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Apple goes on offensive over Steve Jobs movie

by on08 October 2015


Apple and its chums on the Tame Apple Press are doing their level best to rubbish the next Steve Jobs flick which portrays him as a megalomaniac, spin merchant who really was no technical genius.

According to Hollywood Reporter  the new film, titled simply Steve Jobs, looks rather good and is getting accolades for the acting performance of Michael Fassbender. But it looks like Apple is worried that it will cause huge problems for its reality distortion field.

Most people who knew him, the film is an accurate portrayal of Jobs which is stripped of the aura of marketing that Apple cast around him. Apple still depends on the Jobs' mystique to hold its company together. The feeling is that the film will kill that stone dead.

Early on in the movie's production cycle, Jobs' widow Laurene, did her level best to have the film killed off. Two stars were tipped for the role of Jobs – Leo DiCaprio and Christian Bale – and Jobs rang both of them and asked them not to do it. Sony was offered the film and Universal got it instead. .

Apple refused to licence adverts and other material which would have assisted in providing a historical representation. Disney refused to allow the use of a clip from its ABC television division, Jobs having once sat on the studio's board. It is darn difficult to do a film when you have copyright lawyers looking over your shoulder. In the end America's fair use laws came to the film's aid.

But the result was damn good. Steve Jobs has a screenplay by the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin, has drawn positive reviews from critics after debuting at the Telluride film festival last month. Fassbender's performance was particularly good. It was then that Apple started to panic.

Having been unable to stop the film being made, and it turning out to be a good movie, Apple attempted to destroy it by pretending that it was not realistic.

Apple's current chief executive, Tim Cook, who attacked the biopic as "opportunistic" during an appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this month. This is a little ironic given the fact that "opportunistic" also described his former boss.

As Sorkin famously snapped back: "if you've got a factory full of children in China assembling phones for 17 cents an hour, you've got a lot of nerve calling someone else opportunistic."
Chief design officer for Apple, Jony Ive, accused Boyle's film of "hijacking the tech icon's legacy." Speaking at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco, Ive insisted that unnamed

members of the Apple co-founder's family had left screenings profoundly distressed at the biopic's approach.

"There are sons and daughters and widows and very close friends that are completely bemused and completely upset. We're remembering and celebrating Steve Jobs's life and at the same time there is this perfectly timed movie and I don't recognise this person."

This is a little odd, given that people who are not working for Apple, such as Steve Wozniak, recognise the version of Jobs portrayed very well. It seems strange that any one inside the technology industry would ever deny that Jobs was "difficult."  It seems bizare that anyone who met Jobs could think otherwise. 

Ive had a new spin on this. He claimed that Jobs was having his "identity described, defined by a whole bunch of other people." In otherwords not tthe people at Apple keen to maintain the illusion that Jobs was a Santa Claus figure who really cared about users.

Ive described Jobs as a man with a keen sense of the "civic responsibility to make something good", who was concerned about making "a contribution to humanity and to culture", adding: "I just think it's important to remember that you could have somebody that didn't ever argue, but you wouldn't have the phone you have now."

These are not exactly reasoned quotes. Is a phone a "contribution to humanity?" if a tablet and the iPod were so good, why are they dying out? These are all Ive's projections of an ideal Jobs, manufactured by Apple PR with the same level of obession that Ives gives one of his bendy phones.

In any event, why is Apple so keen to strip the humanity away from its former CEO?   Probably because the fact that the idol which Steve Jobs made himself and then Apple later perpetuated is the secret god which still holds the company together. Invoking Steve Jobs means that Apple can forget about the fact it has done little new since he died and still have its fanboys cheer.

Sooner or later though, people are going to remember that Jobs was a bastard who never invented anything, who let his daughter suffer because he didn't want to acknowledge her, who was so arrogant that he was fired from the company he created and thought himself above everyone.  The Steve Jobs film is the start of that process.

Last modified on 08 October 2015
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