My View: The Digitizer

My View: The Digitizer
From: George F. Colony, CEO, Forrester Research
Date: May 7, 2004

Quickly: Steve Jobs is still important.

Content: Damn, I hate to be wrong! And it’s time to come clean . . . .

The story of the technology industry and the parables of two men, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, have been inextricably entwined during the past 25 years. They started out as dreamers who had visions of how personal computers would change the world – and they dedicated their careers to making it happen.

Their paths diverged in the late 1980s. Gates was well on his way to building one of the most lucrative and tightly controlled monopolies in the history of modern capitalism. Jobs was being ignominiously tossed out of the company he had founded. Jobs’ eccentricities (from his control-freak tendencies to his erratic management style) had converged to make him professionally unpalatable. The ill-fated NeXT, with its revenge-driven strategy, further confirmed that Jobs was a nonfactor -- a has-been from the bygone years of homebrew whimsicality, stuck in an era of corporate, enterprise-focused technology.

My thought at the time: “Good riddance.” Forrester’s focus on how $1 billion-plus companies use technology enabled me to write off NeXT and Apple as diversions, insignificant to the enterprise business that we analyzed every day.

It was the mid-1990s. Apple was disappearing. Steve Jobs was irrelevant. And few noncult members wept.

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