The FT chose the moment in January when Jobs unveiled the iPad as the point when his and Apple’s “rebound was complete”.
“The iPad is the culmination of an approach that he has seemingly been perfecting for his entire career,” stated the newspaper’s opinion writers.
“A rebuttal of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s much-quoted aphorism that there are no second acts in American life does not come more decisively than this,” wrote Richard Waters and Joseph Menn.
“When Steven Paul Jobs first hit the headlines, he was younger even than Mark Zuckerberg is now. Long before it was cool to be a nerd, his formative role in popularising the personal computer, and Apple’s initial public offering on Wall Street made him the tech industry’s first rock star.”
“Now, three decades on, he has secured his place in the foremost ranks of the West Coast tech titans who have done so much to shape the world around the turn of the millennium.”
The FT notes that the iPad is an affront to Microsoft’s Bill Gates who was first to champion the tablet PC format many years ago. To make matters worse the newspaper reports that “sales of cheaper [Windows] notebook computers are already suffering”.
“Steve’s the last of the great builders,” Roger McNamee, a Silicon Valley financier who led a recent, failed attempt to rebuild Palm in Apple’s image, told the FT.
“What makes him different is that he’s creating jobs and economic activity out of thin air while just about every other CEO in America is working out ways to cut costs and lay people off.”
The FT also quoted an anonymous, recently departed executive on the level of Steve Jobs’ control at Apple: “You have to make one guy like what you’re doing. He’s the customer, and he’s the marketing department too.”
Another ex-Apple manager who left this year is quoted on how the Apple boss becomes “more fixated in finding flaws in an icon on a screen than in the program it represents”: “You can go into a meeting with the most wonderful product in the world, and he will stare at the icon for the entire meeting”.
“They have no predators at this point,” the FT quotes McNamee.
“I think they could bring out a dishwasher and people would buy it.”