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Apple After Jobs, with a whiff of slapdashery

Negligence is hard to avoid and the bigger you get, like Apple, the harder it becomes to avoid it

Backspin By , Network World
December 07, 2012 11:24 AM ET
Gibbs

Network World - If there's one thing there's an inexhaustible supply of it's negligence. The Big N appears everywhere and it's indefatigable. As soon as you let your guard down for a second, it jumps up, slaps you upside the head, and runs around causing chaos.

So, if the Big N is always there, waiting for its chance, can we do anything about it? Are we doomed to always be at its complete lack of mercy? Well, although negligence is always there, waiting to pounce, we can minimize its effects by thinking things through so we know what we're trying to do and, through maniacal attention to detail, improve the odds for actually getting things done without snafus.

You know who was really good at short-circuiting negligence? Steve Jobs. The man was obsessive, detail-oriented, demanded ridiculously high standards, and wouldn't accept anything he perceived as sloppy or poorly designed.

IN PICTURES: Steve Jobs at Apple

Not surprisingly this didn't make him the nicest guy to be around if you worked for him but, as Apple's success has demonstrated, Jobs' approach worked incredibly well. A Jobs quote in CNNMoney/Fortune from 2008 underlined his philosophy: "My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better." He left as little to chance and negligence as possible.

That, however, was then.

It would now appear that in the new regime that runs Apple AJ (After Jobs), things have loosened up. There's a certain "slackness" that has appeared in the company ... what we might call a whiff of "slapdashery" perhaps?

For example, consider the last major release of OS X, "Mountain Lion," in July this year. It had problems. Would Apple admit to them? No. [I wrote about my experiences with a newly installed Mountain Lion in a posting on my Forbes blog and, at that time, the Apple fanboys were still drinking the Kool Aid.

I was told by many who commented on the post that the problems I saw were somehow my fault! Of course, there was also a somewhat smaller contingent of commentators who, like me, had run into similar problems.

I tried to contact Apple to get a comment and or some insight into what the problems might be but the company's PR people, despite them having grumbled to my editor, couldn't be bothered to return my calls and email.

Over the next few weeks I fixed my issues by fiddling with settings and re-installing apps but I never actually found out what the real problem was or figured out what eventually fixed it. This was the first time that Apple had really disappointed me.

It wasn't so much about the issues with Mountain Lion -- teething troubles are par for the course with any operating system release -- it was the complete lack of any admission by the company that issues existed and lack of interest in the minority of users who, I suspect, either gave in and re-installed everything or, like me, who fiddled their way to stability.

Then we had the whole ridiculous snafu with Maps when iOS 6 was released.

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