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Quotations from Chairman Steve

A mosaic of Apple leader Steve Jobs' on-the-record opinions and musings

By , Network World
August 25, 2011 12:49 PM ET
Steve Jobs

Network World - Apple's former CEO, and now chairman, Steve Jobs does not think in sound bites. Reading through the wealth of interviews in his career, one is conscious of a mind working through both questions and answers, and taking little for granted.

Herewith, a collection of the on-the-record ruminations of now Chairman Steve on Apple's core talents, being fired, the new CEO, music, optimism, technology, death and more. (Links to the sources are at the end.)

Steve Jobs in pictures

On Apple's core talents and future products

Apple has a core set of talents, and those talents are: We do, I think, very good hardware design; we do very good industrial design; and we write very good system and application software. And we're really good at packaging that all together into a product. We're the only people left in the computer industry that do that. And we're really the only people in the consumer-electronics industry that go deep in software in consumer products. So those talents can be used to make personal computers, and they can also be used to make things like iPods. And we're doing both, and we'll find out what the future holds. -- Rolling Stone, 2003

On Tim Cook, now Apple's CEO per Jobs' recommendation

Not everyone knows it, but three months after I came back to Apple, my chief operating guy quit. I couldn't find anyone internally or elsewhere that knew as much as he did, or as I did. So I did that job for nine months before I found someone I saw eye-to-eye with, and that was Tim Cook. And he has been here ever since. -- Businessweek, 2004

BACKGROUND: Steve Jobs: "I hereby resign as CEO of Apple"

On being a Silicon Valley celebrity

I think of it as my well-known twin brother. It's not me. Because otherwise, you go crazy. You read some negative article some idiot writes about you -- you just can't take it too personally. But then that teaches you not to take the really great ones too personally either. People like symbols, and they write about symbols. -- Rolling Stone, 1994

On "design"

Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn't what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked. To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really grok what it's all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don't take the time to do that. -- Wired, February 1996

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On buying washers and dryers

We spent some time in our family talking about what's the trade-off we want to make. We ended up talking a lot about design, but also about the values of our family. Did we care most about getting our wash done in an hour versus an hour and a half? Or did we care most about our clothes feeling really soft and lasting longer? Did we care about using a quarter of the water? We spent about two weeks talking about this every night at the dinner table. We'd get around to that old washer-dryer discussion. And the talk was about design.

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