Steve Jobs wasn't the Thomas Edison or Henry Ford of his time, but some future American business visionary may be known as the Steve Jobs of his time, writes Michael Hiltzik. Jobs—a "master of bare-knuckled business strategies from the old school"—wasn't known as an inventor the way Edison was, and didn't develop a new manufacturing model the way Ford did. But he revolutionized consumer electronics design, upended old business models for entertainment and information, and showed that "high manufacturing standards don't cost money, but make money," Hiltzik writes in the Los Angeles Times.
In the early days of the iPod, critics believed that Apple's insistence on tying the MP3 player to the iTunes store would doom the device, Hiltzik notes. Jobs, however, realized that "simplicity and consistency" would attract customers to legal downloads. How Jobs is remembered, he writes, may depend on how his heirs at Apple manage changing technology in the years to come. The execs he put in place may be able to follow in his footsteps, "until a new technology emerges that demands his unique vision, authority, and credibility. What then?" Click for the full column.