God rest Steve Jobs’ soul, and may St. Joseph pray for him.
I prayed for the man when I heard he had died–something I always do when someone passes away. And I expected the accolades to follow, which they have. And I don’t begrudge that, for the man certainly created many wonderful gadgets and even stood for some moral principles.
Apple has managed quite a coup: they are a huge corporation making billions of dollars that has managed to paint a picture of themselves in people’s minds as “different,” and “the underdogs.”
So much so that the Wall Street protestors slamming CEOs and big corporations make an exception for Steve Jobs. Even though he was the CEO of an enormous corporation who made money hand over fist.
As a software developer (and a Catholic), I see Steve Jobs and Apple a bit differently.
Apple is one of the most proprietary companies out there. They gobble patents and try to block competitors. They lock out other software platforms, frameworks, and APIs from their devices, forcing developers to use their stack only. And they charge a high premium for their products.
They exert powerful influence over their suppliers and will jump ship if someone else can create a component slightly cheaper. They seek the cheapest labor they can find, which has led to a bad working environment and suicides in their Chinese manufacturer. See also this article on “undercover at Foxconn.”
In short, they act like most every other American corporation: profit is the overriding concern, not the dignity of the human person.
So while the devices they produce have been innovative–my first computer experience was on an Apple IIe playing Oregon Trail in elementary school, and the iPod/iPhone/IPads are great–I don’t think Steve Jobs and co. should be looked on as heroes.
May God rest his soul, and may companies prioritize the dignity of the human person over the demands of Wall Street and the almighty dollar.
I know I’m in the minority here, so I’m open to hearing the defense for Steve Jobs and Apple on these issues.