updated 09:35 am EST, Tue March 1, 2011
Apple CEO turned down invitation to Labour speech
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown refused to knight Steve Jobs in 2009 because the Apple CEO turned down an invitation to speak at a Labour Party conference, a former senior MP in the party claims. The MP, who exited British parliament after the last election, put Jobs forward as a potential knight for services to technology. "Apple has been the only major global company to create stunning consumer products because it has always taken design as the key component of everything it has produced. No other CEO has consistently shown such a commitment," the person argues.
Apple is said to have been aware of the potential knighthood, which was allegedly nearing approval until it was halted by the PM's office at Downing Street. A representative from Downing allegedly told the MP directly that the failed Labour conference invitation was to blame. Brown may have seen Jobs' presence as a potential boost to Labour and his own election prospects.
Jobs' denial could be considered a snub in part because of some of the other people who have received knighthoods. In 2005 the title was granted to Bill Gates, the founder of long-time Apple rival Microsoft. Other American tech company leaders which have received knighthoods include Cecil Green, the now-deceased founder of Texas Instruments, and Louis Gerstner, IBM's CEO between 1993 and 2002.