This story was originally published in 2012. CNN Films will be hosting the television premiere of "Steve Jobs: the Man in the Machine" on Sunday, January 3, 9pm. ET on CNNgo and CNN.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died of cancer at his California home in 2011. The world was quick to praise him with glowing words: genius. Visionary. A modern-day Thomas Edison.
In obituaries and videos, he was praised for his role in bringing about a revolution in mobile computing, transforming the music industry through iTunes, and changing the way movies were made at Pixar. Pundits marveled his brilliance at creating a mystique around Apple products and predicting which electronic gadgets consumers most desired.
Apple's site has received more than one million thanks and tributes from people around the globe.
In the past 12 months, however, as high profile books have examined Jobs' life and his career, this reputation has evolved a little. No one questioned Jobs' impact on computing or our communication culture. As writers have described Jobs' controlling, often callous personality, an accurate portrait of Apple CEO Steve Jobs has emerged.
Everyone knows that Steve has a rough side. This is partly because Steve really did have an 'rough' side, and partially because it was more interesting to read about the rough Steve than the human Steve. Ken Segall, the author of "Insanely simple: The obsession that drives Apple's success" said this.
Segall said that since Apple is the world's most watched company, there are many writers who are always searching for a new angle. After all the glowing tributes for Steve have run their course, the negative articles are not surprising.
Walter Isaacson’s biography of Apple leader Jobs, which was long awaited, hit the shelves 19 days after Jobs’ death and became the best-selling book across the country. Isaacson's 'Steve Jobs' is a captivating narrative that tells how Jobs co-founded Apple along with Steve Wozniak and was pushed out a decade later. He then returned to the company in the late 90s for one of the most successful second acts of American business.
He also chronicled the arrogant and cruel behavior of an ambiguous figure who could inspire one moment, then degrade the next. According to the book Jobs would berate employees who did not meet his standards. He was known for being difficult to please, and saw people and products as black and white. They were either brilliant, or "sh-t."
Jobs was a distant, cold father to Lisa, his daughter when he was a young boy. In one particularly callous incident, Jobs refused giving founding stock options for Apple to one of its earliest employees even after another employee intervened, offering to match what Jobs was willingly to spare.
Adam Lashinsky is a senior editor for Fortune and the author of Inside Apple: America's Most Admired-and Secretive-Company Really Works. Isaacson has helped 'the public to get a better understanding of Steve Jobs', said Adam Lashinsky, senior editor at Fortune and author of Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired - and Secretive - Company Really Works.' I don't believe that this will change anyone's opinion about his achievements. This may just change their opinion about him.
Isaacson's book and other accounts about Jobs' life have reinforced the parallel images that Jobs was an innovative innovator, but also a demanding and unpleasant person.
His stature has never been greater. No one can deny his brilliance or his legacy', said Leander KAHNEY, editor and publisher of Cult of Mac, and author of Inside Steve's Brain.
Kahney said that Isaacson's bio has shed a new light on Isaacson's personality and methods. Everyone knew that Isaacson was a taskmaster. But his cruelty, his relentless pursuit of corporate perfectionism, wasn't widely recognized. Some people have been put off by it. His life is seen by some as a warning. It's an example of how to not devote your entire life to your job.
In July, Wired published the cover story 'Do You Really Want to Be Like Steve Jobs? Cover image showing Jobs with both devil horns and a halo. The article claimed that Jobs' example had created two camps: those who wanted to emulate his ruthless and idiosyncratic style of business, and those turned off by his failures as a parent and human.
Ben Austen wrote in his article that Jobs' life has become a strange kind of holy book for entrepreneurs. It is both a gospel, and an anti-gospel. Jobs' life is a lesson to some on the importance of staying true to your vision and goals no matter what the psychological toll it takes on colleagues or employees. Others see Jobs as a cautionary story, a man that changed the world, but at the cost of alienating nearly everyone around him.
Steve Jobs was the peak of Apple's fanboy mania.
Apple Since Steve
Apple's financial success over the last year, the fact that its stock is nearly $300 higher than when Jobs died, and the fact that Apple is the most valuable company in the world, according to some observers, has diminished Jobs' legacy. Why are they doing so much better without him if he was such a vital part of the company?
Some say that Jobs' continued success is a testament to his business acumen because Apple is run by a hand-picked team and still releases products. Most notably, the iPhone 5 and the iPad 3rd generation that Jobs helped design. Apple's product releases are less interesting.
It's difficult to argue that Apple’s excellent financial performance over the past year has diminished Steve's significance at all. Segall stated that it's safe for us to say everything we've seen has Steve's stamp on it. From this point on, less. Apple watchers should have an interesting time in the next year or so, as Steve's influence will be fading more and more.
Apple Maps, the new mapping system that replaced Google Maps on iOS 6, Apple’s new mobile OS, has been widely criticized. Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized publicly last month for maps that misplaced and mislabeled many streets and landmarks.
Some pundits complained that Jobs, the perfectionist with his obsession for detail, would never have allowed Apple release a product so flawed. Some pointed out that Jobs was responsible for Apple's failures such as MobileMe (a subscription service available to Apple product owners) and Ping (a social networking site centered around music).
Segall does not believe that the Maps fiasco has much of an impact on Jobs legacy.
In an email to CNN, he stated that 'nobody can conclude Steve would have made any different decisions about the release of Apple Maps'. But I don't believe Steve would have apologized as much as Tim Cook did in his open note. I imagine that he would've done something similar when dealing with Apple's ban of Flash. There is a huge difference in this case, as Flash had many enemies and Google Maps have many fans.
Apple's volatile stock price and the controversy over maps will probably not change the opinion of consumers about the man who created their beloved smartphones and tablets in the long run. Steve Jobs will be remembered as the inventor of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad in decades to come, rather than as a tyrant. Does anyone really care if Alexander Graham Bell had a bad temper?
"Among Apple employees, his reputation has not changed at all." Lashinsky stated that it has probably grown as they have realized the importance of his contributions.
History tends to overlook people's mistakes and celebrate their achievements. Jobs was compared with Edison, Henry Ford, and Disney when he died. I don't even know where he will be remembered in 30, 40, or 50 years. 'One year is not enough to judge.