Europe’s reaction to the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs varied, from outright admiration to mild criticism.
Similar to a death of a head of state or a celebrity, Jobs’s passing on Oct. 5 has resulted in numerous and strong responses from around the world. Social media, like Twitter and Facebook, was flooded by messages of people expressing their gratitude and grief. Apple fans gathered at improvised Steve Jobs “shrines” in front of Apple Stores.
In Europe, as elsewhere, many senior politicians expressed their admiration for Jobs’s legacy.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy on his Facebook page called Jobs “one of the greatest characters of our time.” Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev became an ardent fan of Apple products after meeting Jobs on a tour through Silicon Valley in 2010. Jobs presented him with an iPhone that Medvedev, however, could not use in Russia.
“One of the great innovators our age has passed away. His revolutionary entrepreneurship opened vast new horizons,” tweeted Carl Bildt, Sweden’s foreign minister. Bildt, as prime minister of Sweden, sent an email to Bill Clinton in 1994, which was the first electronic message exchanged between two heads of state.
The European industry, expressed much praise. For example, SAP, a major German software company, released a statement appreciating Jobs for setting the “standard for innovation: breakthrough ideas realized at nearly unlimited scale. His light will shine on and influence generations to come.”
The press in Europe for the most part was appreciative of Jobs and how he has shaped the way people use technology.
The Telegraph noted that Jobs “did more to determine what films we watch, how we listen to music, and how we work and play than any other person on the planet.”
However, there were also critical voices. The Telegraph concluded that Jobs’s success was based largely on a “marketing trick,” of “convincing [consumers] that purchasing Apple products somehow conferred membership of an exclusive and visionary club, even when it was transparently obvious that the company’s devices were utterly ubiquitous.”The Guardian characterized him as a “benign dictator,” since in the quest for the best customer experience he exercised absolute control of every aspect of product development, and employed strict secrecy while using harsh management practices.
For many, the paper concluded, he was the “quintessential Silicon Valley hero … who built one of the world’s richest and most successful corporations against all the odds, using his own taste, talents, and willpower.”