The D8 conference is put together by the Wall Street Journal and hosted by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. It is billed as a time for the leaders of the tech world to sit down with a couple of tech journalists to answer questions about the issues they are involved in at the time.
One of the most popular interview subjects is Steve Jobs. His co-interview with Bill Gates a few years ago at the 2007 conferences is still talked about today.
This year Steve went on-on-one, or is that really one-on-two, with Walt and Kara. Here are the clips that All Things D has posted of the interview. Sadly, these are small clips with annoying ads at the very beginning of each one. But, it is the only way D8 is making them available at this time.
Jobs Talks about Surpassing MS and about Flash
Steve Jobs gives us a little insight into the success of Apple. He said that they have been very careful in picking the right horse to rideâ€ as they develop their products. Mixing metaphors, he said that they pick technologies in their Springâ€ meaning that they are just about to take off. As evidence he cites things like axing the 3.5-inch floppy from the iMac. His view is that Flash is like the 3.5-inch floppy waning as a future-proof technology.
The Flash-Apple fight comes down to this. If people want Flash more than they want iPhone OS devices, then they won’t buy them. But, Jobs cites the successful sales of iPads as proof that people are not as interested in Flash. As an iPad and iPhone user, it sure is a pain when I surf to a web site that uses Flash and all I see is the little Flash icon with a message telling me I need to install it. I don’t think most people care about Flash or HTML5. I think they just want the web to work. I sure hope the Flash v. HTML5 competition ends soon.
Foxconn Factory Conditions
Jobs is taking the approach that by the numbers 13 suicide attempts out of thousands of employees is not that bad. But then, Kara made the comment that it was all at one place. This is the crux of the matter with Foxconn. It is not that there are only 13 out of thousands. It is that there are 13 at one single manufacturer in a single place. If there are three in one high school then, it is a problem even if it is a huge high dchool and the percentage is small compared to the city of Las Vegas. Fortunately, it seem Apple is trying to do something about it as we reported, so if true one has to give them credit, but not a pass. It would have been nice if the interviewers had asked for confirmation that Apple is paying workers at Foxconn. However, if Walt and Kara asked real questions, then they would not likely get people like Steve Jobs to come.
Is Apple Working on AT&T Call Quality
The questioner in this video asked about dropped calls. Jobs tries to answer with little technical information. But, the real take away comes after Jobs said that the consistency of their cellular signals is going to get better this year. Swisher asks, “What if it doesn’t [get better]?”
He simple says, “Then it doesn’t.” In other words, he’s not commenting on whether Apple is going to do anything at all about AT&T exclusivity even if their service stinks in places like New York, San Francisco or Houston, where the man from the audience lives. She tried to get him to comment, but he didn’t. It would have been nice if they would have pinned him down on the subject. But again, that’s not what these interviews are all about.
Apple and TV
This was an interesting clip for what was not said. Jobs outlines perfectly the problem with all the different set-top boxes one must have in today’s entertainment world if one wants to enjoy content from the various providers. Google is trying to do something about this. After mocking their attempt, Jobs said that there is no solution right now. One could read into this that Apple is working on it. If rumors are to be believed, they may be working on it and may have an announcement at WWDC next week. Even if they are not, he gets the problem.
The Leaked iPhone and Gizmodo
The only interesting detail in this clip is the fact that the person who found or took the iPhone was turned in by his roommate. Again, I would have tried to pin down Jobs on Apple’s involvement in the investigation and asked what was going to happen as a result of the leak.
According to Jobs there are developers putting code into apps that sends information to a company called Flurry Analytics. The company has published information about unannounced Apple devices without the users’ permission, according to Jobs. This is why there have been restrictions regarding analytics in apps. Jobs is very candid about how it makes them feel. And, I like how Jobs is very stringent on protecting private user data saying that sending that anywhere without permission makes him angry. The questioner said there are good reasons for this kind of info being pumped back to the developer. Jobs responded that that may be possible after they are finished being angry about the situation. But he said, Not today!â€ He also said this would never happen without the permission of the user. This was an entertaining exchange.
Apple and Google
It is interesting that Apple created and then open sourced their browser engine called Webkit, and Google is using it to now compete with Apple via Android and Chrome. The best line is when Jobs was asked if they will remove Google or make other options more prominent and he said, Just because we’re competing with somebody doesn’t mean we have to be rude.â€
Jobs claims that the revelation about the tablet device predating the phone is a secret. But as Sumocat posted at Gottabemobile posted, this is not really new information. He said Wired wrote about it two and half years ago and even before that GBM founder Rob Bushway reported about an Apple tablet prototype.
Jobs also claims that the PC is never going away but will be a niche product with the advent of the iPad or something like it. So why did he require users to hook their iPads up to a PC before they can actually use it initially?
Steve Jobs is an interesting and entertaining figure. He was given a pass for most of this interview. I am not sure if Mossberg and Swisher are just really nice or just don’t like confrontation. It could be that they knowingly do not ask the hard questions in order to keep people like Steve Jobs coming back. But like many others, I sought out the videos wanting to see and hear what would happen.
UPDATE: Now added the full-length video of the interview.