July 10, 2013

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Update: Apple provided a comment to AllThingsD and confirmed it will appeal the decision:

“Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing and we will continue to fight against these false accusations. When we introduced the iBookstore in 2010, we gave customers more choice, injecting much needed innovation and competition into the market, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. We’ve done nothing wrong and we will appeal the judge’s decision.”

Reuters reports that a judge just ruled that Apple conspired to raise the retail prices of e-books and said a trial for damages will soon follow:

The decision by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote[pictured, right] in Manhattan is a victory for the U.S. government and various states, which the judge said are entitled to injunctive relief. The publishers have already settled with the federal government on e-book pricing. Cote ruled after a non-jury trial that ended on June 20.

Apple warned that a guilty verdict in its e-book price-fixing case could have a negative impact on how digital media deals are negotiated in the US and Apple CEO Tim Cook even called the suit ‘bizarre’:

The e-book case to me is bizarre. We’ve done nothing wrong there, and so we’re taking a very principled position. … We’re not going to sign something that says we did something we didn’t do. … So we’re going to fight.

The DOJ had argued that Apple had conspired to raise prices with all of the publishers and hurt rival Amazon.

Interestingly, according to the NYTimes, one of the most damning pieces of evidence in the government’s case is the video below of Steve Jobs talking with Walt Mossberg. Per Daring Fireball: Mossberg asks Jobs why someone would buy a book for $14.99 from the iBookstore when they could buy the same book from Amazon for $9.99.

Jobs: Well, that won’t be the case.

Mossberg: Meaning you won’t be $14.99, or they won’t be $9.99?

Jobs (smiling): The prices will be the same.

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June 17, 2013

The paperback edition of Steve Jobs: A Biography will be available on September 10th, featuring a younger Steve on the cover and a new afterword, reports AllThingsD.

The photo used on the hardback, taken by Albert Watson in 2006, was based on the pose of the much earlier photo used on the paperback, taken by Norman Seeff in 1984 – the year the Macintosh was launched. Steeff also took the famous photo of Jobs posing with that Mac, which Time used as its cover photo for its commemorative issue shortly after his death …

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June 3, 2013

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Apple will today defend itself in a Manhattan court against a Department of Justice case accusing it of leading a cartel designed to force up prices of ebooks, Tim Cook having recently told the AllThingsD D11 conference that the case against it was “bizarre.”

The e-book case to me is bizarre. We’ve done nothing wrong there, and so we’re taking a very principled position. … We’re not going to sign something that says we did something we didn’t do. … So we’re going to fight.

At first blush, it does seem bizarre that Apple could be accused of leading a cartel in a market largely controlled by Amazon, but the claim here is that five leading publishers used their dominant position to force up prices – and that Apple put them up to it.

We tend to agree with AllThingsD that it’s tough to see how Apple can win the case when all five of its alleged ‘fellow cartel members’ have already held up their hands and settled with the DOJ, and where there is a clear paper-trail showing that Steve Jobs was instrumental in leading the changes that led to the price-fixing allegations …  expand full story

May 27, 2013

May 13, 2013

Bill Gates talks emotionally about his last visit with Steve Jobs [Video]

We’ve heard Bill Gates talk about his last, emotional meeting with Steve Jobs before. First in the Walter Isaacson Steve Jobs bio and then again in a video interview with ABC, but last night Gates once again discussed the final meeting in an interview with 60 Minutes (above). Gates talks about Steve’s sense of design despite very limited engineering background, his “intuitive sense for marketing that was amazing,” and his emotional last meeting where the two discussed a number of topics including products, family, and the yacht Steve was having a built at the time.

“He showed me the boat he was working on and talked about how he’s looking forward to being on it,” Gates told 60 Minutes, “even though we both knew there was a good chance that wouldn’t happen.”

March 25, 2013

Preview the first chapter of the official Steve Jobs manga series available today

An officially licensed Steve Jobs manga comic series from artist Mari Yamazaki is set to hit shelves today as part of the May issue of comic anthology Kiss, and now a preview of the first chapter has made its way online. Crunchyroll.com pointed us to the preview of the series based on Walter Isaacson’s Jobs biography now available on Yahoo Japan. It can also be viewed below:

February 20, 2013

Apple chairman Arthur D. Levinson talks Steve Jobs, life at Apple since his passing, and board’s role to ‘hire and fire the CEO’

Apple chairman Arthur D. Levinson spoke at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business on Tuesday, where he notably talked about running the company’s board of directors and Steve Jobs, according to a report by Fortune.

The chairman answered questions from the audience and university students while on stage and described how Jobs’ death has affected him to the point where he has yet to even finish reading Walter Isaacson’s biography on the late CEO: “I’m still not to the point where I walk into that board room and don’t miss Steve. He was a one of a kind guy… The Steve Jobs that was in the public eye was not, for the most part, the Steve Jobs that I knew.”

https://twitter.com/stnfrdleadrship/status/304306519728603136

Levinson called Jobs “extremely, poorly understood” and mentioned that life at the company has been “weird” ever since Jobs died 16 months ago, but he seemed confident in Apple and long-term goals: “There [are] long-term signs of how a company is doing and whether or not Apple sells 47 or 48 million iPhones—let somebody else worry about that.”

As for how heavily the board influences such long-term goals, Levinson clarified he and the board sometimes preview products 6 to 18 months before launch. However, it does not focus on reviewing the products: “The board is not there to define product specs. It’s there as a sounding board. It’s there as a resource,” he said. “And ultimately, the board is there to hire and fire the CEO.”

January 3, 2013

Open Road Films and Five Star Feature films announce ‘jOBS’ will release in April 2013

Sundance Film Festival announced in December that the Steve Jobs biopic, titled “jOBS”, starring famed actor Ashton Kutcher, would première at the 2013 festival this January and launch in theaters just two months later, but now the filmmakers have revealed a April 2013 release date.

Five Star Feature Film has partnered with Open Road Films to distribute the film in the United States. As MovieWeb.com reported, Open Roads Film CEO Tom Ortenberg and Five Star Feature Films’ Mark Hulme announced the deal via a press release.

Hulme noted that his company “set out to find the perfect partners to present ‘jOBS’ to audiences worldwide,” and he said it found one with Open Road. Joshua Michael Stern directs the film, which Matthew Whitely wrote and Hulme produced, and it stars Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Lukas Haas, Josh Gad, J.K. Simmons, Matthew Modine, and more.

The biopic is not related to Sony’s film based on Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs” biography, but it notably features scenes shot in the historic garage where Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple and Jobs’ childhood Los Altos home.

Get the full press release below.

December 24, 2012

Impounded Steve Jobs yacht free to sail after dispute is temporarily resolved

After the yacht Steve Jobs commissioned was impounded in Amsterdam over a payment dispute with designer Phillipe Starck earlier this month, it has been released today. AFP reported that Steve Jobs’ estate paid the designer to release it, but no specific amount was detailed.

Starck originally sought an unpaid 3 million euro of the 9 million euro that he claimed he was entitled to for his work. He was holding the ship, named “Venus”, until the money was received, but it’s not clear if it was the full $3 million euros. The dispute occurred because Jobs and Starck had no formal contract to detail how much would be paid, as the two had a mutual trust between each other.

The 105 million euro ship was designed by Steve Jobms and set sail after his death. It is currently ported in Amsterdam and awaiting a voyage to the United States, so Laurene Powell Jobs and her family can enjoy it. In the “Steve Jobs” biography by Walter Isaacson, he called the ship “sleek and minimalist” with a control panel made up of non-other than seven iMacs.

December 3, 2012

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Sundance Film Festival announced this afternoon that the Steve Jobs biopic, titled “jOBS”, starring famed-actor Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs, would premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival this January.

As we previously covered, the biopic will look at the early founding and 30 years of Apple, while centered on the late co-founder Steve Jobs. Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak will make an appearance in the film, played by Josh Gad, and former CEO and cofounder John Sculley will make an appearance, played by Matthew Modine. Scenes in the movie were also filmed in the “historic garage” where Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple. The film’s early scenes will even feature Jobs’ Los Altos home where he grew up to maintain “accuracy and authenticity” during the movie-making process, as the film makers revealed in the summer.

The 2013 Sundance Film Festival will run from Jan. 17 to Jan. 27, and “jOBS” will get the honor of being the festival’s closing film on Jan. 27, as Hollywood Reporter first noted. It is not clear whether it will air thus after.

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November 6, 2012

Pixar names its main studio building after Steve Jobs

As noted by the PixarTimes, a Pixar employee tweeted the photo above showing what is apparently the entrance to the main building on Pixar’s campus newly named in memory of Steve Jobs. Jobs actually played a big role in designing the building itself as CEO of Pixar, as recently noted in the Walter Isaacson “Steve Jobs” biography. Pixar recently honored Jobs for his contributions to the company in the end credits of its latest animated film “Brave”, but the naming of the building is obviously a more permanent tribute to the man who helped form the company. OfficeSnapshots has a good account of Jobs’ role in creating the main Pixar building, much of which is found in the biography (excerpt below):

According to Jobs’ recent biography, the headquarters was to be a place that “promoted encounters and unplanned collaborations.”… Jobs also strived for a campus that stood the test of time. Tom Carlisle, Pixar’s facilities director adds that, ”He didn’t want a standard office-park building—one with corrugated-metal siding or ribbon windows. The building had to look good 100 years from now. That was his main criterion.”

Pixar’s campus design originally separated different employee disciplines into different buildings – one for computer scientists, another for animators, and a third building for everybody else. But because Jobs was fanatic about these unplanned collaborations, he envisioned a campus where these encounters could take place, and his design included a great atrium space that acts as a central hub for the campus.

Brad Bird, director of The Incredible and Ratatouille, said of the space, “The atrium initially might seem like a waste of space…But Steve realized that when people run into each other, when they make eye contact, things happen.”

And did it work? “Steve’s theory worked from day one,” said John Lasseter, Pixar’s chief creative officer “…I’ve never seen a building that promoted collaboration and creativity as well as this one.”

[tweet http://twitter.com/ijunns/status/265678354794037249/photo/1]

October 16, 2012

One of the last questions in the debate concerned how to bring Apple’s manufacturing jobs ‘back’ to the United States.

Mitt Romney went first and said China is stealing intellectual property, designs, cheating on currency, hacking into computers, and isn’t playing fair to U.S. workers: “We can compete with anyone in the world as long as the playing field is level.”

Obama went second and said the U.S. doesn’t necessarily want the low-skill, low-wage jobs and education and skills will bring higher-paying jobs home: “There are some jobs that are not going to come back. […] I want high-wage, high-skill jobs. That’s why we have to invest in advanced manufacturing […] make sure that we have the best science and research in the world.”

And the President should know: Steve Jobs told Obama in February 2011, according to Walter Isaacson, “If you could educate these [30,000] engineers, we could move more manufacturing plants here.”

The New York Times dived deep on this and probably has better answers than either politician.

[UPDATED with full transcript below]

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October 2, 2012

Update: Earlier this week we shared the full hour-long Steve Jobs speech from the 1983 International Design Conference in Aspen. At the time, we mentioned John Celuch of Inland Design, who provided the recording to LifeLibertyTech, actually met Jobs at the conference. John apparently approached Jobs at the conference in order to obtain an item to place in a time capsule. Today, LifeLibertyTech posted the full story, revealing Jobs gave John the mouse from the Apple Lisa he was using to control a 6 projector setup during the conference. The time capsule is still unrecovered (and possibly lost), but there is an effort to find it underway.

We posted a link to a rare audio recording in August of Steve Jobs speaking at the 1983 International Design Conference in Aspen. A roughly 20-minute audio recording of Jobs’ speech was available from the Center for Design Innovation’s website. In the recording, Jobs predicted the explosion of the personal computer market, the need for better product designers, and the MIT project that would eventually contribute to Google’s StreetView. While we did not realize at the time, it turns out the audio recording is closer to an hour in length and includes a Q&A discussion following Jobs’ 20-minute prepared speech.

It turns out attendees were given cassette recordings from the conference. LifeLibertyTech.com got its hands on the full audio recording and shared it with 9to5Mac. The image above is courtesy of Arthur Boden, who also attended the conference, and it appears to be the only floating around of Steve Jobs speaking at the conference in 1983. During the previously unheard Q&A, when asked about voice recognition, Jobs talked about the difficulties of the technology, saying, “This stuff is hard.” He noted it is likely close to a decade away from reality. He also talks about wanting to get a computer like Lisa, which cost close to $10,000 at the time, into a book design for under $1,000 within 5 years to 7 years.

Other topics include: home networking, which Jobs correctly predicts was about 10 years away, Jobs’ vision of future pocket-size computers, and typefaces and graphic design.

Unfortunately, many of the questions are hard to make out, but you can mostly tell from Jobs’ answers what the topic of conversation is. The man who provided the audio recording to LifeLibertyTech, John Celuch of Inland Design, apparently met Jobs at the conference:

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August 31, 2012

Reuters: Apple and publishers offer ‘concessions’ to end EU antitrust investigation on eBook price-fixing

Apple and four major publishers are reportedly trying to end the EU antitrust investigation against them and avoid subsequent fines by letting retailers, such as Amazon, sell eBooks at a markdown for two years.

According to Reuters, the investigation launched in December due to concerns that Apple’s pricing agreements with publishers restricted competition in Europe. Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Livre, and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck allegedly agreed to set prices on the online versions of their books for sale through Apple.

The deal’s conditions specifically stipulated that Apple takes 30 percent of the proceeds, while other retailers, like Amazon, were not allowed to sell eBooks at a lower price.

Reuters elaborated:

The Commission said in April that the five companies had offered concessions in a bid to end the investigation and avert penalties which could reach 10 percent of their global turnover, but it did not give details.

Pearson Plc’s Penguin group, which is also being investigated, was not mentioned among those submitting proposals.

The Commission was now sounding out opinions from the industry as to whether the concessions are sufficient, the person familiar with the matter said, before a formal market test which could lead to the investigation being dropped.

The proposed concessions, as Reuters further reported, apparently resemble the settlements from April regarding a price-fixing lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice against HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette.

August 20, 2012

iLounge reported in May that Apple is allegedly working on a “standalone digital camera, specifically a point-and-shoot model.” The website further said the device would deliver an image quality far beyond what the iPhone and iPad could deliver and attributed its information to sources, camera-related job openings at Apple, a re-trademarked iSight filing, and Walter Isaacson’s biography on Apple’s late cofounder. According to Isaacson, Steve Jobs named photography as one of three industries that he wanted to transform.

With that said, a camera would be a decidedly high-end market that Apple is seen exiting post haste (see Mac Pro, etc.). A REAL CAMERA with iOS camera apps would seem cool, but Apple does not take this type of high-volume market seriously. Most people are perfectly content with the amazing iPhone camera…and the new iPhone’s camera can only get better.

Nevertheless, perhaps Apple needs another hobby. Alternatively, maybe Apple can stave off the upcoming Android camera invasion by partnering with Canon or other makers to provide a hardware development kit that would tie into an iPod touch or iPhone for the user-interface. Imagine automatically uploading pictures from anywhere and using the power of apps to edit and manipulate while on the go. That dream may arrive first in Android format:

NikonRumors just posted leaked press shots of the Android-based Coolpix “s800c” camera, and it begs the question: Would Apple ever build an iOS-powered, point-and-shoot camera?

The leaked s800c pictures reveal a touchscreen menu on the backside, apparently running a Gingerbread flavor, with apps for a camera, email, browser, music, etc. Additional specs labeled on the front of the camera detail a “12X Wide Optical Zoom ED VR” in HD and a 4.5-54.0mm stock lens. NikonRumors, which has a decent track record in scooping Nikon, first discovered the s800c in a filling with the Indonesian Communication Agency. It originally noted the camera would tout a 3.5-inch OLED screen, Android 2.3 with Google Play apps, and built-in GPS and Wi-Fi.

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July 30, 2012

Samsung objects to ‘gratuitous’ images of Steve Jobs in trial, prefers thermonuclear quotes instead

Samsung vehemently objected to pictures of Steve Jobs in Apple’s opening slides for today’s massive trial, but U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh struck down the objections over the weekend.

The South Korea-based smartphone manufacturer claimed the “gratuitous images have no evidentiary value,” as it filed 14 objections to Apple’s opening slides.

The company further noted, as FOSS Patents reported, if Apple is given permission to use these slides, Samsung will “request that the Court allow it to use the quotes from Mr. Jobs — which do have nonprejudicial evidentiary value — and yet were excluded by the Court’s ruling on Apple’s Motion in Limine No. 7.”

In other words, Samsung wants to use the “thermonuclear war” quotes from Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs biography” if Apple can use images of the company’s late founder. The contentious quotes from the biography were previously deemed hearsay and inadmissible in this litigation.

According to FOSS Patents, Apple explained the use of the pitcures in its responsive filing:

  • Three of the images are “from a joint exhibit – 1091 (the MacWorld 2007 video), which Samsung itself relies on in its opening demonstratives (at Samsung slide no. 148)”, so “Samsung cannot complain about Apple’s use of the same video” that shows “the public introduction of the iPhone on January 7, 2007, which launched the fame that the iPhone trade dress has acquired”. Also, “[b]ecause they demonstrate Apple’s notice of the 200+ patents covering the iPhone — including the asserted patents, they thus are relevant to willfulness”.
  • Another slide refers to an exhibition relating to Steve Jobs’s patents, which was organized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. “Among the highlighted patents at the PTO exhibit are at least two patents at issue in this litigation — the D’677 and D’889” — and Apple argues that “[t]he Patent Office exhibit demonstrates praise by others to rebut non-obviousness”.
  • The fifth image of Steve Jobs in the presentation is “a screenshot from the announcement of the iPad in July 2010” and, therefore, “relevant to the introduction of the iPad and its acquisition of fame and secondary meaning”, Apple says.

Judge Koh overruled Samsung’s objections on Sunday and said the images are “relevant to Apple’s iPhone design patent and trade dress claims and is not unduly prejudicial.”

Get the full report at FOSS Patents.

Apple SVP of Design Jony Ive speaks on Apple’s design process and the ‘Bankruptcy Days’

Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive spoke at the British Embassy’s Creative Summit this morning about Apple’s design focus, and Wired was on hand to get the report.

The Apple executive primarily described how revenue does not drive the folks in Cupertino but rather “great products” do. He noted the company is “pleased with revenues,” and its goal is again not “to make money.”

“It sounds a little flippant, but it’s the truth. Our goal and what makes us excited is to make great products,” said Ive. “If we are successful people will like them and if we are operationally competent, we will make money.”

Ive made similar comments on the day of his Knighting [audio] and to Walter Isaacson for the “Steve Jobs” Bio. Moreover, Tim Cook has reiterated Apple’s great products goal many times since he took the reigns as CEO.

Ive also recounted at the summit Apple’s bankruptcy days. He said Steve Jobs recognized Apple products needed to be better, so that is where the chief’s attention remained instead of trying to earn money.

He explained how, in the 90s, Apple was very close to bankruptcy and that “you learn a lot about vital corporations through non-vital corporations”. When Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997, his focus was not on making money — “His observation was that the products weren’t good enough. His resolve was to make better products.” This was a different approach from other attempts to turn the company around, which had focused first and foremost on cost savings and revenue generation.

According to Wired, Ive then detailed how thrilled he feels to “be a part of the creative process”:

July 22, 2012

June 2, 2012

Judge rules Steve Jobs’ thermonuclear comments can be used in Motorola trial

Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs was known for being vocal when it came to talking about Google’s Android. Comments from Jobs referring to Android as a stolen product and vowing to destroy it even made it into Walter Isaacson’s official biography about the chief. Now, a judge presiding in a patent case with Motorola ruled that he would allow the comments to be referenced in trial, which goes against requests from Apple’s lawyers. Reuters reported (via GigaOM):

Steve Jobs gave a lot of juicy quotes before he died, and Apple Inc has failed to keep some of them out of an upcoming patent trial against Google’s Motorola Mobility unit, according to a court ruling.

A couple of examples:

  • “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong.”
  • “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

May 31, 2012

The New iPad Buyers’ Guide published by iLounge this week included a piece that speculated Apple might be working on a standalone camera product. While the story discussed the possibility of Apple working on a point-and-shoot iSight camera, iLounge clearly labeled it as speculation and simultaneously noted it received a tip claiming Apple is working on the project.

Take special note of pages 152 and 153—“Making the case for a standalone iSight Camera.” I’ll share more on this topic shortly, but for now, I’ll say that this two-page spread very nearly had a different title. We were tipped that this project is actually happening at Apple right now, but we didn’t feel confident enough in our source to call it a certainty; it’s therefore billed as speculation. Still, there’s enough smoke to make us think there’s a fire.

It did not feel strongly enough in the source to run the story, but Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge sent out a tweet today noting once again that Apple is working on a standalone camera:

[tweet https://twitter.com/horwitz/status/208273241540792320] expand full story

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