updated 09:55 pm EST, Tue March 4, 2008
Shareholders question Jobs
Apple shareholders today produced a plethora of questions for company executives at its annual shareholders meeting in Cupertino, CA. Taking that stand was CEO Steve Jobs, COO Tim Cook, and Ron Johnson -- Apple's head of retail operations. Jobs and others answered questions regarding the prospect of entering into direct competition with Microsoft in the PC gaming industry, potential .Mac expansion, iTunes media availability, the idea of a successor to Steve Jobs, iPhone availability in Asia, Macs in the business realm, Apple retail stores, and more, according to AppleInsider.
Five board members -- consisting of Bill Campbell, Al Gore, Google's Eric Schmidt, Art Levinson, and Millard Drexler -- attended the meeting alongside Apple's new senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary Daniel Cooperman.
Jobs addressed a question about Apple potentially moving into the PC gaming industry by citing Windows games released by EA for the Mac, which use Transgaming's Cider technology. Jobs also pointed to the support Apple has provided other Mac game developers -- like Blizzard Entertainment -- but expressed little interest in entering the gaming company. Jobs also reminded attendees that the impending release of Apple's iPhone SDK will produce further gaming opportunities.
Jobs promised to release more .Mac applications later this year, and addressed the company's recognized failure to offer 1,000 iTunes Movie rentals by the end of February, 2008. Apple's chief explained that movie studios are working on difficult issues related to internet distribution rights, but said work in those areas is speeding up.
To answer the question of what would happen to Apple without Jobs, the executive insisted that the board already has several well qualified options if he were to be "hit by a bus."
"We've got great talent, and I think the board would have a few really good choices," Jobs said.
Apple's COO Tim Cook addressed questions about iPhone launches in Asia -- specifically in India and China. Cook reiterated that Apple will enter Asia some time this year, but refused to divulge specific details about specific plans.
"We will one day enter China, we're not saying when, and we will one day enter India," Cook said.
Cook also addressed worries about unlocked iPhones, saying that unlocked handsets are indicative of high demand.
Apple stressed its position as a consumer-oriented company. Jobs reminded those present that the consumer market is larger than the business market, and said Apple is focusing on placing its products in front of individual consumers who are more receptive to new prospects. Apple's chief noted however that many individual consumers are taking their Macs into business environments, which is accelerating business adoption of Macs.