Rolling Stone interviews Steve Jobs

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 09, 2003

Rolling Stone interviews Steve Jobs. Jobs: "I don't know what hand-wringing is." What?

Reader comments

JonDec 09, 2003 at 1:41PM

More interestingly, "Q: How about movies? Do you see an iTunes movie store? A: We don't think that's what people want. A movie takes forever to download -- there's no instant gratification."

jayDec 09, 2003 at 2:10PM

at 700k - 900k / sec, i would say that is pretty instantaneous. 30 minutes for a movie is fine by me. :)

barlowDec 09, 2003 at 2:38PM

I also saw recently where Jobs said that no one wants to watch TV on their computers (poo-pooing Windows Media Edition). But I think people want their computers to be able to manipulate all kinds of source information - Tivo-like functions are also in Sony Vaios and people love it.

jkottkeDec 09, 2003 at 2:52PM

Jobs is correct about the instant gratification thing being a factor when it comes to the Music Store, but he's wrong in assuming that a movie downloading service wouldn't work because of it. Look at NetFlix. Compared to Blockbuster, there's little instant gratification, but it does offer several advantages to the neighborhood video store that has made it quite popular. One could imagine a hybrid Netflix/iTMS service that digitally delivers movies to you in a few hours (assuming you have an always-on computer & connection wherever you're planning on viewing the film)...just click the "I'd like to watch a movie tonight" button around lunchtime and the top movie in your queue is waiting for you when you get home.

RyanDec 09, 2003 at 3:23PM

It really seems like Jobs is just trying to avoid talking about movies until the tech catches up. At this point it seems that bandwidth is quite ready, etc. But I can't believe that he believes that movies will never be delivered online. Once all Macs have a Home Media Option or Apple's set top box or media server or whatever ships and fat pipes are more widespread you can be sure there will be an iMMS.

Matt HaugheyDec 09, 2003 at 4:48PM

Jobs is rabidly anti-TV. The last interview I read (the URL escapes me) had him saying Apple would never venture into TiVo stuff or Home Theater PCs because TV was dreck and didn't actively spark imagination like music and photos do. I don't know why he keeps skirting the issues, I bet a iMovie store is just around the corner.

Jeff TidballDec 09, 2003 at 5:02PM

Even though I like movies better than talking on the phone, I'm a lot more interested in seeing Apple make a cell phone than a way for me to watch television on my computer. Apple solved a problem with music distribution in the iTunes Music Store. By and large, we don't have a problem with watching movies; we already have digital cable, Tivo, and Netflix. Cell phones, on the other hand—hardware and service—remain a complete disaster.

WilhelmDec 09, 2003 at 5:10PM

There's no room for Apple in cell phones. There are two underlying problems in the cell phone world. The 'device' problem is that everyone has a slightly different perception of the perfect device, and addressing one faction's needs/desires would result in a device that 90% of the market would detest (too expensive/too limited/too featureful/too hard to navigate/too heavy/too small). The 'network' problem is that there are hundreds of thousands of antennas of varying quality, direction and ownership scattered over this great land of ours, and no amount of clever engineering is going to magically overcome the laws of physics.

bobDec 09, 2003 at 7:18PM

I don't buy Jobs and Co. not seeing a future where people want video on their computer. Take Final Cut Pro for instance. Or their DVD program (iDVD? can't remember). Or iMovie. Obviously they know people want to do something with video on their computers. Why else would they make some of the best home-use software out there to do just that? And then there's a little movie company called "Pixar."

They don't want to talk about movies and TV on your computer because there are still way too many legal issues that haven't even been addressed (Tivo may open a few more doors in that arena as well). I'm sure Jobs knows how long it takes to download a movie, and probably doesn't think it's too long. Why, they've got a large portion of the apple website devoted to just that - downloading 'mini' movies! Quicktime trailers, anyone?

I'm guessing they've already got a team in place working on business plans, product development, and media strategies so that when the time comes, they'll have the iTunes for the movie industry.

brianDec 09, 2003 at 7:23PM

why couldn't they make the iMovie movie store be where you buy a download of a movie, then can burn it onto a dvd using iDVD, or it automatically burns it to a disc for you. Although getting DVD quality movies over the net would tax bandwidth heavily on both ends.

AdrianRDec 09, 2003 at 8:45PM

I don't know what it is about Steve Jobs, but everytime I hear him speak he seems to remove all the clutter and give concise logical responses. I find his sound directness extremely refreshing. Impressive man.

pbDec 09, 2003 at 9:14PM

Adrian, I agree. The "hand-wringing" comment was a specific response to a dumb question. iPod's have been on Windows for quite a while and QuickTime for a very long time.

Jobs is interesting to listen to but you have to understand that pretty much everything he says is very calculated. That he is downplaying movies to the PC now shouldn't mean he is necessarily opposed to it. And the instant gratification rationale is silly. MovieLink starts the movie up within a few seconds or minutes. Jobs made the same type of comment about the competing music stores about how only Apple can make money (selling iPods) because there's not money in the store itself. That's flat out inaccurate but effectively makes all the other stores look like road-kill.

dowingbaDec 10, 2003 at 1:31AM

I remember years ago, when the "high-speed" meant 56k, and it took half an hour to download a song -- and downloading mp3's was pretty damn popular. As many people -- or more? -- used Napster as iTunes Music Store now. And Jobs can't possibly be so shortsighted as to not realize that soon Lord of the Rings will be downloadable in mere minutes. It's just like when Bill Gates said something like "No one will ever need more than 150k harddisk space."

dowingbaDec 10, 2003 at 9:27PM

Well now we -do- have Steve Jobs saying an equally stupid thing, and it's not an urban legend either.

JessicaDec 15, 2003 at 12:13PM

i think that the real issue here is innovation, no one innovates like apple. instead of fighting something (like downloadable music) they found solutions for it, they saw the demand and they met the need for it, but they did it in a very ethical, user-friendly way.

Serota Pamela Feb 28, 2004 at 9:58AM

I do not fear computers. I fear lack of them.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.