The Back Page - Apple Death Knell #48: Sometime in 2006, Steve Jobs Will Fall from Grace

by - December 21st, 2005

The odds are that Steve Jobs will suffer a fall from grace sometime in 2006, or so says USA Today writer Kevin Maney. It's this sort of thing that is precisely the reason I created the Apple Death Knell Counter, or at least one of the reasons; the idea was always to chronicle all of the predictions, proclamations, and prognostications of Apple's impending doom so that we, as observers, could have a paper trail of those death knells to follow long after we would have otherwise misplaced them.

Take Mr. Maney's prediction: "Sometime in 2006, Steve Jobs will probably get hosed. That's not so much a prediction as it is playing the odds. Nobody in America gets such a long ride on the oh-we-sooooo-adore-you bandwagon."

That's just silly reasoning, and those words shall live on in the ADKC as Death Knell #48 so we can point and laugh.

In any event, the title of this column from Mr. Maney, 2006 could be year that Apple CEO Jobs falls off pedestal, is a misnomer designed to get eyeballs. Really, it's a generic 2006 predictions piece, more of which will be cropping up the closer we get to January 1st.

In it, he predicts mundane things like Google sparking enough fear in Redmond to galvanize an otherwise moribund Microsoft, RSS will be big (a year too late on that one), and the long-awaited arrival of a real digital living room.

The part about Steve Jobs merely anchors and footnotes the piece, with the vague prediction being that what goes up must come down, including the one and only head of Apple.

On the face of it, of course, that's true. Apple will eventually stumble to some degree or another, and the iPod will eventually become a has-been. Predicting that for 2006, however, is ballsy at best. More likely, it's wishful thinking. Apple is firing on all cylinders, and I personally think the company's star is still (re)rising.

I'd be less desultory in my assessment of this Death Knell if Mr. Maney offered a real reason other than "odds are," or if it wasn't so specific in its time reference (sometime in 2006).

Mr. Maney wrote, "And finally, there is Apple's Jobs -- tech's celebrity superstar. He seems due. Maybe he'll humiliate a bumbling underling on stage at Macworld, unleashing a torrent of stories saying Jobs is the Lord Voldemort of managers. Or someone will discover malicious spyware hidden deep inside iTunes.

"The only sure thing is that society, as if striving for equilibrium, will then knock Jobs as far down as we boosted him up. It's just what we do, no?"

BORING! Let's see some pizazz if we're going to go in this direction! Something like, "In 2006, Microsoft will finally figure out how to put the Netscape on Apple, and take over the digital media device market by [insert some clever prediction here], thus putting Apple's snotty CEO back in his place of head of a cult-like, niche computer maker."

That's a prediction!

Still, with it becoming harder and harder to find a good Apple Death Knell, it's nice to get something to have fun with.