Manila-based Globe Telecom Inc. chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala says he credits Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs for kick-starting a boom in mobile Internet in the Philippines with his innovative phone and computer designs. “The services we can provide are driven by the kind of products we can get access to,” Mr. Zobel said in a telephone interview. “And what’s different about Steve Jobs and Apple is the singularity of their vision. Traditionally you would need a whole range of products to do different things, whether its music players or telephones. And he came a long with a device – the iPhone – where you can do all of these things.”
The Philippines has long had one of Asia’s most competitive telecommunications markets, pushed by sweeping deregulation in the late 1980s and hard-fought competition between the two dominant service providers, Globe and Smart Communications Inc. The advent of the iPhone and, more recently, the iPad have speeded up the deployment of newer, higher-band width mobile Internet services, too, as more and more people made the leap to Apple-inspired smart-phones or tablet computers. “Steve Jobs transformed an industry that was dominated by cost to focus it on design, and in the process made technology much more accessible,” Mr. Zobel, 51 years old, said. “Even now, the iPad is becoming more and more of an industry standard in terms of how people access information.”
He stressed that the personal attachment consumers have with their iPods or iPhones or iPads is a crucial element in the company’s success, and that’s helped service providers such as Globe, a joint venture between the Philippines’ Ayala Corp. and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., also. “I still remember buying my first Apple Mac in 1987 just after I got married. I lugged it about during my honeymoon and learned how to use it,” Mr. Zobel recalled. “Ever since then I’ve always insisted on using Apple instead of other brands.” Other Filipinos took to social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to express their feelings about Mr. Jobs’s death and the impact his designs had on their lives. “I take notes and tweet with my iPad, shoot video and photos with my iPhone and edit and write with my MacBook Pro. Thank you, Steve Jobs, for changing the way we tell stories,” wrote journalist Ayee Macaraig on Twitter.