updated 10:35 pm EDT, Sat May 15, 2010
Jobs explains views in heated mail exchange
Apple chief Steve Jobs engaged in a rare involved debate late last evening where he defended his company's policies for the App Store. When criticized by blogger Ryan Tate for turning his back on "freedom" and "revolution," the company co-founder countered that the limits on sexual content and the approval process itself were about providing an ideal, safe experience. The real revolution was in breaking away from the traditional computing experience, Jobs answered.
"Yep, [it's] freedom from programs that steal your private data," he said. "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."
Having children influenced his stance on porn, he added.
Simultaneously, he shot back at complaints about bans on cross-platform development tools like Flash. Where Tate argued that the Wired magazine app would have been more innovative by allowing the publisher to write once for many, Jobs responded that the app should be better written using native tools and that the real goal was simply to "do the right thing for [Apple's] users." He made it clear that Apple wasn't exerting pressure on developers to write for the iPhone or iPad and that they could simply opt for Android or other platforms if they didn't like any perceived limits.
"Users, developers and publishers can do whatever they like - they don't have to buy or develop or publish on iPads if they don't want to," Jobs said. "As for us, we're just doing what we can to try and make (and preserve) the user experience we envision. You can disagree with us, but our motives are pure."
The statements have followed after many have criticized Apple for a constantly changing attitude to what content's allowed on its store, including the removal of apps that were previously allowed and for not acting on its approach to third-party developer tools until iPhone 4.0. Some critics, particularly Adobe, have accused Apple of denying choice and trying to stifle competition. Jobs' exchange doesn't eliminate the competitive issues but reinforces his official stance that any effects on availability and cross-platform development are unintentional.
The full conversation is available below (caution: some may find Tate's language offensive).