Steve Jobs’ best quotes ever

“One of the great things about Steve Jobs is what comes out of his mouth,” Owen Linzmayer writes for Wired News in an article originally published on March 29, 2006, but we thought some would like to see it again.

Linzmayer writes, “The CEO of Apple Computer is a master of hype, hyperbole and the catchy phrase. Even when he’s trying to talk normally, brilliant verbiage comes tumbling out.”

Linzmayer writes, “Here’s a selection of some of the most insanely great things the man has said, organized by topic: innovation and design, fixing Apple, his greatest sales pitches, life’s lessons, taking the fight to the enemy and Pixar.”

Here are a few choice quotes from when Jobs was out of Apple:

• You know, I’ve got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can’t say any more than that it’s the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But nobody there will listen to me. — Fortune, Sept. 18, 1995

• If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago. — Fortune, Feb. 19, 1996

MacDailyNews Take: How we read this today: “Milk the classic Mac OS for all it’s worth and get busy creating the “NeXT” great thing: Apple’s Mac OS X platform.” The PC wars aren’t over; far from it – as current market share trends clearly show. But, Jobs was out of Apple at the time, trying to deal with NeXT, probably in discussions with Apple at the time regarding the sale of NeXT, and often says things he doesn’t believe or mean for many reasons.

And one Steve Jobs from long after he’d returned to Apple:

• I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. — Stanford University commencement address, June 12, 2005

And some Steve Jobs quotes that we like that you won’t find in the article:

• Unfortunately, people are not rebelling against Microsoft. They don’t know any better.
• Pixar is the most technically advanced creative company; Apple is the most creatively advanced technical company.
• The trouble with Microsoft is they have no taste. They have no taste and I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way.

Read more in the full article here.


  1. If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago. — Fortune, Feb. 19, 1996

    I beg to differ on MDN’s point on this quote

    Call me a troll, but I say the facts here.

    Steve Jobs meant exactly what he said. Microsoft did win on the desktop and that’s the truth. 95% of the world runs Windows and it’s a monopoly that’s hard to beat because of all the money it brings in combined with the reinforcement that everyone has standardized on Windows.

    Microsoft is a software monopoly, however it’s OS can run on any x86 based machine. From supermarket checkouts to ATM’s to Point of Sales devices to ordinary computers.

    Apple is a hardware AND a software monopoly, their hardware choices, although very good, are very limited. The OS is not seperate from the hardware.

    Given a choice, the buisness world rather chose Windows because they can switch hardware vendors and their investment in software will still work. The buisness world is the largest purchaser of computer equipment, they choose Windows because that’s the largest pool of employee’s trained on. Schools now choose Windows because that’s the software kids will need to know for a job.

    Windows filth reinforces itself, much like the third party aftermarket devices reinforces the iPod domination.

    Microsoft won on the desktop and they do just enough that it doesn’t compel buisnesses to switch to something better, like Mac OS X.

    Apple would have to be extremely powerful, most likely combined with Google for money and change their buisness radically to take on Microsoft domination. Then it would be a protracted war with free OS’s given away until one side or the other ran out of cash.

    Once a company gains such a substancial market share like Microsoft has, it’s extremely difficult to dislodge them. Microsoft has to implode from within, ignore it’s market or some other internal problem that people just refuse to bother with them.

    Sure M$ has problems with security and astetics, but it hasn’t been enough for a majority of people to switch. Most that are smart enough to switch are smart enough to make Windows secure.

    M$ is addressing the astetics with Vista, and is addressing (which they will most likely fail) their issues with security.

    If the majority of people didn’t switch to Mac OS X because of Windows XP ugly looks and insecurity, they certainly won’t switch if Vista is a bit better.

    What is making a lot of people switch is the Apple stores and the iPod halo effect.

    Steve Jobs knows Vista is going to be trouble for Mac OS X and the BootCamp option is there as a option for Apple to become the next major PC vendor.

    Steve Jobs said he’s after Dell, he can’t do that supporting a minority OS. Eventually Apple will be pre-installing Vista on new Mac’s, and when they do so, their profits will soar again.

    Apple will become the next Dell, the stage is set.

    Steve Jobs is after profits, he sold Pixar, he sold NeXT and he’s too old to keep championing Mac OS X because he’s the only one that can keep it going.

    My best guess? Steve Jobs will either retire soon or sell Apple to Google. When either of these are done then Apple will then begin pre-installing Vista on new Mac’s and become a PC vendor.

    Flame away if you wish, if you do then you can blow me.

  2. “If you legally acquire music, you need to have the right to manage it on all other devices that you own.”

    -Steve Jobs 2002

    (I guess he wasn’t including iPod + iTunes in that statement.)

  3. Steve Jobs, Vince Lobardi, George H. Morris.

    My 3 heros in the world of leadership and motivation to achieve excellence beyond the average human’s abilities.

    Favorite George quote: “You can never achieve perfection…but on the way to perfection, you achieve excellence.”

    Apple is definitely in that groove.

  4. @Rabid Dog

    I can’t see it happening. Vista is considerably better than XP, but if you talk to Windows users, they simply aren’t bothered about it. Windows has become like Office. Once you have an installation that’s “good enough”, you no longer feel the need to upgrade.

    If Google were to buy Apple, which is increasingly unlikely given Apple’s ever-rising market value, the more likely outcome would be for them to start giving OSX away like they do with all their software. Apple would then become a software development division of Google and leave the hardware sales market.

    However, as long as iPod and Mac sales are continuing to climb, even if Steve Jobs were to recommend the sale to AAPL shareholders, I don’t think it would happen. The Mac will soon reach around 10% market share in the US. Considering businesses buy most computers and they nearly never buy Macs, this has to translate to around 25% of the consumer space.

    On the issue of SJ’s retirement, this belief people have that Apple will fall apart without him because it happened before is unfounded. Back in the 80s, Sculley had his team on the board and Steve was suddenly fired. Now Steve has filled the board with his people and has time to plan a proper succession. Even if SJ were to go tomorrow, the effects of the handover would take five, maybe even ten years before they were felt. With the current growth trend likely to continue at least into the second year following Vista’s release (the time when business will seriously begin adopting it), Apple would still have time to consolidate their place in people’s homes.

    I fully agree with you about the Stores. Apple’s lack of retail presence was the main reason for it’s market share falling as low as 2% in the first place, but with the impetus to expand the retail side coming from its obvious profitability, the iPod/Apple Store Halo Effect can only increase as more stores open.

    In short, I think you’re seeing a Doomsday scenario there that isn’t going to play out. If Apple were to become nothing more than a Microsoft supplier, it would have happened already. Now that the dark times are behind the company, it’s going to be a good few years before they even look at that as a possible strategy, if they ever do again.

  5. BTW, just to emphasise the point. Google currently has a market value of $104bn against Apple’s at $69bn. As a contrast Sun is only worth $19bn and Red Hat worth $3bn if Google want to buy an OS.

    And my apologies for the rambling nature of that last post. It’s been a long week.

  6. Rabid Dog:

    “Once a company gains such a substancial market share like Microsoft has, it’s extremely difficult to dislodge them. Microsoft has to implode from within, ignore it’s market or some other internal problem that people just refuse to bother with them.”

    Two words: Sony Walkman.

    MW: “Almost.” As in, your post “almost” made sense.

  7. ” Right now it is not true, we have lots of crashes, freezes, and unexpected quits. We require our users to do lots of restarts…”

    What are you running. I am running the latest OS X with all main apps from Adobe etc.. 10 hours a day…


    Maybe you need to stop install every hack and gimmic on your system…

  8. Mac7

    I don’t have anything foreign in my machines. Very clean, almost totally Mac software, no games, and no shareware crap.

    You must not be using your Mac while it’s running 10 hours a day. If you were, you would have all the problems I mentioned and many more.

    If you doubt this, go spend some time in Apple’s discussions forums – just pick any of them – and you will see the Mac family is in turmoil.

  9. @Rabid Dog, you’d be surprised how handy OSX is.. just highlight a word, ri ght(or ctrl)-click a word you’re not sure how to spell, and if it’s anywhere near to close, OSX will proved the correct spelling at the top of the menu.

    The OS wars are not over, but this is crunch time for all involved… Mac’s OSX ain’t perfect yet.. but it is compared to XP. By the time larger enterprises decide to upgrade, OSX 10.6 will about to ship. (late ’08).

    We live in interesting times, on many fronts.

  10. *sigh*

    There is no “war” with Microsoft. I really don’t understand why there must be a war just because there are two different sides.

    Apparently, not enough people have seen the video of Macworld 1997 in Boston with Steve Jobs giving a status report about Apple when he was the interim CEO. He clearly states there is no competition with Microsoft and encourages people to get out of that mentality. His quote:

    “If we want to move forward and see Apple healthy and prospering again, we have to let go of a few things here. We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. Okay? We have to embrace the notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job. … And if we screw up and we don’t do a good job, it’s not somebody else’s fault, it’s our fault. … The era of setting this up as a competition between Apple and Microsoft is over as far as I’m concerned.”

    Another great quote from that video: “Apple plus Microsoft equals 100% of the desktop computer market. And so, whatever Apple and Microsoft agree to do, it’s a standard.”
    (about 39 minutes; S.J. starts speaking at 6 minutes into the video, the quotes are near the end)

    Perhaps some think it’s different nowadays now that Apple seems to be healthy and prospering. However, that’s not a reason to start trashing one’s health and prosperity by going back to the old mentality of competing with Microsoft. What’s the point?

    Apple may be actively expanding its user base, and that may mean more Macs get bought and affect the market share numbers for those people who bother counting such things. But market share doesn’t matter as much as actual use of the product. So what if a lot of people buy something? It just means a lot of people fell for the marketing. Big whoop. What matters is whether the product is used at all or was left to collect dust, or perhaps thrown away or given away. And nobody cares to track that, and few care to be careful to not get taken in by a marketing bandwagon. For example, just because a lot of people went to see a movie on opening night doesn’t mean everybody liked it, so what does it matter what a movie makes during its first weekend?

    All I care about is Apple continues making the software I enjoy using (such as iLife, other apps included with Mac OS X, and Mac OS X), and their feature-rich hardware in half the physical volume and weight (such as iMacs with ambient light sensors for the power light). I prefer ease of use of software over having to be a computer technician, and devices that fit into my life without having to use a crowbar or compactor.

    Really, why waste time talking trash about computers with Microsoft’s OS when I can actually being doing something on a Mac? I mean, come on, take a clue from Apple’s ads. Talk up what you like doing with your computer instead of wasting your karma being insulting. Consider: if we only talked about Macs to other people, then Microsoft would never get mentioned. People forget what they don’t hear about. Besides, do you think they really need to be reminded of their troubles? They need to know options. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    I doubt I’ve heard anybody I’ve met say what they created or enjoyed with their computer unless they owned a Mac. Microsoft Windows based PCs are kind of like the kitchen sink: you gotta to have it to have everything, but you don’t expect to get as much out of it as you put in it. Personally, using a Mac gives me greater value of my time, so I can do without having everything.

    MW: “been” – This so-called war has been over for a long time. Move along, nothing to see here.

  11. “The OS wars are not over, but this is crunch time for all involved… Mac’s OSX ain’t perfect yet.. but it is compared to XP”

    The fact is that they are and have been for a while. 2.8% worldwide share shows that.

    The Mac “resurgence” seems to be largely based on a million boot camp downloads and Windows compatibility which is good for Apple as a hardware vendor, not so good for Apple as an OS X vendor.

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