I have often said that business doesn’t have to mean war, there are not always pure winners or losers. If a company is making money for its shareholders, it is successful. Destroying the competition is not necessary; companies can survive on their own if they are good enough.
The battle between the two reminds me of an impressive essay in the Harvard Business Review by Maxwell Wessel, a member of the Forum for Growth and Innovation. His article was titles ‘Idolize Bill Gates, Not Steve Jobs’.
Worshipping both is in my eyes a step to far. But I do know that putting in billions of dollars for research on aids and malaria is as important as inventing the iPad. Some will however differ on the subject of what is more important; everyone will have their own perspective.
Many worshippers also seem to have forgotten an important historical fact. The success of Jobs is also thanks to Gates, in his second period as Apple CEO he had to come up with something different, since Microsoft was dominate force in the computer industry. We might have never seen the iPod, iPhone and iPad if it wasn’t for the competition between the two.
In the end all these consumer goods are just stuff, that will be thrown away in a couple of years. The overwhelming media coverage of the death of Steve Jobs was a great example of what Karl Marx described as the ‘fetishism of consumer goods’. We all know that Apple is like every other technology company; they sell products and services to earn money. The more they convince us to buy their products, the more they sell and the richer they are.
Apple is fashion, and there is actually nothing wrong with that. This is how the market economy works; the only thing that bothers me is the pernicious notion about the products we own. Apple products have become fashion accessories similar to those Rolex watches that every rich person is wearing around his wrist. ‘Are you still using an iPhone 3GS? What’s wrong with you!’
Steve Jobs and his team have innovated with the iPhone and therefore changed the technology and communication industry. We are now so used to these products, that we forget that the revolution would not have taken place without the competition.