Saturday, September 10, 2016

Apple, Ireland, Taxes And The Continued Life Of The Myth Of Steve Jobs

Apple is outraged that some people in Ireland (and some lawmakers in the European Union) think that Apple should pay taxes in Ireland. (Why, the nerve of those peasants!)

The headline of a story about Aplle's Irish tax situation in the Guardian says

Apple should pay its EU tax bill and start focusing on innovation rather than balance sheets --

Well, alright for the Guardian! Wait, there's more writing in the headline...

-- as the company did in the Steve Jobs era.


Okay. So the Guardian can see that Apple is an obscenely huge money-taking operation posing as a computer maker now, but not that it was the same sort of thing in the Jobs era. More than 30 years ago Apple went from the Wozniak-Jobs era to the Jobs era largely because Wozniak felt that Apple was too much about marketing and not enough about innovation and having actual good stuff to market. Not that Wozniak felt strongly enough about that to keep him from becoming a billionaire, or that there was ever a time when Apple was either technologically superior or a better deal than its competition. They've been selling hot air the whole time, including the 14 Jobs-Wozniak years. Apple wasn't good with Woz, it just got more shamelessly evil and rapacious without him.

Apple didn't get worse technologically or more egregiously-overpriced without Jobs because that wasn't possible. If the Guardian headline is any indication, then maybe, without Jobs, Apple is losing its ability to sell nonsense. Which would be good. But if the myth of Jobs, Technological Genius And Friend To Humanity, doesn't crumble along with that ability, then it's only part-good.

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