Ten years after Jobs' return to Apple, the company introduced a product that changed just about everything, the iPhone. It wasn't the first smartphone, but it was the first one to achieve such widespread acclaim and popularity.
The first iPhone was an immediate hit, so new versions quickly followed. And the phone has such devoted fans that they will wait hours in line just to get the latest version. Clearly they must be doing something right.
Given the difficult task of filling Jobs' shoes was Tim Cook. He had previously been Apple's Chief Operating Officer, managing sales and operations worldwide. And under his leadership, Cook has made sure that Apple keeps making new iPhones.
But are all the updates to the iPhone really necessary? There are many who feel like any improvements made to new versions of the iPhone aren't quite significant enough to warrant the cost. And there's a familiar face who has an opinion on that. (Well, sort of.)
An old clip has been making the rounds featuring an interview with a young Steve Jobs. It's unclear when this video was taken, but it appears to be from the era after Jobs had left Apple and before he returned. Here's what he had to say.
Jobs starts the clip by talking about problems at Xerox because "the technology crashed and burned." When asked to explain why that happened at Xerox, Jobs talked about John Sculley, who had worked for Pepsi before becoming an executive at Xerox. And at Pepsi, there wasn't much need for product development, because they already have Pepsi.
Jobs said that, because product development wasn't necessary at Pepsi, their sales and marketing team was more important than their developers. So Pepsi's sales and marketing people were the ones who would get promoted and run the company. But does the same strategy work for tech companies?
Jobs said that tech companies who essentially had monopolies (like IBM and Xerox) could also give a priority to the sales team, and not put so much focus on product development. After all, if they have a monopoly, do they really need to create another product?
But Jobs (seen here with Wozniak) said that when this happens, "Product people get driven out of the decision-making forums." Then Jobs said what may have been his biggest point. He said, when the product developers are pushed out, "The companies forget what it means to make great products.
Jobs continued, saying, "The product genius that brought them to that monopolistic position gets rotted out." And that the sales people running the companies "have no conception of a good product verse a bad product." And he said, "They really have no feeling in their hearts, usually, about wanting to really help the customers."
Could the same fate await Apple? Is the company more concerned with rolling out new iPhones than they are with continuing to innovate the iPhone? At this point, it's definitely a possibility.
15. See More
If you want to see Steve Jobs discuss this in more detail, you can watch the video above. Or you can watch just to see what Steve Jobs looked like in a completely different era. Feel free to watch on your current advice, or wait to watch until you upgrade to the next iPhone.