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Le Monde brings to mind the Gallic warblings of Edith Piaf over screeching accordions. AFP
Le Monde brings to mind the Gallic warblings of Edith Piaf over screeching accordions. AFP

From the desk of Rupert Wright: Steve Jobs and musical papers

Focus: What was Jobs' greatest achievement? The iPod? The iMac? None of the above, writes Rupert Wright.

The more one thinks about Steve Jobs, the more staggering his achievements appear.

I wouldn't go as far as some commentators by comparing him with Leonardo da Vinci or Thomas Edison, but you cannot argue with his genius.

His gift wasn't just building beautiful objects that any fool could use, nor was it persuading people to pay for music that they might otherwise have downloaded for free.

He was also a marketer, a huckster in the great American tradition of selling via showmanship. But his greatest achievement was this: since returning to the company in 1997 he was right, every single time.

He was willing to bet the farm on the iPod, iPhone and iPad - and each time he came up trumps. Luck, or just good judgement?

In comparison, Bill Gates's achievement of coming up with an operating system and encouraging everybody to use it looks mundane, even if it did make him the richest person in the world.

---

A journalist who works at the FT recently described the newspaper to a mutual friend as "like a jazz band".

I think his intention was to portray it as a Miles Davis affair, with different people riffing different tunes, all finally coming together in a harmonious whole, although the analogy does carry the unfortunate image of boring, bearded balding blokes blowing their own trumpets.

But if the FT is a jazz band, what are the other papers?

The Wall Street Journal is clearly a heavy metal band, banging on about a brand of capitalism that is out of date and not very palatable, while The Economist is like a reggae band, repetitive but sometimes likeable.

Germany's Handellsblatt is obviously an oompah band, nationalistic, rousing but never fashionable; Le Monde brings to mind the Gallic warblings of Edith Piaf over screeching accordions while The News of the World is like classical Greek music - nobody hears it any more.

rwright@thenational.ae

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