It’s only been a few days since Apple co-founder and technology visionary Steve Jobs passed away. The 56-year-old has been hailed as our generation’s Edison, forever changing the world through Apple’s innovative creations. These days you can’t FUNCTION without having been touched by Jobs’ genius in some way. Even if you don’t own an iPod, MacBook or iPhone, you can’t escape the impact Apple’s had on music, films, and the publishing industry. Simply put, Steves Jobs changed the world.

But for all the adulation Jobs has garnered over the past few days, many have come out to point out his faults.

Gawker recently published an article, “What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs,” which takes a look at Jobs’ imperfections, and radical Christian church Westboro Baptist has promised to protest his funeral. In the Gawker piece, the author explores Jobs’ sometimes “hostile” and “rude” treatment of employees, the global ills caused by Apple’s products, and his seemingly lack of giving back and supporting charities.

Although many feel Jobs’ critics are coming out too soon, Ryan Tate of Gawker argues now is the perfect time.

Tate writes: “He’s been hailed as ‘a genius”‘and ‘the greatest CEO of his generation’ by pundits and tech journalists. But a great man’s reputation can withstand a full accounting. And, truth be told, Jobs could be terrible to people, and his impact on the world was not uniformly positive.”

Tate points out some of the not-so-nice part of Jobs and Apple’s impact on the world. For instance, although Apple is credited with opening up the world and allowing us to connect in easier ways, Jobs and Apple frequently banned content they deemed morally “unacceptable” to be downloaded on its handheld devices (i.e. gay travel sites, political cartoons, Vogue fashion spreads, etc.). Also, for all the good Apple’s done around the world, Jobs has no public record of giving. In fact, Tate points out that Jobs dismantled Apple’s philanthropic programs when he returned to the company in 1997. And we can’t overlook the effect Apple has had on developing nations, both positively and negatively. While Apple has helped to aid in the improvement of developing nations, the company’s frequently been criticized for its employment of child workers and its mining practices in Africa–all while Steve Jobs was at the helm.

While it’s clear no one is perfect–and Jobs for all of his genius and forethought was clearly flawed–is it just too soon to expose his faults? Or are Jobs’ critics merely giving an accurate account of history?

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  • Check out monologist MIKE DAISEY whose new solo show, “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” has been in production for a year. It’s currently at the Public Theater in NYC: http://mikedaisey.blogspot.com/

    Here is an article with the writer/performer before Jobs’ death:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/02/theater/mike-daisey-discusses-the-agony-and-ecstasy-of-steve-jobs.html

    And after:
    http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/monologist-says-jobs-death-will-lead-to-changes-but-not-softening-in-show/

    An op-ed:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/opinion/jobs-looked-to-the-future.html

  • grandgryph

    too soon?
    not at all.

  • Trudy

    It’s disrespectful, juvenile and predictable. Anytime anyone dies, the young Black social media community has many (not all) people who go off into these sociopathic non-compassion filled rants. (The fact that I saw more Black people give more compassion towards Bin Laden than Steve Jobs is very fascinating indeed.) It’s damn near psychotic how cyclical it is. It is repulsing. Then you have the White blogosphere who are basically SEO whores and know that bashing him means more blog hits.

    It’s fine not to like someone and have critiques. But if such critiques are not lauded at other CEOs or other companies that have overseas workshops, then people know it is personal, not political, and certainly not intellectual. I tweeted a listed of HUNDREDS of American companies with overseas labor, which of course was ignored. People complained how iPhone is made using ANOTHER SMARTPHONE made in the same way overseas. It is subjective outrage and armchair slactivism at best. The sheer repetitiveness of it is what is the most appalling.

    The greatest comedy of all is people talking about how Jobs treated others, yet they treat the people closest to them like trash, and engage in psychological warfare via social media towards anyone who did not wish the man to burn in their imaginary hell. The hypocrisy, tunnel vision, selective outrage, enlightened exceptionalism, oneupmanship by proxy and projection that surrounds this man’s death via the web is genuinely pathetic.

    No one said the man is a saint. People simply gave credit where it is due for the accomplishments he has. When you die, do you want the entire world to speak of every flaw you have or remember anything good about you even for a moment? The bottom line is most people are simply irritated by the attention his death causes. Attention is a bigger currency than money in the social media world and no one likes to be poor.

    • PGS

      “Anytime anyone dies, the young Black social media community has many (not all) people who go off into these sociopathic non-compassion filled rants”

      umm…what?

      How is this about Black people? lol.

      Seriously. Maybe you need new friends or need to follow different folks on twitter. the Black folks I know (and as evidenced by the responses here) have had nothing but GREAT things to say about Jobs and his devices.

      This isn’t about race, boo.

  • Thames

    Steve Jobs was a man who found a way to make a fortune. He created useful gadgets using technology that already existed. He brought technology together in toy-like fashion, created devices that were a simple as he was. His philosophy to life only works if you’re white, given the greatest of consideration that all whites enjoy because of the color of their skin, and are able to make money early in a niche market that is high technology. What Apple represents, what Cupertino (the company where Apple has its headquarters) represents, what Silicon Valley represents, and ultimately what Jobs represented, is the notion that black people are not worthy of consideration. Apple shuns black speople as employees, favoring foreign labor. True to silicon valley culture, I don’t believe black person was ever included in Jobs’s inner circle. There is no evidence that Jobs ever opened up opportunities for the multitude of highly intelligent and supremely gifted black professionals in the high-tech and engineering industry. Cupertino exemplifies this as being a haven for asians. Asians typically look down on even the most gifted of black people, showing a level of unsophistication, ignorance, and short-sightedness that is staggering. Apple in Silicon Valley was the land of opportunity for qualified black people, with teh company preferring overwhelming on Indian labor. Indians in Silicon Valley are worse than Asians in their contempt and utter ignorance of black people. Jobs did nothing to dispel these misguided notions, and as a result, he contributed to the current reality that Silicon Valley is superficially liberal and progressive. Like Jobs, SV is a place that is a Stealth Conservative when it comes to its treatment and respect for black people. Count me among those who are not a fan of Jobs or the severely racist silicon valley culture that he represented.