Of late, Steve Jobs has been responding to queries from random strangers with surprising regularity. Unlike most other CEOs, he doesn’t sugarcoat his words. His typical email response reads a lot like a tweet – concise and pointed. However, for once he took a break from sending one-line responses.
It all started when Gawker blogger Ryan Tate fired an angry response to Steve Jobs, after being irked by a television ad hailing the iPad as revolutionary. To his surprise, Jobs responded within a few hours. In the (heated) debate that followed, Jobs defended his stance on Adobe, porn and mobile computing in general. The entire e-mail exchange is reprinted below.
- Ryan Tate: If Dylan was 20 today, how would he feel about your company? Would he think the iPad had the faintest thing to do with revolution?Revolutions are about freedom.
- Steve Jobs: Yep, freedom from programs that steal your private data. Freedom from programs that trash your battery. Freedom from porn. Yep, freedom. The times they are a changin’, and some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away. It is.
- Ryan Tate: Was it a technical issuewhen Microsoft was trying to make everyone write to the Win32 API? Were you happy when Adobe went along with that? You have the chance to set the tone for a new platform. For the new phone and tablet platform. The platform of the future! I am disappointed to see it’s the same old revenge power bullshit.
PS And yes I may sound bitter. Because I don’t think it’s a technical issue at all â€” it’s you imposing your morality; about porn, about trade secrets’, about technical purity in the most bizarre sense. Apple itself has used translation layers and intermediate APIs. Objective C and iTunes for Windows are testament to this. Anyone who has spent any time coding knows the power and importance of intermediate APIs.
And I don’t like Apple’s pet police force literally kicking in my co-workers’ doors. But I suppose the courts will have the last say on that, I can’t say I’m worried.
- Steve Jobs: You are so misinformed. No one kicked in any doors. You’re believing a lot of erroneous blogger reports.
Microsoft had (has) every right to enforce whatever rules for their platform they want. If people don’t like it, they can write for another platform, which some did. Or they can buy another platform, which some did.
As for us, we’re just doing what we can to try and make (and preserve) the user experience we envision. You can disagree with us, but our motives are pure.
By the way, what have you done that’s so great? Do you create anything, or just criticize others work and belittle their motivations?
I am among those who don’t believe the closed environment that Apple is trying to popularize. In fact, what Jobs tried to portray as freedom, is actually the total opposite. I want to be able to use my device as I wish. I don’t want to be told that I can’t run an app, as it would gobble up my battery. I don’t want to be treated as a child while using a device I purchased.
Even then, I cannot but admire Jobs candidness. He appeared levelheaded (save for the arrogant jab right at the end) and firm during the argument. It’s clear from the conversation that Jobs is a man with a vision and he firmly believes in that vision. He truly believes that mobile devices will shape our future. In fact, it almost seems as if Jobs thinks that as the leading innovators in the segment it is Apple’s responsibility to be responsible.