Steve Jobs was the big feature at the All Things Digital conference yesterday. He was humble about the market cap thing: “It’s surreal, but it doesn’t really mean anything” and about Apple itself: “Apple is a company that doesn’t have the most resources in the world, and the way we’ve succeeded is to bet the right technological horse, to look at technologies that have a future. We try to pick things that are in their springs. And if you choose wisely, you can be quite successful.” And he did not take the bait on war with Microsoft: “No, we don’t see ourselves in a platform war” says Jobs. “We never saw ourselves in a platform war with Microsoft, either…Maybe that’s why we lost. But we never thought of ourselves in a platform war; we just wanted to make good products.” or on war with Google: “Well, they’re competing with us...we didn’t go into search.”
There is a really interesting riff on the development path that brought about the iPhone and eventually the iPad:
Jobs: “I’ll tell you a secret. It began with the tablet. I had this idea about having a glass display, a multitouch display you could type on with your fingers. I asked our people about it. And six months later, they came back with this amazing display. And I gave it to one of our really brilliant UI guys. He got scrolling working and some other things, and I thought, ‘my God, we can build a phone with this!’ So we put the tablet aside, and we went to work on the iPhone.”
This just emphasizes how Jobs has the metal to make big decisions and make them decisively. There have been a lot of these big decisions lately including Flash of course, and the market is being shaped and reshaped by Steve Jobs yet again. This shaping will continue with Steve pulling for newspapers over bloggers: “I don’t want us to see us descend into a nation of bloggers,” civility and control over openness: “We have a rule that says you can’t defame people,” and his own curating of ideas: “The best ideas have to win, no matter who has them.”
Steve Jobs is still the best CEO in existence. Quite a performance.