Excellent article putting Steve Jobs and his contributions into perspective can be found here
writer Sam Varghese echoes many of the things tech writer and industry watcher Robert Cringely has said over the years - that there's a bit more legend than man in much of what's been said about Jobs.
If one were to go by the reaction to the news that Steve Jobs would no longer be the chief executive of Apple Computer, the man is Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and Henry Ford all rolled into one.
Hard-core journalists appear to have put all their scepticism aside and wallowed in trying to outdo each other in superlatives.
The emotional tributes give Jobs the credit for anything and everything that Apple has ever done, especially its achievements in the noughties.
The reality is a bit different. And if one strikes a sour note, there are no apologies - this is not a reality TV show where selective reality is played out. No, this is life and the warts and sores are as real as the plastic and the botox.
While people continue to paint him as some kind of technical genius, the truth is that Jobs is nothing of the sort. What he is, is a supreme salesman. Apple was built on the back of technical geniuses like Steve Wozniak, the late Jef Raskin, Andy Hertzfeld, Burrell Smith, Randy Wigginton, Bill Atkinson, Rich Page, and Bud Tribble.
Page and Tribble left Apple with Jobs when he quit in 1985 and went off to found NeXT, the company that would come up with an operating system based on a BSD core which has morphed into Mac OS X. Page was in charge of hardware development and Tribble took the equivalent role in software at NeXT. Again, Jobs did not create anything.
The iMac was the result of the imagination of Apple design engineer Jonathan Ive.
Take the iPod. It was created by Apple's hardware engineering chief, Jon Rubinstein with his entourage who were given a year to build the device. Michael Dhuey, Tony Fadell and Ive were part of the team.
The iPad? A team led by Ive was responsible for it. Jobs created nothing.
The company has never given credit to anyone for anything, retaining Jobs as sole marketing point, creating legend after legend about him. This was done in the early days too, to the point where a much younger Jobs began to actually believe the hype.
In Accidental Empires, his history of the PC industry, veteran technology journalist Robert X. Cringely quotes an Apple marketer standing up and telling Jobs: "Steve, we wrote this stuff about you. We made it up."
Having watched the trajectory of Apple from it's inception (and owning a series of it's products starting with an Apple][
and hopefully concluding with the purchase of my iPhone 3G) - I'm amazed at the reality distortion field that's come into effect once Jobs returned to Apple after his NeXT debacle.
When it comes to Steve Jobs, I hope the industry wakes up to the fact its not so much that "God is Dead!" It's far more accurate to say, "There is no God."
Perhaps the best way to look at this can be found in the words of poet and lyricist E.Y.Harburg (most famous for the lyrics, and much of the dialog, in The Wizard of Oz
movie):Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree;
And only God who makes the tree
Also makes the fools like me.
But only fools like me, you see,
Can make a God, who makes a tree.
— Yip Harburg
How true... Like James Thurber once said: Mighty oafs from little icons grow.