Steve Jobs Makes Waves at D8 Conference, Comments on Flash and Google TV

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In an interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at the Wall Street Journal's 2010 D Conference (called D8, since this is the eighth one), Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave Apple-watchers and the online video industry a lot to talk about. Flash is old and fading technology, he said, and set-top boxes are a hard sell to a public used to getting them for free.

The Apple-Flash feud got fresh fuel for the fire during the interview. Apple chooses technologies that are in their springs, Jobs said, meaning emerging technologies that are just starting their rise. Flash, he said, has had its day but it's starting to wane. He added that 25 percent of online video was available in HTML5 and that number is moving to 50 percent quickly. Despite Apple's attacks, it's hard to see that Flash is in any serious crisis, or that it had started to wane before Apple's public dismissal.

Jobs also said that Americans weren't willing to buy a set-top box to download Internet content to their televisions because they were used to getting set-top boxes for free from their cable or satellite provider. Hooking up boxes also means that the viewer ends up with a  table full of remotes. The only option, he said, is to go back to square one and redesign the set-top box user interface. There have been strong rumors lately that Apple is moving forward with the successor to the Apple TV, one that only streams content and that that's vastly smaller (and cheaper) than the original. Jobs's comments have Apple-watchers wondering just how different the new Apple TV will be.

During the interview, Jobs also foresaw the decline of traditional computers and the rise of mobile devices, suggested a value in letting two cellular networks carry the iPhone, and said he didn't think Apple was in a platform war with Google.

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