Steve Jobs on Gizmodo: I’d Rather Quit than Let It Slide

Steve Jobs said he would rather quit than let the fact that Gizmodo bought Apple’s stolen iPhone 4G prototype slide. The comments came Wednesday at the D8 Conference when Mr. Jobs was asked about the incident, and what he saw himself doing ten years from now.

“When this whole thing with Gizmodo happened,” Mr. Jobs said, “I got a lot of advice from people that said. ‘You’ve gotta just let it slide. You shouldn’t go after a journalist because they bought stolen property and they tried to extort you.’”

Mr. Jobs said that he thought “deeply” about the situation and the advice and concluded that, “The worst thing that could possibly happen as we get big and we get a little more influence in the world is if we change our core values and start letting it slide. I can’t do that. I’d rather quit.”

According to him, what drives him and the other executives and employees at Apple is to try and make the best products they can, saying, “We have the same values now as we had then. Maybe [we are] a little more experienced, certainly more beat up, but the core values are the same. And we come into work wanting to do the same thing today as we did five or ten years ago, which is build the best products for people.”

The not-directly-said connection is that protecting those products is part of those core values, and that allowing the situation to slide by would, in effect, be the beginning of those core values changing.

Also in answer to Ms. Swisher’s question about Mr. Jobs’s next ten years, he said, “There’s nothing that makes my day more than getting an e-mail from some random person in the universe who just bought an iPad in the UK and tells me the story about how it’s the coolest product they’ve ever brought home in their lives. That’s what keeps me going. It’s what kept me going five years ago, and it’s what kept me going ten years ago when the doors were almost closed, and it’s what will keep me going five years from now whatever happens.”