Dissing Apple, Loving Steve
Like so many others, I was deeply saddened to learn today about the passing of Steve Jobs. Jobs was a great entrepreneur, a visionary, a social benefactor. Business leaders like Steve Jobs do more good for humanity than most of the do-gooders put together.
In memory of Steve, Apple fans are sharing their memories of Apple products, listing how many Macs they’ve owned, reminiscing about their first Apple II the way they talk about their first kiss. I’m not one of those. Indeed, I don’t much care for Apple products. I used an Apple II as a teenager, and currently own an iPad, the only Apple product I’ve ever bought. Steve Jobs made a particular kind of device — beautiful, specialized, simple to operate, but expensive, impossible to customize, frustrating to use if you want to use it in a different way than Steve intended. That’s fine — à chacun son goût. Isn’t that the beauty of capitalism? Markets aren’t winner-take all. Neither Steve Jobs nor Bill Gates nor Linus Torvalds nor anyone else decided what products we all should use and made us use them. We didn’t vote for our favorite computer or music player or phone, then all get the one that 51% of the voters preferred. No, we can all have the goods and services we like.
I don’t like Apple products, but I love the fact that other people like them, and that people like Steve Jobs provided them. R.I.P.
Addendum: Steve Horwitz makes the same point.