Steve Jobs had an e-mail exchange with Gawker’s Ryan Tate over the weekend in which they discussed Apple’s vision and why Mr. Tate was opposed to it.
A lot of the criticism (and sensationalist headlines) focuses on a single line from one of Mr. Jobs’ e-mails. The commentary on that line seems to miss the point so I wanted to talk about it briefly. Here’s the line…
Yep, freedom from programs that steal your private data. Freedom from programs that trash your battery. Freedom from porn. Yep, freedom. The times they are a changin’, and some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away. It is.
I can’t speak for Steve Jobs but I can speak to my own experience and I think that can shed some light on this comment.
In meetings I like to tell people that software is all about automating tasks and, for the business folks, that’s what I want them to believe. But that’s not what it is to me. To me it’s a way to show people the wonders of a world that they can’t see. A world where all the information they could ever want is at their fingertips and to get to it they need only ask.
For them to see that world the way I do everything needs to be perfect.
But it never is and when things go wrong it literally causes me pain. Physical pain. More to the point nothing makes me angrier than when the thing that went wrong wasn’t my fault.
That, I believe, is what Steve Jobs is trying to say. The issue isn’t porn or Adobe Flash but the ruined experience of computing. It’s the fact that people are afraid to touch a button on their computing device for fear it might crash. Afraid to let the kids go on the Internet because some porn site might popup. And so on.
That fear ruins computing for many people and what Apple is trying to do is fix that problem. To create a perfect environment. In pursuit of that goal banning certain software is no different than beveling the edge on a hardware component.
Commentators get upset over this because they think the company is trying to take over the world but that’s never been the case. There will always be Android Tablets and Windows PCs for those who want an unfiltered experience and I don’t think anyone at Apple objects to that.
They’re just trying to create something better for Apple customers.
Addendum: One point that didn’t really fit the flow of the above post was Mr. Tate’s claim that…well…I’ll just quote it…
…I don’t think it’s a technical issue at all -- it’s you imposing your morality, about porn, about ‘trade secrets,’ about technical purity in the most bizarre sense.
There’s a difference between imposing one’s morality (to force someone to adopt your moral code) and creating an environment in which you only want people who already share your morality. An Atheist business man might want to join his local Catholic church for all the business contacts but he has no right to demand they drop the requirement that he believe in Jesus so that he can join.