month, two Apple private security agents and police officers searched the home of a man in San Francisco in connection with a lost iPhone 5 prototype. "Jobs never seemed comfortable with the idea of fully empowered workers or a truly free press," reports Gawker. "Inside Apple, there is a culture of fear and control around communication."

• Under Steve Jobs, Apple products have become increasingly controlling and restrictive. Devices such as iMacs, iPhones and iPods are only compatible with Apple software, and Apple bans content that it does not approve of including instances of gay art, sexy pictures and political cartoons. Further, last year Apple introduced a new rule which meant that programmes had to be written in one of four of the forms it approves of, excluding the popular Flash, made by rival Adobe.  "Today there is no tech company that looks more like the Big Brother from Apple's iconic 1984 commercial than Apple itself," writes Mike Daisey in The New York Times, "a testament to how quickly power can corrupt."

• Apple's factories in China are regularly accused of human rights abuses, capitalising on poor laws surrounding child labour, and a sweatshop culture. The Daily Mail reported that factory workers lived in cramped, dirty conditions with no air-conditioning, and there were a spate of suicides at supplier Foxconn. The company's latest report also admitted that two-thirds of its factories make their employees work more than 60 hours a week without a days rest. Jobs' death, writes Kathleen McLaughlin in the Global Post, does not absolve Apple of these sins.

• One of the first things that Jobs cut when he returned to Apple in 1997 was the company's philanthropic programme, which was never reinstated. Critics also point to the fact that he has never publicly given money to charity, despite his huge wealth. But as D B Grady notes in The Atlantic, "Apple wasn't built by a saint. It was built by an iron-fisted visionary."

• Finally, there is his much-discussed personal attitude. He is known for having been incredibly rude and belittling at times, with public humiliations of workers who had not lived up to his standards well documented.  "In the pursuit of greatness," Gawker writes, "he cast aside politeness and empathy." For two years, he denied fathering Lisa Brennan-Jobs, protesting that he was sterile and infertile.

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I love my MacBook Pro and all Apple products... but after reading the biography... so sad.... too bad he missed the really important things in life...  I'll always be an Apple fan.... weird, hu?