Steve Jobs is stepping down as CEO of Apple, likely for good.
What a lesson Apple holds. I’ve never bought an Apple computer or “device” (although I did get an iPod as a gift), but I’ll never forget my amazement in law school in the early 1980s when a local computer store had on display the very first Mac.
It was revolutionary in a way “the kids these days” cannot imagine. If you think the iPod changed your life, imagine a world in which you lived in DOS.
If memory serves me well, the first Mac cost $2,500, which is like a million dollars in 2011 dollars. It was too expensive for us, but my wife (or was it fiancé at the time) and I just kept going back to the store to look at it.
A mouse? What was that? No need to remember commands? Unbelievable!
Apple in many ways revolutionized and popularized personal computing. But what if….
- we had been more concerned about the secretarial jobs and typewriter factories destroyed by Apple?
- we made it so easy to unionize Apple that Apple had to be run like General Motors?
- we imposed such employment mandates and controls that the cost of Apple expanding was prohibitive?
- we demonized rather than idolized the new captains of the computer industry even though they became fabulously wealthy?
- when Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy it had accepted a government bailout rather than working through its problems and emerging stronger than ever?
In other words, what if we had the economically repressive policies of the Obama administration?
We never would have known what we missed. And not just the technological convenience, but the thousands if not millions of jobs created in spin off companies and solo-geeks creating apps and all the other gear which makes computing and listening and viewing and creating what it is today.
Instead, we would have had television commercials with images of typewriter factories saved, and secretaries thanking the government for saving their jobs. Just like we have a President who laments the loss of bank clerk jobs due to ATMs.