Five Big Takeaways from Steve Jobs’ D8 Appearance
Last night, All Things Digital kicked off their D8 conference on media and technology. While there will be a number of blue-chip speakers at the event, which runs through Friday, last night’s highlight was undoubtedly Steve Jobs, who gave a rare degree of access to journalists present at the event.
Unsurprisingly, All Things D has the event thoroughly covered, with lots of photos, video, and a liveblog of Jobs’ event and a Q&A with the Apple chief thereafter. Here are five big takeaways from Jobs’ appearance at the event:
1. He wants to help old media, but the iPad is no savior.
This may be the snippet from Jobs’ appearance that gets the most media coverage, in no small part because old media outlets covering it are interested in finding some sort of savior and because new media folks are all over Jobs’ line, “I don’t want us to see us descend into a nation of bloggers.” While Jobs acknowledges the iPad isn’t the be-all end-all, he sees it as a way to monetize quality reporting, and in All Things D’s paraphrase, “he believes people are willing to pay for content and that content providers are not pricing their offerings as aggressively as they should.”
2. Jobs defends Foxconn, but finds the suicides “very troubling.”
Apple has been under a lot of scrutiny lately over the rash of suicides at Foxconn, their manufacturing partners in Taiwan. Foxconn recently announced that they’ve upped worker wages by 30 percent in response to the situation.
Jobs: “Foxconn is not a sweatshop … They’ve got restaurants and swimming pools….For a factory, it’s a pretty nice factory.” But he says that Apple will send people over to look into the situation.
3. That ‘war’ over Flash? Hyped up by Adobe.
This is in some respects a rehash of Jobs’ anti-Flash missive from late April: According to Jobs, Apple’s phaseout of Flash support was a “technical decision” that had been underway before the iPad [presumably with the iPhone]. “We don’t think Flash makes a great product, so we’re leaving it out. Instead, we’re going to focus on technologies that are in ascendancy. If we succeed, people will buy them and if we don’t they won’t.”
4. About that Gizmodo iPhone thing.
Jobs stuck to his guns and called the fourth-gen iPhone that Gizmodo got ahold of “stolen” property. At that, he seemed to distance himself and Apple from the police raid of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s house that followed, which many in the press linked to Apple’s advisory role with respect to REACT. “the police showed up and took this guy’s computers…and the DA is investigating it…and I don’t know where it will end up.”
5. Apple vs. Google: Cryptic “My sex life is pretty good” line presumably about getting screwed by Google.
But what of the prize fight about which everyone cares the most: Apple vs. Google? Jobs didn’t rail on Google as conflict-loving journos might have hoped, but he did let some emotion shine through when interviewer Walt Mossberg asked if Jobs and Apple felt betrayed by Google’s entry into the mobile market with Android. Jobs’ response: “My sex life is pretty good.”
Engadget compiled the following, rather more illuminating live notes about Jobs’ thoughts on Apple vs. Google:
We want to make better products than them. What I love about the marketplace is that we do our products, we tell people about them, and if they like them, we get to come to work tomorrow. It’s not like that in enterprise… the people who make those decisions are sometimes confused….Just because we’re competing with someone doesn’t mean we have to be rude.