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
122 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
122 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
122 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
122 months ago
Bono is a prick.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
justinkthornton Avatar
122 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
122 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)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
foldable iPhone concept feature

Apple Testing In-Display Fingerprint Sensor for iPhone 13, Foldable iPhone Also in the Works

Friday January 15, 2021 1:46 pm PST by
Apple has started "early work" on an iPhone that has a foldable display, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Though testing of a foldable iPhone has begun, Apple has not committed to releasing a device that has a foldable display. Development has not yet expanded beyond a display and Apple does not have full foldable iPhone prototypes in its labs. Like foldable...
Apple TV Ray Light 2 Triad

Apple Extends Free Apple TV+ Trials Until July

Friday January 15, 2021 10:50 am PST by
Apple is once again planning to extend its free Apple TV+ trial subscriptions, this time until July. When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, Apple offered free Apple TV+ subscriptions to those who purchased a new Apple device in or after September 2019. Those free subscriptions were set to expire in November 2020, but in October 2020, Apple announced that it was extending free trials...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
pat gelsinger intel

Incoming Intel CEO Derides Company's Inability to 'Deliver Better Products' Than Apple's M1 Chip

Friday January 15, 2021 6:17 am PST by
Incoming Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has said that the company must "deliver better products" than Apple, which he described as a "lifestyle company," and says that Intel's best days are "in front of it" (via The Oregonian). Speaking at an Intel all-hands meeting yesterday, Gelsinger derisively implied that Apple is merely a "lifestyle company," so Intel must be able to surpass its technology: ...
mac pro mini feature

Apple Working on Two New Mac Pro Desktops, One of Which Will Be Reminiscent of Power Mac G4 Cube

Friday January 15, 2021 10:23 am PST by
Apple is developing two versions of the Mac Pro to succeed the Mac Pro that was first released in December 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The first updated Mac Pro is a direct successor to the current Mac Pro and it will use the same design. It may also be equipped with Intel processors rather than Apple silicon chips, and it could be one of the sole machines in the Mac...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...