Wozniak: Story in Steve Jobs movie looks "awful," "atrocious"
Apple co-founder says "jOBS" may be fun, but is far from accurate
He's higher on Aaron Sorkin's rival Steve Jobs biopic, on which he's consulting
Wozniak says too many tech patents are stifling innovation
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak hasn’t seen “jOBS,” the biopic of his founding partner that premiered Friday at the Sundance Film Festival.
But in terms of how well the movie tells the story of Apple’s heady early days, his review is already in.
“It’s so awful and atrocious,” said Wozniak, who said he got access to a copy of the movie’s script. “Unlike the way Steve and I really dealt with each other.
“I didn’t want to have much to do with that movie.”
The film, which stars Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs, has received early mixed reviews. Some critics said it portrayed an overly fawning image of Jobs, while others praised Kutcher and called it an appropriate, if inaccurate, homage to Jobs, who died in October 2011.
Speaking Wednesday at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Wozniak said he’s also watched a scene from the movie that was released online. In it, Wozniak says “nobody wants to buy a computer” as Jobs tries to convince him of the potential.
“Never happened,” Wozniak said.
He elaborated last week in an e-mail to Gizmodo:
“Totally wrong. Personalities and … the ideas of computers affecting society did not come from Jobs … . His idea was to make a $20 PC board and sell it for $40 to help people… build the computer I’d given away … . [H]e always saw a way to make a quick buck off my designs (this was the 5th time). The lofty talk came much further down the line.”
All that said, Wozniak thinks the movie might be fun to watch, comparing it to “Pirates of Silicon Valley,” a 1999 made-for-TV movie that aimed to depict the early days of Apple and Microsoft.
“If it’s anything like ‘Pirates of Silicon Valley,’ wow – that’s going to be so popular,” he said. “It’s the the fun part. The story’s when we were young, just like [Facebook biopic] ‘The Social Network,’ that type of movie.”
Perhaps predictably, Wozniak was higher on a Steve Jobs film being developed by writer Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing,” “The Social Network,” “A Few Good Men”).
Wozniak is a consultant on that movie, which will play out in three extended scenes, shot in real time, that depict Jobs at three product rollouts: the Macintosh, Jobs’ non-Apple product NeXT, and the iPod.
“It’ll have people like me backstage talking to Jobs and him … doing his type of thing. I guess that’s how it’s going to be,” he said. “Very creative. A very different kind of movie.”
In an hourlong chat with Mark Becker, president of Georgia State, Wozniak answered questions submitted by students via Facebook and Twitter. Some of his other points:
On advice to budding entrepreneurs: “Believe in yourself. You don’t have to win arguments. You don’t have to prove to someone else that you’re right. If you believe you’re right … that’s what matters. You’ve got to follow what’s in your heart. The second piece of advice is: How far you go in life … it’s how well-liked you are by the people you work with. That will determine how far you go up organization ladders and the like. Be nice to people. Don’t be cutting them down. Don’t be rude and all that stuff. That’s my philosophy.”
On whether he has “a love affair with Siri”: “I also have a love affair with Android sometimes.” Wozniak, who is no longer involved in the day-to-day running of Apple, has long said he carries around multiple smartphones and other gadgets by various companies.
On tech patent wars: “New innovators should not be blocked. There is some room for patents. We develop stuff and sometimes you come up with something very clever and, yeah, there is some room for that.”
But sometimes, he said, patents are awarded for “something that really didn’t take a great mind to think of – a little 2-year-old with a pencil would have come up with it, almost. That’s a great problem because sometimes patents are used to inhibit innovation.”