The hero of the week's big tech confab: Steve Jobs

All Things D's D10 conference featured interviews with powerful and innovative people, not just from technology but also politics, entertainment, and education. Yet presiding over them all, it seemed, there was one giant whose work touched everybody there: Steve Jobs.

The late Apple co-founder's presence was not hard to miss, as other writers like Steven Levy of Wired and Nick Wingfield of The New York Times, noted previously.

The conference (full coverage) kicked off with an interview of Steve Jobs' designated successor, Tim Cook. He took pains to remind people, with words, effect, and attitude, that while he … Read more

Google's Pichai predicts Chrome OS, Android convergence

PALOS VERDES, Calif.--Speaking about the Chrome operating system, which he's in charge of, Google's Sundar Pichai seemed to predict that his product and that other Google operating system, Android, may some day merge.

Android is more mature, he admitted. Google acquired this product and released it fairly well-formed. But Chrome OS was built in-house, and Google was open about it from day one. It's much younger.

But as the mobile, tablet, and desktop platforms gain more power, the products may in fact converge. He pointed to the audience and noted how many people are using a … Read more

Google execs on piracy: It's not a technical problem

PALOS VERDES, Calif. -- At the D conference today, a pair of top Google execs rebutted the contention made the night before by Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel that Google should be doing much more to combat piracy.

Emanuel had equated piracy of content to child pornography, and said that if Google could filter the pornography (which it does), then it could filter for pirated content, especially that which is sent overseas.

Susan Wojcicki, Google's senior vice president of advertising, said it doesn't work that way. "I think he was misinformed," she said. "Very misinformed." … Read more

Skype boss: Mobile, video are our future

PALOS VERDES, Calif. -- At the D10 conference, Microsoft's Tony Bates, president of the Skype division, laid out two of the major growth opportunities and challenges for the communications service: mobile and video.

Announcing today that Skye now has 250 million connected users, up from 170 million the last time he reported, he said that over 50 percent of his traffic is now video communications.

Skype is "doubling down" on Windows 8 he said (also doubling down on secrecy), which Bates says is excellent for Skype because of its focus on people. "Windows 8 really represents … Read more

FTC chair Leibowitz: Apps need simpler privacy statements

PALOS VERDES, Calif.--Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz, speaking at the D10 conference today, called on technology companies to implement three things to protect consumer privacy.

Acknowledging that tech vendors are doing better today at building privacy into apps, what he called, "privacy by design," he said that most companies actually want to design with consumer protection in mind.

But, he said, consumers need more transparency. He called for simpler policies for consumers. "They have to be like a nutrition guide on the side of a cereal box," he said. As a counter-example, he said … Read more

Mike Daisey blasts Mossberg, Swisher over Tim Cook interview

Mike Daisey, a longtime Apple critic and monologist, has turned his sights on All Things Digital's Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher over their interview this week with Apple CEO Tim Cook.

"Kara and Walt -- do you really think you asked hard questions tonight? Goodness, you got Cook to admit that Ping was a failure! That's amazing," Daisey wrote on his personal blog yesterday. "If only you had another hour, so you could get him to tell us who he liked best on Dawson's Creek and what kind of ice cream is best: vanilla … Read more

EasyShift takes on GigWalk with new task marketplace

PALOS VERDES, Calif.--Focus. EasyShift has it. This new service, launching today at the D10 conference from Quri, is a crowdsource labor system, most reminiscent of GigWalk, but with a uniquely narrow purpose: it helps consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies make sure their in-store displays and programs are running they way they should.

Users who want to make extra money can accept "shifts" to check that, for example, a baby food display is set up right. The app might ask the user to photograph the product and its display surroundings in a store, count the number of items … Read more

Ari Emanuel: Let's change the paradigms in Hollywood

PALOS VERDES, Calif.--"Super agent" Ari Emanuel, co-CEO of the William Morris Endeavor, may ask Facebook fans to finance a new film project, he said at the D10 conference today.

Speaking about one of co-interviewer Walt Mossberg's favorite shows, Friday Night Lights, Emanuel said that a new movie based on the series was coming, and that he "wants to figure out a different mean to raise money for the project."

Emanuel said that he thought that there were about 1.5 million fans of the series on Facebook. Co-interviewer Kara Swisher said, "So, $… Read more

Execs remember Steve Jobs as a tireless perfectionist

Two Silicon Valley executives who worked closely with Steve Jobs over the years shared some of their memories of the late Apple co-founder today, painting a picture of Jobs as a tireless perfectionist who learned from his mistakes.

"Steve would translate good ideas into a finished product unlike anyone in the industry," Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said during an onstage discussion at the D10 conference in Palos Verdes, Calif. (See live blog.) Ellison likened Jobs to Henry Ford in the way he changed the industry. "That was Steve, until it was perfect. And then once it was … Read more

Ellison: Oracle's cloud will cast a shadow over enterprise software world

Larry Ellison likes racing yachts, which he said are fast but inherently unstable.

"It can be dangerous. Every time I'm on one of these boats there's some kind of injury," he said. When he isn't racing yachts, Ellison has been uncannily stable, co-founding Oracle in 1977 and turning it into a leading enterprise company over the last 35 years.

In a wide-ranging interview today at the D10 conference in Palos Verdes, Calif., the Oracle CEO talked about everything from his idea of the networked computer and the Sun Microsystems acquisition to lawsuits and forthcoming … Read more