Financial Times Names Steve Jobs 'Person of the Year'

He didn't even make Time magazine's short list for Person of the Year, but Steve Jobs, the mastermind behind Apple, was recognized last night by Financial Times, a publication arguably more concerned with success in business. A large chunk of the piece focuses on the release of Apple's tablet, the iPad, earlier this year.

The iPad is already turning out to be a different story. Extending the iPhone's innovations of a more versatile screen and lightweight "apps" designed for specific tasks, it points to a future beyond the computer mouse - and a world without Windows. Sales of cheaper notebook computers are already suffering.

It is not a vision that is universally welcomed among the digerati. By deciding which apps are available in its online store, and setting the rules for how those apps are developed, Apple rules this new kingdom more closely than Microsoft ever ruled the PC.

To critics, this is the dark side of Mr Jobs' perfectionism. Dependent on Apple's good graces, new ideas could be stifled. Google, once an  ally, has positioned itself as the anti-Apple: a company that has drawn on the openness of the web itself as the model for its own smartphone software.

For now, though, those fears are largely hypothetical, and millions of consumers are only too happy to buy a piece of the elegant - and elegantly simple - digital life that Mr Jobs is selling. His ability to get consumers to line up for products conjured from nothing - paying premium prices, and in uncertain economic times - draws accolades even from rivals.

Read the full story at the Financial Times.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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