Gawker Media vs Steve Jobs in Email Flame War


We all know that Steve Jobs is unlike any corporate CEO. He’s willing to go ‘tit for tat’ with customers that email him about issues or concerns. Steve also is pretty clear that he doesn’t like Adobe’s Flash plugin.

When Gawker’s Ryan Tate decided to email Jobs after the latest iPad commercial irritated him. What followed was a heated email exchange with Jobs delivering the final blow to the jugular:

“By the way, what have you done that’s so great? Do you create anything, or just criticize others work and belittle their motivations?

You can read the entire email exchange below:

I don’t understand why people get so passionate about questioning Apple and their vision. Their products make life easier for the end user, albeit they love to control every single aspect of the device you’re using. For some people, like myself, I’m fine with this. Sure, I have my gripes about the lack of control at times, but overall I don’t lose any sleep over it.

I’m happy to give up some control if that means my devices will work and I don’t have to bother with troubleshooting and other technical details. I already had my fun toying around and tinkering with building my own PC years ago. Today, I just don’t have time to deal with PC issues anymore. This is why I enjoy using my Apple products. For people who don’t like the way Apple controls its products–don’t buy them. There are lots of alternatives out there like Android.

What do you think about the above email exchange? I’m surprised Steve wrote so much this time!

[9to5Mac via Gawker]


  • Gary, I couldn't agree more. No one is being forced into developing for the iPad. If you don't want to be part of the iPad “revolution” then don't! Just do everyone a favor and shut the fuck about it. I don't always agree with Steve's decisions, but I do understand his reasoning. Security, efficiency and “control” in the sense of ensuring that apps actually work and don't infringe on our privacy. These are all reasonable things to want. As far as the whole Adobe fiasco goes. Good for Apple. I have nothing against Adobe, I use CS4 every single day for work. What I do have a problem with is the fact that Adobe is trying to own the moral high ground on this issue and it's a joke. FLASH has been broken for a long time. It's crap and I refuse to use it when building a site.

    As far as program development is concerned, why are you people using FLASH in the first place? The Cocoa framework is almost a mirror image of Actionscript classes / components anyway! The underlying language for Cocoa is actually Objective-C and objective-C is a lot like Actionscript, the major difference being how methods are written and called. Any experienced coder should be able to make the adjustment in a few days. Or, are you all just that lazy?

    I switched to Mac 2 years ago. It was the best decision I ever made. When I do have to RDP into my windows machine to create an invoice, I cringe. (Quickbooks Canada doesn't play nice with Apple… Fools.)

    Microsoft is what happens when an Operating System loses control. If Apple starts to “play nice” with everyone that wants to create an app; Well, if that happens, we may as well switch back to Windows and a Dell; and be damn sure that we've enabled daily system backups and a backup of that backup. Oh, and don't forget the anti-virus, spyware scanner and registry editor.

    Those of you running a PC with Windows that are thinking of commenting on this. If you haven't run OS X as your main OS for at least one week. Save yourself the embarrassment of defending Microsoft.

  • Just my opinion…

    Apple is perceived as a big company. They are the #1 seller of personal music devices. Most of their products have high profiles. And Apple has a loyal, sometimes fanatical, customer and fan base. Plus their CEO is… well… one of the most vocal that are out there right now.

    Add that all up, and you get the perception that Apple threatens something in someone's lives. Is it warranted? Not really. Revenue wise and such, Apple really isn't that big. But they do a very good job making a name for themselves and it will have consequences.

    Again, just my opinion

  • Steve Jobs also shouldn't make a habit of sparring with the media like that. It's going to hurt his, and Apple's, image.

  • Yup, I'm with ya on the fact that Apple isn't that “big”–just look at their smartphone share and Adobe's uphill battle in trying to force Apple's hand to loosen up.

    What's the worst thing you think will happen to Apple?

  • I agree it's a small minority that critiques and dissects the decisions Apple makes, just because they can. Take the iPad for example. People hate on it, but what is the next best thing out there right now? The Joojoo or an Android tablet that is bulky and slow?

    These companies need to start innovating instead of copying. Once they achieve that I'd be interested in what they have to offer. But for now Apple does what no other company can do and that is make well designed and constructed devices with software that is intuitive and just “works”.

  • Jeff S

    Wait Gary your last 2 paragraphs do not make any sense. Do you use a unlocked/jail broken iPhone? If by your reporting here I would of thought that you don't like how Apple controls the apps and its devices and the software on them.

  • Good catch! In my opinion, Apple is looking out for the 98% of the population that are generally ignorant when it comes to the security of their computers or mobile devices.

    Personally, I think that Jailbreaking has become a necessary evil while Apple masters the iPhone OS. With the introduction of OS 4.0 I'm confident that many Jailbreakers will revert to OS 4.0 without the Jailbreak.

    I have been running a clean 3.1.3 for a few months and I don't miss the Jailbreak at all, especially knowing that most of what I do miss will arrive with the 4.0 release.

    I think some people are failing to realize that this is new territory for Apple and the world for that matter. What they've accomplished in such a short period of time is unprecedented and mistakes will be made. We also have to recognize that certain app restrictions have a lot to do with the carriers – Skype is a perfect example. I'm sure Apple wouldn't care if we used Skype over 3G. Rogers on the other hand…

  • Zeke2d

    I agree about how Apple's devices “just works” but the problem is if they make it just works, it means they have to limit the amount of things you can do on it, the more things you can do on a device, the more problems arise. This is good for people who don't like using computers or don't know how, because they don't have to worry about anything much, Apple devices just does everything for them. For the rest of us geeks out there, I for one, extremely dislike Apple's control freak tendencies, I understand that Apple wants to keep their devices simple, but you have to sacrifice functionality for simplicity. I just wish Apple would give us options, because they just make all decisions for you. An example would be multitasking on OS 4.0, it is VERY possible to multitask on an iPhone 3G or an iPod Touch 2G, it works fine but probably not as good as on the 3GS. Why can't Apple allow multitasking on older iPhones and iPod Touches but give a warning message saying something about how multitasking will work, but may lag if you open too many apps or something, or use at your own risk? If you tell your iPhone to do something, it will do that task, clean your room, and make you dinner, but most of the time, that isn't what I want.

  • About the control part, it was of a point related to how the App Store is regulated, iPhone OS, and OSX–just Apple in general. Like I said, the control aspect may initially be limiting but in the overall scheme of things it results in a better overall experience for the majority of users who don't care about jailbreaking. Like Chris said, 4.0 will bring a lot of features people have been waiting for.

  • Except ipad tethering

  • MyWi FTW. Problem solved.

  • Exactly. Required jailbroken device, which is one big reason to still
    JB an iPhone, 4.0 or not.

  • If using 3G data is something you want to do on your iPad shouldn't you buy an iPad 3G?

    The jailbreak is really just a way to cheat the system, not that there's anything wrong with that. However, it reiterates the fact that most people with jailbroken devices are doing something on the device that it's not supposed to be doing.

    I'm not saying I agree with the lack of tethering support on the WiFi version, but from Apple's perspective, just like programmers who aren't happy with the restrictions, they are there for a reason. Another thing to note is that Apple products are, by far, the most expensive products on the market. If we want 3Ayer should pay the $ and buy the product that supports it.

  • I have no problem using a 3G iPad but I have a HUGE problem paying
    Rogers even one more penny to use data on an iPad.

    I, like millions of Canadians, already have a suitable data plan and
    we should be able to use that to power our iPad and iPhone.

    To hell with paying Rogers MORE for getting the same or lesser
    services. Jailbreaking my iPhone so that I can maximize my data plan
    is genius. One fee, two devices and the consumer wins.

    Why pay more when you don't have to?

  • xxjdxx

    I think I'll be going with an Android device next.

  • Full_Moto_Jacket

    Funny how Stevo uses the “think of the children!” gambit vis a vis porn, yet he denied his daughter was his, and refused to support her for years. His argument is disingenuous, and convenient at best.

  • The worst thing is that media attention will turn negative (and Apple has it's share of issues, like it's tightly controlled environment, the fact it runs an OS that won't allow you to run the majority of software out there (it's a Windows world and all that), etc.), which will hurt sales, which will hurt the bottom line, which will… etc. Want to go back to Apple in the 80s where they were so down in the dumps that Michael Dell suggested Apple shut down and refund the investors their money? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • You're totally right about paying Rogers for another data plan. We are being taken advantage of by the phone companies, but that doesn't make what we're doing right.

    There are many things I don't agree with, like like bandwidth limitations on home Internet service, or throttling torrents. Especially when i pay over $100 a month for Internet at home. Reality is, even though we are being taken for a ride in the grand scheme of things, we aren't being forced to use Rogers or any other company for that matter. In Canada, unfortunately, this is just the way it is and unless every single customer unifies and refuses to over pay for services we will always be the ones in wrong.

  • True, but there are always other ways and jailbreaking is one of those ways!

  • Xaroc

    I agree with Jobs. I'm sure a lot of people do. I'm not going to lay icing on the cake here… Yeah porn is nice somtimes but I agree with keeping the iPhone clean n pure. There is a time n place for everything. Porn on the go isn't one of those things lol.

    I'd say half my co-workers kids got iPod touchs for birthdays and Christmas. If it was tainted with word of mouth of a great mobile porn device with a maxim mag app half those kids wouldn't get those iPods anymore.

    I'm not one of those people who eats out of jobs hand, but the way he's controlling his business I agree with. I would run mine with force, and run forward, pushing everything in my path to the ground too. Its business, don't like it, to bad :P. Android will be happy to have you. ^_^

  • I do find it interesting how the App Store is infested with softcore bikini apps etc though. Any kid can stumble upon that. Parental controls ftw

  • Xaroc

    Agreed on the parental controls. Lots of the bikini apps went away last month or so. On the other side of parental controls are the parents themselves, got to hit your kids somtimes lol

  • LOL! kids certainly are raised differently today eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • twilcox

    It's too bad Apple's holding a gun to your head and forcing you to use an iPhone.

  • djepsilon

    I don't understand why Adobe doesn't just invest in the future and start making development tools for HTML5 themselves. Hell, they could even build their own software specifically for iPad and iPhone authoring! They already have like a billion programs in their Master Suite anyway so what's a couple more? Then it will be up to the programmers to decide and ultimately the best platform will win. Problem solved.

    And isn't software where adobe makes its money anyway? If the world chose HTML5, would it really break the Adobe bank?

    I personally side completely with Jobs. It's HIS company and he can run it whatever way he chooses too. Given his track record, I would definitely trust the vision and forward thinking of a billionaire over what Ryan Tate thinks. Exactly what Steve said…if you don't like it, just don't buy or develop on Apple products. Case and point with Rogers too.

  • KitC

    You want porn on your ipad, you can load it on yourself, you just can't buy it from Apple. What's the big deal? They don't want to sell porn.

    As for the obsessive control, it would seem that Mr Jobs has a specific and unusual vision for his products that he is doing everything he can to pursue and it would appear he is successful. Since I switched over from PC to Mac, my professional and creative life have flourished, due in no small part to the way in which Macs differ from other computers (I'm a filmmaker). I enjoy using their products far more than any others and I really appreciate how I have been liberated from many daily frustrations which used to bog me down and waste my energy.

    I don't feel any special loyalty to Apple. I continually look at what else is out there, and when something that works better for me comes along, I'll happily use it.

    But for me, Apple's interfaces, starting with OS X, then the ipod, then iphone, and now the ipad, make me excited to use them. And because they don't cater to a latent tendency I have to tinker pointlessly with things that have too many options, they impell me to get on with my real work when I'm working, and allow me to enjoy content and games more when I'm relaxing.

    In principle I'm opposed to “loss of freedom”, but the actual net effect of Apple's approach has been to liberate me where it matters to me, rather than bog me down in choices and routines I'd rather not spend my time on.

    All of these devices are tools, and I like how solid, well thought-out, and all-of-a-piece they feel when I use them.

    I know the above probably sounds like fanboy drivel, and I am slightly embarrassed to write it, but it's true.

  • Shawn F

    Porn is WRONG, keeping it OFF the iDevices is RIGHT.
    Way to go Apple, keep fighting to good fight!

  • Rizulli

    I can see where Apple (i.e. Jobs) is coming from. He wants to make sure that the user experience with the iPhone/iPod Touch is the best that it can be (minimal crashes, fast response times, and good battery life). They do this by requiring apps to be authorized, and while it is occasionally irritating (i.e. WiFi Sync) I don't mind the restrictions that allow me to to have the best user experience out of all the smartphones I have seen. Once OS 4.0 is released 99% of all my issues will be dealt with. If Mobile Me becomes free the last 1% will be removed as well.

    As for porn, I don't want a porn app on my iPhone anyway, and as it can access the internet I have access just as much porn on my iPhone as I can on my computer. Most sites even have a iPhone friendly movie section.

  • Rizulli

    I can see where Apple (i.e. Jobs) is coming from. He wants to make sure that the user experience with the iPhone/iPod Touch is the best that it can be (minimal crashes, fast response times, and good battery life). They do this by requiring apps to be authorized, and while it is occasionally irritating (i.e. WiFi Sync) I don't mind the restrictions that allow me to to have the best user experience out of all the smartphones I have seen. Once OS 4.0 is released 99% of all my issues will be dealt with. If Mobile Me becomes free the last 1% will be removed as well.

    As for porn, I don't want a porn app on my iPhone anyway, and as it can access the internet I have access just as much porn on my iPhone as I can on my computer. Most sites even have a iPhone friendly movie section.