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Can the achievements of Steve Jobs be compared to those of Thomas Edison?

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They can defiantly be compared. Though, while Steve Jobs was a better businessman I think that Edison was a more prolific innovator.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There si no comparison. Steve Jobs was a succesfull and ruthless business man who did nothing to stop slave labour in Apple factories across the world.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Of course they can. You can compare anything with just about anything else.

The company Edison founded, General Electric, is still going strong. Will Apple be here a hundred years from now? The odds weigh heavily against it. Pixar, on the other hand....

Edison was a technologist at heart and Jobs more of an artist. The both exhibited tremendous curiousness and tenacity in the face of failure and personal setbacks. Both assembled tremendous teams of people around them.

It's an interesting comparison in that both contributed a lot to the fields of audio and motion pictures. But Edison did far more to make great leaps to the advancement of human knowledge. The stuff he came up with was truly original and revolutionary. Conversely, computers were around long before Steve Jobs. So were portable music players and computer graphics for films.

Jobs' true genius may lie closer to his ability to design things of great beauty that are a pleasure to use and a delight to experience.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

this is ludicrous Edison was an inventor, a pioneer. Jobs was a business man who took others ideas and improved on them.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Edison took many existing inventions like the light-bulb and improved them, also many of the patents in his name came under him came from his employees.

History shows he wasn't a good employer and exploited and fought his staff(Tesla, etc).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

History shows he wasn't a good employer and exploited and fought his staff(Tesla, etc).

To be fair pretty much everybody from that period was ripping off Tesla in one way or another.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Can't disagree there but than that was due Tesla being himself. ;)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Jobs was an artist, and Edison an inventor. Two different things.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Absolutely they are extraordinarily similar. Read Randall Stross' "The Wizard of Menlo Park" and you will realize that Edison's No. 1 invention was the invention of Thomas Edison. Both men reached cult-like status due to the marketing of inventions that they developed for the masses. As much as Applephiles hung on Jobs' every pronouncement, so too did people wait to hear the received wisdom of Thomas Edison.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Edison was a creator. He created that what was new and useful. He dared to invent, and aimed to produce what no man had ever seen before. Jobs on the other hand was the worlds most insightful and creative re-producer. He took things that already existed, and made people love them He turned the MP3 player into the iPod, a product which has branded the entire "MP3 Player" category as "iPod" (much as many people call tissue kleenex" he took the smart phone which was once just a business tool, and turned it into something everyone in the world wanted. And he took the tablet PC, a device that failed to make any significant market penetration for years and years, and even though the research wouldnt sell, he turned it into something that has become a status symbol and playtoy for millions, and is growing into an indispensable tool of business for others.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How can they be compared? Jobs isnt even in the same league as Edison. Edison advanced technology, Jobs advanced sales. Better to compare him with Billy Mays instead.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Psyops, yeah after reading your post I agree. Billy Mays died not too long ago too. "But wait, there's more......"

Steve Jobs started inventing, that's true. However near the end, he became master of the pitch.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

steve@CPFC - Steve Jobs was a successful and ruthless business man who did nothing to stop slave labour in Apple factories across the world.

Oh, is that right? Where were the components made for the computer you are using right now?

I voted 'yes'. Not so much for his innovations, but for the direct effect on society his innovations had, thus making him comparable with Thomas Edison. IMO.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I think Jobs' personality and work achievement was much more sophisticated than what we could assimilate into a such a simplified comparative question and into any possible answer to it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Steve Jobs' is comparable to Thomas Edison. Jobs' innovations brought modernity to the world as quickly --- if not more so --- to the world as did Edison's.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Steve Jobs openly acknowledges that psychedlic drugs opened his mind to innovative thinking and directly attributes his success to his experimentation with mind altering substances.

He is such an advocate of recreational drug use, in fact, that he had this to say about Bill Gates: "[Gates] would be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once."

More from Jobs, via his NYT obituary: "[Jobs] told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life. He said there were things about him that people who had not tried psychedelics — even people who knew him well, including his wife — could never understand."

The greatest thing the two men perhaps have in common is that they were both representatives of the counterculture of their times. They were both described as free thinkers, both subscribed to niche religions, both pacifists in ages of intense conflict, both nontraditional in their approach to invention.

In that sense, it's interesting that Jobs is hailed as an American hero of capitalism while also standing in stark contrast to so much of the American status quo.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Edison? What about Tesla?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tesla had no salesmanship so it's not a good comparison. Edison, for this reason, is the better comparison.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

societymike: "this is ludicrous Edison was an inventor, a pioneer. Jobs was a business man who took others ideas and improved on them."

First off, it's rumored Edison stole some of his ideas. Second, it would be more correct to say Jobs used the tools he had at hand to create new things, not 'took others' ideas and improved on them'. If you need more poignant proof, look at how EVERY single electronics company is trying to copy his work, and needless to say how Microsoft copied the Apple operating system from nearly thirty years ago. As such it's true he didn't create the light bulb, but that's like saying that because he created a new form of light he is not an inventor because the light bulb existed previously.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


Microsoft copied an OS from Apple that was invented by Xerox and later bought by Apple. Ditto for the computer mouse and other stuff.

Apple just popularised those or did IBM also copy the design for their own PC OS 2? Recall that one.

All the Unix/Linux GUI also copies, apple now uses that OS as a base and runs on intel chips.

Sorry Apple uses other companies technology and know-how to sell their products.

As for the Edison rumours they are not as has been proven over the ages.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As with many yes/no votes, the answer is a bit of both. Steve Jobs wasn't a technical innovator himself, but he definitely knew how to bring innovators together, develop products, and create a market for new technologies that did, to an extent, change the world. He had vision, and so did Edison. A lot of Edison's work similarly took ideas that several other people were working on, and put them out into the world. While Edison could lay claim to some innovations, a lot of his work was either slightly off track (DC, phonograph), or taken from others, eg. the lightbulb. What really marked both men out was their ability to take on major competitors in new fields and achieve near-total dominance, for a while at least.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Edison was a thief and some say Jobs was too. It's possible to say yay or nay depending on your views

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Steve Jobs openly acknowledges that psychedlic drugs opened his mind to innovative thinking and directly attributes his success to his experimentation with mind altering substances.

That's pretty cool, didn't know he was such a tripper. I wonder if he kept dropping acid right up til' the end? I guess you'd have to be on something to invent the iPod, iPad, iPhone, MacBook, etc etc. I reckon Mr.Jobs was more influential worldwide than that Edison bloke.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think you lot are missing the big one here - iTunes completely changed the way we buy and listen to music, rent or buy movies, tv programmes, applications, games, books. The whole industry changed as a result - bookstores are going out of business, nobody buys newspapers or magazines, music stores are losing massive amounts in CD/DVD sales, game companies are losing share in the gaming market to the iPhone/iPad. Next iCloud is going to make hard disks a thing of the past.

Not sure if Steve was "as great" as Edison as let's be honest, inventors in Edison's time had a lot more 'breakthroughs" to make than now - but Jobs is definitely one of the most influential and revolutionary of our times.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Edison didn't invent the bulb he bought a patent so if you compare Jobs and Edison in that they copied other people they are the same

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I listen to music with my ears... iTunes didn't change that for me.

I think both improved on already existing technologies. MP3 players existed before the iPod.. Jobs' idea was to create on that you could store your entire library on. Edison didn't invent the first electric bulb, just found a way to make it commercially viable

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Things Edison invented are things we see around us all the time. I do not use one thing that Steve Jobs presented to the world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I listen to music with my ears... iTunes didn't change that for me.

It's not about how you listen to music - iTunes changed how you purchase music

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Mr Barrry; For people myself downlaoding is a no no. I want the physical item for a few reasons. Most Cd's i purchase have limited runs and if cared for increase in value over the years and can become a good investment for the future. I want a physical product when purchasing my media hence no MP3 for me. I have a iPhone but have only downloaded Skype, a radio and Slingbox Player, things i cannot buy in physical form anyway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well Steve, I'm afraid the places you buy your CDs will gradually disappear over the next 10 years. Notice any Tower Records/HMV stores disappearing in Japan recently? Record companies are in huge trouble too - they don't have a role in the "music download" business model.

I understand wanting a physical product - I'm not so bothered about CDs, but I always want the DVD for a TV series or film. The problem is, services like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc., are cheaper for the consumer, quicker to get hold of (just turn your computer or iPhone on), and with the absence of a record company eating all of the profits means more money for the musicians. Steve Jobs and his pals made this happen.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All I got to say follow the 11th commandment.

Make sure you got it all backed up to 3rd level storage devices, don't rely on the iCloud, etc to do it for you. Said that little need for the iCloud once you got it secured/downloaded at home.

All our PS3's, PC, etc are automatically copied/mirrored to TB-drives and we can restore any time and that includes our MP3 collection(many GB), movies, etc. In short nothing is lost here.

Won't change in the future either.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mr Barry; The downloads are designed to benefit the compaines only not the artists, if in some cases artist benefit, that is good but in most cases not. We are being ripped off bigtime and most do not realsie it.

it'sME is making the right choices because don't expect your paid for downloads to last for ever.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Steve - don't expect your CDs and cassette tapes to last forever!

FYI, musicians get a much larger cut by selling their music through iTunes than through a record company. Apple obviously has to make a profit, but they don't have anywhere near the costs a record company has (promotion, costs of producing CDs at factories, printing the sleeve, buying a case, transport to the record store, etc.), hence the artists get a larger cut of the sales. YOU are being ripped off buying CDs because you have to pay more to fund the costs the record company has to cover to make the thing! If anything, iTunes is getting you a better deal. Clearly good business.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Mr barry; Not true for what i buy anyway. I am not buying the latest trendy record or old compilations. I am on average paying 15-20% more than people downloading. If i buy 10 CD's and pay 20 GBP more, great, i have a guarneteed product that will usually increase in value (specifically the type of ones i purchase). Most artsiste on a label will not make any exta from downloads versus cd sales, the extra profits go to Apple and the company, the saved money goes to shareholders. It is modern life and it is a scam, that i can see, so can som3 others but not many ,YET!!!

How can a non physical item that costs slightly less than a physical one and have zero reselling value giev me a better deal.?

Clearly good business, not for me though.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

You can make the comparison, especially in terms of success in salesmanship and having an eye for what will sell. But in terms of method, it would be more of a contrast than a comparison. Edison was not a good man. He was an evil bastard frankly. I doubt Jobs would like to be compared with him at all.

For example, he promised Tesla, who was his employee at the time, a reward if he could improve Edison's creations. This Tesla did, but no reward. Tesla then asked for a mere raise. Edison refused that too, so Tesla quit.

Interestingly, Job's got the same kind of raw deal from Atari. Promised 100 dollars for each chip he could phase out of one of their circuit boards, Job's, who did not have the expertise, got Steve Wozniak on the job. Wozniak phased out 50 chips. But instead of the promised 5000 dollars, Atari only gave them 700.

I never heard of Jobs doing anything as scummy as Atari or Edison. And so, you could view the comparison as rude to Jobs and very generous to Edison.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Notthesame; See no evil hear no evil.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Steve - fair enough, if a key factor in buying music for you is the resell value, then I guess CDs are the best option for you. I suppose if you consider CDs will be used less and less from now, your collection of swamp rock CDs will be a lot more valuable in the future so you should probably be thanking Apple for getting you a bit more money at your car boot sales!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Mr Barry; I do not have swamp roack cd's and i do not sell at car boot sales. I am a business man who sells many things , sometimes "real" cd's.

I am a realist who knows a lot about the music busines, more than Apple will tell you and more than you know. Let me educate you; The average person who downliads from an artists album downloads 2 songs as ana average cost of 1.80 GBP. The average CD sale is 7.95 GBP. Downloading means bands have to make "hits" from every song unlike where a whole album was listened to and cherished a s acomplete item.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Steve - the "iTunes killed the album" argument is hardly a new one. Do you not remember people saying the same thing when bands started producing singles? That's been around for a lot longer than iTunes. I do agree that iTunes has changed the way people buy albums, but if anything, it's forcing artists not to churn out 'filler' on their albums to make a full album purchase worthwhile.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

All readers back on topic please. The question asks about comparing Jobs with Edison, not about CDs versus downloads. That ends discussion on this point.

Jobs' legacy is that he changed the industry.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Steve Jobs made others invetions more user friendly, similar to how the Japanese did in teh 60's and 70's . Genius compared to Edison, Baird or whatever, no?Astute business guy who did a good job of brainwashing his customers (judging by recent post)? Yes, very good, in fact he was like a cult. A good man? No.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

True, Tesla wasn't a good business man. Even after letting Edison take advantage of him, he still gave things away for free. IIRC after the whole AC/DC war he let the company that backed him (I forget who it was) not pay his patents as a sign of good faith. This is probably why his "wireless electricity" concept never came to be and why he died as a poor man. But he was still a genius and an innovator. A lot of what he did is still used today and has been expanded upon.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

True, Tesla wasn't a good business man.

Which is to say he definitely was not evil. Good businessmen is something of a contradiction in terms. Might be better to just say Tesla was not a skilled businessman, Jobs was a good and skilled businessman, and Edison was a businessman of the more well knownl variety, greedy and evil.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The company Edison founded, General Electric, is still going strong.

GE owes its creditors more than $600 billion. This is an amazing figure. It is more money than Greece owes its foreign creditors. It's more money than Portugal owes. It's larger than the entire external debt of Brazil... and Turkey... and Mexico. It's five times as much money as notorious Iceland owes.

GE would have gone bankrupt in 2008 without the aid of the U.S. government, which has guaranteed all of the company's debts through 2012 – for free."

GE is basically a highly leveraged firm with managers trying to maximize their own compensation. Since GE is too big to fail, they take big risks knowing the government will bail them out.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Terry Guo of Foxconn, the manufacturer of Apple products, could be regarded as the slave master and Steve Jobs as the plantation owner and speculator.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In 10 or 15 years people will probably laugh about even considering him that important. It's just a hype and it'll be over soon.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I was pleased to see Jobs inform Obama that his would be a one-term presidency. Sharp guy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dear people, i just wanna say that, have you people noticed the time of Thomas Alwa Edison and Mr .Steve Jobs? Whats the difference?

i would say,Its really hard time for Electronic innovators and developers on the era of Thomas Alwa Edison.There is no computer,no sophisticated electronic devices,no testing devices and you NO VACUUM TUBES TOOOO.. So, how did the great man invented this bulb? As much motivation and inspiration involved his works right????...

by the way .... what about the Steve Jobs????? He created beautiful Ipods,Imac and many more electronics. :) happy with that... but do you know what kind of things he had for helping him to develop the beautiful stuffs???? think????? think people... technology.. a lot of technology are available now.. any man who have half brain with a great motivation and inspiration can make anything today to beat his competitors..... you know that well .... but i really personally appreciate steve jobs... so i do say that its fair(no problem) for you people to compare between the great these 2 man's designation :)

but do not compare the psychological power and motivation between these 2 man... coz you know their times...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

sorry for the small grammer mistakes :P

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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