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Oh the Irony [2]

Time for a humorous break. Check this 1980s French Apple Computer Inc. television advertisement. It shows an old wealthy businessman showing his company’s assets to his son (?) in their luxury automobile while explaining that all this will become his, but he should make the decisions alone because his workers should not think, but only execute as they cannot handle making decisions and should just stick to following orders. The ad ends with the narrator saying that “this is one way to run a company, but fortunately there are others”, at which time the apple logo fades in.

And this is why for so long so many people thought Apple was an elitist, out of touch company. For many years its products were mostly appealing (in terms of price and marketing strategy) to people exactly like the old man: elitist and wealthy.

If the ad were from the late 1970s/early 1980s (before Jobs left), it’d probably be a snipe at IBM — the ‘evil’ giant of the time that only had mainframes and micros and dismissed personal computers as toys. Or equally, those that didn’t think personal computers could increase the productivity of their workers. In which case it’d make some sense, but still be be laughably ironic, for Jobs’ own managerial style is probably more authoritative, selfish and hierarchical than any (based on what’s been written about him in numerous books, articles etc.) and would probably make the old man look like an egalitarian-supporting socialist running a cooperative business and making as much as everyone else. But, according to Gruber, the ad came out after Jobs left. It makes little sense: the alternatives to the Mac in the mid to late 1980s, a time of so much competition and so many different architectures and offerings, were more affordable, generally equally productive (at least given the software that was out for a significant part of the tasks people performed at the time) and were definitely accompanied by less arrogant, more pragmatic marketing campaigns, while IBM was clearly far from the all-mighty player in the industry it was half a decade earlier. [via daringfireball.net]

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