Who Deserves More Credit for Apple’s Phenomenal Success?

Who Deserves More Credit for Apple’s Phenomenal Success?

Steve Jobs was a genius — no doubt about that. Apple was six months from bankruptcy when he took over as CEO in 1997. Under his leadership, Apple became one of the world’s most powerful companies, the most trusted brand, and disrupted entire industries. He didn’t have an easy career. He spent many years in the wilderness, and even when Apple was bouncing back, he didn’t get the credit he deserved. It was only late in his career, after the iPhone became a smash hit, that he started to be lionized as a business genius. And after his death, he was deified.

But was it all Steve Jobs? Is the company doomed without him? What happens when one man gets all the credit? The truth is more complex. Apple wouldn’t be Apple without Steve Jobs, but it wasn’t just him. Jobs didn’t design anything, and he didn’t write any code. The creative work was done by others, though he had a hand in guiding it.

After his death it slowly became clear that his anointed successor in the creative department was his long-time colleague, Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s head of industrial design. Tim Cook might be CEO, but Jony Ive is the company’s creative guru. His ultra-secretive design lab is the innovation factory at the heart of Apple. That’s why I wrote a book about him. There were too many myths. Too many rumors. Who is Jonathan Ive exactly? How did a quiet, polite Englishman become the creative lead for the world’s most innovative company? Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products goes on sale November 14th. You can pre-order it here.

The awesome trailer was made by Jason Moore at Simplifilm, an app marketing company.

  • iRikal

    Steve’s biggest quality was being able to find incredible people (capable of dealing with him on a daily basis) and keep them focused on the best work of their lives. This is by far what i think about when his legacy is mentioned. Yes, he was a business guru… but his guru-ism (if such a word exists) came through because he loved what he was doing.. was committed to it and was a relentless, tireless worker. Anyone with this type of dedication and a little luck can shine like him. The problem is that there is very very few people like him…

    Invariably, people that have worked with him will have an opinion about him.. he polarized people (positive & negative) but never left people indifferent… No, he was not an agreeable person… but there is no denying how many lives he changed through products & personality.

  • technochick

    You know I was slightly interested in reading this book.

    But after such a distasteful tactic of writing an ‘article’ to hide a self serving ad. I think I’ll skip it.

  • iSteve

    The genius of Steve was to make others see his vision and inculcate the passion to materialize this vision.
    The genius of Sir Jonathan Ive is to make great products using the vision of Steve as a pillar.

    Steve + Ive = Apple

  • cagd

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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