Sunday, October 1, 2023
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Steve Jobs: Thief Or Innovator?


By Anusha Gupta,

Steve jobs

“Good artists copy, great artists steal” One of the greatest CEO of all times replied quoting Picasso, when he was accused of stealing and ripping Xerox of its technology.  Many of his employees including his close associate Jonathan Ive said that Jobs would often take credit for his ideas and present them as if it were his own.

Apple is undoubtedly the biggest technological giants of all times, but some cringe if Apple is called an innovator. What makes Apple so great? Is it the products or is it the idea of possessing an Apple product which is so unparallel? The answer is very simple, Apple had what no other company can have- Steve Jobs. Neither an engineer nor a computer geek, he still managed to change the face of personal computers and how they are viewed today, by his undying vision and the will to achieve whatever he wished for. People described him with the strongest words; visionary, artist, showman, tyrant, genius and jerk. But then again one cannot deny his passion and Arjun-eyed vision. Off late there has been a lot of comparison between Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, people think that Musk has surpassed Jobs, which is correct if you think in terms of technology and innovations. But Steve Jobs was a drop out and did not have a technical background, he still managed to change so much.

The biggest controversy he got into was with Xerox PARC in 1979, when jobs visited the company to offer them a deal. He went with his software engineer Bill Atkinson where Xerox showed him the first mouse ever invented by any company. Initially it was a rectangular box with three buttons. The engineers at Xerox used it navigate on the screen and Steve Jobs exclaimed, “This is revolutionary”. He couldn’t believe the fact that Xerox wasn’t doing anything with this technology. When he came back from PARC he met with Dean Hovey and told him what he wanted and thus the next generation computers introduced by Apple came with the mouse which was much better and more presentable. This brings us to the topic; did he steal the technology from Xerox?? Absolutely not!

The major difference with the Xerox mouse and the Apple mouse is that the Xerox mouse had three buttons and the Apple one had just one, more importantly the Xerox mouse costs 300 USD and the Apple mouse costs less than 15 USD and was much more durable. These minute differences make the product more sellable to the people and are, innovation. What Steve Jobs did is completely justified and legal he took a non-patented and non-commercialized idea which would have been Xerox’s had they have a vision for it and he transformed it into something bigger and better and earning a total revenue of a whopping 17 billion USD. Perhaps the single most important feature that sets mice manufactured by Apple apart from others is the emphasis on a single button control interface. It was not until 2005 that Apple introduced a mouse featuring a scroll ball and four programmable “buttons.”

All mice made by them contained a ball-tracking control mechanism until 2000, when Apple introduced optical LED based control mechanisms. Apple’s latest mouse uses laser tracking.

It was Steve Jobs vision hunger for success and the ability to sell what he wanted to and how he wanted to that makes him the best CEO of all times, no matter how much he is criticized for being rude, volatile or a maniac. It was this need for making things better and perfect that Apple became a legacy and can reap the benefits of his doing for a coming generation.


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