Bono Defends Steve Jobs Against Criticism Over Lack of Public Philanthropy

Earlier this week, The New York Times published a report on the "mystery" of Steve Jobs' philanthropic contributions or potential lack thereof, noting that Jobs has not been publicly linked with any charitable giving, despite his $8.3 billion fortune.

Despite accumulating an estimated $8.3 billion fortune through his holdings in Apple and a 7.4 percent stake in Disney (through the sale of Pixar), there is no public record of Mr. Jobs giving money to charity. He is not a member of the Giving Pledge, the organization founded by Warren E. Buffett and Bill Gates to persuade the nation’s wealthiest families to pledge to give away at least half their fortunes. (He declined to participate, according to people briefed on the matter.) Nor is there a hospital wing or an academic building with his name on it.

While the article acknowledges that Jobs may in fact be donating money anonymously, perhaps most notably in an anonymous $150 million gift to the cancer center at the University of California, San Francisco that he has been rumored to be responsible for, it cites Jobs' curious position as one of only a few of America's wealthiest people to not participate in publicly-acknowledged philanthropy.

Two of his close friends, both of whom declined to be quoted by name, told me that Mr. Jobs had said to them in recent years, as his wealth ballooned, that he could do more good focusing his energy on continuing to expand Apple than on philanthropy, especially since his illness. “He has been focused on two things — building the team at Apple and his family,” another friend said. “That’s his legacy. Everything else is a distraction.”

bono steve jobs u2 ipod
Bono and Steve Jobs at U2 iPod introduction in 2004 (Source: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press)

Jobs is not without his defenders, however, as evidenced by a letter to the editor written by U2 singer Bono in response to the article. In his letter, Bono points to Apple's participation in the (Product)RED campaign against AIDS co-founded by Bono that has seen the company become the program's largest contributor with "tens of millions of dollars" in donations from the sale of RED iPods and other products.

Steve Jobs said when we first approached him about (RED), “There is nothing better than the chance to save lives.”

I’m proud to know him; he’s a poetic fellow, an artist and a businessman. Just because he’s been extremely busy, that doesn’t mean that he and his wife, Laurene, have not been thinking about these things. You don’t have to be a friend of his to know what a private person he is or that he doesn’t do things by halves.

Apple and Bono have had a close relationship for many years, with Apple offering a U2-branded iPod from 2004 until 2007 and introducing a (Product)RED iPod nano in late 2006. Apple has continued to offer (Product)RED iPods and accessories since that time, currently offering the iPod nano and an iPad 2 Smart Cover under the program.

Top Rated Comments

nwcs Avatar
149 months ago
Jobs may also be under the philosophy that the best giving is done in secret and not shouted from the rooftops in a look-at-me gesture of veiled selfishness.
Score: 74 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Benjamins Avatar
149 months ago
So.. You HAVE to give money and tell every human on earth in order to be considered a good person?
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Small White Car Avatar
149 months ago
When I read the stories about various kinds of disabled people who claim that the iPad is the best computer they've ever owned...that it's accessibility features make it far more usable to them than any Mac or PC ever was...well it makes me think that Steve's done a lot more good than someone who bought a stadium for a university or something.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PlipPlop Avatar
149 months ago
Bono is a prick.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
justinkthornton Avatar
149 months ago
Give and tell is good...

Give and tell is good... But give and not tell shows that it isn't about looking good but trying to become a better person. We don't know what jobs does with his money, nor do we know what he will do with his money. Let's not judge others please.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iCrizzo Avatar
149 months ago
Leave Steve alone. The man is deathly sick, what he does with his money that he worked hard for is nobodies business!
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.3 Now Available for Your iPhone With These 4 New Features

Friday February 3, 2023 1:13 pm PST by
Apple released iOS 16.3 in late January following nearly six weeks of beta testing. The software update is available for the iPhone 8 and newer, and while it is a relatively minor update, it still includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped new features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

Gurman: Apple Considering New High-End iPhone Alongside Pro and Pro Max

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:07 am PST by
Apple has discussed selling a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside the Pro and Pro Max models in 2024 at the earliest, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Based on this timeframe, the device would be part of the iPhone 16 lineup or later. In a September 2022 edition of his weekly "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said there was "potential" for an iPhone 15 Ultra to replace the iPhone 15 Pro...
ipad air purple

Deals: M1 iPad Air Hits Record-Low Prices at TigerDirect, Starting at $313.99 (48% Off) [Updated]

Saturday February 4, 2023 10:05 am PST by
Online retailer TigerDirect has slashed pricing on the M1 iPad Air in several colors, offering the base 64GB configuration for just $313.99 in Purple and Pink. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with TigerDirect. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. That's a savings of 48% compared to Apple's normal $599.00...
mac studio pink

Apple May Not Launch Updated Mac Studio With M2 Ultra Chip Due to Similarity With Upcoming Mac Pro

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:06 am PST by
A new version of the Mac Studio with the "M2 Ultra" chip is unlikely to arrive in the near future, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explained that since the upcoming Apple silicon Mac Pro is "very similar in functionality to the Mac Studio," Apple may wait until the release of M3- or M4-series chips to update the machine, or...
webkit vs chromium feature

Google Working on Browser for iOS That Would Break Apple's App Store Rules

Saturday February 4, 2023 1:30 am PST by
Google's Chromium developers are working on an experimental web browser for iOS that would break Apple's browser engine restrictions, The Register reports. The experimental browser, which is being actively pursued by developers, uses Google's Blink engine. Yet if Google attempted to release it on the App Store, it would not pass Apple's App Review process. Apple's App Store rules dictate...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
top stories 4feb2023

Top Stories: New HomePod Launches, iOS 16.3.1 Coming Soon, and More

Saturday February 4, 2023 6:00 am PST by
This week saw the launch of the final product from Apple's January hardware announcements, with the second-generation HomePod making its way into customers' hands. Other news and rumors this week included signs of an interim iOS 16.3.1 bug fix update in the works as we await a fresh round of beta testing for a more significant iOS 16.4 update, a report on the potential dangers of using...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Apple's Second-Generation HomePod

Friday February 3, 2023 1:28 pm PST by
Today is the official launch day for the second-generation HomePod that was introduced in January, and we picked one up to compare it to the original HomePod that Apple discontinued in 2021. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, the second-generation HomePod looks a lot like the first-generation model, featuring the same rounded design and acoustic mesh...