The Steve Jobs email that outlined Apple’s strategy a year before his death

“In 2010, a year before his death, Steve Jobs outlined Apple’s strategy in an email to the company’s 100 most senior employees,” Zachary M. Seward writes for Quartz.

“He heralded the ‘Post PC era,’ vowed ‘Holy War with Google,’ promised to ‘further lock customers into our ecosystem,’ and warned that Apple was ‘in danger of hanging on to old paradigm too long,'” Seward writes. “The email was an agenda for Apple’s annual “top 100″ meeting later that year. It was released this week as part of Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung over smartphone patents.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Jobs’ full email below:

From: Steve Jobs
Date: October 24, 2010 6:12:41 PM PDT
To: ET
Subject: Top 100 – A

Here’s my current cut.

1. 2011 Strategy – SJ
– who are we?
– headcount, average age, …
– VP count, senior promotions in last year
– percent new membership at this meeting
– what do we do?
– pie chart of units/product line and revenues/product line
– same charts with tablets + phones merged together
– Post PC era- Apple is the first company to get here
– Post PC products now 66% of our revenues
– iPad outsold Mac within 6 months
– Post PC era = more mobile (smaller, thinner, lighter) + communications + apps + cloud services
– 2011: Holy War with Google
– all the ways we will compete with them
– primary reason for this Top 100 meeting – you will hear about what we’re doing in each presentation
– 2011: Year of the Cloud
– we invented Digital Hub concept
– PC as hub for all your digital assets
– contacts, calendars, bookmarks, photos, music, videos
– digital hub (center of our universe) is moving from PC to cloud
– PC now just another client alongside iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, …
– Apple is in danger of hanging on to old paradigm too long (innovator’s dilemma)
– Google and Microsoft are further along on the technology, but haven’t quite figured it out yet
– tie all of our products together, so we further lock customers into our ecosystem
– 2015: new campus
2. State of the Company – Peter & Tim
– FY2010 recap
– FY2011 plan
– where is our business
– geo analysis (NA, Euro, Japan, Asia, possibly break out china) (present on map)
– key milestones, trends & future goals
– comparisons with Google, Samsung, HTC, Motorola & RIM
3. iPhone – Joz & Bob
– 2011 Strategy:
– “plus” iPhone 4 with better antenna, processor, camera & software to stay ahead of competitors until mid 2012
– have LTE version in mid-2012
– create low cost iPhone model based on iPod touch to replace 3GS
– Business & competitive update
– show Droid and RIM ads
– Verizon iPhone
– schedule, marketing, …
– iPhone 5 hardware
– H4 performance
– new antenna design, etc
– new camera
– schedule
– cost goal
– show model (and/or renderings) – Jony
4. iPad – Bob, Jony, Dan Riccio, Michael Tchao ,Randy Ubillos, Xander Soren, Roger Rosner
– 2011 Strategy: ship iPad 2 with amazing hardware and software before our competitors even catch up with our current model
– Business & competitive update – Michael
– Apps, corporate adoption, …
– show Samsung, HP(?) anf iPad ads
– 2011 Product Roadmap – Bob, Dan & Jony
– iPad 2
– new ID, H4, UMTS + Verizon in one model, cameras, …
– EVT units & cases
– HDMI dongle (use for projection of demos below?)
– iPad 3
– display, H4T
– DEMOS:- PhotoBooth (Michael?)
– iMovie (Randy)
– GarageBand (Xander)
– text book authoring system (Roger)
– working display for iPad 3 (during break)
5. iOS – Scott, Joz
– Strategy: catch up to Android where we are behind (notifications, tethering, speech, …) and leapfrog them (Siri, …)
– Timeline of iOS releases from first until Telluride, including Verizon
– Jasper tent poles
– Durango tent poles (without MobileMe)
– Telluride tent poles (with “catch up” and “leapfrog” notations on each one)
– Jasper: AirPlay to AppleTV – video from iPad, photos from iPhone, ??
– Durango: ?? (without MobileMe features)
– Telluride: Siri, ?
6. MobileMe – Cue, SJ, Roger Rosner
– Strategy: catch up to Google cloud services and leapfrog them (Photo Stream, cloud storage)
– Android
– deeply integrates Google cloud services
– way ahead of Apple in cloud services for contacts, calendars, mail
– 2011
– Apple’s year of the cloud
– tie all of our products together
– make Apple ecosystem even more sticky
– Free MobileMe for iPhone 4, iPad and new iPod touch
– Jasper – Sign up with Apple ID, Find My iPhone
– Durango
– Find My Friends, Calendar, Contacts, Bookmarks, Photo Stream
– April
– iWork cloud storage
– Telluride
– cloud storage for third party apps
– iOS backup
– new iDisk for Mac
– Growth
– projected growth, cost/user
– plan to scale to 100 million users
– transition plan for paid members
– what about email?
– Find My Friends
– Calendar
– Photo Stream
– iWork cloud storage (Roger Rosner)
7. Mac – David Moody, Bob, Craig Federigi, Randy Ubilos & ?
– Hardware roadmap
– Lion plan
– Mac App Store
– Final Cut Pro DEMO (Randy & ?)
8. Apple TV 2- David Moody, Jeff Robbin
– Strategy: stay in the living room game and make a great “must have” accessory for iOS devices
– sales so far, projections for this holiday season
– add content:- NBC, CBS, Viacom, HBO, …
– TV subscription?
– where do we go from here?
– apps, browser, magic wand?
9. Stores Update – Eddy, Patrice
– Music
– Strategy: Leap even further ahead of Google in music
– Beatles
– iTunes in the cloud
– App Store
– Strategy: Leap even further ahead of Google in discovering great new iOS apps
10. iAds Update – Andy Miller
11. Retail Update – Ron Johnson

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Edward W.” for the heads up.]


    1. Of course, he was. As I wrote at the time of Retine iPad and iPhone 5 debuts, Jobs not only oversaw but actually used both of those devices (though not in the very final technical rendition).

  1. I’m sure Steve Jobs envisioned in his mind’s eye the continuance of iOS 6 in its substantially unaltered form into the foreseeable future.

    That is until two idiots by the name of Cook & Ive got it into their heads to come out with the hideous iOS 7.

    I’m sure if Steve saw iOS 7, he would stomped Ive’s numbskull into a thousand pieces of powdery dust.

    1. What IOS6 looks dated now and really does not look suited to the new Apple Hardware.

      I dont know why you dont get over it, if your not happy switch to Android!!!! I am sure it is suitable for you with its fisher price interface

    2. I agree. Guessing Steve would have stopped the visual abomination of iOS7 in a heartbeat.

      He would have ordered it a step forward in look, feel and functionality.

      Not two steps back to crayons, colors, cartoons and childish clip art.

      Representative art never misleads and classic art/design stands the test of time …

      1. Agreed that Steve would have retained Forstall and his sk. ideas, and would have left Ive alone to toy with his milling machines. In the event, IOS 7 might have turned out to be a more fierce version of iOS 6 with icons leaping off the screen at you. I still think the green felt was unbearable, though.

        Sk. design is not abolished in iOS 7, for I observe fine detail in the gears of the Settings app and the radar sweep of the Find My iPhone app. Were it not for such familiar distinctions, I believe many of us would feel lost in a sea of abstractions — not a drawback at an art museum, but befuddling when presented as a navigation panel.

        1. i agree entirely, although there is little enough to be done about it now. it kinda makes me think about the beginning of butch cassidy, when he and sundance walked into a heavily fortified bank and asked what happened to the beautiful old bank that once stood there. the guard answered “they tore it down, people kept robbing it” and butch replied “thats a small price to pay for beauty”

          aesthetics count. ios 6 was flat out pleasing to the eye, with a fullness, roundness and richness that was inviting and engaging.

          ios7 is lifeless, flat and cardboardy, while certainly functional, it leaves me cold and unengaged. kind of like the difference between craftsman architecture and bauhaus, it may be a move forward, but it aint progress.

          maybe it is just a generational thing, but to use a perhaps impoverished analogy, that while recognizing the genius of each, i would much prefer to gaze upon a painting by monet or renoir than dekooning or pollack.

          so, being the anachronism that i am, i stick with 6, and leave 7 to you who prefer it.

          1. It has taken me a while to get used to the visuals of iOS7, however because of the function of iOS7 I have not looked back. A much better operating system from the function side, even is I’m not to hot on the form.

        2. Agree with you on several observations.

          I too wonder if Scott was shown the door because his next level in Steve inspired icon design was simply too much for the newly installed haughty Apple leadership.

          3D, motion or some other evolving design would certainly stand out in a crowded field and move the Apple needle forward.

          Losing recognizable icons that kids and grandparents alike understand is inexcusable. As you pointed out, navigation for the hoi polloi trumps a VIP modern art exhibit any day of the week.

          An e-mail coupon inspired me to stop in a T-Mobile store recently in a large NE city. The manager told me, whether accurate or blown smoke, 95% of iPhone users coming into the store complained about iOS7.

          Said many customers switched to a larger Samsung phone and the takeaway was Apple is stagnant. Noticed all the employees were sporting large screen Samsung phones. Also, sorry to say was shown several Android software features were clearly ahead of Apple.

          Regarding your disdain of green felt. Respect your opinion, but no different from wood or leather iOS6 designs that many, to my amazement, have found reprehensible.

          Weekend past shot pool on a newly installed pristine green felt table with fellow members at the Slovak Club. Weekend coming up, more green felt card games at the local Mohegan Sun Casino.

          Love it … 🙂

  2. Best response to this email is from John Gruber himself;

    “Fascinating email from Jobs to Phil Schiller, entered as evidence in the latest round of the Apple/Samsung patent trial. Makes me wonder, again, whether this legal fight is worth it for Apple. Far more of Apple’s internal dynamics have been revealed through this lawsuit than through unauthorized leaks in the past few years.

    It does go to show, though, that Steve Jobs was keenly aware of Apple’s competitive shortcomings. They never show it in public, which leads some to perceive the company as more arrogant than it actually is, and perhaps even out of touch”

    1. Nothing dangerous in this electronic mail. The secret item list of it was called “CONFIDENTIAL” by Jobs, so neither public nor anyone else knows what that was about. Everything else is not a huge revelation.

    2. Adolf Hitler thought that if you tell a lie loud enough and forcefully enough, people will believe it. Samsung is spending huge sums to repeatedly tell their version of ‘truth’ and people are believing it. Should Apple just cave in and allow this lie or resist and fight for justice? Justice is the only way to right the wrongs of this world no matter the cost. Let them take the truth from you and the world sinks into chaos.

    1. Yeah, but nothing was surprising in it. Anything shown (other than Confidential stuff) was all just logical forward thinking management. The only company the goals would look impossibly forward thinking to would be Microsoft.

    1. I think you fail to recognize the term ‘Holy’. That implies doing the right and just thing. Vengeance and poaching are not ‘just’ responses. The courts are the place to fight for JUSTICE.

    – cost goal
    – show model (and/or renderings) – Jony
    I would say the “CONFIDENTIAL” item is just iPhone 6.
    Don’t want to give the name away. 😉
    Shows how far ahead they are always planning.

  4. How did an email of undefined, hanging possible discussion points become the “final strategy”? Especially when the author of such states the content as his, “current cut.”

    Has anyone here ever seen or read, let alone written a real Marketing Plan?

  5. Thoughts:
    – ‘Holy War’? Seriously? That phrase is well beyond emotional into the realm of the ridiculous. Disappointing.
    – Clearly the real competitor with Apple is Google. Google enables Samsung’s abuse of Apple IP. Samsung follows along.
    – “innovator’s dilemma”: Excellent insight.
    – “create low cost iPhone model based on iPod touch to replace 3GS” – Apparently that was the 5c.
    – “Mac App Store”: Why wasn’t the ‘App Store’ application ever finished? It remains clunky and half-baked. I hate it. People rant about the iTunes application. But here’s the real POS. Shameful.
    – “Lion plan”: If only the 10.7 Lion Finder had been finished. Like the App Store application, it’s clunky and half-baked. Shameful.
    – “Durango”? I assume that was iCloud’s code name?

    You can tell that Steve Jobs loved his work and was great at it. What a brain. What a legacy.

    1. Where do you live? I need your address. I want to come over to your place and steal anything of yours that is worth stealing.

      Betcha you would try to get your goodies back any way you could.

      1. Problem is, not much was stolen. As we are finding out, most “inventions” have not made the patent cut. Granted the whole concept of the iPhone was copied but that was to be expected. The bottom line after all these years is Apple may get nothing for the battle they are fighting. It seems a terrible waste.

  6. This email proves that Steve Jobs was always pushing for apple to leap frog the competitors iOS 7 would have been different then now cause it is too much like android

  7. So Steve was not against a cheaper version of the iPhone.

    See the above note: “create low cost iPhone model based on iPod touch to replace 3GS”. If ever there is your answer to all the poorer countries lacking an affordable iPhone.

    1. Yes, I noticed that too. Hope the execs at Apple re-read this for some insight. I don’t think the 5c went far enough into that category price wise.

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