Will Apple block the new Steve Jobs action figure?

A Chinese company is promoting a Steve Jobs action figure but past directives by Apple to shut down similar products suggests it is unlikely the Steve Jobs action figure will make it to US stores.

Paul Sakuma/AP
In this 2007 file photo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up an Apple iPhone at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco. A Chinese company is promoting a Steve Jobs action figure three months after his death, although it is not yet determined if Apple will allow the toy to reach US consumers.

A Chinese company is promoting an action figure of former Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs three months after his death, although it is not yet determined if Apple will allow the toy to reach US consumers.

Mr. Jobs died in October, generating weeks of public mourning, media scrutiny about the company’s future, analysis of his contribution to the computing world, and a best-selling autobiography.

The action figure is the first in what is expected to be many more attempts by non-Apple operators to cash in on his legacy. However, judging from how protective Apple has been toward Jobs in the past, its unlikely to reach US store shelves.

The 12-inch action figure debuted this month from InIcons, a Chinese toy company. A prototype on the company website reveals a doll that resembles Jobs during his many Apple investor presentations: black turtleneck, jeans, sneakers.

The figure comes with several accessories: two pairs of glasses, three pairs of hands, a chair, socks and, yes, two apples – “one with a bite,” according to the website. The company reports the figure is “dedicated to the genius, great inventor and visionary.”

The price of the figure is $99.99 and is available for shipping in February.

Although preorders have stopped, several of the figures are currently onsale via eBay. Online traffic is currently overwhelming the InIcons website, making connecting temporarily impossible.

Apple has not yet commented on the figure, although past directives by the company to shut down similar products suggests it is unlikely the InIcons figure will make it to market.

Chinese company M.I.C. Gadget released a similar Jobs figure in early 2011. The figure shows Jobs standing on the Apple logo while holding an iPhone and iPad in each hand. The company also released an alternate version, showing Jobs wearing a ninja hood and holding throwing stars.

Apple ordered the company to discontinue both items. They remain listed on the company website as “out of stock.” The company also sells a figure in the likeness of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, although his name is not used. The figure holds a sign illustrated with the Facebook “like” icon and is described as “inspired from a man who makes the world more open and connected.”

Several knockoffs of the Jobs figure are currently selling via Amazon, eBay, and other third-party sellers.

Apple also rejected last month a free app by mobile media developer Nushka Labs. The company marketed a “tribute calendar” to Jobs featuring images of him.

Apple did not intervene after a full-size bronze statue of Jobs appeared in December in the heart of a technology center in Budapest, Hungary. Funded by Graphisoft, a software company, the sculpture corresponded to a memorial stamp of Jobs the country issued the same month. Jobs lent his support to Graphisoft early in that company’s history, which may be why Apple chose to allow the sculpture to remain. 

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