Like a warm-up routine for the long-awaited June 7th start of Apple's WWDC, last night Steve Jobs took the stage at D8. And this morning, the blogosphere is buzzing about what Jobs had to say in public conversation with All Things Digital
producers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. A veritable chatterbox at times, Jobs opened up on issues ranging from Apple's beef with Adobe to the future of the "post-PC" world.
Regarding the contentious moments in recent months between Apple and Adobe, or - more accurately - HTML5 and Flash, Steve Jobs said that "Apple is a company that doesn't have the most resources of everybody in the world. The way we have succeeded is by choosing which horses to ride very carefully." The best horse for Apple, says Jobs, was not Flash - which, he implied, is OK but not great. "We didn't start off to have a war with Flash. We just made a technical decision." He also took a subtle jab at Adobe once again by stressing that Apple is all about technologies that have a future.
What followed was a brief talk about the Foxconn suicides, of which Jobs called "troubling," but reiterated that the suicide rate in that part of the world is still "under what the U.S. rate is." From dishing on suicide to delving into the platform wars with Microsoft and Google, Steve Jobs had anything but harsh rhetoric to offer about the other industry giants that dominate the modern tech landscape. "We never saw ourselves in a platform war with Microsoft, and maybe that's why we lost." Instead, Jobs said Apple is primarily concerned with "how to build a better product."
With regard to AT&T exclusivity for the iPhone (you had to expect this one to come up), Jobs didn't say much. In fact, it was on this very issue that the Apple chief was most cryptic and evasive in his choice of words. How does Jobs feel about AT&T's often criticized over-stressed network? "Pretty good actually. Remember, they're handling way more data traffic than all of their other competitors combined." With regard to possible "advantages" of expanding carrier coverage, he would only say that there "there might be" some advantages, but that he "can't comment on that."
What ultimately came as no surprise on the D8 stage, however, is that the era of the PC is winding down and that tablet computers like the iPad may very well represent the future. Jobs, though, did advocate patience as it will take a while for the general public to adapt to newer, smaller, but eventually more powerful technologies and mobile computing platforms. "The software will get more powerful," says Jobs. "I think your vision would have to be pretty short to think these can't grow into machines that can do more things, like editing video, graphic arts, productivity. You can imagine all of these content creation on these kind of things."
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