What was that old movie where the advertising dude goes crazy and he comes up with new ads with his buddies at the institution that are truthful? I think one was about how Ferraris or Porsches will get you blowjobs and one was about how Japanese electronics are superior because they're shorter and closer to the electronics and can assemble them with their small hands?
BINGE DRINKING? BUT THAT'S WOT MAKES BRITAIN BRITAIN! WOT WOULD BRITAIN BE WITHOUT A SPOT OF BINGE DRINKING? I THINK I'LL GO POST ON THE INTERNET USING QUAINT BRITISH SLANG I DON'T USE IN REAL LIFE SO THE AMERICANS WON'T BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND ME. EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS IN BRITAIN IS GREAT BECAUSE IT'S PROPERLY BRITISH AND NOTHING SHOULD EVER CHANGE. TEA AND BISCUITS. DOCTOR WHO. DON'T MENTION THE GERMANS.
I'm referring to the idea that PortalPlayer essentially had an iPod and Apple just added a case design and the click-wheel. PortalPlayer was developing a platform and Apple came in at some point of the design process and they collaborated on it. The only source of information is a former employee of PortalPlayer who claimed it was "80% complete." But even he says that Apple developed the iPod project before they approached PortalPlayer. There's more to a device like the iPod than just a chipset and firmware.
No, I don't think Jobs knows how to code. But I think he understands technology way more than people give him credit for. You can't micromanage successful technical products at that level and not know what the fuck is going on. He knows hardware. He's very good at assessing it on both its technical merits and its business and marketing potential. He also knows software. NeXT was a gamble on object oriented programming becoming a big deal and I'd argue he had to know something about programming to take that gamble. Do you think he's really the kind of person who'd just let an engineer tells him "Hey Jobso, OOP is the next big thing" and throw in his personal fortune to fund a company on that basis without knowing fuck-all about it?
But then you've got Paul Allen who hasn't done anything except sit on his Microsoft stock and play "who can buy the bigger yacht" with Larry Ellison. Meanwhile, Gates is giving all his money to Africans to please his frumpy wife.
They came up with an amazing business model. Sell software and force hardware to become a commodity. They pushed the boundaries of just how aggressive and predatory a company can be, especially when it came to controlling how retailers sold their products vs. those of competitors. Gates also has some technical ability but seems to constantly come up with visions that don't pan out like pen computing, web integration on the desktop, etc.
It's not true. It was an amazing technical accomplishment. Cramming technology into small packages for mass manufacture at reasonable costs isn't easy and, moreover, it's exactly what Wozniak is credited for with the Apple I and II.
Do you think Woz would have been successful in any case? That was my point. And my second point is that the idea that Jobs doesn't know technology is ridiculous. NeXT struggled because the technology was too far ahead of its time (I won't say it was a failure because it did well in a very small niche market and NeXTstep became OS X, plus the modern, successful Apple inherited a lot of NeXT employees). He also saw the potential of CGI animation long before anyone else in Pixar. The iPod and iPhone are excellent examples of engineering. He knows hardware and software inside out. He also happens to know how people use hardware and software, and the business side and the marketing side very well too. But it's obvious he knows his technology. Maybe he can't program or solder worth a damn but he sure as fuck isn't just a capable business and marketing guy.
People like to say he was the brains and Jobs was the marketing man. It's pretty obvious now that Jobs knows technology like Larry Ellison knows Asian hookers. Wozniak was fortunate Jobs gave him a break.