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Transcript: The Steve Jobs Interview

Mar 14, 1999

Channel NewsAsia presenter Sonny Lim met up with Steve Jobs while the iCEO of Apple was in Tokyo during the MacWorld Expo last month to deliver his keynote address. The interview was first televised on Channel NewsAsia on Saturday, Mar 13 1999, and is now available online as a streaming RealVideo archive. This is a transcript of the interview.

*   *   *

CNA: Steve Jobs, interim CEO of Apple Company, welcome to our program.

Jobs: Thanks.

CNA: Steve, you guys sold almost — more I guess — almost a million iMacs — in four-and-a-half months. Does that make you a mainstream player — in the computer industry?

Jobs: Well, you know, the computer industry is a pretty big thing, and we don't try to go after the whole thing, we go after three segments of the whole market. One is the pro segment and the biggest part of that is our design and publishing market segment, which Apple has a 50-90 per cent market share of, depending on which segment you're looking at. The second thing we're going after is education, and one thing that most people don't know is Apple is the largest education supplier in the whole world. Apple is larger than any publishing company or anybody else as measured by revenue selling into education, and so we go after the education market. And the third is the consumer market. And — so, when we look at each of these segments, our market share in each one of them is going up. And in the consumer market, as an example, we went from 5 per cent to double that, to 10 per cent last year.

CNA: What are you going to be satisfied with in figures?

Jobs: Well, you know, I don't think in terms of market shares, I think in terms of us making the best personal computers in the world, and if we can do that, I think our market share will go up.

CNA: Now, "Think Different" — that's the motto. Works well with Mohammed Ali and John Lennon. But in Asia, it may not go down as well. What's your strategy to crack the Asian market?

Jobs: Well, I gotta tell you — we don't do it because it goes down well or not. We have a problem, and our problem was that people had forgotten what Apple stands for. As a matter of fact, a lot of our employees have forgotten what Apple stands for. And so we needed a way to communicate what the heck Apple's all about. And we thought, how do you tell somebody what you are, who you are, what you care about? And the best way we could think of was, you know, if you know who somebody's heroes are, that tells you a lot about them. So we thought we're going to tell people who our heroes are, and that's what the "Think Different" campaign is about. It's about telling people who we admire, who we think are the heroes of this century. And — some people will like us, and some people won't like us.

CNA: Well Steve, you were a big hero in 1984 when you co-produced the first Mac. And that was radically different. When can we expect the next "1984"?

Jobs: What Apple's about is trying to be that bridge between really powerful technology that's rather complicated and intimidating and every — and all of us...

CNA: The rest of us...

Jobs: The rest of us. And — if you go out and ask people what's wrong with computers today, they'll tell you they're really complicated, they have a zillion cables coming out of the back, they're really big and noisy, they're really ugly, and they take forever to get on the Internet. And so we tried to set out to fix those problems with products like the iMac. I mean, the iMac is the only desktop computer that comes in only one box. You can set it up and be surfing the Internet in 15 minutes or less.

CNA: And many colors.

Jobs: Well, now, that was another one. In this technological age, the number one question we got last year about the iMac was, "Can you make it in my favorite color?" It wasn't about megabytes or megahertz or anything. It was about "Can you make it in my favorite color (blank)?"

CNA: You mean it's aesthetics?

Jobs: Yeah. I mean you know, you get clothes in whatever color you want, drive a car in whatever color you want, but except for the iMac, you had to settle for beige, you know?...

CNA: How are you going to motivate the company to keep coming out with the best products, really?

Jobs: Well, the most motivating thing when you work on something really, really hard, you put your heart and your soul into it, the most motivating thing is when people like it, you know?...

CNA: They give you feedback, they want more colors...

Jobs: Yeah. They say, well they buy them, you know, and they like them, and they send us letters and emails, and so that, you know, the reception of the iMac has been very strong all around the world. It's become the number one-selling computer in America, it's the number one-selling computer in Japan, it's the number one-selling computer in France, and a few of the other European countries. So that's made us really happy, and it makes us work even harder, and so that's how we get our feedback...

CNA: And you also got some feedback about the software being developed here, especially developed software from Japan — I think you've answered some of those questions — how do you convince software developers to develop for your product?

Jobs: Well, you know, right after I got back to Apple 18 months ago, I talked to the top hundred software developers, and they all said the same thing: they told me "We love the Mac, but we hate Apple" (laughs). And I said "But why?". And it was clear that they felt that Apple was killing the Mac — number one, and number two, they felt that Apple was a very difficult company to do business with for them as developers, you know, co-marketing and things like that, so we changed both of those. And what's happened is that develpers have been coming back to the Mac in droves.

CNA: Yes, do you think the alliance with Microsoft helped to convince these developers to come out with more software?

Jobs: I think so, I mean, when the largest software company in the world says "Hey, we care that the Macintosh gets healthy again", that's really important and I think that we enjoy a very good relationship with Microsoft.

CNA: The synergy that you have with Pixar — you're the CEO of that too — has that helped you to stay rhythmic — animation, games, PCs, that kind of all goes together...

Jobs: As you know, in Pixar we make animated feature films. As a matter of fact, our second one, "A Bug's Life" should be opening in Singapore very soon...

CNA: I've seen it.

Jobs: Great — is it already open there?

CNA: Yes, it's been for some time.

Jobs: Great. How's it doing?

CNA: I think better than "Antz".

Jobs: Oh yeah, that's easy, but...

CNA: I like the hero there.

Jobs: Yeah. "A Bug's Life" has done very well throughout Asia and set a lot of records there, actually. But Pixar is an entertainment company. And through working at Pixar and through our great partnership we have with the Walt Disney Company, it's one of the things that's helped me understand how different entertainment and story-telling is from things like the Internet. They're very different things. And they'll have some overlap, but I'm not sure — some people think they're going to merge, and I just don't see that happening anytime soon.

CNA: What can we expect in the future of iMacs, other than different colors? You going to move to a completely different shape altogether? What's down the line, what's in the future?

Jobs: Well, we're working on a bunch of great stuff, but we just don't talk about it.

CNA: Okay. Steve Jobs, I want to thank you for your time. Thank you for joining us on "It's IT".

Jobs: Sure. Okay.

End blurb by presenter:
Mac the machine, Steve the creator, and Apple the company have all made a big difference in our lives and that's ensured it a place in history. But what about a place the future? Follow the Apple story in the next edition of "It's IT".


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