Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why I wasn’t an Apple or Steve Jobs Fan

I held off on my opinion of Steve Jobs because I felt it would be rude to post what I’m about to say about both him and his company at the time of his death. I don’t wish anybody dead and I was NOT happy about his death, I didn’t hate the man. His death saddened me, plus he died of the same cancer my Mom died of 2 years ago, 11/29/09. But his death didn’t fill me with feelings of there goes a man the likes of Edison or Einstein or even Bill Gates. I don’t feel he compares to any of these three favorably and here’s why.

I have been in the computer industry professionally for over 20 years. I started toying with them back in 1978 when I worked for a stereo store. I have A LOT of experience with both PC and Apple products, to be fair calling a post 2006 Mac a Mac isn’t fair, it’s a PC pure and simple. Apple, no, correction, Steve Jobs realized that saying a computer is faster isn’t the same thing as actually being faster, the Byte mark was a joke but millions bought because of the commercials where Jeff Goldblum would brag about how much faster a Mac was. Well, using the Byte mark, which was compiled to run optimally on Apple’s G series CPU’s, when run on an x86 (Intel and AMD) computer they lagged behind, much to the joy of Apple fanboys everywhere.

As an honest computer nerd it ticked me off that Apple would knowingly run a rigged game and then brag about the outcome. I was about 50/50 into Mac’s at the time (even though I hated that they were built in China) but this turned me off enough where I stopped working on them completely, one could say I had my priorities backwards and they would likely be right.

Reality set in for Apple when they realized even cooked numbers weren’t going to continue working and they couldn’t shoe horn a molten hot G5 or the never to be built G6 into a laptop, enter Intel (I could write about their tactics as well, maybe someday) with a big shit eating grin on their face to save the day, literally. Apple development on the G6 stalled because it couldn’t do the job.

The crow Apple had to eat was mighty indeed and Apple fanboys will tell a different story I’m sure, hey whatever floats yer boat boys but the truth is the truth. Intel put an ass whuppin on Apple (at the time AMD put a whuppin on both Intel and Apple) and they knew it and they knew they had to make the switch or not have anything to put into their laptops. Try and imagine the backdoor meetings for that eh?

Getting back to Steve Jobs, there was a reason why he was ousted at Apple in ‘85. He couldn’t be managed period, the company was suffering and while John Scully says things a bit differently now, the way Jobs did things back then simply didn’t work. After he was gone for 11 years the environment for Steve to come back was right, the company was again suffering but now Steve was older and much wiser and he had a relationship with Bill Gates that he put to good use and between Gates money and Jobs taking full control Apple was saved.

So, that being the case why am I not an Apple fan? Because in 1992 Apple, after building facilities and hiring thousands pulled up stakes and moved almost all production to China. A country known to be euthanizing baby girls and working people in sweat shops for next to nothing. This had the needed result of huge profit margins for Apple which today is more than Exxon Mobile. You would think that production could be brought back to the States when Steve Jobs heard the reports of conditions at the major plants in China right? Nope!! Apple did nothing without the approval of Steve Jobs who pushed for more production capacity which in turn caused the operators of the plants to push workers even harder for longer. Would YOU make that choice?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for profit but there is a point when you must look at HOW you’re making that profit and who it affects. This has become a problem all over the country, to the point where people are saying Capitalism is bad, no, it isn’t. The problem is people, no matter what system is in place, people will subvert it, pollute it and twist it to their agenda. Capitalism provides a way for ALL PEOPLE to become wealthy should they choose to do so but of course there are no guarantees and is a post for another time. Apple, under the leadership of Steve Jobs made a pile of money on the backs of people they hurt and instead of taking the reports coming from China and stepping back and saying enough is enough, they tried to cover it up, they had about as much success as the virus cover up but people don’t care and that says something about people.

Steve Jobs will go into the history books being compared to Einstein, Edison and many others. In my view he doesn’t belong there. I didn’t come to this conclusion based on bias, I wanted to like him and Apple, but both kept giving me reasons not to. Apple will continue to make hardware in China, as many companies do but I believe in karma and what has happened to the thousands upon thousands who suffered to work insane hours in conditions American’s would never put up with will probably come back to haunt them.

My opinion on this is the unpopular one, people look at Apple and especially Steve Jobs with loving eyes, everything they have done makes these people smile and brag about how the world was changed by them. Two countries were changed for sure, can you say for the better? Do better toys really make for a better life? The fact that Apple moved some manufacturing 1,000 miles away to another part of remote China where it’s difficult to check on how employees or iSlaves are doing is very telling also.

Hearing Steve Jobs defend conditions at the factories should disgust you because he ignored the conditions completely. He stated “We’re all over this”, really… lying about what you’re doing isn’t being all over it, talking about the restaurants and other things Foxconn had to put on premises because of the sheer size of the compound may make him happy but the promised 30% raise from $1.00 per hour to $1.30 per hour making him happy, disgusting.

Quote from Steve Jobs "We hope the hike in wages will help improve the living standards of the workers and allow them to have more leisure time, which is good for their health." Quote "You go in this place and it's a factory but, my gosh, they've got restaurants and movie theatres and hospitals and swimming pools. For a factory, it's pretty nice.” Amazing, what did he think they would show him when staff went to check it out? Come on, really?

The 12+ hour work shifts, the abuse and having to ask for permission to use the bathroom are just part of the benefit package right? Steve Jobs completely ignored what was going on in China, deluded himself into believing Foxconn treated their employees the same way American employees are treated only they have theater, swimming pools and restaurants in the compound. Hey, so does Google but I’ll lay odds they aren’t abused, forced to work without overtime pay and forced to confess poor job performance in front of their co-workers.

I’m done, I wrote this because I am sick of people who know I am in the computer field saying how awesome Steve Jobs was. The last person who did that had to endure a 30 minute explanation about why Steve Jobs was NOT awesome, just a guy very good at marketing and figuring out what people would buy.

I’ll put on my fire suit now because I’m sure I’ll be taken to task for saying anything negative about Apple and burned in effigy for talking smack about the almighty Steve Jobs. If you doubt the things I have said here do a little research, what you find may actually shock you.

You may want to start HERE.


Big Matt said...

I've always been of the mind that Apple is nothing special, or unique, just well marketed and fits right in with those that like to have their thinking done for them.

DeanO said...

Not an Apple fan and I enjoyed your well written posts - American Jobs to China; how sad

michael ultra said...

I have always thought there was something wrong with the Mac thing. Of course, Bill Gates did loan them $100,000,000. Pretty smart on his part.

lou said...

Thank you Eric. My eyes have been opened a little. People, like me, are driven by what they hear, read or see. We are like the sea, going where the current takes us. You are so right, that better toys don't make better lives.

Rae said...

I had been disillusioned with Jobs for awhile prior to his death. I knew some of this history already, but not to the extent you describe. I will not degrade the man in death, but I will not hold him up in esteem either. His exploitation of the Chinese worker is atrocious and his track record of duping the American consumer is a horrendous thing. The fact that the media hyped him up to be a hero is wrong.
I don't think he will be remembered as an Edison or Einstein - for a short time maybe, but not long term. Big bully is more likely to be his legacy.

Rae said...

Erik, please tell Ronda hello. Hope she is doing well. It's been awhile since we have heard from her on her blog.

Doyle and Terri Johnson said...

So where do you think Windows PC's are made? Or your Cell Phone? or your TV? or your clothes? Get real.
Steve Jobs is not alone. In fact he held out longer than anyone in the PC business.

Not wild about Steve, couldn't care less, but I would like to see a picture of you working on your American made PC.