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Is Apple better off without Steve Jobs?

Can Apple survive without Jobs? We take a fond look back at Apple's top ten gaffes to find whether it fares better or worse without Steve.

Steve Jobs resigning from his post as CEO of Apple has undoubtedly shaken the Cupertino company, but could it possibly be better off without him? Apple has made its fair share of rotten decisions -- missing some juicy opportunities and cranking out some horrible products -- some when El Steve's been in charge, some when he's not.

We tally up the company's ten biggest gaffes to decide whether Apple can thrive without Jobs, or whether it's destined to fail without his guiding hand. All aboard the Blunder Bus as we remember some of the worst ideas Apple ever thrust upon humanity!

Apple mistakes made while Jobs was in charge

Power Mac G4 Cube

Released at the start of the millennium, the G4 Cube was a computer squeezed into a little box. The G4 Cube was basically the NeXTcube, a computer built by Jobs-founded company NeXT, but trussed up in signature Apple white. It was expensive, and didn't come with a monitor, so hardly anyone bought it. In 2001 Apple stated, in a rather passive-aggressive press release, that it was putting the G4 Cube on ice.

Still, the G4 Cube was a winner in one respect -- design. Jony Ive, the man who would go on to design the iPod, iPhone, iPad and iMac, was behind the distinctive, futuristic look.

Gaffe-ometer score: 4/10 

Social networks

Apple has been hugely successful in many areas of the tech world. Music? Boom. Phones? Boom. Computers and cool software? Boom boom. Social networking? Er...

Apple has completely missed the trick when it comes to social stuff, letting the likes of Facebook take over this lucrative new online world. Apple's attempt at a social platform built around music, Ping, is rubbish. Now that Jobs is no longer CEO, one of the challenges facing Tim Cook will be to get Apple's social chops in order.

Gaffe-ometer score: 4/10

Puck Mouse

Why is this mouse perfectly circular? Presumably so it's impossible to hold.

Gaffe-ometer score: 3/10

iTunes for Windows

iTunes may have brought legal music downloads to the masses, but that doesn't mean it's not a horrific, slow, clunky bit of chuffware. Our reactions upon realising we need to open or install it range from a depressed sigh to shoving our fingers into our computer's ports until we're electrocuted to death.

It's telling that one of the things we're looking forward to most about iOS 5 is the ability to sync our iOS devices wirelessly, without having to open the iTunes desktop software. This is one program in need of a serious redesign. And by redesign we mean exorcism.

Gaffe-ometer score: 5/10

The iPhone 4 antenna

By the time the iPhone 4 came out last year, Apple was well and truly on top of its game. But the bigger they are, the harder they fall. The revelation that the iPhone 4 dropped signal when held in a human hand was a nightmare for the company. Apple then brilliantly told the phone-lovin' public they were holding the phone wrong.

Gaffe-ometer score: 8/10


When iCloud was announced a few months back, Jobs hinted that anyone who'd used MobileMe might not trust Apple to get cloud services right, which tells you everything you need to know about this overpriced service. Jobs allegedly gathered the MobileMe team together at one point, to tell them that they should "hate each other for having let each other down."


Gaffe-ometer score: 3/10

Apple mistakes made while Jobs was not in charge

Letting Microsoft win

By licensing Windows, Microsoft was able to get its operating system on to nearly every computer under the sun. You could argue Apple's decision to keep its Mac software on Mac computers makes for better products (and we'd understand if you did), but there's no denying Microsoft completely cleaned up through the 90s, and its Windows operating system still dominates today.

Gaffe-ometer score: 8/10 

The Apple Newton MessagePad 100

We feel a bit mean sticking the Newton on this list, because we're really rather fond of this doomed line of PDA devices -- these tablet-esque digital notebooks were years ahead of their time. But everyone was too busy in the early 90s watching Jurassic Park to pay the Newton much heed, and also, they were a bit bobbins. Dodgy handwriting recognition and terrible battery life make the Newton not worth bothering with.

Oh, but it is still better than the iPhone.

Gaffe-ometre score: 6/10

The Apple Bandai Pippin

You might not know Apple made a games console. That's because it sucked and nobody bought it. The Pippin was designed by Apple and built by Bandai in 1995, designed to play CD-based games while also working as a network computer. A noble goal, but hideously mistimed -- the Pippin was up against the massively popular Nintendo 64 and PlayStation consoles.

The shoe is on the other foot now though -- Apple's iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are eating into the portable gaming market, with their massive selection of cheap gaming apps.

Gaffe-ometer score: 7/10

Firing Steve Jobs

Jobs was arguably Apple's single greatest asset. Extremely passionate about his products and highly opinionated, the showman who got the Apple rolling in the first place was unceremoniously booted out in 1985, after clashing with then-CEO John Sculley.

Jobs found his way back into the fold in 1996, when Apple bought NeXT, the company he founded after leaving Apple. While he was away, he also founded Pixar, which only ended up with him being the biggest single shareholder of Disney. What a waster.

An iconic figure, Jobs is credited with much of Apple's recent success. That's why now he's resigned, many people will be watching to see whether Apple can maintain its winning trajectory.

Gaffe-ometer score: 9/10

Total scores:

Apple gaffes under Jobs command total score: 27

Apple gaffes not under Jobs command total score: 30

Conclusive result: Apple cannot survive without Steve Jobs.

There you have it folks, proof positive that Apple needs Steve. Six of our top ten Apple gaffes were committed under Jobsian rule, but they simply weren't as serious as the errors made by Apple without Steve in charge. That's science. Probably.

Have we left anything out? Let us know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.