I am a fan of Apple’s products. I believe that the hardware is well-designed, and so is the software. In particular, I believe that the design philosophy behind Objective-C and Cocoa frameworks are the best thought-out and implemented tools for any developer looking for a strong and robust environment for object-oriented programming.
Like other Apple fans, I get excited at the new hardware the company puts out on a regular basis. I have reconciled myself to the fact that the top-of-the-line Macbook Pro I now use will shortly be replaced by a newly refreshed iteration of this line, and I will soon torment myself when I see others with their newer computers. The sames goes for my iPod touch.
I am also a fan of Steve Jobs; he shows what can be done by a very smart guy who has fallen down a few times in life who now has a good plan, and who just focuses on implementing his plan. The guy knows exactly what he wants, and doesn’t let anyone or anything get in the way of his plans. He is the poster boy for a smart authoritarian and autocratic management in an organization. I’m convinced that without a firm grasp of the challenges the company faced in 1997, Apple would have quickly gone into bankruptcy.
Steve Jobs saved Apple.
This is why I get upset with the company’s policies towards China. I mean, for Apple to criticize the Chinese government for not being open and nice to minorities is just completely wide of the mark.
With this in mind, let me show you how the Chinese government, in comparison to Apple’s management, is in fact much more open and democratic:
- China now has a group leadership on the national level. Who is in the group leadership at Apple? And how much do you see others besides Steve Jobs talking about “different directions” at Apple?
- Who is going to be the successor to President Hu Jintao. I can name several candidates including Xi Jinping, Bo Xilai, Zhou Yongkang, just to name a few. Who is going to succeed Steve Jobs? I can’t name any.
- Leaking any information about any new products which have not yet been announced at Apple are grounds for immediate dismissal. Same goes for China.
- Apple employees are not allowed to publish unofficial blogs without company permission. Doing so may be grounds for dismissal. China has 100 million blogs; all of them are unofficial.
- In private meetings with Steve Jobs and Apple senior and executive management, the senior and executive management turn and look to Steve Jobs for permission to speak before speaking, even when they are addressed directly. The Chinese national government leadership is more relaxed than Steve about other senior officials speaking about national affairs.
- For many Apple employees, the most dreaded moment is sharing the same elevator ride with Steve. If he talks to them and he asks what they do, and they go not give a good response, he just might terminate them.
Basically, Apple (the company) is an extension and implementation of one man’s (Steve Jobs) vision of what the consumer electronics and computing industry should look like. And ironically, laws in the US permit Steve Jobs to run his company in a very autocratic fashion. I have not yet heard of people being “dismissed” from China because they were not productive according to one ruler’s definition. On the contrary, the Chinese government goes out of its way to keep the Chinese economy on a growth track, creating more jobs. (I must admit that I think many of these jobs are of questionable value, but that’s another discussion.)
And yet, Apple doesn’t like things the Chinese government does because they are less than democratic and are autocratic? How many current Apple employees do you see protesting at the way the company is run? I’ll tell you how many there are.
Zero, nada, zilch.
Sure, Steve Jobs is running a company and the Chinese government is running a country, but is there anything to suggest that Steve would act any differently and suddenly become open and democratic if he were running a country?
Come on Steve, look in the mirror. When it comes to autocracy, the Chinese government can’t hold a candle to you.
I’m really trying to wrap my mind around this and am trying very very hard to understand Apple’s criticisms of China. If anyone can explain this to me, I’m all ears.