time interview with steve jobs

May 01, 2003



there’s a great interview with steve jobs over at time.com, about the new itunes music store. what’s great is that jobs seems like a kid when he’s talking about technology, especially apple technology. even though he typically says “this is so cool” or “omg, check this out” in his keynotes, i especially enjoyed this interview. even if you have your issues with jobs and apple, you have to respect someone who says:

"Downloading sucks on [listen.com's] service! You download a track and you can't burn it to a CD without paying them more money - you can't put it on your MP3 player, you can't put it on multiple computers - it sucks! So of course nobody downloads! You pay extra to download even on top of subscription fees. No wonder they have hardly any download traffic - they hardly even have any subscribers!"

my personal favorite quote, though, is what jobs says in response to “Can you say anything about [Music Store’s] development costs or Apple’s investment?”

"I had somebody comment today, "Now that you have introduced your store, do you expect a lot others?" And I guess our answer is no. This is really hard. Over the last several years we've created an infrastructure to pump oceans of bits out in the world for movie trailers and stuff, and that's tens of millions of dollars for server farms and networking farms - it's huge - and we've already got that in place. And to have millions of transactions, and to get our online store all tied into SAP and have the auditors bless it, that's tens of millions of dollars. We have one-click shopping, only us and Amazon have that, and then to make a jukebox - how much does it cost to make iTunes and make it popular? A lot! But we've got that. And then iPod, if you want to make an iPod, what does that cost? Well, nobody has done it but us, people have tried, but they haven't even come close. That's a lot of money. So we've already made these investments and we can leverage them. And then we've invested more on top of that to make a store. But to recreate this, it's tens of millions of dollars and years. That's why I don't think this is going to be so easy to copy."