Eric Raymond will probably get flamed for this take on Jobs
-- Jobs was uncannily perceptive about the interface design and marketing of technology, but he was also a control freak who posed as an iconoclast – and after about 1980 he projected his control freakery on everything he shaped. The former trait did a great deal of good; the latter did a degree of harm that, sadly, may prove greater in the end.
-- It’s easy to point at the good Steve Jobs did. While he didn’t invent the personal computer, he made it cool, twice. Once in 1976 when the Apple II surpassed all the earlier prototypes, and again in 1984 with the introduction of the Mac. I’ll also always be grateful for the way Jobs built Pixar into a studio that combined technical brilliance with an artistic sense and moral centeredness that has perhaps been equaled in the history of animated art, but never exceeded.
-- But the Mac also set a negative pattern that Jobs was to repeat with greater amplification later in his life. In two respects; first, it was a slick repackaging of design ideas from an engineering tradition that long predated Jobs (in this case, going back to the pioneering Xerox PARC WIMP interfaces of the early 1970s). Which would be fine, except that Jobs created a myth that arrogated that innovation to himself and threw the actual pioneers down the memory hole.
-- Nearly a quarter-century later Jobs would repeat the same game with the iPhone. The people who did the actual innovating in smartphones – notably Danger with their pioneering Hiptop – got thrown down the memory hole by Jobs’s mythmaking (though in this case some of its principals would later achieve a kind of revenge by designing Android). And the iPhone “ecosystem” became notorious not merely for the degree of control and rent-seeking it imposed, but for the Kafkaesque vagueness and arbitrariness of Apple’s policies.
-- The velvet glove over Jobs’s iron fist was thinner that second time around; like most people who attract a cult following, he became increasingly convinced of his own infallibility. It was an error that eventually killed him; the kind of pancreatic cancer he had was essentially curable with early surgical intervention, but Jobs insisted on treating it with “alternative medicine” that didn’t work.