I tried to find a general Apple thread here but couldn't track one down (point me to it if there is one).
Fortune has this pretty interesting extensive interview with Steve Jobs, who they seem to have caught while he was on vacation with his family in Hawaii:http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/fortune/0803/gallery.jobsqna.fortune/4.html
Now if you think he's a pompous, self-absorbed windbag then you'll get no pleasure out of reading and please don't visit the link.
I found some of his thoughts interesting, especially in the context of other companies making screw ups that Apple has avoided. Also found his comment about not hiring consultants or doing market research interesting.
fwiw, I don't own any Apple hardware, and I use a Rhapsody subscription service instead of iTunes (although I use the latter to download the occasional TV show episode).
Here's a few thoughts I found interesting (you may find them completely boring
"So you can't go out and ask people, you know, what the next big [thing.] There's a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, 'If I'd have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me 'A faster horse.'"
I think this explains why so many new Apple products have people complaining on various blogs and boards that the new product doesn't do A, B, C; and lacks A, B, C; and yet millions of people line up for the new product anyway.
"We do no market research. We don't hire consultants. The only consultants I've ever hired in my 10 years is one firm to analyze Gateway's retail strategy so I would not make some of the same mistakes they made [when launching Apple's retail stores]. But we never hire consultants, per se. We just want to make great products.
If you think about all the game publishers, book publishers, music companies, film studios who obsess over market studies and consultant findings and focus groups, it makes you wonder.
The engineering is long gone in most PC companies. In the consumer electronics companies, they don't understand the software parts of it. And so you really can't make the products that you can make at Apple anywhere else right now. Apple's the only company that has everything under one roof.
I'm reminded of Palm's ill-fated decision to spinoff its Palm OS software division. It was really a disaster. I mean, who else was Palm OS going to make OS software for?
"I'm actually as proud of many of the things we haven't done as the things we have done. The clearest example was when we were pressured for years to do a PDA, and I realized one day that 90% of the people who use a PDA only take information out of it on the road. They don't put information into it. Pretty soon cellphones are going to do that, so the PDA market's going to get reduced to a fraction of its current size, and it won't really be sustainable. So we decided not to get into it.
If we had gotten into it, we wouldn't have had the resources to do the iPod. We probably wouldn't have seen it coming."
I still plug along with my Palm Zire 71 (and by God I do put information into
), but I can't argue with his logic. A lot of us remaining PDA fans still beg for Apple to re-enter the market or for the iPod Touches to become more PDA-like but he seems to be clear on not wanting to enter that market.
"We've had one of these before [current economic downturn], when the dot-com bubble burst. What I told our company was that we were just going to invest our way through the downturn, that we weren't going to lay off people, that we'd taken a tremendous amount of effort to get them into Apple in the first place -- the last thing we were going to do is lay them off.
Though, I imagine a lot of tech companies aren't in that enviable position to think that way now.
Blah blah blah. Anyway, just thought it might interest some folks. I'm sure I'll buy an Apple product some day but... not yet.
The flipside is a Fortune piece (that he refused to provide any quotes for) profiling Jobs himself, and his many, um, difficult sides. The trouble with Steve Jobshttp://money.cnn.com/2008/03/02/news/companies/elkind_jobs.fortune/index.htm