What technological advances do you see coming over the next five to 10 years? and how is NeXTSTEP structured to take advantage of those?
Steve Jobs: I’ll give you a global answer. Then we can descend into some details. I believe that you can use the concept of technology windows opening, and then eventually closing. And what I mean by that is, enough technology, usually from fairly diverse places, comes together, and makes something that’s a quantum leap forward possible.
And it doesn’t come out of nowhere. If you poke around the labs, and youhang around the Media Lab here at MIT and other places, you can, kind of,get a feel for some of those things. And usually, they’re not quite possible.But, all of a sudden, you start to sense things coming together, and theplanets lining up, to where this is now possible, or barely possible. And a window opens up.
And it usually takes around– my experience anyway, my life has been, ittakes around five years to create a commercial product that takes advantageof that technical window opening up.
Sometimes you start before the window is quite open. And you can’t get through it. And you push it up. And you push it up. Sometimes it just takes a lot of work, took that long with the Apple II, took that long with the Mac.You know, it took a Lisa along the way, $100 million. It takes a while. It’s an expensive to push those windows open.
And in our case, you know, our first product failed. We came out with this cube. And we sold 10,000 of them. Why? Because we weren’t quite there yet. And we made some mistakes along the way. And we had to course correct.
You know, Macintosh was a course correction off the Lisa. So with Apple II and III, we did it in reverse. It takes around five years, or some number of years like that, to realize that window opening. And then it seems to takeabout another five years to really exploit it in the marketplace.
And let me give you some examples. from my life. Apple II lasted 15 years,15 years. The hardware churned. But basically, it was the same for 15 years. DOS– you know, DOS, just passed 10 years. I don’t think anyone would disagree that it’s going to easily last another five, right– unfortunately.
And Mac, you know, Mac is eight years old, right? No question it’s going to last another four or five years, right? These things are hard. They don’t last because it’s convenient, or even because it’s economic. They last because they’re really– this is hard stuff to do.
And so when we are pushing that window open, I think with our current generation of products, we finally got the window open. After six years, it’s open. We’ve got an extremely elegant implementation. And we’ve got five years of work to do to exploit it in the marketplace.
You know, we’ll peak in five years. Five years, we’ll all sit around, and say, OK, it’s time to get started on the next thing. It’s time to get going on thenext thing– maybe four years from now. But we’ve got a lot of work ahead ofus just to move this thing out, and educate the market, and continue to refine it based on market feedback.
So everything I know about technology windows that are open, or just about open, is in NeXTSTEP, or we’re working on it in the labs. And these thing sgenerally don’t come along independently. They, kind of– clumps of themcome together, has been my experience.