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Apple Focused on Profits

Steve Jobs Discusses How Apple Focused on Profits Over 'Making the Best Computers'

The People Behind Apple
December 21, 2016

A video from the CAUSE Conference in 1998 shows Steve Jobs discussing the problems that plagued Apple during his departure, particularly how Apple moved from focusing on making the best computers in the world to focusing on making a profit.

Here’s the transcript:

What happened at Apple, to be honest, over the years was… the goal used to be to make the best computers in the world. And.. that was goal one. Goal two, we got from Hewlett-Packard actually which was ‘we have to make a profit’. Because if we don’t make a profit we can’t do goal one. So, yeah, I mean we enjoyed making a profit, but the purpose of making a profit was so we can make the best computers in the world. Along the way somewhere those two got reversed. The goal is to make a lot of money and well, if we have to make some good computers well ok we’ll do that… ’cause we can make a lot of money doing that. And, it’s very subtle.. it’s very subtle at first, but it turns out it’s everything. That one little subtle flip… takes five years to see it, but that one little subtle flip in 5 years means everything. And umm.. so we’ve put those things in their proper order again.

What makes this video particularly fascinating is that Jobs says that it takes “five years to see”, a number that correlates with the exact amount of years he’s been dead and the same amount of years Tim Cook has been the CEO of Apple. The video hits home for many Apple fans, who over the years have felt that Apple has begun focusing more on profits and earnings and less on delighting customers.

It’s a fascinating clip to watch and makes you realize how good Jobs was at explaining the problems with the tech industry, even as far back as 1998.