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Steve Jobs takes Fortune CEO of the Decade title

updated 11:05 am EST, Thu November 5, 2009

Magazine claims revolutionary impact

Apple head Steve Jobs has been chosen as Fortune's CEO of the Decade. The magazine claims that "the past decade in business belongs to Jobs," not only because of his personal and corporate wealth, but the way he has "radically and lucratively reordered three markets," specifically movies, music and cellphones. His impact is also said to extend to computers, though it is less pronounced.

Jobs is described as one of the few genuine celebrities amongst CEOs, with natural salesmanship, an "anticorporate" dress style and friends like U2's Bono. In reality however he is believed to be a micromanager and perfectionist, obsessed with Apple's operational and market metrics, not so much out of a desire for profit but because he wants to dictate cool, and exert general influence on the world. Publicity efforts are said to be strictly controlled by Jobs, to the extent that only a handful of fellow executives are allow to speak on particular topics.

The executive is however criticized for at times having an unlikable personality, and being involved in several scandals, such as stock backdating and the questionable secrecy surrounding his own health. Despite reviving Apple as a whole, he is moreover said to be responsible for some failures, such as the G4 Cube and the Apple TV. Jobs is thought to disregard customer research in favor of his own views on what the public wants.

by MacNN Staff



  1. LenE

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Failure is in the eye of the beholder

    The G4 Cube and the AppleTV may not have been blockbusters in the marketplace, but they certainly pushed the envelope as far as quiet, small, and relatively powerful devices. In this, they are successes. The Mac Mini is the spiritual successor to the Cube, and it has yet to be matched in the generic PC space for small and powerful basic computer.

    While some think the AppleTV is underpowered, it handles what it was intended to, h264 encoded video, remarkably well. I think the AppleTV has been hampered by Apple's more combative relationship with the content providers. The studios saw how the music industry had lost control with Apple successfully reconstructing their market for the consumer's net benefit. The MPAA and the TV network collusion are more responsible for the AppleTV's situation than Apple. I guess the upside of at least the TV networks not wanting Apple controlling re-distribution is what gave us free hulu (with the unfortunate choice of using compute-inefficient Flash video). Now that they think they have effectively neutered Apple and the AppleTV, they are looking to charge for hulu.

    If Apple does work out an inexpensive TV subscription, and hulu starts charging for their crappy-quality feeds, then the AppleTV may become an overnight success, several years after release.

    -- Len


    Joined: Dec 1969


    good man steve

    congrats are of course due to Steve although I remain convinced that the adjudicating panel have chosen the wrong one, surely Baller, with his impressive track record, was a shoe in for this one.


  1. loudpedal

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Steve vs. Steve

    There's still time for Ballmer to lock in the "s****-up CEO of the Decade" award.

  1. Eriamjh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AppleTV a failure?

    They're still selling it. How is it a failure?

  1. dennisobell

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Timeline's a joke

    No argument with Jobs as CEO of decade, but the timeline they posted with the article ( is lame. Among the goofs:

    - they have the date the Titanium G4 Powerbook launched wrong (2001, not 2002; I know, because I owned one in '01!)
    - they mention the iPod Shuffle but not the far bigger blockbusters, the Mini and Nano
    - most laughable, they cite the Motorola ROKR (which is fine, if you're including Jobs's hits and misses, but they fail to note just how DOA that thing was) and DO NOT mention arguably Jobs's biggest rock-star, megahype moment of the decade: the day in January 2007 he announced the iPhone.


  1. TomSawyer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who knew...

    "His impact is also said to extend to computers, though it is less pronounced."
    Huh, Steve Jobs apparently has something to do with Apple computers as well as phones.

    Seriously though, I think folks are very remiss to trivialize the MANY ways Apple/Jobs have SIGNIFICANTLY changed the computer industry. The first Macintosh introduced GUI and mouse to the public. The original iMac was the first true consumer all-in-one, added color enclosures to the equation (which subsequently trickled down into SEVERAL industries), and brought USB to the mainstream (as it had been floundering previously). I know these are just tidbits and most of them occurred outside the time frame of the Title awarded, but they are just the tip of the iceberg with respect to the industry-leading innovations that have come out of Apple...many as a direct result of Mr. Jobs passion.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Pretty amazing for a man that...

    had been declared dead earlier in the year.

    Apple has had many hits and certainly a number of failures such as the Newton, bad choice of going with the PPC platform, that weird bus architecture way back when and probably numerous other things I can barely remember since I bought my first Mac in 1984. I certainly have more good memories than bad ones. Now Apple is riding as high as it ever was and I am glad I stuck with Apple through all that time. Steve Jobs has been doing about a fine a job as possible and I wish him the best of luck in the future and I'm hoping his Apple tablet will be as nearly a big a success as the iPhone which would be hard to beat in sheer numbers.

    That damn AppleTV should be discontinued as it is now and replaced with a lower end MacMini. I fail to see any need for AppleTV when a MacMini can do so much more for not much more in cost. With an Elgato 250+ a MacMini makes a darn good single tuner DVR and media server. Please tell me why all the Windows Media devices have the capacity of using multiple tuners and AppleTV doesn't even have the ability to use ONE.

    Maybe if Apple opened up the AppleTV a little more it might be more useful, but for now the MacMini is the best choice for media serving. I can only think the reason AppleTV continues to exist is that it has been waiting for the planned N.C. data center to go online. Maybe Steve Jobs has some master plan that's taking years to unfold.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AppleTV a failure?

    Apparently you have to lose like 10 billion dollars on a product that's still on the shelf for it to be considered a success.

  1. sibeale1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why just "of the decade"?

    Steve Jobs deserves to be recognized for his game-changing products going back to the original Apple personal computers, which liberated computing from corporate control. And then there was that other product, the Macintosh, the first (especially if you include its immediate predecessor, the Lisa) personal computer with a graphical interface and the first that was controlled with a mouse rather than a keyboard. Those of us with longer memories recall that Windows was introduced as a direct rip-off copy of the Mac interface. Apple sued but for some unaccountable reason the powers-that-be decided that the Mac interface couldn't be patented. If it weren't for that decision, Apple, and not Microsoft, would be the dominant OS. I would nominate Steve Jobs for CEO of the past half century and the CEOs of Microsoft the parasites of the same period.

  1. jc957

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I can see no one else bringing Apple to the level that it is today. As both a stockholder and consumer of Apple products, I could not be happier with the results while he has been CEO. I had serious concerns when he was ill and admittedly still do. But when you think we give a Nobel Prize to a guy who has been in office for 5 minutes, Jobs has more than earned the title. On a side note, I will say that we bought our Apple TV within the first month of it being released and still use it nearly every day...I love it!!

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