Shannon Whitson, whitsosk@muohio.edu

In general, I am extremely critical of all the major power players of the digital world. I relentlessly critique Apple Inc., Facebook and Google’s every move; and the only domineering and omnipresent corporation I have often commended has really only been Twitter for their non-conformist and consistent drive to make Twitter what they want it to be, and not what Wall Street wants Twitter to be.

Although I do criticize these monopolistic companies, I have to say, I do maintain a lot of respect for the monsters they built. However, it is only a natural impulse for companies or people to crave more power once they have had a small taste of what it feels like to have control and impact the masses. Because of this, I honestly think it’s good to have a dualist attitude towards these influential, strong and overpowering corporations. This type of outlook towards these companies means: I can respect both it, as it works constantly as if it were a well-oiled machine, and the CEOs that power these engines. However, at the same time, I need to fear what might come if these power players overstepped ethical and reasonable boundaries. So, for this very reason, I maintain a love-hate relationship with Facebook, Apple (and as a result, Steve Jobs; may he rest in peace), Google and even Twitter, despite how impressed I might have been with them at one point or another. 

That being said, after reflecting upon an article by Christina Bonnington of WIRED.com, titled, “Steve Jobs Wanted iPhone on Its Own Network, Carrier-Free,” I have to say, I once saw Steve Jobs as a genius, or some kind of technologically gifted version of Superman, but now I see him only as a sellout and a fraud. This article discusses one of Jobs’ major hopes, and his ultimate vision for the iPhone prior to its release in 2007.

As Bonnington said, “When Steve Jobs first dreamed up the iPhone with his team at Apple, he didn’t want it to run on AT&T’s network. He wanted to create his own network.”

Bonningtonfurther discusses Jobs’ original vision with John Stanton, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, “who spent a good deal of time with the late Apple CEO during the phone’s development period.” She further explains that Jobs’ plan was to try and eliminate carriers completely. He wanted the iPhone to run solely on Wi-Fi, which ultimately would have completely changed the way the world uses not only cell phones, but also interacts with mobile devices as a whole.

“He and I spent a lot of time talking about whether synthetically you could create a carrier using Wi-Fi spectrum,’ Stanton said Nov. 15 at the Law Seminar International Event in Seattle. “That was part of his vision,” said Stanton, who worked with Jobs in the years prior to 2007.

Bonningtoncontinues saying, “Jobs gave up his plans to create his own network in 2007, ultimately settling on a deal with AT&T.”

Well, this cannot be right. This does not sound like the Steve Jobs “I know.” Or should I say the Steve Jobs the world wanted me to see? There is such an idealized image of Apple’s former CEO.

On a long Monday a couple weeks ago, soon after Jobs had passed away, I called my mom in order to confess to her what a failure I was and how she might as well pull me out of Miami University and send me packing back to Texas. Like any loving mother, she gave me a pep talk and reminded me that I am not a failure. She then proceeded to try and inspire me by informing me that Jobs had once been fired from Apple Inc. Basically, my mom was trying to tell me not to let other people affect me, because in the face of failure, the incredible Steve Jobs showed the world what he was made of, and never let other people dictate his “destiny.” Well after reading this article, this seems like a bunch of …

If the amazing Steve Jobs could get fired from Apple, come back, secure the position as CEO of the company and turn Apple into the profitable company that it is today. Then why did he give up on his vision for the iPhone? What stopped Jobs from eliminating mobile carriers?

This story doesn’t seem to line up with the idealized image that most of society has for the esteemed Jobs, and I mean this in the most respectful way possible.

The Jobs I have read about in his biography, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, seems to be the type of guy who normally would not be able to rest, let alone release a product like the iPhone, until he perfected it, and truly figured out a way to make his dream come to life (through the iPhone). Look what the credit in Jobs’ biography reads: The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.Apple’s “Think Different” commercial, in 1997, made this statement.

You would think someone, who apparently lived by this motto, would show a little more determination and drive than to just give in and commit the most amazing product since the iPod, to AT&T when his whole goal was really centered around this product being carrier free. Personally, this is one of the most underrated articles in the world. This should be on every newsstand in America by now. If Jobs thought changing the world was easier than getting the iPhone to run carrier free on Wi-Fi, then obviously he was a lot more impractical and dense than most think.

I looked up to Steve Jobs, and frankly, I still do. But you have to wonder … who really was Steve Jobs?

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