E-Mails Show Jobs Is Feeling Confident About Future

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-05-18

10 Things Steve Jobs' E-Mails Tell Us About Apple's Strategy

CEO Steve Jobs has been awfully active with his e-mail account lately. The king of Apple lovers has been responding to customer and journalist responses in droves on a wide array of topics, ranging from the iPad to iPhone OS updates to MacBooks.

These e-mails reveal several themes that highlight what Jobs plans to do with his company going forward. Although the Apple CEO is careful with his words and in many cases gave little more than one- or two-word answers, he gave hints that we can't overlook.

Here are some of the things that Jobs' e-mails have, wittingly or not, brought to light about Apple's future plans.

1. Apple's future is with iPhone OS

 Jobs has made it abundantly clear in all the e-mails he sent to consumers that his company's strategy will revolve around iPhone OS for the foreseeable future. It makes sense. Apple's iPhone is arguably the most important product it sells right now. And thanks to the iPad, which also runs iPhone OS, the company now has another wildly popular product to bolster its support for the software. Look for iPhone OS to be central to Apple's strategy going forward.

2. Apple wants outright control over its App Store

In a recent e-mail exchange, Jobs indicated that his company knows what's best for its App Store. He told the e-mail's recipient that the App Store will be a place that's free from "porn," which he defines as "programs that steal your personal data," and much more. It was an interesting exchange that effectively highlighted Apple's desire to closely control the apps that make its way to its store. It was also a shot over the bow at those developers who want to bring potentially questionable apps to the store.

3. Flash will never come to iPhone OS

Jobs has made it clear that even the thought of bringing Flash to the iPhone or iPad makes him sick. He recently told one consumer that Apple is trying "to do the right thing" for consumers by protecting them and their investments. It was a thinly veiled jab at Flash. But it also highlighted just how fed up the Apple CEO really is with the Web standard. He said that developers have a choice to stick with Adobe or adhere with Apple's standards. Many are choosing Apple-and that's just the way Jobs likes it.

4. Jobs has an ego that dictates strategy

A quick glimpse through all the e-mails Jobs sends to consumers reveals something that has been written about numerous times both in Web articles and in books: Steve Jobs has an ego. For some, that ego has turned them off to Jobs and what he stands for. But it's that ego that helped make Apple what it is today. In every message, he has made it clear that he stands by his contentious decisions and will not waver.

E-Mails Show Jobs Is Feeling Confident About Future

5. Improvements are coming

A common theme in practically all of the e-mails Jobs sent indicated that several improvements will make their way to the company's slate of products in the coming months. He said that improvements will be coming to the iPad, iPhone and Mac OS X. For consumers and enterprise customers, that's a good thing. But for current owners, it makes some wonder why those improvements weren't available in the first iteration of those devices.

6. It's committed to communication

If nothing else, Jobs' decision to start responding to customer questions reflects his company's desire to be more available than perhaps it has been in the past. That's commendable. For years, Apple was viewed as cut off from the rest of the industry. It was a company that did business a certain way and maintained secrecy above all else. By being more available to customers, Jobs is changing that.

7. It's not all about the iPad

Lately, much of the talk about Jobs' e-mails has surrounded the iPad and what the company has planned for its tablet. Although that has been a common theme in many of the e-mails that have been made public, it's not all iPad talk. In fact, Jobs recently said that updates will be coming to both the MacBook and MacBook Pro. The iPad isn't the only product he's thinking about.

8. Holding back is key

For all that Jobs has said, it's what he hasn't said that's arguably more important. Once again, Jobs has proved that he can start a wave of news stories by saying little and getting the media to do the rest. It's a proven technique that has done wonders for Apple's bottom line throughout the years. Although some say that Jobs' responses are uncharacteristic, they're actually quite the opposite. Like in his keynote speeches, he's giving just enough information to make it interesting, while still coaxing us all to get excited for the outcomes of his decisions.

9. Steve Jobs, the PR machine

Following that, it's clear that Jobs is trying to be his own PR machine. Although his company does a fine job of handling the public, Jobs is using his e-mail as a weapon of publicity. He knows that with every message he sends, there's a good chance that it will leak out to the Web and millions will see it. So, he's careful to choose the right words to accurately control what is and isn't being said about his products.

10. Steve Jobs is here to stay

Finally, Jobs has shown again that he's here to stay. By answering e-mails and indicating that his decisions will play a key role in the products that will carry Apple forward, he has also effectively told us that his formerly precarious health is more stable now and as a result he will be at the helm at Apple for the foreseeable future. That might be a good thing for Apple fans and its shareholders. But for the competition, that might be worrisome.

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