June 5, 2010
First, to share some reader reactions to all of this; and second, because while this type of governmental overreach is misguided in any business, it will be particularly devastating in the information technology sector that powers so much of our American and global economy today.
Who's going to want to build superb and even dominant products if such success means expensive and time-consuming probes into just how and why that company became more successful than its competitors? Surely there's something underhanded going on here, right? Well you folks out there are awfully smart and from your comments, it appears I'm not the only one who smells something more than a little fishy here. Below are a handful of excerpts from your comments, starting with ones that tended to agree with my POV and ending (so that you'll remember them longer) with those that think I'm so dumb that if someone moved my dinner plate 6 inches, I'd starve to death. (To read all of the comments and participate in this spirited discussion, click here and scroll down toward the bottom of the page where the "Comments" section begins.) AlecBerg writes, "I've been thinking the same thing. All the US jobs keep getting shipped overseas and we have something to offer and people want to kill it. We should be dancing in the streets with the success of these companies." Dave B. says we're creating the opportunity for runaway governmental involvement because "People have become lazier. It takes time to study issues, discuss them with others, and check facts. Thinking is hard work! So is paying attention! We like getting our "information" predigested. We like hearing only the "facts" that reinforce our beliefs. We're told that "people like Steve Jobs are not like the rest of 'us'" as if that's a problem. Was it a problem that Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers weren't like their contemporaries? What's changed in the last hundred years?" ANON12500 doesn't like where this intrusive trend is heading: "I can appreciate the diversity of reactions to Bob's article, but I strongly agree with the thought companies like Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Oracle, HP, Google and Apple "are engines of economic growth, job creation, widespread prosperity, and exquisite creativity". We have already lost most of our manufacturing industry in the U.S. so let's not push out the technology companies as well. " BOtte says people have to let their voices be heard: "Do we want to change this or do we want history to simply repeat itself? It's up to us as individuals to stand up against this or through our inaction we are condoning the directions we are going, and it will eventually catch up to each of us and affect us in some way, and usually not in a postive way." Admiralhall pointed to Microsoft as an example of the before and after effects of a company that ran the governmental gauntlet: "Microsoft has not been the same company since the anti trust fight it had 8-10 years ago. Microsoft is still a strong force in IT, however it is not what it once was. Google, Apple, Oracle, IBM, HP, Microsoft and Cisco are big innovative companies that are creating the IT of today and tomorrow. Good healthy competition is not a bad thing, but good for the industry." And now some thoughts from those who disagree: Carl Niedner asks, "Mr. Evans: did you actually read the entirety of the New York Times opinion piece? (To be fair, I haven't read the entirety of your piece, either, because I find the first several hundred words more demagogic than insightful). I thought the NYT piece spent a fair amount of time deconstructing the "Steve Jobs as Big Brother" trope, and offered a novel, plausible and nuanced hypothesis on the great man's motivation. I considered it a temperate, stylish and well-considered piece of journalistic opinion. You might do well to study it further." **My reply: Mr. Niedner: thanks for your perspective. I did read the whole piece (with three Advil) but unlike you I found his assertion in his opening sentence—that Jobs is "in the running" for "villain of the year"—to be neither temperate nor well-considered. And I agree that I can indeed learn many things by studying that writer's work. Telecommuter says, " Come on Bob! Stick to the issues. Google has developed a reputation for playing fast and loose with our personal data. They are being attacked for that issue. . . . My personal take on your article is either is it is self serving to inflame discussion like trolls do or you are being an apologist for Apple and Google." Cdavis picks up on that idea: "Google Derangement Syndrome Erupts Worldwide" - Another headline-grabbing Shock and Awe by Bob Evans. IT tabloid journalism at it's worst." And poor Triple Felix seems to have taken a wrong turn on his way to SocialistWorker.org: "Excuse me. I thought I was reading Information Week. Seems like a stumbled upon the Drudge Report by accident. Pardon me. I'm off to a place with some intelligent life." This is just a sampling of the comments—please jump in and share your thoughts. RECOMMENDED READING: Global CIO: Google Derangement Syndrome Erupts Worldwide Global CIO: In Praise Of Mark Hurd's 9,000 Layoffs At Hewlett-Packard Global CIO: Is Steve Jobs Blowing Smoke About Apple TV? Global CIO: Google CEO Eric Schmidt's Top 10 Reasons Mobile Is Always #1 Global CIO: What Is Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's #1 Competitive Statistic? Global CIO: Wal-Mart Picks SuccessFactors For Largest Enterprise Deal Ever Global CIO: 10 Tech Acquisitions That Would Rock The Industry Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.
To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.
For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at [email protected].
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