May 22, 2005

Steve Jobs at the D Conference

Here are some hastily jotted-down notes from the Steve Jobs session at the WSJ "D" conference.

WM = William Mossberg
KS = Kara Swisher
SJ = Steve Jobs

(((comments shown in triple parenthesis a la Bruce Sterling)))

WM: We're pretty sure we're the only conference with a giant D. (((Stands by this huge decorative "D" center-stage))).

WM: You cannot do audio, video, or photograhy in the room because we want to keep those things for themselves. (((Meanwhile photographers keep coming up to everyone who's talking to others, interrupting them, asking them to move here or there, and then resume the conversation -- it's very invasive... how come they aren't paying me for the privilege?)))

(((When Steve Jobs comes out on stage, they briefly play Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm" in the background.... interesting choice)))

KS: What have you done for us lately
SJ: we're working on a bunch of great stuff....but I can't talk about it (((audience hisssssssssssses))). Isn't it funny a ship that leaks from the top......... (((audience laughs)))

WM: ipods 99 to 450, $50 increments......... is this the year it all collapses?
SJ: there are companies that have managed to hold on to prety good market shares............. we're focused on putting out the best products............ we've got some pretty good things in the lab.........

KS: can you give us an idea.... video
SJ: you're always fighting things that are opposed to each other.......playstation 4........ great game machine mbut not great music player because it doesn't fit in your pocket........ you have to pick one and optimize for it......... you can do video on these devices if you want to but there are things that suboptimal........... headphones are a miraculous thing............ no such thing as headphones for video................ not same experience as 50" plasma screen.
WM: they have those huge goggles you can wear but you never get a date when you wear them

WM: wireless.......... digital hub.........why would the internet w/ wireless.......... avoiding the need to go thru a pc or mac....... SJ: should we intergrate wireless networking into an ipod....... power........ heart of the issue......... when you're in the music store, you want a nice big screen vs a tiny little screen........... discovering and buying music on a computer and downloading it to the ipod is part of the genius of the ipod......... i don't think it's goingn to ever mean that ..........

KS or WM asked about what it would take......
SJ: foldable screens, goggles..........

WM: why are you doing store on motorola.........
SJ: Itunes player on phone............ we don't think that's whre the action is going to be......... avg price per user (APPU)..............lousy buying experience..... 2x 3x ........ it's hard to see that their customers ar ethat stupid.........

WM: customers are paying for ringtones...........
SJ: that's becuause the phone manuf have pretty much put their phones in walled gardens........ carriers forcing the manufacturerers............

KS: I want an ipod phone
SJ: it's a hard problem...... we're doing everything if you read those things [rumor sites]........
KS: but the phone
SJL: the problem with the phone is, as you know, apple's great successes have not been in the fortune 500........ we're not very good going through orifices to get to the end users....(((audience laughs)))......... we've never been real good at that......... apple's DNA is not great at going through orifices to reach end users............ the carriers now have gained the upper hand in terms of the power of the relat with the handset manuf, and they're telling the handset manuf what to build,......... the handset manuf are getting these big thick books saying what you're phone is gonna be........

WM: why not form your own MVNO.......
SJ: yeah it's um, it's not clear the endurance of those things........ it's not clear when an indiustry that there are room for a lot of hands in the till

WM: cellphone is the big deal...........your dinner companion bill gates was quoted as saying lifespan of ipod is limited, it's all going to move to cell phone........ i know that you can put music software musiuc firmware ..... why sin't that true
SJ: I thoroughly understand the question... (((audience laughs))).... I'm going to leaver the answer to our actions in the future..........

KS: yahoo just announced a music subscription serviice..........
SJ: we're not relgiious about subs service........ very few customers tell us that's what they want.......... subs service........ yahoo went out at $5 /mo if you go for a year............. music industry looks at subs like the cable industry, they want to keep raising prices......... not that many customers want to rent their music.............
WM: I don't think your company is known as reacting to customer surveys
SJ: ......... we have a betting pool as to when yahoo will start sraising their prices........ 5 months............

KS: record industry.........
SJ: grokster case......... intent.......... when we sell a song on itunes they make more money than when they sell a CD........... selling half a billion songs a year now..................the legal download business is 5%
WM: they don't seem grateful
SJ: the good news is that their customers are really grateful

WM: is there anything new in ipod

(((Jobs gets up to do a demo))) SJ: one of the fun things about itunes.......... we'll roll it out ion the next ...........Bill you have your hand up?.....(((audience laughs))).... podcasting............wayne's world for radio...........it's not just the wayne's worlds of radio, but real radio............. Pew survey done last month......... 29% of ipod users had listened to a podcast............... not subscribed but just listened............. over 8000 podcasts........ no FCC regulation cause your not using spectrum.......... tivo for radio for your ipod............ next release of itunes....... 4.9................... podcasts............ page full of podcasts right here......... subscribe to podcast............ clear channel infinity sirius NPR, all free........ newsweek, business weke, forbes, denver post, seattle post, philadelphia daily news.......... adam curry.......... daily source.......... i had to start the show 3 times cause my mac has been acting up (audience roars).......... chapters........ artwork........... all these things sync up with your ipod............. existing podcasting programs pretty crufty........... this is gonna send it into orbit............ these podcasts don't have to ...

WM: how do people register their podcasts with the store
(((didn't jot down answer....... but SJ said something along the lines of there will be a registration process and it'll be open and free)))

WM: the macintosh.... market share small.....
SJ: we try harder
WM: halo effect on mac from the ipod........ is that bullshit or real?
SJ: last few quarters .............. 105 stores, 100 in US........ 1 million visitors a week now............ genius bar........ in NY 100
WM: you found a 100 geniuses in new york city?
(((a distinct hiss from one area of the audience)))

WM: market share for mac
SJ: 4 now, which is good, les sinternational (((couldn't say the word percent, just the number 4)))

WM: when do you get to 10%
SJ: I've given up predicting...........

WM: you have free of known successful viruses of OS X............ none spreading on Macs in real world............ you're not that big in the fortune 500............
SJ: they can bring one at least..................
WM: xbox......
SJ: they wrere a great customer this year..............
SJ: avie tevanian.......... we gave him incredible shit for that......... boy was he ahead of his time...............when people
WM: even if they live in an orifice
SJ:" tiger is doing phenomenally well.........
WM: what % of user base has converted.........
SJ: Can't say
WM: SEC has declared this a free zone..........

(((SJ demos))) SJ: baseball, yosemite.............. better in 3 ways..........

SJ: eventually file system management will be an app for pros............

WM: people will stop making folders
SJ: consumers will have dramatically less use........... stop using the FS altogether..............
WM: why not many previews
SJ: most people find other things by their names...........
SJ: dashboard.boom, boom boom
SJ: countdown widget to a specific event

KS: split betwene pixar and apple
SJ: 1 day a week there physically....... Cars.........
KS: what is going on in that business..... you said, I'll never do business when Michael Eisner is there........
SJ: as long as you have different release windows, it's fine............ see movies a few times then buy the DVD
KS": disaggregation of media........
SJ: we see that with ipod........ disaggregation with radio .......... long tail in hollywood...........
WM: what about 2 flops
SJ: we'll take our cash and buy our stockl back I don't k .................. in animation.......... disney said we have to edit our film before we make it.......... we build our movie before we make it............ invariably what you think is gonna work crashes & burns when you see it on the reels........ only when it works on the reels, do we go animate it.......... John Lasseter: no amount of technology will turn a bad story into a good story
KS: what is changing in the way hollywood makes movies
SJ: eays to say harder to do, expensive to do............the appeite grows just as fast as you can feed it..........
WM: do you use macs at pixar
SJ: yes we use macs..........We also have PCs running linux..........it pains me to write a P.O. to DELL but I do it

it's job security for me not to tell you so you invite me back next year

WM: what's the deal with this suing journalists
SJ: it turns out the law's pretty clear to this........... breaking the law trumps the first amendment........ we don't thhin satisfying the curioosity of our customers and more importantly

KS: would you have sued the WSJ if we had done something like this
SJ: Don't know..... maybe...... the wsj has serious thought about what they publish....... today anybody can be a journalist quote unquote........... we are in a gray area now ....... the courts will adjuicate this........

KS: [asks question about] enron........... (((audience member: bullshit)))

SJ: the law is already there......... I think this case could go to the supreme court............

Q: porting OS X to other platforms
SJ: other platforms like XBOX? (((no laughs))).......... you mean like PCs, Intel......? we think we make the best hardware in the world......... generally the macosx customer likes good hardware............ we're sticking to our program right now ........

Q: recycling programs......... when will we see that from apple
SJ: tons last year......

Q: lusting after subnotebooks ........ why no subnotebook from apple.......
SJ: i understand.......... 15% of the notebook market...............we're doing pretty well, maybe we ought to take another look at that..........

Q: another controversy about a book..... Steve, what in ICON ............
SJ: I hadn't already even seen it.............. our folks and their folks we had a really bad experience with them and the way they treated us was not so good.......... we just decided we didn't do business with them we didn't liek the way they treated us.............. in our 100 little stores we just didn't want to do do business Wiley anymore.

Q: [question about his health] sj: well I'm vertical................

Q: WMA for Ipod
SJ: there are 2 kinds of wma -- unencrtyped wma and encrypted wma............. microsoft had the encrpt checkbox checked for wma........ open standards encoder AAC betrter than msft............ we talked to microsoft at one time about WMA.......... license terms were so onerous ..............it's interesting we don't get that request that very much

Jason Calcanis Q: why is it nobody at apple doesn't blog
SJ: I don't blog....... pretty time consuming thing.......... we have a lot of secret stuff going on.............

JC: will you be able to add any podcast any rss feed.......... sell podcasts?
SJ: zing me an email...........

Q: tivo......... two brands she loves apple and tivo.....
SJ: first thing let me say you married a smart woman........ a woman with great taste................ not true in our case.......... real issue surrounding this stuf........ gatekeepers/aggregators of the television experience........... comcast comes to mind............ they subsidize set top boxes......... what that has done is distrioted the marketplace............. and you don't get much traction if you can rent one or get one for free from the cable companies................

WM: [didn't write down what his q was]
SJ: mediacenter is a fun prod but it has not sold high volumes even by our standards (aud laughs)..........

Well there you have it.

Posted by brian at May 22, 2005 11:17 PM

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