WWDC Closing Chat 13 May 1997

An honest and retrospectively very insightful Q&A with Apple developers at WWDC in 1997, 6 months after Steve Jobs's comeback to Apple. This chat offers a window into Steve Jobs's vision for Apple in these troubled times for the company.

Video Transcript

Note: for some videos, timestamps on the transcripts might be off by a few minutes due to theĀ original videos having been edited for YouTube (typically, sections with music playing may have been removed).

Speaker: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back David Presswall.

David P: Morning. It's Friday already. I don't know how that happened. We have a new record. Mark Johnson and Eric Soldem [?] both wore ties the entire week - that's news. Yeah, I hear it, I hear it, that's the way I feel, I'm with you.

I have to tell you a little story this morning to introduce our special guests and I promised to make it short, so I will. In 1979, I was a sixth grade teacher, and I saw an Apple II and I had to have the Apple II, so I bought one. And took it home and started programming, which turns out was probably the most interesting thing you could do with the computer back in 1979. And, it really changed my life. And about 10 years later, I found myself at Apple Computer, moved out from Boston and took a job out here, and I was out in the first week, doing that sort of relocation thing, and having dinner at a restaurant, my family was still in Boston. And I saw Steve Jobs across, on the other side of the restaurant having dinner. And I thought, I really should just sort of walk over and interrupt his dinner and tell him, you know, thank you and, you know, you've changed my life. And I sorta thought about that for a while. I thought that's really rude, and it probably happens to him all the time, and I don't want to be like that. So I didn't do it. And in a way I'm kind of glad that I hesitated, because it gives me an opportunity to thank him this morning in a public setting among people who probably understand that better than anyone else on the planet. So it's a special pleasure this morning to introduce and thank a person who has changed so many of our lives, Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs (SJ): Thank you very much. Thanks. I really appreciate that. And I really appreciate you're not interrupting me for my dinner with what was hopefully a beautiful woman. I wanted to come and just have a chat this morning. I know you've been getting lots of presentations all week, so I didn't want to do a big fancy presentation. But what I want to do is just chat. And so, we get to spend this 45 minutes or so together, and I want to talk about whatever you want to talk about. I have opinions on most things, so, I figured if you just want to start asking some questions, we'll go to some good places.

Just to set the tone a little bit, I'm actually pretty excited about the way things are going. I think that there are some really good people, who you met this week, running the key areas of Apple now. And I think they're making enormous progress, towards executing what is a pretty clear strategy. And that strategy revolves around one fundamental concept, which is to make some really great products. And I believe very firmly that there is still a very sizable market for some really great products. And there are some giant holes that we can fill, with your help. So I think we are embarked down a course to, after a hiatus of several years, turning this thing around and make some really good and unique products.

We need a lot of software for them. That's where you come in. So I am open to entertaining any of your questions and, hope you have some good ones this morning.

Developer: What about OpenDoc?

SJ: What about OpenDoc? Yeah?

What about it?

It's dead, right?

Developer: What?

SJ: It's dead, right?

Developer: I don't know, there's a lot of people working on it...

SJ: Yeah. Well, you know, let me say something that's this sort of generic. I know some of you spent a lot of time working on stuff that we put a bullet in the head of. I apologize. I feel your pain. But Apple suffered for several years from lousy engineering management, I have to say it. And there were people that were going off in 18 different directions, doing arguably interesting things in each one of them - good engineers, lousy management. And what happened was, you look at the farm that's been created with all these different animals going in different directions. And it doesn't add up. The total is less than the sum of the parts. And so, we had to decide what are the fundamental directions we're going in and what makes sense and what doesn't. And there were a bunch of things that didn't. And microcosmically, they might've made sense, macrocosmically, they made no sense.

And, you know, the hardest thing is, when you think about focusing, right? You think, well, focusing is saying yes? No. Focusing is about saying no. Focussing is about saying no. And you've got to say no, no, no. And when you say no, you piss off people. And they go talk to the San Jose Mercury, and they write a shitty article about you, you know? And it's really a pisser, because you want to be nice, you don't want to tell the San Jose Mercury, the person that's telling you this, you know, was asked to leave or this or that. So you take the lumps. And Apple's been taking their share of lumps for the last six months in a very unfair way. And it's been taking them, you know, like an adult. And I'm proud of that. And there's more to come, I'm sure. There's more to come in. Some of these, I read these articles about some of these people that have left, I know some of these people, they haven't done anything seven years! And you know, they leave and it's like, you know, it's like the company is going to fall apart the next day. And so, you know, I think there'll be stories like that, that come and go, but focus is about saying no. And the result of that focus is going to be some really great products where the total is much greater than the sum of the parts.

And, OpenDoc, I mean, I was for putting a bullet in the head of OpenDoc, A, I didn't think it was great technology. But B, it didn't fit. The rest of the world isn't gonna use OpenDoc. And, I think as a container strategy, there's some stuff in the Java space that's much better. And even the OpenDoc guys were basically trying to rewrite the whole thing in Java anyway, which was a restart. So, it didn't make sense.

Yes, sir.

Developer: Steve, what do we do about the press? I mean, the Wall Street Journal reporters get up in the morning, sell Apple short and then go write stories about us. And it's clear that it's a perception versus reality problem. They don't know shit about operating systems. They don't know anything about tools. They don't know what's going on in the future. They don't know that we're building icebergs and you build them from the bottom up.

SJ: Sure. You know, I'm sure that a lot of you have had this experience where you're changing, you're growing as a person, and people still - people tend to treat you like you were 18 months ago. And it's really frustrating sometimes when you're growing up and you're becoming more capable and you've solved, you know, maybe you had some personality quirks, you've kind of gotten over, whatever it may be. And people still treat you like you were a year to 18 months ago, it can be very frustrating.

Well, it's the same with a company. It's the same with the press. The press is going to have a lag time. And the best thing we can do about the press is to embrace them, do the best we can to educate them about the strategy, but to keep our eye on the prize. And that is turning out some great products, communicating directly with our customers as best we can, getting the community of people that are going to make this stuff successful like yourselves in the loop, so you know everything. And just marching forward, one foot in front of the other. And the press will take care of - it's like the stock price. The press and the stock price will take care of themselves. By the end of this year, it's going to look quite different. And I, you know, when you do, I mean, I'm like an old man now in this industry now, and I've seen the ups and downs. And when you see enough of them, you know, that's going to happen. So when you get up in the morning and the press is selling Apple short, go and buy some shares, that's what I would do. That's what I have done.


Developer: Apple certainly has a tradition of introducing technologies that becom standards. But lately Apple seems more apologetic about being different than it is proud about being different. And as a developer, you start to feel that way. And I just wonder, 13 years after introducing the Macintosh, what happened, what else to do to get balls back?

SJ: Yeah, I gotta tell you, I have a little different point of view on that. I think Apple's had its head in the sand for the last many years. (coughs) Excuse me. There is - there has been so much that's happened in terms of network computing, as an example, that Apple has completely missed out on. The Mac is probably one of the least networked computer communities in the world, in terms of really making use of powerful networks. I mean, like, when NeXT joined Apple, right? NeXT has an extremely sophisticated network infrastructure for doing network computing, compared to Apple. And, you know, even now, we struggle getting the Apple folks to understand it, because the Mac has been, because of all this proprietariness in every way, because of the attitude of arrogance that we can not only invent our own networking, but invent our own this and invent our own that, and invent our own this and... it's in its own little world, and the rest of the world, with so much investments, passed it by. And so we need to bring the Mac up into the modern world in many areas, like network computing, and to do that because we weren't first, because we didn't set the standards and they've already been cast in stone, we're going to have to use them. So I think the wisdom here is not to say that we've got to invent everything ourselves. The wisdom here is to know what 10% or 20% or 30% probably at most of the stuff we have to do invent, and what we should go use that exists?

We didn't invent PostScript, didn't we? We got the LaserWriter out of it. And we were the first out there with the LaserWriter. So, I think, this whole notion of being so proprietary in every facet of what we do, has really hurt us. And again, the management and the vision that we had encouraged that. Encouraged people to go, you know, reinvent the wheel out there our own way. And yeah, it might be 10% better, but usually it ended up being about 50% worse, because there's a lot of smart people that don't work at Apple too.

Developer: Well, the only other thing I'd like to add is there, I think it's important that Apple be perceived as different, because if Apple just says, we're just like everybody else but better, than that really doesn't say anything at all.

SJ: Yeah, no, I don't think it's good that Apple is perceived as different. I think it's important that Apple is perceived as much better. And if that, if being different is essential to doing that, then we have to do that. But if we could be much better without being different, that'd be fine with me. I want to be much better. I don't care about being different. We'll have to be different in some ways to be much better. But that's the prize, wouldn't you agree?

Developer: I would agree, but I think Apple needs to articulate those differences as well. And I guess the goal is to be better, but, for the general public, it has to be a whole lot better before it's noticed and then it has to be in some ways different.

SJ: It has to be a whole lot better.


Developer: Good morning. You said in your opening ground rules, that there were lots of holes, holes that Apple couldn't necessarily do themselves without this community. As a visionary, do you think you could spend a couple of minutes either in writing or talking about those holes?

SJ: Sure. Um.

Much of the great leverage of using computers these days is using them, not just for computationally intensive tasks, but using them as a window into communication-intensive tasks, as you know. And never have I seen something more powerful than this computation combined with this network technology that we now have. So not only networks throughout an organization, but of course, the wide area networks through the internet. And I just want to focus on, something that's very close to my heart, which is living in a high-speed network world, to get your job done every day.

Now, how many of you manage your own storage on your computers? How many of you back up your computers as an example? How many of you had a crash in the last, you know, three years? Four years? Right. Okay.

Let me describe the world I live in. About eight years ago, we had high speed networking, connected to our now obsolete NeXT hardware, running NeXTSTEP at the time. And, because we were using NFS, we were able to take all of our personal data, our home directories we called them, off of our local machines, and put them on a server. And the software made that completely transparent. And because the server had a lot of RAM on it, in some cases, it was actually faster to get stuff from the server than it was to get stuff off your local hard disk, because in some cases it will be cashed in the RAM of the server that was in popular use.

But what was really remarkable was that the organization could hire a professional person to back up that server every night, and could afford to spend a little bit more on that server, so maybe it had redundant disc drives, redundant power supplies.

And you know, in the last seven years, you know how many times I have lost any personal data?


Do you know, many times I backed up my computer?


I have computers at Apple, at NeXT, at Pixar, and at home. I walk up to any of them and log in as myself, it goes over the network, finds my home directory on the server, and it just is - I've got my stuff, wherever I am. Wherever I am. And none of that is on a local hard disk.

Now what's really interesting to me is that gigabit Ethernet is coming. With gigabit Ethernet, it is faster in every case to talk to the server than it is my local hard disk. And one of the things I'm really excited about is to look at that personal computer, and take out every moving part except the keyboard and the mouse. I don't need a hard disk in my computer if I can get to the server faster. See, because I look at that network connection as NFS dial tone.

I get internet dial tone and NFS dial tone over that wire. And I don't care how it's done. I don't care what box is at the other end. We have even used an (unintelligble) at NeXT, right? Big one. Spent half a million bucks on it. It was worth it. We did a lot of software development. Nobody ever lost anything. Never had to worry about that stuff. But you could have smaller ones. But managing a network like this is a pain in the butt. Setting it up, getting it all to work is really complicated.

One of my hopes is that Apple can do for this new type of network - not so new, but for the average person it's new - with gigabit Ethernet technologies, and some of the new server stuff that's coming down the pipe, and some thin - thinner hardware clients, hardware clients that are thinner, not necessarily software, that Apple could make that as plug and play for mere mortals as it made the user experience over a decade ago. That's one of the things where I think there's a giant hole. And I can't communicate to you how awesome this is unless you use it. And what you would decide, within a, you know, a day or two, is that carrying around these non-connected computers or computers with tons of state in them, tons of data and state in them, is Byzantine by comparison.

So there's about three or four things like that, where I think there is enormous opportunity. And where I think, you know, a lot of times both in people and in organizations, your greatest strength is also - can be your greatest weakness, or your greatest weakness can be your greatest strength. Apple has been highlighted as having an incredibly great weakness of being totally vertically integrated. But it doesn't make its own semiconductors, but it makes the hardware, it makes the software, it controls the user experience, it does the marketing and distribute - it does the marketing.

And - many people are constantly calling for Apple to get out of the hardware business. Because of that weakness that they perceive. I don't agree with that. I perceive it as a potential weakness if it's not managed right, I also perceive it as Apple's greatest strength if managed right. Let me give an example, of plug and play. To get anything done in the PC industry seems to take years. Plug and play was an initiative that was launched five years ago. Now it took two years to get it all together between Microsoft and Compaq and then Intel followed them, finally got Intel into the fold, and here we are five years later, and still, it doesn't really work. Every little thing, you can imagine how long it will take them to make a thin client standard, and servers that plug and play with thin clients easily. I mean, we're into like, you know, the third millennium. So the fact that Apple controls the product design from end to end, hardware, software, gives Apple an incredibly unique opportunity. It's the only company in the industry that does that. An incredible unique opportunity to tackle some of these really gnarly, complex problems, that could have enormous potential advantage in the market, if we could solve them. And I think solve them literally a half a decade to a decade sooner than, you know, the 93-headed monster out there in the Wintel space. Now they have their advantages too, don't get me wrong. But I think one of our great advantages is that we can really have the vision that spans all the disciplines. We control the disciplines to actually implement a vision much faster, if we can get ourselves all going in a few directions.

Developer: That really sounded great. And as you were talking about it, I was sort of getting caught up in it and then it occurred to me, that's a really great vision for Apple, but then I asked about holes for developers?

SJ: Uh huh. I'll give you a simple one. I'll give you tons of simple ones. Microsoft hasn't committed to port their suite of applications yet, have they? To Rhapsody? What are you waiting for? You know?

Adobe? Do you know how many copies of Photoshop Adobe ships every month? Bazillions! That's the foundation of Adobe, is Photoshop. Adobe has not, to my knowledge, committed to port Photoshop to Rhapsody yet. What are you waiting for? This is huge. This is the opportunity to do something, the next generation of apps.

Look, there was a company called Lighthouse. It was actually bought by Sun about six months ago. They were the best NeXTSTEP developer. They had 18 developers, okay? They have by far and away, the best presentation application I've ever seen in my life called Concurrence. I still use it today. They had, you know, they had a suite of five different apps, and each one was best of breed. The best spreadsheet I've ever used in my life called Quantrix, that was modeled on Improv.

How many people have used Improv here? Okay. Improv is the best spreadsheet in the planet because it incorporates a whole new way of thinking about spreadsheets, about - for people like me, that want to model things. It's phenomenally powerful. And Lotus couldn't figure out, to compete with themselves with 123, so they gave it up. And Lighthouse copied it. 18 developers, five apps, because of the power of this development environment. What Apple is going to be putting in your hands is a system that you can build apps for, five to ten times faster than anything out there, period. And you can choose to do one of two things or somewhere in the middle with this power.

One, you can make existing complexity apps, five to ten times faster. Which means that three people really can go into a garage on day one with a concept, and come out in the market with a product, six to nine months later. Now, I haven't seen that in our industry in 10, 12 years. And that's very, very, very exciting to me.

And some people say, well, it will only run on a Macintosh, or it'll only run on Rhapsody selling on Intel, maybe, and selling on a Macintosh? Jesus, it's only a single digit percent of the market. Well, Jesus, it's only three plus million copies a year. I wouldn't mind selling into that market. It's huge. Especially if you're a 3 person, 10 person, 18 person software development company. Lighthouse was making a good living selling to the NeXTSTEP market, give me a break! You know?

So, I think there's a huge market out there. And I think there's still tremendous loyalty towards Apple, by some of these customers. I mean, if Adobe doesn't want to write the next generation Photoshop on Rhapsody, some of you should! You know, maybe they'll buy you, who knows? But the publishing market out there would love to see the next generation thing, but even more so, you know who would love it even more than them? Apple! Right?

You walk in here and say, I've got something that's five times better than Photoshop for these publishing people. And if enough of the publishing people agree to where you can convince Apple that that's really the case, you know how much Apple spends on marketing each year? They should spend some of it on these apps, and telling the world about them. So if you come up with something really great, I think it's going to get out there. And I think that, this is a pretty unique opportunity.

I want to get back to the last point I was making. One of the other things you can do with these powerful tools, in addition to building a current complexity app, 5-10 times faster, is build an app you couldn't build on any platform. And that to me is the most exciting, is to build an app you could not build on any other platform. Because it's all about managing complexity, right? You're developers, you know that. It's all about managing complexity. It's like scaffolding, right? You erect some scaffolding. And if you keep going up and up and up, eventually the scaffolding collapses of its own weight, right? That's what building software is. It's how much scaffolding can you erect before the whole thing collapses of its own weight. Doesn't matter how many people you have working on it. Doesn't matter if you're Microsoft with 300, 400 people, 500 people on the team, it will collapse under its own weight.

You've read the mythical man month, right? Basic premise of this is, a software development project gets to a certain size, where if you add one more person, the amount of energy to communicate with that person is actually greater than their net contribution to the project, so it slows down. So you have local maximum, and then it comes down. We all know that about software. It's about managing complexity. These tools allow you to not have to worry about 90% of the stuff you've worried about, so that you can erect your five stories of scaffolding, but starting at story number 23, instead of starting at story number 6, you can get a lot higher.


Developer: You mentioned the stocks and how we can really look forward to that toward the end of the year. I'm wondering, can you make any comment whatsoever on Larry Ellison?

SJ: There's lots of comments one could make about Larry Ellison.

I've never dated Larry, so that excludes a bunch of them.

No, actually, Larry is - actually, Larry is my best friend. And, it put me in a slightly awkward situation. And, I have certainly encouraged him, you know, to not seek to take control of Apple, because I think Apple is on a good course right now, and I think Larry's on an awesome course.

I mean, one of the things I told him was, look, if you took a poll in Silicon Valley of what company you'd like to run, you know, Oracle would be at the top of many people's lists. Second largest software company in the world, one of the most dynamic companies on the planet. And Larry built it from scratch, and he's got one of the greatest jobs in the world. So I think, I think Larry is, as you know, he's made this public pronouncement that he's going to stick to running Oracle. So I wouldn't worry about that. And I think what we need to worry about is just, making some great products and getting some great applications on them, and telling our customers about both of those things.

Yes, sir. Oh, I'm sorry, let's go to the back, sir.

Developer: A few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal announced the profit figures for Microsoft. And they also said that in this industry, there's - the only companies really doing well are Intel, Microsoft, and perhaps Compaq. Could you comment on the possibility of competing against monopolies that the Justice Department seems to, for some strange reason, to avoid prosecuting for antitrust?

SJ: You know, one of the things I feel very strongly about is that - well, I'll go back. The day we started Apple Computer, IBM was far more powerful in the computer industry than Microsoft and Intel are today, the day we started Apple. Because they not only controlled the technologies, they controlled the customer. They had direct contact with the customer. And so we should have just given up. I mean, and Woz was, you know I should've just nudged Woz, Hey, forget it. We don't have a chance. But, we were too stupid to know that. We hadn't gone to business school. We didn't read the wall - we didn't know what the Wall Street Journal was. I'd never seen a Wall Street Journal. And that served us well.

So, what can I say? I think every good product that I've ever seen in this industry, and pretty much anywhere, is because a group of people care deeply about making - about, about making something wonderful that they and their friends wanted, you know? They want to use it themselves. And that's how the Apple I came about, that's how the Apple II came about, that's how the Macintosh came about. That's almost everything I know that's good has come about. It didn't come about because people were trembling in the corner, worried about some big companies stomping on it, because it was a big company made the product that was right, then most of these things wouldn't have happened. If we could have went up, Woz and I could have went out and plunked down, you know, 2000 bucks and bought an Apple II, why would we have built one? We weren't trying to start a company, we were trying to get a computer.

So I'll tell you right now, give you an example. I get about 200 email messages a day, sans all of the, you know, get rich quick ones from the internet. And, I've been in that mode now for, you know, five, six, seven years. And, I've used about every - and email to me, is the most important app I use. And I've used every email system I know of out there. And I can tell you that the one on NeXTSTEP or Rhapsody is literally, you know, almost an order of magnitude better, more productive, than anything else I know of. I mean, I walk around Apple, and they're using Eudora... They're using the worst mail system in the world at Apple. And I know we could, we could like improve the productivity inside Apple 30% if we just give them a good email system. And so it's amazing to me that something as obvious as email is so broken out there. Netscape's is awful, I mean, everybody's is awful. And if something as obvious as email is so broken. Don't get me.... And the other one I mentioned before, spreadsheets. If you use Improv or Quantrix for a week, you would go, how come this hasn't completely replaced Excel for 75% of the people out there? Yeah, there's 25% that will still want Excel, for good reasons. But for 75% of the people, why hasn't this replaced it? And there are no answers to these questions. Except, let's go do it! And, that's my attitude about this thing.

The other thing I feel very, very, very strongly is, it's incredibly stupid for Apple to get in a position where for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. That's really dumb. I mean, I don't expect the federal government to break up Microsoft. For a lot of reasons, the least of which is, the federal government's a monopoly, I mean, they're buddies! So, I just - Microsoft's a fact of life. They're like the air we breathe, you know?

So - probably the better analogy is like bottled water, cause you do have to buy it, but... But nonetheless, Apple can win without having to have Microsoft lose. I firmly believe that. And hopefully, Microsoft will, increasingly over time, realize that that is the case, and that Apple represents quite a profitable part of their business. And they seem to be coming around to that point of view. So, and there's been some alliances announced between Microsoft and Apple, and, you know... So I think that, I really, really strongly feel that setting Microsoft up as Satan and having a Holy War against Microsoft would be exactly the wrong thing for Apple to do. There's so many opportunities out there where Apple can really have tremendous advantage and not have to go head to head with Microsoft, but really go right to the customers.

Yes. Back and middle.

Developer: I was hoping that you would venture an opinion this morning on how you see the future evolution of the Macintosh compatible model.

SJ: I think the Macintosh compatible... FIrst of all, let me state my opinion on this. It's just my personal opinion. I believe Apple should license everything, with a few exceptions, that I'll go into a minute. But I think that Apple should get a fair price for it. And I think the clone set up, the way it was set up, was done really poorly, you know, three, four years ago. For one thing, Apple licenses the hardware designs, and forces the clone makers to use them. That's stupid. Let the clone makers do their own hardware design, let them do whatever hardware they want. Right? Don't tie their hands. But then again, don't give away - I mean, if they want to OEM Apple hardware and pay extra for that, if they want to use Apple hardware, fine. But if they don't, let them design their own.

And on the software, Apple should get a fair price based on volume. As an example, if I'm a clone maker, as you know, some of the low-end Macintoshes, whether they're compatibles or not, probably don't make much money. Matter of fact, you could even imagine they might lose money, just to get people into the fold. And to offset those kinds of low-margin products, you need some higher-margin products at the high end. So if you're a clone maker, you think, well, I think I'll give Apple 10 bucks for the software, and I'll go after the $5,000 Mac market. Well, that would be really stupid for Apple to do. Because this clone maker is just the leech. They're living off the fact that Apple's got this business model to loot, you know, to not make much money at some levels and try to eat some back at the high level. And by just going after the high level and paying 10 bucks for the software, that wouldn't be fair.

So you want people to pay more money, if they're in lower volume, because the only way they can get the higher volume is to make some of those medium and low priced clones too, and make less margin. And if they're doing that, then they ought to get a lower price across their whole range of products. So I've been advocating to eliminate the licensing of the hardware and let the clone makers do whatever they want. And B, to raise the price or the royalty of the software to a reasonable level and make it a scale based on volume. And I think that's the right thing to do. And some of the clone makers have been going ballistic over it. It's incredibly stupid. I mean, I don't think they ought to pay more for Rhapsody as an example than they do for, you know, other modern operating systems to license, but that's not 10 or 20 or 30 bucks. So, and I think that's where we'll end up and I think everybody will be fine. And I think the clone makers will have a much easier time and they won't have to deal with dealing with Apple's hardware and maybe they'll make some better hardware. Maybe it makes them make worse hardware, and the customers will decide. And I'm all for it.

I just think Apple ought to get a little bit of value out of their software and not just have the clone makers picking off their high margin products and paying 10 bucks a copy. If they want to pick off the high margin products and pay a fair price for the software, let them have at it. So that's how I feel about that, but I'm not making the decision.


Developer: Even so, I'm glad you're here, thanks.

SJ: What's that?

Developer: That you're not - even if you're not making decisions, thank you for being here.

SJ: Oh, sure.

Developer: You mentioned managing complexity. There's a lot of people out there who are either not using computers or think of computers as something they have to babysit, that they work for their computers. How can we get computers to where they work for people instead?

SJ: I don't really know. I mean, I'm not sure what you mean. I don't feel I work for my computer. I feel it's a little invasive. I mean, I have a T1 in my house and I, you sort of get in the habit of answering your email, you know, within a few seconds after it arrives, so it can be invasive on a family life.

Developer: Yeah. I just think it can serve us more, and God, and do things for us without us having to sort of watch, and, you know. We have this whole system of, I click once, the computer does one thing, I click another thing, the computer does another thing. And it never goes out and works for me for 15 or 20 minutes. I mean, well compiling, but...

SJ: Um.

I guess my point of view is a little different on that. My point of view is that I am routinely running 10 to 15 applications at once on my computer. They are all routinely talking to each other in a very wonderful way that I don't have to pay much attention to, and I can move things between them very easily. And I'm connected in an extremely high speed, easy, transparent, productive way with my colleagues. It's so much better than anything I see in the Windows or the Mac world today, that I will be happy if, over the next 12 to 24 months, as you guys roll out your apps, that we can just bring this to everybody.

Developer: Cool.

SJ: Secondly, I know there's at least 20 more apps that I'd love to be using that haven't been written yet. And if we can make those apps really easy to write, and if we can keep the Mac market far less expensive to market into than the Wintel market, so we can get them to market, then we can all get a chance to use those great apps that you guys are gonna write.

So my view is that for the next several years, like three, four years, our job is not to reinvent the world, it is to take something that we know exists already, but hardly anybody's got it, and get it out to them. You know, and to be honest, it's a lot like Xerox PARC. I mean, Xerox PARC had some of the things that were in a Macintosh, just nobody else had them. Well, there's, you know, there's thousands of people out there that use this now, but there aren't millions. And if we can get that out there, I think it's going to change a lot. And fortunately, a lot of it is tried and true and been polished and refined and it's pretty bulletproof. So we're not going to have to go through any embarrassing early moments, I hope.

Developer: That would be cool. But you mentioned tools, if I may, the... There is, I noticed, the great, wonderful NeXTSTEP demo, where we have a visual way of building the interface. That's great. And then all of a sudden, we're back into text, to do a little coding, to add a few things. And there is already something that visually programs called Prograph. And it's probably a lost cause, but something like that has got to get here one day. And you know what, in the meantime, we'll go ahead and I'll do NeXTSTEP, I'll do it, I'll do it.

SJ: Here's the deal.

Developer: Okay.

SJ: The way you get programmer productivity is not by increasing the lines of code per program or per day. That doesn't work. The way you get programmer productivity is by eliminating lines of code you have to write, right? The line of code that's the fastest to write, that never breaks, that doesn't need maintenance, is the line you never had to write, right? So, what the goal here is, to eliminate 80% of the code that you have to write for your app. That's the goal.

Developer: Okay.

SJ: It's not to - and so, along the way, if we can provide wysi this and wysi that and visual this and visual that, well, that's fine. But the high order bit is to eliminate 80% of the code. When you drag a line in Interface Builder, you're eliminating code of one form.

But I've seen a lot of visual pro - but that only goes so far. Maybe we can go further. I've seen a lot of demos of things that try to take it all the way back into the algorithmic part of the code base. And they - none of them have ever been any good. If there are any good ones out there, show them to Avie, and he'll show them to me. I'd love to see them.

Developer: Okay.

SJ: Sir.

Developer: Yeah, you mentioned how good it is that Apple controls the hardware or at the very least that Apple controls something like CHRP, which is the hardware spec. And indeed, I hear really good things about it. I hear that Apple, I hear that CHRP really has plus speeds, I heard they have really improved the IO subsystem. And I think, the talk has actually touched some of the people working on it. And on the cloning side, I heard that CHRP is done, they have already finished the hardware, they're ready to go into production. I've heard some people here at Apple working on the software side and they said, well, that software side is actually done too. It's all waiting on somewhere, negotiations going on with the cloners. And then there's rumors going on that the reason that's cut up in negotiations is because Apple is concerned that performance of CHRP is good enough that it's going to cannibalize some of their own markets. And it seems to me as a conflict of interest here between Apple's own hardware and some of the cloning hardware where...

SJ: I don't believe that's true at all. I mean, the person running hardware to Apple, I have known for decades, his name is Jon Rubinstein. I trust him with my life. He's the best hardware leader I have ever seen in my life. He's really, really, really good. He comes from very high performance systems. And what his expertise is, is putting a lot of those high-performance systems in silicon, so they're really cheap. Right? And he's really good at that. And he's really good at leading teams of very talented engineering managers and engineers. And what he wants to do is build some kick ass stuff, because the Mac hardware is not at the top of the food chain, let's just say. And we want to get it there. And we are going to get it there. So if there was something ready to go, that was really good, I promise you, Jon would be shipping it yesterday. Okay?

And in terms of the clone makers, I know that what Jon is pushing for very strongly, which I support a hundred percent, is to tell the clone makers they can build their own hardware. That's the easiest thing to do. Don't be limited by what Apple does or does not release, build your own! There's a billion people out there building hardware, look at the PC clone business, they all build their own hardware. They could have people build it for them. They could have people design it for them. So release them out of the bondage that they can only use Apple hardware. Then they can do whatever they want that. As a matter of fact, they could build Rhapsody boxes with Intel processors in them, if they wanted to. They'd do whatever they wanted to. And that's where I think - that's where I'm hoping Apple goes.

Developer: So you don't see any conflict of interest there between Apple's hardware, where a lot of Apple makes its money, and...

SJ: I can tell you - No, I don't. All I can tell you is, I know this a hundred percent to be true, if Apple had a hot product, it would be shipping it tomorrow. Okay. And they have shipped a few hot products recently. And if there were any more before when the next batch is coming out, they'd be shipping them instantly. Apple's about having hot products. And so nothing is being held up that's any good, I guarantee you that.


Developer: Okay, so Apple's turned it around. We've got Gil, we've got you, we've got G3, we've got Rhapsody, we've got Newton 2000. Great. Now, when are we going to see some real kick-ass TV commercials to change the mindset?

SJ: Yeah. Let me go through your preamble a bit.

I personally don't think Apple's completely turned it around. I mean, I think it's turning it around and, I wouldn't put it in the past tense. I think it's like this right now. And I feel very confident in the team that's managing the pieces of Apple right now. I think they're doing a really good job. And the strategy I think is pretty doggone good. So I feel very good about that. And I think it's turning around, and I think you're going to see more and more signs of that.

I'll give you my own opinion on this, because marketing is a subjective thing, not a science. There's a lot of art to it. And my personal belief is that the medium really does communicate a lot about the message. In some cases, the medium overrides the message. And I personally believe that Apple should not be on television at all this year. It's the wrong place to be for Apple. Because what it means is - just a sec - what it means is, is that Apple is trying to spend a lot of money to convince you that everything's okay. And what I think Apple ought to be doing is, taking a fraction of that money, and putting it in print. And I don't mean 8-page Wall Street Journal ads. Because, to me again, an 8-page Wall Street Journal ad is saying, I'm going to spend my wad to show you that I'm back. And what Apple needs now is not spending a million dollars to tell people it's back. It needs for the journalists to be saying Apple's back, on page one, because if on page 7, on page 7 to 14, Apple is spending a million dollars saying we're back, but on page 1, a journalist writes an article saying they're in the tank, who are you going to believe? As a matter of fact, that million bucks on page 7 to 14 is going to reinforce the message on page 1, they've got to buy me!

Developer: Meanwhile, there's TV commercials that are influencing the salesman at CircuitCity and Prize, and they're the ones who are badmouthing us.

SJ: You know, I don't buy it at all. I don't buy it at all. I don't think that's true. I think that more than anything right now, PR is influencing purchase consideration in this category, not advertising.

So, I'm in the minority. But, I have had a certain degree of experience in this matter. And I believe strongly that Apple really needs to talk about its great products and its great customers and its great applications, and the best way for it to do that is in print, in a very straightforward way.

And I also believe very strongly that the high order bit of any marketing campaign is profitability. We spend a boatload of money in any quarter marketing ourselves, and if we lose money in that quarter, any positive momentum that we've created is completely erased. So profitability to me is the high order bit of marketing for Apple at this point in time.

And, I think, you know, we're approaching that and I think we should just use every ounce of financial resources to get there, and I think that will be very strong and very loudly heard. I think we should focus on PR and I think we should focus on print advertising, stay out of television this year, but, I don't make these decisions. So that's my recommendation that I've given Apple.

Developer: Use your clout to make sure that when the TV commercials are done and you had more money, they're good ones.

SJ: Thanks. Yes.

Developer: Mr. Jobs, you're a bright and influential man.

SJ: Here it comes.

Developer: Sad and clear that on several accounts you've discussed, you don't know what you're talking about. I would like, for example, for you to express in clear terms, how, say Java, in any of its incarnations, addresses the idea to somebody of an OpenDoc. And when you're finished with that, perhaps you could tell us what you personally have been doing for the last seven years.

SJ: Uh.

You know, you can please some of the people, some of the time, but...

One of the hardest things, when you're trying to affect change, is that, people like this gentleman, are right, in some areas. I'm sure that there are some things OpenDoc does, probably even more, than I'm not familiar with, that nothing else out there does. And I'm sure that you can make some demos, maybe a small commercial app, that demonstrates those things. The hardest thing is, what - how does that fit in to a cohesive, larger vision, that's going to allow you to sell, $8 billion, $10 billion a product a year? And, one of the things I've always found is, that you've got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can't start with the technology and try to figure out where are you going to try to sell it? And I've made this mistake probably more than anybody else in this room. And I've got the scar tissue to prove it. And I know that it's the case.

And as we have tried to come up with a strategy, and a vision for Apple, it started with what incredible benefits can we give to the customer? Where can we take the customer? Not - not starting with, let's sit down with the engineers and figure out what awesome technology we have and then how are we going to market that?

And I think that's the right path to take.

I remember with the LaserWriter, we built the world's first small laser printers, you know. And there was awesome technology in that box. We had the first Canon laser printing, cheap laser printing engine in the world, in the United States here, at Apple. We had a very wonderful printer controller that we designed. We had Adobe's PostScript software in there, we had AppleTalk in there, just awesome technology in the box. And I remember, seeing the first printout come out of it, and just picking it up, and looking at it and saying, you know, we can sell this. Because you don't have to know anything about what's in that box. All we have to do is hold this up and go, do you want this? And if you can remember back to 1984, before laser printers, it was pretty startling to see that. People went, wow, yes! And that's where Apple's got to get back to.

And, you know, I'm sorry that OpenDoc's a casualty along the way. And I readily admit there are many things in life that I don't have the faintest idea what I'm talking about. So I apologize for that too. But there's a whole lot of people working super, super hard right now at Apple, you know, Avie, Jon, Guerrino, Fred, I mean the whole team is working, burning the midnight oil, trying to... And people, you know, hundreds of people below them, to execute on some of these things and they're doing their best. And I think that's what we need to do.

And some mistakes will be made by the way, some mistakes will be made along the way. That's good. Because at least some decisions are being made along the way. And we'll find the mistakes, we'll fix them. And I think what we need to do is support that team. Going through this very important stage as they work their butts off, they're all getting calls, being offered three times as much money to go do this or that, the Valley's hot, none of them are leaving. And I think we need to support them, and see them through this, and write some damn good applications, to support Apple out in the market. That's my own point of view. Mistakes will be made, some people will be pissed off, some people will not know what they're talking about, but it's, I think it is so much better than where things were not very long ago. And I think we're going to get there.

So I think we've got time for just a few more questions. So why don't we take three more questions and, we'll get on our way today.

In the back. Yes.

Developer: I work for a large corporation that is seriously reconsidering its development targeting for the Macintosh. They sent me out here on last year's WWDC and I came back with a lot of new technology and I really impressed them with, wow, we've got Gil on board now, we've got a next generation OS we're looking forward, moving forward with. And, um, I've lost a bit of credibility with that. And, now on Monday morning, I got to go back to them and say, now, now, we really mean it this time. We've got great new technology. And, I really do believe in the new strategy. If you were me, if you were a software development, like a developer like me, who works for a Fortune 500 corporation, what would you tell my people to convince them to stay with the Macintosh?

SJ: Good question. Um, let me ask you a few questions. Do you use, primarily off the shelf applications or do you roll some of your own apps?

Developer: It depends on what items you're talking about. Most of the, I use CodeWarrior, and I've used Photoshop and some of the word processing things. I don't - the things I write are generally for my company or things that I've written for myself, mostly games.

SJ: What I'm saying is, you're trying to convince your company to stick with Macintoshes. Does your company use those Macintoshes to deploy custom apps that you write for your company? Or does your company use those Macintoshes to deploy primarily shrink-wrapped apps?

Developer: Mostly it's support software for hardware that they sell that is targeted for both PCs and Macs.

SJ: Huh-huh. Did they write that software themselves?

Developer: Yes, they do.

SJ: Okay. Well, one of the things you could say is, if they could write that software 5 to 10 times faster, and deploy it on Macs with Rhapsody, and on Intel on PCs, would that be of interest to them?

Developer: I think it would.

SJ: I would throw that into the mix of arguments I would use.

And I guess the other thing I would do is, Guerrino De Luca. Without doing Guerrino's job here, cause he's much better at it than me. De Luca's here, he runs marketing for Apple, right? Where's Guerrino? Where is he? He's backstage. Storm the stage after I get off, go find this guy, and he's actually got a white paper on this that you should get your hands on.

Developer: Thank you.

SJ: Okay. Yes. Yes.

Developer: A while ago, Apple had a vision of a user interface that meant like this last guy, when you were here last, man, I wouldn't have to do work, my machine would do it for me, using agent software, Knowledge Navigator, intelligent agents. Are we going to see the light of that sometime soon, because I'm signed up for that.

SJ: You know, um...

I'm trying to think of a metaphor to use, and one's not coming to me.

It turns out there's far - there is so much head room to make the networked world we live in, so much more productive, so much easier, and so much more fun than it is now, that we know how to do - it's not research. We know how to do this. That to better our future right now, on the results of research, into the Asian world, where you can - you can pick up all sorts of magazines, and read people spouting off about it, but you can't go see it actually, you know, there's no, there's nothing tangible about it. It's research at this moment. It's a better future to bet our next five years on research versus something that is so tangible that we know, that we can see, that we can touch - would be foolish. And so, the core of our strategy is to take advantage of the dramatic headroom to make this connected world so much more productive for the rest of us, rather than just an individual computer, which was the original vision of the Mac. To take that next big leap and make that connected world so much more productive. That's what we're doing. Not that we're not working on agents, there's people working on agents in the back, but the core of the strategy is focused on what I just said.

And I think you're right. I think at some point they're going to start doing more for us in ways we can't imagine. But, even before we get to that, we can make life five times better, even without that research being successful.

Developer: Thank you.

SJ: Yeah. Yes.

Developer: One quick question. What do you think Apple should do with Newton?

SJ: You had to ask that.

Um. Uh.

I'm in the minority. And what I think doesn't really matter about this. Uh.

I think that most companies can't be successful with one staff of system software. Rarely can they manage two. And we, I believe, are gonna succeed at managing two during the next several years, with Mac OS and Rhapsody, which is a super set of that.

I cannot imagine being successful trying to manage three. So, I have a, sort of a law of physics disconnect with trying to do that. I just don't see how it can be done. And I don't think that has anything to do with how good or bad Newton is, or whether we should be making $800 products, or $500 products, which I think we should. It has to do with, I don't see how you manage three software stacks. And, so that's what I think.

Developer: Do you actually have a Newton? Have you used it?

SJ: I tried a Newton. I bought one, I thought it was a - one of the early ones - that was a piece of junk. I threw it away. I bought one of the Motorola Envoys, the wireless thing, I thought it was a piece of junk after using it for three months, and threw it away. I hear the new ones are a lot better. I haven't tried one, I've sort of been...

What's that?

Developer: Try one.

SJ: Yeah, I will, but see, here's my problem. My problem is, to me, the high order bit is connectivity, right? The high order bit is being in touch, connected to a network. That's why I bought the Envoy, had a cellular modem in it. And, I don't think the world's about keeping my life on this little thing, and IR-ing into my computer when I get back to my base station. I think that, to me, what I want, is this little thing I carry around with me, it's got a keyboard on it, because if you do email, you need a keyboard. Until you perfect speech to - speech recognition, you need a keyboard. You don't sit there and write stuff, you need your keyboard. And you need to be connected to the net. So if somebody would just make a little thing where you're connected to the net at all times, and you've got a little keyboard like an eMate, with a modem in it, God I'd love to buy one. But I don't see one of those out there. And I don't care what OS it has in it. So I, you know, I don't want a little scribble thing. But that's just me. That's just me.

So, one last question, sir.

Developer: This is going back to PR and marketing. You had mentioned that a little bit earlier. First off, would you be interested in taking a slightly more, evangelistic role within the company? Because, now, yes you are a single person, you are in the minority, so to speak. But, when you talk, it does have a lot of effect because basically, you know, a stone in the pond produces a lot of ripples.

The second thing that ties along with that is, on the marketing side, going to print, that makes sense too, and going to get the writers to write stories and to back things up will have a very positive effect and that's correct. But the marketing side of the house seems to not be in sync with everything else. And in particular, certain marketing agencies. What would it take for Apple to work with a marketing agency that has a vested interest in making things successful? Personally speaking, I don't feel that the present marketing organization, and this is not talking about Guerrino. This is more of the marketing, the other marketing agencies that work with Apple. I don't think they have Apple's best interest at heart. Because they're not hungry. They have no drive. They have no reason to saying, Hey, we've gotta make this thing fly because if we don't, we die along with them.

SJ: Right. Well let me answer both those questions in reverse order. I think Apple needs to be working with really great agencies. I don't care if they're hungry or if they're not, I don't care if they're West Coast or East Coast, they just need to be great. Cause the results need to be great. Their customers aren't gonna measure us on how hard people tried or how hungry they were. They're gonna measure us on what they see. So, then you'd be great. And I agree with you. I don't think a hundred percent of the people Apple's working with are great. And I think the person running marketing Guerrino De Luca is really good, and he knows that, and he is working through those things, you know, in a priority list. And he's starting with the most important ones and working his way down. So, I think your point of view is absolutely shared and it will take a few more months to see some of those things happen. And probably a few more months after that to get results, because there are more important things that need to be done, and are being done.

In terms of my role. When Apple bought NeXT, he asked me to be an advisor to him, and I agreed to do that, until he told me to go away or I decided he wasn't listening to me. And neither of those has occurred. And I'm very grateful for the opportunity, and like working with him on strategic issues. The area where I really concentrated my energy, over the last several months has been to help Gil rearchitect the organization of the company and to - and his senior lieutenants.

And so, the company went from being a very divisionally oriented company, with a zillion P&L centers, and it was very complicated, to a very simple organization now. Very functionally organized. Avie Tevanian came in and he's running all of software now. And I think Avie's really first rate. I think he's one of the best software executives on the planet. I think he's doing a really good job. Jon Rubinstein came in, to run hardware, and I feel exactly, I talked a little bit about Jon earlier, he is tops. Guerrino De Luca is running marketing, he previously ran Claris, and I think he's doing a very fine job. Fred Anderson, the CFO is top notch. And the rest of the team as well, manufacturing, et cetera, is very, very good.

So I feel like the team that can execute Gil's plan is pretty strong, and they're working well together as a team, and to me, that's the high-order bit. It's not going around giving speeches and things like that. Because Apple's problem has been not a lack of air volume coming out of Apple. It's been a lack of execution. It's been a lack of management. It's just the basic stuff. And I think, the basics are getting put in place, and to a large extent, they're already put in place. And that's filtering down through the organization. And I think that you're gonna, you know, results don't happen overnight. But I think they are starting to happen already. Some of the newer products I think are good. And I think, you know, by the end of this year,it's going to be much clearer that things are going like this.

So my suggestion to you is, don't get freaked out by Microsoft any more than we were freaked out by IBM when we started Apple. Even though you may not fully see it, there has been a sea change at Apple in the management of the company. And there are some very strong people running a functional organization. I think that I have a lot of confidence in the senior team of the company to execute, and I think they're going to.

And I think that the move to Rhapsody represents a very discontinuous opportunity for software developers, to compete and to make some really great products. And Rhapsody is going to run on everything from PCs to the new Macs, to even the old Mac OS. And, I think there's a tremendous opportunity to embrace this new stuff. So, if I were you, what I would do, is go out and buy any box that runs Rhapsody and start taking a look at it and start developing some code on it. And I think you're going to be blown away. And I think that there's an opportunity to make some really wonderful apps, and that this customer base that we have of a few tens of millions of people can really start to zoom ahead of the rest of the whole industry in what they can do, the capabilities they have, the experience they have, and the fun that they have. And a lot of it's going to be up to you, and I really hope that you embrace this as much as the team at Apple is, because we have a chance to do something really good. And I really appreciate the chance to come hear some of your questions, and hopefully answer some of them, and have a chance to be with you here today.

Thank you.