Why Steve Jobs should run General Motors

Jobs did a brilliant job of turning around Apple. He might be able to do the same for GM

General Motors is looking for tens of billions of bailout dollars from the US Feds to stave off bankruptcy. Here's a simpler solution: Get Steve Jobs to take over the top slot at GM. So says the New York Times' Thomas Friedman, and despite my dislike of Jobs, I think Friedman is right.

In his column, Friedman writes about watching a TV interview earlier this year with Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli, who said the auto industry needed US$25 billion in loan guarantees, not as a bailout, but to help car companies innovate. His response:

I could not help but shout back at the TV screen: "We have to subsidize Detroit so that it will innovate? What business were you people in other than innovation? If we give you another $25 billion, will you also do accounting?"

The column then goes on to enumerate the bone-headed, short-sighted idiocy of the US auto industry, which has fought innovation every step of the way, and refused to look at the future. For example, he quotes GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz saying that hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, "make no economic sense." Lutz also told D Magazine of Dallas that global warming "is a total crock of [expletive]."

In return for any bailout, Friedman proposes, the current management and board of GM should go, to be replaced with people capable of turning around the business. After adding other strings that should be attached to a bailout, he offers up this one, slightly tongue in cheek:

Lastly, somebody ought to call Steve Jobs, who doesn't need to be bribed to do innovation, and ask him if he'd like to do national service and run a car company for a year. I'd bet it wouldn't take him much longer than that to come up with the GM iCar.

While I dislike Jobs for his arrogance, his vindictiveness, and the way he uses attack-dog lawyers to muzzle any criticism or dissent, he's probably one of the few people who could turn around GM. He's a great innovator and designer, and understands what consumers are looking for. He did a brilliant job of turning around Apple. He might be able to do the same for GM.

And if not Jobs, pick someone else from the tech industry to run GM. The auto industry has been moribund and hidebound for decades, and incapable of innovation, while the tech industry has been the country's innovation engine. It's time for a tech exec to turn around Detroit.

But not Steve Ballmer, please. We've had madmen running the auto industry for long enough, and look what they've done. One more madman won't solve the problem.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags steve jobsbailoutgeneral motors

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Preston Gralla

Preston Gralla

Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?