So Steve Jobs is a jerk -- keep it up, dude!

Apple develops great products and delivers amazing value to shareholders. If the CEO does so by playing hardball, so be it

Steve Jobs is a jerk -- so here are seven things he can do not to be a jerk: Lay off poor little Adobe, blah, blah, blah. The blogosphere is full of suggestions and criticisms about how Jobs should do his, well, job. I have a suggestion for him, too: Keep it up, dude.

Like him or not, Jobs has done a great job, and the events that have ticked off much of the tech press lately have to do with a couple of fairly gnarly incidents: the tiff with Adobe over Flash, and the case of the purloined iPhone. But if you give either incident some thought, it becomes clear that Jobs was doing what an Apple CEO has to do: keeping control of the platform and the message.

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By delivering a consistently good experience to users, Apple has gained market share and driven earnings. By keeping control of the message and, yes, of leaks, Apple's product launches generate enormous buzz. You can't buy the kind of PR Apple gets for free. Can you say the same for Microsoft's Steve Ballmer?

Apple controls the platform
In a perfect world, Apple and Adobe would get together, sign a peace treaty, and as Tim Gunn likes to say, "make it work." Then we could have Flash on our iPhones, iPads, and Macs, and life would be good. But that's not going to happen -- and I'm not sure that's such a bad thing.

Controlling its platform has always been Apple's distinguishing characteristic. Google, on the other hand, takes the opposite point of view and has turned Android development into what my colleague Galen Gruman called a "demolition derby." (Yes, I know Android phones outsold Apple offerings in the last quarter, but so did Windows -- and that doesn't include the plethora of giveaways that pumped up Android's numbers.)

"Google wants it both ways," says Michael Gartenberg, a partner at the Altimeter Group consultancy. "They want the perception of being open and the idea of being able to support everyone, but they also want their own vision for the hardware and the platform," he tells me. As a result, device makers and developers are confused, customers are disappointed, and -- worst of all -- the Android platform is fragmenting.

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