D8 interview; Steve Jobs unfiltered

D8 interview; Steve Jobs unfiltered

Summary: Although I couldn't be there in person, I was hanging on every refresh of the liveblogs from Steve Jobs' interview tonight at the D8 conference. (Kudos to Engadget and AllThingsD for the coverage!

TOPICS: CXO, IT Employment

Although I couldn't be there in person, I was hanging on every refresh of the liveblogs from Steve Jobs' interview tonight at the D8 conference. (Kudos to Engadget and AllThingsD for the coverage!) If you haven't already, read the interview in its entirety.

Kara Swisher assured me that no conditions were places on Jobs' interviews and that nothing was off the table. As a result tonight's interview was insightful and will provide plenty of fodder in the five day run up to WWDC.

There are literally dozens of quotes by Apple's mercurial CEO that will be digested and dissected in the coming days, here are a few of my favorites.

(These are paraphrased only and not exact quotes)

On Flash:

Apple is a company that doesn't have the resources that everyone else has. We choose what tech horses to ride, we look for tech that has a future and is headed up. Different pieces of tech go in cycles... they have summer and then they go to the grave. If you choose wisely, you save yourself an enormous amount of work. Sometimes you have to pick the right horses. Flash looks like it had its day but it's waning, and HTML5 looks like it's coming up.

Wait, what?! $32B in cash isn't "resources?"

There's no smartphone shipping with Flash...

That's semantics, Google has been rolling out Android 2.2 to select Nexus One users (with Flash), and Friday Sprint ships the Evo 4G (with Flash).

On the Valleywag email exchange:

He never identified himself as a journalist. I was up late and working and this guy starts sending me obnoxious emails... and I wanted to straighten this guy out. I'm just enough of a sucker... and he publishes it!

On the Gizmodo iPhone 4 prototype saga:

There's an ongoing investigation. I can tell you what I do know, though. To make a product you need to test it. You have to carry them outside. One of our employees was carrying one. There's a debate about whether he left it in a bar, or it was stolen out of his bag. The person who found it tried to sell it, they called Engadget, they called Gizmodo.

The person who took the phone plugged it into his roommates computer. And this guy was trying to destroy evidence... and his roommate called the police. So this is a story that's amazing -- it's got theft, it's got buying stolen property, it's got extortion, I'm sure there's some sex in there (huge laughs)... the whole thing is very colorful. The DA is looking into it, and to my knowledge they have someone making sure they only see stuff that relates to this case. I don't know how it will end up.

On the Foxconn suicides:

We are on top of this. We look at everything at these companies. I can tell you a few things that we know. And we are all over this. Foxconn is not a sweatshop. It's a factory -- but my gosh, they have restaurants and movie theaters... but it's a factory. But they've had some suicides and attempted suicides -- and they have 400,000 people there. The rate is under what the US rate is, but it's still troubling.

On Microsoft:

We never saw ourselves in a platform war with MSFT, and maybe that's why we lost.

On Google:

They decided to compete with us... so they are. Well they decided to compete with us. We didn't go into the search business!

On Android:

Walt: So you just woke up one morning and heard about Android?

Steve: Kinda.

On Webkit:

Almost every modern browser is based on webkit... Nokia, Palm, Android, RIM has one... and of course ours. We've created a real competitor to IE. In the mobile space it's number 1.

On AT&T's network:

Remember, they're handling WAY MORE data traffic than all of their other competitors combined.

It really worries me to hear Jobs defend AT&T...

On iPhone carriers:

Kara: What about going to another carrier? Walt: Would there be advantages to having two in the US? Steve: There might be.

Ok, I'm feeling a little better about the iPhone coming to other carriers

On tablet computers:

I remember telling you I thought handwriting was the slowest input method ever. We reimagined the tablet, we didn't do what MSFT did. They had a totally different idea than us. And that drove everything. There tablet was based on a PC. It had the battery life, the weight, it needed a cursor like a PC. But the minute you throw a stylus out, you have the precision of a finger, you can't use a PC OS. You have to create it from scratch.

On how the iPad relates to magazines and papers:

Well I think the foundation of a free society is a free press. And we've seen what's happening to papers in the US right now. I think they're really important. I don't want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers.

I don't even know where to begin with this one. Jobs believes in a "free press" but sues and raids the homes of working journalists? He released the iPad to save traditional print media? Cue the double standards while I vomit on my Magic Mouse.

On content pricing:

I can tell you as one of the largest sellers of content on the internet to date -- price it aggressively and go for volume. That has worked for us. I'm trying to get the press to do the same thing. They need to do it differently than they do it for print. I think people are willing to pay for content. I believe it for music and video, and I believe it for the media.

Thankfully Mossberg challenged Jobs on this one:

Walt: But didn't your system drive prices of books upward? Isn't that opposite of what you just said?

Steve: Yeah... hmmm... well it's complicated. The market right now is way more responsive to consumer demand than it was six months ago. If consumers want it to be less, they'll be more responsive to those signals.

On the iPad as a notebook computer replacement:

When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks. But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them. And this is going to make some people uneasy.

Best analogy I've heard yet.

On the App Store:

Well let first say we have two platforms we support. One is open and uncontrolled -- that's HTML5. We support HTML5. We have the best support for it of anyone in the world. We then support a curated platform which is the app store. It is the most vital app community on any platform. How do we curate this? It's a bunch of people, and they come into work every day. We have a few rules: has to do what it's advertised to do, it has to not crash, it can't use private APIs. And those are the three biggest reasons we reject apps. But we approve 95% of all the apps that are submitted every week.

On Jobs' duties at Apple:

I have one of the best jobs in the world. I get to come in and work with some of the most brilliant people in the world. We play in the best sandbox. One of the keys to Apple is that Apple is an incredibly collaborative company. You know how many committees we have at Apple? Zero. We're organized like a startup. We're the biggest start up on the planet. We meet for 3 hours every morning and talk about all the business, about what's going on everywhere. We're great at figuring out how to divide things up into great teams, and we talk to each other. So what I do all day is meet with teams of people. To get great people is to let them have great ideas. I contribute ideas -- why would I be here if I didn't contribute them?

On Flurry, the analytics company that leaked information about prototype iPads inside Apple:

Well we learned this really interesting thing. Some company called Flurry had data on devices that we were using on our campus -- new devices. They were getting this info by getting developers to put software in their apps that sent info back to this company! So we went through the roof. It's violating our privacy policies, and it's pissing us off! So we said we're only going to allow analytics that don't give our device info -- only for the purpose of advertising.

That's just a taste, there's a ton more. I can't wait for the video clips to get posted.

What stood out most in your mind about the interview?

Photo: Engadget

Topics: CXO, IT Employment

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  • Really

    Really, Jason. If a journalist committed a kidnapping to do a story, you think he's protected by shield laws?<br><br>Take your blinders off. As a journalist, you should know shield laws protect a journalist from revealing his SOURCES. It doesn't protect him from committing theft, extortion, or being an accessory or enabler of a crime or any host of crimes big or small. Wake up and do us all a favor and stop beating this dead horse. Once you do, you will see that what Jobs said about freedom of the press is not contrary, since freedom of the press has nothing to do with the press committing felonies for money.

    <br><br>You should also acknowledge that, contrary to Gizmodo's self-serving reporting, the "finder" of the prototype never tried to return the phone to the owner. Given that the involved parties have lied about this basic fact, I wonder why you're so willing to accept the idea that the phone was "found" instead of taken from a bag?<br><br>You should also acknowledge that the thief you found the phone was caught red-handed trying to destroy evidence. Last I heard, judges are very willing to send journalists to jail for things like destroying material evidence, and it was this act that spurred policing to secure the computers. With a search warrant. By this point, the police already knew who Gizmodo's source was (remember, shield laws SHIELD THE SOURCES so nothing to shield, get it?) because it was the roomie that turned him in.<br><br>And please, as Jobs has said, no one broke down anyone's doors and last I heard, the San Mateo PD isn't on Apple's payroll, so stop talking about how Apple broke down a journalist's doors. You're doing a disfavor to your profession.
    • RE: D8 interview; Steve Jobs unfiltered

      @Vitaminpower A door was broken down, and Apple is a powerful member of California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, which is who broke down Chen's door.
  • One question that needs to be answered.

    I have one more question that Gizmodo defenders refuse to answer. If this stolen iPhone case is about freedom of speech, how come Apple never went after Engadget with nary a cease-and-desist order, even though Engadget published clear photos of the prototype 2 days before Gizmodo went live with their story?

    Oh that's right, Engadget's editors didn't commit a crime by buying property that clearly didn't belong to the person trying to hawk the phone to them.

    Maybe Gizmodo was driven by journalistic jealousy at getting scooped by Engadget that caused them to make a business decision that committing multiple felonies was worth the price to be paid.

    But that still doesn't answer the question why journalists such as yourself continue to defend journalists who commit clear crimes. It's like a politician who publicly supports John Edwards or Eliot Spitzer or Mark Sanford or something.
  • "Nation of Bloggers"

    This was my personal favorite, and hit right on the money:<br><br>"Well I think the foundation of a free society is a free press. And we've seen what's happening to papers in the US right now. I think they're really important. <b>I don't want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers</b>."<br><br>Note: Cheers from the audience for that.<br><br>The statement is so true. As evident on many ZDNet "stories" most of which usually contain more opinion then fact. It's worth noting that even here, the link is entitled "News & Blogs" with the link simply going to /news.<br><br>The problem is that these "Blogs" appear to be taking over the actual "News." Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but it seems more and more people take those opinions as fact. That you can see elsewhere as people spew out the same not-necessarily-truthful information they've seen on some other news-but-really-an-optinionaed-blog-site.
  • On Apple's murder of Foxconn employees...

    [i]On the Foxconn suicides:

    We are on top of this.[/i]

    Over the last few days, I have been highlighting the terrible conditions that Apple's Foxconn employees have had to live under as a direct result of Jobs' maniacal demand for, and I quote, [i] unparalleled[/i] security. I was, of course, attacked and libeled by the Apple astro-turf crew but one thing that is clear is that Jobs has just called those astro-turfers [b]LIARS[/b]. The astro-turfers kept saying that this wasn't Apple's problem because Foxconn made products for lots of companies even though the news articles [b]clearly[/b] stated that this was only happening at Apple's plant. If the astro-turfers were right, Jobs would have stated that the suicides weren't Apple's problem. He didn't. He [b]knows[/b] that if he said that, he would instantly have been called on it and he didn't want to appear the fool. While it is sad that people had to die at the hands of Jobs and every iPad owner needs to be aware that they have [b]blood[/b] on their hands, at least Jobs has been embarrassed enough by this terrible situation to start remedying it.

    [i]The rate is under what the US rate is[/i]

    Which US rate? The US rate that includes all of the unemployed, bankrupt people whose houses got foreclosed? Or the US rate of people who are employed and have shelter? Let's compare Apples to Apples Jobs, not all of us lap up every word you say without applying some critical thinking to it.
    • Apple's Foxconn? You are really stretching...


      You do realize that Apple is not the only company that uses Foxconn.

      "Among other things, Foxconn produces the Mac mini, the iPod, the iPad, and the iPhone for Apple Inc.; Intel-branded motherboards for Intel Corp.; various orders for American computer manufacturers Dell and Hewlett-Packard; motherboards for UK computer manufacturer Zoostorm; the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 for Sony; the Wii for Nintendo; the Xbox 360 for Microsoft, cell phones for Motorola, the Amazon Kindle, and Cisco equipment."


      Apple is however, the only company that appears to be the most vocal about at least trying to do something about the issues, regardless of whether you agree with them or not.
      • Read my post again

        @tk_77 <br>Foxconn is a big company. They have many plants. One of those plants is dedicated to making Apple products. That is the plant where the murders, the beatings, and the suicides are happening because of Apple's calls for, and I quote, <i>unparalleled secrecy</i>. If you actually read my post, you would have seen that. If your apology held any water, Jobs would have used it. He knew though that he would have been called out for being a liar.<br><br>So nice wiki link. It doesn't say what you want it to say. It only says that the <b>company</b> makes other products. It doesn't dispute the <b>news</b> articles that state all the problems are in the plant that makes Apple products. If Jobs himself doesn't dispute this, I find it amazing that you guys still do.<br><br>BTW here is the article that proves this is all happening at Apple's plant. Jobs doesn't deny it, neither should you.<br><a href="http://www.dailytech.com/Eighth+Suicide+at+Foxconns+Apple+Plant+Video+of+Employee+Beating+Leaks/article18471.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.dailytech.com/Eighth+Suicide+at+Foxconns+Apple+Plant+Video+of+Employee+Beating+Leaks/article18471.htm</a><br><i>Foxconn guards have also beat up reporters trying to interview workers at <b>Apple's secret plant</b>.</i>
      • Stop the lies: Nintendo goods done on the *same* factory

        @NonZealot: that is why Nintendo launched their own investigation last week.
    • Correction:

      @NonZealot: "...the Shenzhen facility <b>primarily</b> serves Apple..."<br><br><u><a href="http://www.dailytech.com/Report+Apple+Cuts+07+Percent+of+iPad+Profit+to+Give+Factory+Workers+Big+Raise/article18571.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.dailytech.com/Report+Apple+Cuts+07+Percent+of+iPad+Profit+to+Give+Factory+Workers+Big+Raise/article18571.htm</a></u><br><br>It is not "dedicated" to making Apple products.</b>
  • On webkit

    [i][b]Almost every modern browser is based on webkit?[/b] Nokia, Palm, Android, RIM has one? and of course ours. We?ve created a real competitor to IE.[/i]

    Um, that isn't true at all. Almost every modern browser is based on Trident and Gecko. Look at marketshare, Webkit based browsers have less than 10 percent of the market.

    Wait, he wasn't actually counting browser applications, was he? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! So if I created 100 different browser applications based on Trident (and this would be [b]very[/b] easy to do), I could single handedly change Jobs' statistic! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
    • RE: D8 interview; Steve Jobs unfiltered

      @NonZealot Webkit based browsers have less than 10 percent of the market!!???<br>I hope you have a link to support that baseless claim.
      I know you can't support your claim, so at least list me the Trident & Gecko browsers that are dominating the market share.
  • On Flash

    [i]Flash looks like it had its day but it?s waning, and HTML5 looks like it?s coming up.[/i]

    Yeah, look at this video of HTML5 on the iPad. It looks [b]fantastic!!![/b] HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

  • On Microsoft SAVING Apple from bankruptcy

    This one didn't make it onto your blog Jason, but it should have. Remember your buddy David who swore and stomped and frothed and jumped and yelled that MS did not save Apple and that Apple had billions in the bank? Yeah. Jobs just called him a liar.

    [i]6:24PM Walt: It is a little surreal. I remember talking to you when you came back to Apple... the company was in bad shape. Steve: Oh it was on the rocks. [b]We were 90 days from going bankrupt[/b].[/i]

    Jobs just made a lot of you Apple zealots look quite stupid!
    • There were 9 months between Jobs coming in fall 1996 and summer 1997' MS $$

      @NonZealot: Apple had almost $2 billion cash and short-term investments by then. Also, Jobs sometimes exaggerates.
    • Correction: it was $1.5 billion, not $2 billion; but far from bankruptcy


  • On DRM and HDCP

    Again from the Engadget post:
    [i]7:50PM Q: I bought the movie Up on DVD, it had a digital download. I put it on my iPad. I hooked up my VGA adapter and tried to play it... but I couldn't because of HDCP. Can you tell me how you're helping with this?

    A: [b]We didn't invent this stuff...[/b]

    Q: But you did deploy it...

    A: Well the content creators are trying to protect this stuff, and they're grabbing at straws. Sometimes they grab the right ones, and sometimes they don't. [b]If we want access to this stuff, we have to play by some of their rules.[/b] I feel your pain.[/i]

    Remember when Vista came out, the [b]HUGE HUGE HUGE[/b] outcry over DRM and HDCP? So come on, why isn't there the same [b]HUGE HUGE HUGE[/b] outcry over DRM and HDCP in the iPad. It is the [b]exact[/b] same scenario.

    Cue the double standards...
  • RE: D8 interview; Steve Jobs unfiltered

    Well, I am no fan of Apple as a company but I do like the products, they are well engineered and built to last. However, I am intrigued at just how much venom has been fired at Apple.

    I can't quite fathom this one out, I'm not quite sure if you hate apple, their products or both. Maybe you guys can answer this one for me.

    I don't think that Steve Jobs could win either way, damned if you and damned if you don't eh.
    • RE: D8 interview; Steve Jobs unfiltered


      You can't explain obsession.