Woz: Microsoft might be more creative than Apple

Having already worried that Microsoft had re-incarnated Steve Jobs, Apple's surviving co-founder now worries that Redmond might be simply more creative. He also offers that Steve Jobs didn't have to be such a "bastard."

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
A worried Woz. TechCrunch Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's something that might almost seem obvious.

But it takes someone of Steve Wozniak's wonderful unedited disposition to say it: Microsoft might currently be more forward-thinking than Apple.

In an interview with TechCrunch's affable rabid soccer fan (Spurs is his team) and forward-thinker Andrew Keen, Woz was very open to the idea that Redmond might have been spending quite some time lately trying to create more "wow" products than Apple.

Woz was moved less by Surface, it seemed, than by the idea that Microsoft was working on technology that made simultaneous translations. Yes, a lot more colloquial than Google manages right now.

He said: "If they're making strides in this voice recognition area, I fear that Microsoft might have been sitting in their labs trying to innovate."

The contrast, he said, was perhaps that "Apple was just used to cranking out the newest iPhone and falling a little behind and that worries me greatly."

Woz has been doing a lot of worrying recently.

Earlier this year, he worried that Microsoft's phone interfaces were so pretty that the company might have re-incarnated Steve Jobs.

And when it comes to voice recognition, Woz has been a bitter critic of Siri. Indeed, in June he suggested she needed a bigger makeover than Tyra Banks could ever give her.

"It worries me because I love Apple," Woz told TechCrunch. "It worries me if Apple were to lose ground because they were making the same things they know how to make."

"Improving is not Apple-style innovation," he added.

He seemed to almost decry the iPad as something that's easy, for normal people, but not for the true nerdy geek.

Woz sat on the fence a little when asked whether the departure of Scott Forstall meant that Apple was turning its back on creativity.

But he did say: "I don't believe Steve [Jobs] had to be as much of a real rugged bastard, put people down and make them feel demeaned."

When it comes to innovation, the legends are sometimes greater and more colorful than the reality.

Tim Cook appears to be taking a few steps toward making Apple a more civilized place -- for example, by reportedly giving employees two weeks to work on their own projects.

In the end, though, it's the products that matter. Will they inspire? Or will they bore?

It's sad that Wozniak hasn't been involved in more product creation. Boring is something he doesn't have a talent for.