Why is Apple Getting a Bad Rap?

by Sebastien Gomez Dec 18, 2007

Back when the Steves started Apple and made it what it is today, this strange stigma surrounded them. The bad boys of Silicon Valley were merely kids trying to reinvent what they thought was a corporate monopoly controlled by “suits.” We all know the story of what occurred next, but what really happened was an unhealthy backlash towards what they thought was an innovative company.

Steve Wozniak left and Steve Jobs went into overdrive trying to market a product that was focused on making great computers for the elite. No doubt the computer industry noticed, but the public reacted in a very different way. Apple attracted an incredible following of fanatics (which had never been seen for a tech company before) but also garnished an army of opposition.

Is Apple directly to blame for that uproar of negativism or is Steve Jobs’ perpetual drive to diminish the competition and ridicule the big bad blue: IBM? One can argue that Jobs had a huge part of the blame to put on himself. He purposely promoted the Apple lifestyle and values, often priding himself on having a low percentage of customer base compared to DOS-based machines (later Bill Gates’ Windows), making his fan base feel special and fortunate in owning a Mac.

A Hard Sell for the Board

In the 1980’s, Apple’s board of directors didn’t take Steve Jobs’ uncontrollable fanatic attitude as a positive move forward for the company and decided to later remove him from his position of CEO. He was hurt but never lost his drive and creativity. Although Apple was left without its creative seed, the fans were still chanting Jobs’ name. The company fell into a deep hole in the 1990’s without Steve Jobs and had a slew of very forgettable products.

Bringing Steve Back

In 1997, Steve was named the interim CEO and brought back to “save” the company with the very public announcement of a joint capital venture with Microsoft. As many remember, Steve had to explain his reasoning and calm the furious crowd with this new Steve we had never seen before. Jobs had become more subdued, perhaps because of the humbling experience that NEXT had been. A couple of years later, Jobs again became the full-fledged CEO he was destined to be and brought to the table, for the first time in years, an incredible computer revolution: the iMac.

The Rebirth of the Old Steve

With the insane success Apple had with the iMac, OS X, and the iPod, Steve Jobs regained confidence and started preaching again. His arrogance came back as the cool products kept rolling in, along with the profits. The fan base had never died, but its king was back on top again and they could not have hoped for a better resolution. The competition between Microsoft and Apple became ferocious and the old Steve, who asked Gates for a helping hand 5 years earlier, was biting the hand that fed his company, and biting it hard. Many new computer owners were clearly turned off by his approach yet still so many more bought into it, making Apple a company to be reckoned with.

The Future

With Steve Jobs at the helm of Apple, the company regained the trust of its stockholders and Jobs now stands as one of the great visionaries of an ever-changing industry. His arrogance will probably always remain; Apple’s market share may never get higher than 20% because of it and in the end Steve Jobs may get replaced again for bashing the competition with his relentless attitude. But one thing will never be forgotten: how one man could singlehandedly change the market place with his vision and compulsive drive for perfection. Some say Jonathan Ives (the head designer of the great iMac and iPod) may rise up to replace his mentor and boss. Anything is possible.

Whatever happens to Steve Jobs, he can be proud to have made a mark, with his teeth, with a small company that grew bigger and bigger while never forgetting to always keep pushing the boundaries no matter the consequences, and to always… Think Different.


  • You’ve got to be a child of the late 70’s, because while you’ve got the general events correct, you’ve got the interpretation quite wrong.

    The entire low market share mantra was adopted in defense of having lost 100% of the personal computer market (when Apple was the only computer) to DOS.  This was further argued as the Macintosh share dwindled.  It was never the case that Apple or Jobs *wanted* a low marketshare nor were they courting fanatics.  Admittedly they tried to rationalize the marketshare via the “BMW does okay” kind of arguments.  But that didn’t happen until after they’d dropped down near 10% US marketshare.

    Jobs has always been supremely confident.  At least in public.  I don’t think he came back from NeXT humble…but he did come back from NeXT a little more interested in collaboration instead of fiat.  Some of that was just a question of who was around.  Jobs needs strong people around him with whom to argue.  It’s the debate that hones the projects—it’s rarely the case anymore that Jobs “lays down the law”; more often he’s pushing people to do better until they give him something that satisifies him.

    So that’s not arrogance.  That’s obsessively focusing on delivering a product that he wants to use.

    The Mac was supposed to be the computer for the rest of us.  Not for the “elite”.  Unfortunately, Jobs made a few mistakes in his search for perfecton that drove the cost up and initially put it out of reach of the mass market.

    But the board forced Jobs out largely because he wanted to lower prices and take the Mac more mass market—and they wanted to maintain high profit margins.

    After his departure, there were several reasonable products (including the Newton); unfortunately, they were grossly overpriced.  And Apple eventually sank into a morass of trying to milk the Macintosh line without moving it forward.

    Even your version of how Jobs came back to Apple and “saved” it is inaccurate.  Microsoft “invested” in Apple in August of 1997.  Jobs became interim CEO in September of 1997.  The original iMac was launched in May of 1998.  Only 8 months later.

    If you’re going to write opinion pieces, label them as such.  If you’re going to write history, leave out the opinion and get the facts right.  This is much closer to an opinion piece than anything else.


    reinharden had this to say on Dec 18, 2007 Posts: 7
  • “Steve Jobs: the Lenin of the Computing World.”

    10 years from now, someone will write this book.

    Mr Roberto had this to say on Dec 18, 2007 Posts: 10
  • The headline doesn’t work for the current Apple. I’d say they were riding pretty high right now, and I’m not high on cool aid or in a RDF fog. Just look at the stock price, retail store performance and of course the product line. If Apple is getting a bad rap it’s from competitors not able to keep up, or writers that don’t know from shinola.

    cloudwall had this to say on Dec 18, 2007 Posts: 21
  • Yeah.
    If anything, Apple’s reputation exceeds their actual performance.

    simo66 had this to say on Dec 18, 2007 Posts: 78
  • Alright, to answer “Reinharden”, yes this IS an opinion piece. Just look at the label above the title.

    I’ve been an Apple user all of my life and my writing style has always been on the irreverent side. I know the whole Apple history and have read the books, this was not suppose to be a summary.

    Just one thing though, you say that Steve Jobs came back in September 1997 - where in actuality he was involved with Apple months prior to that public announcement, so is iMacs real father (along with iVes). That is some history.

    As for other comments:

    The Bad Rep title was directed towards what competitors and other users. Us Mac users know that Apple is an “every guy”, “every day” computer. We know we are not ALL elites. I won’t argue that Apple stocks has one of the most interesting rises of 2007 - that is not the point though. Read the “opinion article” once again and try to understand the point of view.

    Thanks to everyone.

    P.S. Oh and by the way, yep! I am a child of the 1970’s, that you’re right about. Stay well and Merry Xmas.

    Sebastien Gomez had this to say on Dec 18, 2007 Posts: 11
  • I’ll tell you why they are getting a bad rap.

    Because I am on my 5th replacement iphone.  They raped their biggest supporters with a 1/3 price cut within 60 days.  Their new OS is buggy beyond belief.  My MBP had speaker issues, display issues, keyboard issues, battery issues, and I’ve had to replace my power cord 3 times.

    This isn’t what makes me angry though.  It is the Mac apologists that dismiss the fact that Apple is fallible and act like there are quality, software, or build issues within their products.  THAT makes me angry.

    Also, based on what you say above in your post and in your comment Sebastien, I can only label your post as disingenuous.

    E.T.Cook had this to say on Dec 18, 2007 Posts: 8
  • E.T., Never in my post or comments have I stated that Apple products were infallible. This wasn’t the position I was taking at all nor the point of the opinion.

    As a matter of fact, we’ve all been through the OS X re-install because of buggy issues, seen the odd power cable mishaps or battery recalls and horrible cycling. I know a thing or two about “teching” professionally on these products so understand your frustration.

    We all agree that Apple’s move with the iPhone price cut was a bad one towards their loyal first in line customers. Bottom line though, is that Apple products have a general tendency to be above normal quality and tech standards. Wouldn’t it be great if a company never produced lemons in their line ups? Your MacBook Pro is one of those examples - Aren’t you glad Apple service is above par as well (for the most part)?

    I never thought that this discussion would get here but I guess it just did. I’m not defending Apple (I no longer have a professional relationship with them) but I can only state the personal facts that my iPods, Macbooks, iMacs, G4’s, Powerbooks, etc. have all surpassed my expectations (except for that time, years ago, where my G4 motherboard caught on fire after a bad RAM swap).

    To finish off this post, to call me disingenuous is not getting what I’m trying to say. I have not blindly defended a fallible company here and I get all of your main concerns. My being sincere has nothing to do with this or have you not made yourself clear enough?

    Thanks for reading and again, I welcome all comments with open arms wink

    All the best!

    Sebastien Gomez had this to say on Dec 18, 2007 Posts: 11
  • Sebastien, thank you for responding.

    When I said you were being disingenuous, I was referring to the same notion reinharden was putting forth…that you really aren’t representing Apple in an honest light.

    Regarding the hardware issues.  As I stated before, I wouldn’t be so damned angry about all the issues I had if it wasn’t for the Apple apologists and the terrible support I receive inside the Apple store (Willow Bend, Plano TX).  Every time I walk in there I feel like I am in the midst of elitist pricks, and the “apple genius” behind the bar has no qualms with lying to me, or denying that there is an issue at all.

    There have been a few times that I have gone in for issues like my power cable, and the individual behind the bar has looked me straight in the eye, and told me that he has never seen an issue with the power cables on the MBP before…are you serious?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    Every time I go up there with an issue, it almost feels like they are angry because I am casting aspersions against Steve Jobs himself.

    Personally, I hate Apple tech support.  I hate the Apple store.  I try to stay as far away from Apple elitists as I can because of their condescension and arrogance.  I am not comfortable around them.  Maybe because I’m employed, don’t dress like a 15 year old douche, and don’t wear thick rimmed black glasses.

    I apologize for lashing out, it is just that every time I think about my experiences at the Apple store I just get myself worked up.  I have yet to have a great experience there.

    E.T.Cook had this to say on Dec 18, 2007 Posts: 8
  • E.T.,
    I can’t agree with you more on the Apple Store issue. Something has to happen, someone has to take care of this. I’ve been on the other side of that genius bar (way before Apple Stores in other formats) and wasn’t very proud of my fellow “geniuses”. The sense of employees being high and mighty and holier than God is what strikes pretty much every customer that walks in there.

    That said, Apple Tech support is the greatest but not from little 15 year old looking “douches” like you say but from the real technicians (there are only a handful on their tech support line). They have been nothing but splendid in the way they conducted themselves and felt about Apple. Yes Apple has its flaws, that’s why these techs are there.

    I tend to think of these guys who are truly the geek geniuses behind the whole “look+attitude+smirk+I’m better than you persona”.

    I personally have never lied to a client (even if it was to tell them the sad truth about their MBP power cable, which is a very common occurrence. Apple stores should rethink their hiring process and re-evaluate what they think is important; a fresh out of school pompous kid never willing to admit any wrong doing by its employer or a service oriented geek in the computer tech business and not the Apple business. The answer should have been clear.

    I hope you do have that great experience you are looking for, but doubt it for the near future.

    Sebastien Gomez had this to say on Dec 18, 2007 Posts: 11
  • Sebastien,

    Thank you for your forthright response.

    I agree with you 100% in what you are saying.  Not only from a personal perspective to I find that type of self-righteous attitude despicable, but as I have said many times prior, it also does a diservice to the platform and the community in general.

    It isn’t until we can admit that our preferred platform is fallible, and that it isn’t utopia that there will be true development pushing forward.  It is amazing the contrast between the Mac community, which mocked Vista for the bugs it had upon shipment, with the apologists who managed to rationalize away the issues with Leopard.  The individuals that are rightfully criticising Leopard for being in many ways a mess are few and far between.

    This is where the Mac and Windows people tend to divert.  I don’t remember the last time a Windows blog apologized or rationalized the shortcomings of Vista so adamently, but yet we experience it every day on the Mac side.  Worse yet, the hypocrisy of the individuals who STILL degrade Vista even with the current state of Leopard is just baffleing, and only goes to substantiate the double standard that Mac zealots possess.

    Where is the WTF attitude?  Where are the demands for Apple to right their wrongs?  Where is the accountability?

    I want every security flaw, every bug, every issue period of the Mac platform to be well published.  I don’t need someone telling me how great my preferred platform is, quite the opposite, I need someone telling me how it could be improved, and help us hold Apple accountable, and keep their record of innovation going!

    To answer your aggregate and overall question…why is apple getting a bad rap?...

    The answer is…its own userbase.

    E.T.Cook had this to say on Dec 18, 2007 Posts: 8
  • Sorry, but the content of the article has nothing to do with the title.  For one thing, Apple gets a disproportionate amount of free positive press, the envy of every tech company in the world save for Google.  Bad rap?  That’s like when rich white people complain that THEY are the true victims of discrimination.

    The title based on the actual content should be: “I don’t understand why EVERYONE doesn’t worship Steve Jobs the way I do.”  A bit wordy perhaps.  How about: “Don’t hate him because he’s beautiful.”

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Dec 18, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • LOL @ Beeblebrox

    E.T.Cook had this to say on Dec 18, 2007 Posts: 8
  • Bite the hand that fed it? Really. I think you are sadly mistaken.


    Joe_S had this to say on Dec 18, 2007 Posts: 1
  • I think the someone misunderstood the word “irreverent” for “ignorant”.

    Mr Roberto had this to say on Dec 19, 2007 Posts: 10
  • I think the someone misunderstood the word “irreverent” for “ignorant”.

    At the very least, “irreverent” means the exact opposite of this article’s literary felating of Steve Jobs.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Dec 19, 2007 Posts: 2220
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