Steve Jobs on R&D: If it was just a matter of spending money, Microsoft would deliver good products

Apple Store“At Apple Inc.’s May 10 annual shareholder meeting, a series of proposals were presented for voting after which CEO Steve Jobs answered a series of questions from the audience,” Daniel Eran reports for RoughlyDrafted.

“As has been the case over the last three years, a large portion of the questions and comments from the audience were presented by environmental groups who attended to present issues related to green conscious, non-toxic manufacturing goals along with e-waste takeback and recycling programs,” Eran reports.

“Many of the other questions presented related to Apple’s stock options backdating issues,” Eran reports.

“A member of the audience questioned Jobs on Apple’s relatively low figure of reinvestment in R&D, saying that he felt the company was missing low handing fruit with new product opportunities, particularly with the delay of Leopard. Jobs responded, ‘I wish it was just a matter of writing checks. If it was just a matter of spending money, Microsoft would deliver good products,'” Eran reports.

“Another commenter asked about Apple’s plans for the iPhone going forward, prompting Jobs to pull an iPhone out of his front pocket and describe the vast potential market for mobile phones. Jobs said that compared to the music player and PC markets, the much larger mobile phone market presented a critical opportunity for the company, despite it being an entirely new venture for Apple,” Eran reports.

“Frequently making humorous asides during the question and answer session, Jobs’ made light of the the dollar salary he is assigned, quipping ‘I get 50 cents just for showing up. And 50 cents for my performance,'” Eran reports.

Full article with much more, including Eran’s questions to Jobs (One of which was: How about selling an inexpensive Tiger for developing countries and regular-priced Leopard for the rest of us?), here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Twilightmoon” and “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]


  1. I think it was Cringely who thought over a year ago that Apple should give Tiger away to Windows users, after making it PC-bootable, when Leopard became available. That would make the eventual “switch” an easier sell.

    I like it that Steve paused when he answered Eran’s question. Who knows, Dan may have just put a seed in Steve’s mind. World domination here we come.

  2. There’s an interesting set of posts over on ZDNET where they basically claim Apple never did anything that they didn’t steal from Micro$oft. Gates = all good, Jobs = all evil. They also claim the “Get a Mac” commercials are all lies.

    Perhaps we should bombard them with the truth, or are they too stupid to tolerate?

  3. Pespectective…

    So your theory is that we should all only treat Microsoft in a deferential manner because it might get pissed and withdraw Office.

    Well, let’s look at that…

    1) Why would Microsoft turn down the chance to make maybe 12 million+ instances of $250+ every couple of years? Is MSFT so proud that it can afford to reject around a billion dollars of annual income, most of which is profit? And all because Steve Jobs doesn’t think much of Microsoft’s products and has the temerity to say as much.

    2) Speaking as a bit of a chubby lad, I would have thought that Ballmer’s skin was more than thick enough to withstand a relatively modest bit of criticism. Maybe SPJ should have said If it was just a matter of spending money, Microsoft would deliver products on time! There you go, no qualitative assessment, merely a crack about being several years late with a (stripped-down) operating system – happy now?

    3) Personally, if MSFT withdraw Office from the Mac, the only thing I’d miss at the moment would be Excel. I haven’t fired up Word in the best part of a year as I’ve become reliant on iWork.

  4. After having been present at the meeting, Eran is shocked by the SF Chronicle’s coverage. He writes:

    The SF Chronicle Goes Bananas.
    Anyone actually at the meeting will find it hard to read the Ellen Lee’s report in the SF Chron, which described the laidback Jobs as “feisty,” and characterized his joking comments as “fired back” into a purportedly embittered and hostile crowd. Lee actually managed to use “fired” twice in her article as a stand in for “said.”

    It’s too bad Lee didn’t seek to capture the truth in her article, rather than invent a scandalous performance of arrogant tyranny out of Jobs.

    Unfortunately, anyone who has seen the media in action up close will find the Chron’s coverage disappointingly typical, rather than shocking. Often, the reader/viewer is left with a completely distorted impression by the media of how something occurred. And it just so happens that the distortion either: a) fits the reporters’ prejudices, or b) adds conflict/negativity to encourage readership (much like high school kids gather to watch a fight).

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