Steve Jobs at M$ Inet DevCon

Rohit Khare (
Wed, 13 Mar 96 11:42:00 -0500

In perhaps the most ironic presentation of the day, or perhaps the year,
Apple Computer co-founder and head of NeXT Inc. Steve Jobs took the stage to
showcase WebObjects, a server-based technology allowing companies to
custom-build interactive Web applications using pre-built object-oriented
software components.

Acknowledging the surreal nature of his presence, Jobs, an unabashed
Microsoft basher admitted "this is really weird isn't it?" For three reasons,
he said. "One is we're all here together. Reason two, Microsoft's vision of
where the Web's going is exactly the same as mine and my colleagues at NeXT."

And Jobs said, Microsoft and Netscape have seemingly reversed roles in their
dealings with NeXT. "Microsoft is treating us as an independent software
developer, just like you might expect Netscape to treat an independent
software developer, and Netscape is treating us exactly like you might expect
Microsoft to treat us. It's really weird!"

Jobs was on hand to demonstrate NeXT's signature Web site, a WebObjects-built
catalog and database for Chrysler Corp. Although no formal licensing
agreement exists between Microsoft and NeXT, Microsoft's Maritz said the
companies will work together to push the Web forward.

"[NeXT] is going to use active controls as a way to package our content, and
they'll be moving to use more and more of our services," Maritz said in a
post-speech press briefing. "We view them as somebody who's providing another
set of techniques and tools to use this infrastructure, and we're very happy
to work with them."

In an exclusive interview with Interactive Age Digital, Jobs said the
Internet was the best thing that ever happened to Microsoft. "It will wake
them to make them realize that they're not a complete island, that they have
to build some bridges," said Jobs. When reminded that he recently said
Microsoft could turn out to be a major threat to the growth of the Web, Jobs
sighed and acknowledged "vigilance will be necessary... but right now, they're
trying to play in the open community of standards, so, we'll see."

--_Gary Brickman_ in San Francisco, with reporting from _Richard Karpinski_