Originally Posted by stelligent
He is saying no other American company has ever combined good design and economic manufacturing. Such a statement is either right or wrong. It cannot be right to some extent. If it is right to some extent, then he is just wrong.
It is actually easy to come up with myriad examples to prove him wrong. But quality design and even economic manufacturing are really subjective concepts. So I won't bother. But in general, because there are soooooooooo many American businesses, it is silly to make an absolute statement like that because no one here could possibly know about every business, every product and how they are manufactured to be able to say Apple is the first American business to bla bla bla. There is no possible way he could know this.
There is a possible way to know this: pay attention for 60 years or so waiting for an American company that can compete with German, Swiss, Scandanavian and later Japanese in technical products made for ordinary people in great -- not good! -- design. Have you seen what American television sets looked like in the 50s and 60s? Did Kodak or Argus ever make the equal to the Leica? Why were Olympia (German) portable typewriters so much more beautiful and pleasurable to type on than Royals?
American companies always tended to build overweight and overdecorated. I can think of a few exceptions. Western Electric telephone sets, the Polaroid Land and SX70 cameras, and my 50s Oster beehive blender that I still use every day. Name another.
It's important to get this across, because it is what Jobs, Ive and Apple were/are specifically aiming at: running a company that is based on deep design and integral quality, and spreading it as widely as possible. Everyone sane and not full of Applephobia knows this. What some don't realize is how revolutionary it is that it is coming out of California, which can still be sort of considered part of America.
If you don't see this driving Apple and its current success, then maybe read the biography. If you've read the biography and you still don't get it, there's no hope.
Edit: And why is it so important that it's coming from California? Read What the Dormouse Said
by John Markoff. Global currents of cultural change centered around Palo Alto, and Steve Jobs had Fiats, Volkswagens, BMW motorcycles, and the right ethnopharmacology imported from the Hindu Kush and Switzerland to open his senses. And a German father who taught him to look behind the door panels to see how the finish was where no one was supposed to see. Couldn't have come from anywhere else, and it is the tool for the big change in consciousness that everybody was hoping for back then. And it fits in your pants, and even the yuppies get it.