Steve Jobs is dead. Long live the King. And any other sort of respects I can pay to the man who basically shaped modern computing into a more personalized form.
In the past few days and weeks the media has been lit ablaze by this man’s passing. Describing him as an innovator, painting him as some godlike entity who came down from on high to change the world according to his vision. And while there is some truth to that, the rose-coloured lenses were definitely in need of checking when remembering him.
A key facet in examining Apple computer’s rise to success in their early days, was the creation of the GUI (graphical user interface) – think how you click icons to activate functions vs. the old system of entering code. GUI basically revolutionized everything from the ground up. To compliment this was the user’s electronic extension, the mouse. The mouse is another key aspect to modern computing. Generally these things are attributed to Apple.
While they did create them, they did not invent them. Casting a shadow of a doubt on Jobs’ image as an innovator, there is the well known PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) a Xerox outpost that designed these concepts first. They went one step further and created working/final versions of the GUI and mouse. When these things didn’t fly with the Xerox top brass, Jobs managed to get in touch with them and send a team of Apple employees and himself to PARC. They uncovered PARC’s discoveries and used them for their own gain.
"Good artists copy, great artists steal"
While this incident doesn’t fully discredit Jobs’ contributions to the technological world, it certainly paints a different image of the man. Innovator – he very well could be. Marketing guru, he was.