Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Heavenly Steve Jobs ad spawns hellish flame war

February 3, 2012: 6:34 AM ET

A Taiwanese impersonator brings out the worst in Apple's critics and fans

Homage or sacrilege?

It's hard to say which is worse, the tasteless appropriation of Steve Jobs' trademark jeans and black turtleneck -- with added halo and angel wings -- to hawk a technology he famously dismissed as "shit," or the kinds of things people are saying to one another on YouTube, where the Taiwanese TV ad at the center of the storm has gone viral.

As of Friday morning, "Action Pad Taiwan commercial" had drawn more than 100,000 views, 445 "likes," 787 "dislikes" and 310 comments in which Apple's (AAPL) critics and defenders hurl unprintable insults in a rapidly escalating flame war.

The company that sponsored the ad -- Action Electronics -- defended its use of a Taiwanese impersonator named Ah-Ken to promote its Action Pad, a combined tablet PC and multi-language dictionary that runs on Google (GOOG) Android operating system.

"Steve Jobs always promoted things that were good for people, Apple products, so his image can also promote other things that are good," a spokesperson told Reuters.

"Steve Jobs turning over in his grave?" asked the headline in the Los Angeles Times.

Apple, as usual, had no comment, but a cease-and-desist order would not be out of character.

Below the fold: The YouTube video.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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