Mardi, 22 novembre 2011

«STEVE JOBS» DE WALTER ISAACSON

par

L’autre jour, à l’aéroport, j’ai acheté la récente biographie de Steve Jobs par Walter Isaacson, un ancien reporter de Times et du réseau CNN.

 

La brique est très étonnante au point où je l’ai dévorée d’un couvert à l’autre, un peu comme un roman de Folco ou de Pennac. Voyez-vous, Jobs, un homme de contrôle maniaque qui a toujours su manipuler les médias au mépris, parfois, de la vérité, se livre ici totalement, sans gêne, sans droit de regard, sans aucun espoir de pouvoir lire l’ouvrage une fois publié, sans craindre le jugement de l’histoire. Quand je suis devenu journaliste techno, le gars venait de lancer son premier Mac.

La dernière fois que je l’ai vu, il présentait son deuxième iPad. Entre les deux événements, je l’ai peut-être détaillé ou croisé une quinzaine de fois lors de MacWorld, de lancements, de salons. Tout au long de ces années, j’ai suivi ses faits et gestes et, régulièrement, des tas de détails me sont apparus incompréhensibles. Contradictoires. Comme si le fait d’avoir l’œil collé sur un arbre m’empêchait de voir la forêt. Or, le livre d’Isaacson jette la lumière, attache tout et donne un sens à ce que j’ai vu ou appris au fil des ans. La plus grande révélation en ce qui me concerne est probablement cette philosophie dont j’ai souvent parlé sans vraiment comprendre qu’il s’agissait d’un même plan de match indéfectible : l’aspect fermé du Macunivers.

Paradoxalement, le premier grand industriel à avoir utilisé le mot « écosystème » pour parler d’un environnement informatique a été Bill Gates, le fondateur de Microsoft. Mais, ce qui saute aux yeux en parcourant le gros bouquin, c’est que Steve Jobs est le seul à en avoir vraiment compris le sens et à l’avoir appliqué, cela dès 1983.

Jobs avait demandé à tous les membres de l’équipe du Mac original, le 128, de signer l’intérieur du boîtier. Ce fut fait et gravé.

Le gars était un perfectionniste disons « maladif ». Le produit qu’il lançait devait non seulement être beau et « design top niveau » sous toutes ses coutures, ce qui inclut l’intérieur des machines (photo ci-haut), je vous jure, mais il devait procurer la meilleure expérience utilisateur possible compte tenu de l’avancement technologique. Or pour lui, la seule façon d’y arriver était de tout contrôler, de A à Z. ainsi, les utilisateurs s’éviteraient bien des désagréments. Quant aux bidouilleurs, ils pourraient toujours s’acheter une « horrible boîte beige ou noire » appelée PC et y installer du matériel et du logiciel provenant de cinquante milles fabricants indépendants.

D’où l’extrême difficulté à « ouvrir » les boîtiers de Mac 128, 512, Plus et Classic, des iMac et des Mac mini, des iPod, iPhones et iPad. D’où les débats houleux avec plein de collaborateurs incluant Steve Wozniak, le cofondateur d’Apple. D’où la mise au ban des cloneurs à la sauce Radius, Umax ou Power Computing. D’où le contrôle logiciel incessant (à plus forte raison qu’il y a maintenant le App Store). D’où l’ouverture des Apple Stores avec comptoir Genius, pour s’assurer d’une compétence au niveau service après-vente.

Le Apple Store de Manhattan.

Bref : ordinateur Apple, périphériques Apple (ou particulièrement testés par Apple), système d’exploitation Apple, logiciels Apple, fournitures Apple, service Apple, système musical Apple, etc. Et ça a marché. Rien n’est plus simple que de partager une « bibliothèque » musicale iTunes au travers les Macs (sous Mac OS X) de la maison. Faire la même chose en giron non-Mac peut présenter des difficultés que seuls les geeks apprécieront. Régulièrement, cette philosophie que bien des « partisans » d’Android (Google) ou de Microsoft ne partagent évidemment pas, a remporté les honneurs du plus haut taux de satisfaction de la clientèle à travers l’industrie.

C’est une façon de concevoir les affaires que Jobs a érigée en dogme. Et dans son univers manichéen, désobéir au dogme ou le questionner, méritait de finir au bûcher. Le succès d’Apple en dépendait et ne pas y souscrire de toute son âme était synonyme de traîtrise. Imaginez la scène quand en 2009, un Jobs émacié, malade, s’était fait un devoir d’engueuler violemment (je pèse mes mots) l’équipe MobileMe, ce précurseur mal fichu du iCloud (1). « Vous avez sali la réputation d’Apple. Vous devriez vous détester d’avoir laissé tomber vos collègues ! » Du coup, devant tout le monde, il avait congédié sur-le-champ le malheureux chef d’équipe et l’avait remplacé par un autre. Lors de sa dernière apparition publique en juin dernier (il ne pesait plus que cinquante kilos), il lançait le iCLoud, ce qui, pour lui, donnait du sens à tout son échafaudage.

Steve Jobs à son meilleur dans la vidéo YouTube présentée plus bas. On le voit à New York, au MacWorld de juin 2000, présenter le Cube G4, un ordi d’une beauté jamais vu qui, hélas, créera passablement de soucis à Apple.

Grâce à des équipements (matériel et logiciel) unifiés, optimisés et peaufinés comme de petits joyaux (même dans leur emballage), les gens pouvaient se livrer aux joies numériques du multimédia sans souci et pouvaient désormais bénéficier d’un espace infini, simple et gratuit pour tout ranger. C’est ce qu’il avait voulu, le père Jobs. J’ignore à quel point vous avez suivi le personnage dans sa carrière. Mais quelle que soit votre situation, ce livre mérite que vous vous y attardiez. La vie de l’ex-P.D.G. est présentée dans ses facettes exemplaires aussi bien que dans ses côtés détestables. Jobs était bien sûr un génie, comme il est convenu de l’admettre aujourd’hui, mais il était également une tête de nœud pas possible.
 
(1) Quand Jobs reconnaissait la responsabilité d’Apple dans un déboire quelconque, ce qui n’arrivait pas toujours, il tentait de se « faire pardonner ». Par exemple, dans le cas de l’ « Antennagate », ce problème d’interférence métallique qui handicapait parfois l’antenne téléphonique du iPhone 4, il fit distribuer des protecteurs (« bumpers ») correctifs aux clients et reconnut publiquement ne pas avoir livré un appareil parfait. Dans l’affaire de MobileMe, il cessa de facturer les clients. Ainsi, dans mon cas (mon adresse publique est effectivement ndumais@me.com), j’ai eu droit à un an gratuit et je suis maintenant intégré dans la grosse doudoune du iCloud.

APPLE

BIOGRAPHIE STEVE JOBS

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