Straight dope from Fake Steve Jobs

In an exclusive interview, the blogger everyone wants to know the identity of talks about Apple, Bill Gates, the iPhone and more.

For months now, one of the best-read blogs in technology circles has been the starkly funny, pull-no-punches Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.

Otherwise known as "Fake Steve Jobs (FSJ)," the author--who writes as if he is, in fact, Steve Jobs, uses his blog to poke vicious fun at anything Apple, technology or Silicon Valley, all the while claiming the mantle of the marketing genius that is Steve Jobs. His motto? "Dude, I invented the friggin' iPod. Have you heard of it?"

As the blog has gained readership, and influence--Fake Steve Jobs was named the 41st most influential person in business by Business 2.0 magazine--the buzz around his true identity has grown and grown. Some would say that it doesn't matter, and that in fact the blog is better if we don't really know. But media being what it is, names of candidates for the blog's authorship are constantly bandied about. Is it Nick Denton of Valleywag? Is it Steve Jobs himself?

Earlier this year, Valleywag , identifying him as Managing Editor (and a former editor of mine) Leander Kahney. But Kahney quickly fired off a rejoinder to Valleywag, denying it was him.

CNET doesn't know who FSJ is. But we do know what he thinks. On Monday, just days after Jobs' huge public relations effort build around the launch of the iPhone went off mainly as planned, FSJ sat down for an open-ended instant-message conversation with The only ground rule? That there be no discussion about his true identity. But given that the real Steve Jobs hasn't talked to CNET in years, the interview was conducted as our first such opportunity in a very long time.

When I saw photos of Mexicans climbing the fence to get into the U.S. and buy iPhones over the weekend, well, I'll be honest, I cried.

Q: I'm curious as to your take on how the iPhone is being received by the public and the media so far.
Fake Steve Jobs: Well, I'm glad to see the iPhone getting the acclaim it deserves. The world changed on Friday and I'm really proud of the work we've done. I think it just shows that the public is a lot smarter than we often think. They know quality when they see it. When all those people lined up for a product that they didn't need to line up for, I think that spoke volumes about the kind of people we're reaching out to with the iPhone. And when I saw photos of Mexicans climbing the fence to get into the U.S. and buy iPhones over the weekend, well, I'll be honest, I cried.

So, AT&T? I mean, seriously. AT&T?
Fake Steve: Yeah. Agreed. I know. And look how they've (messed) it all up already, just in the first three days. F-----g frigtards. You wouldn't believe the phone calls I've been having with those idiots. Well, maybe you would. I called that jackass CEO, got his receptionist, and she asked me what I was calling about. I told her the iPhone, and she told me I had to dial a different number, 800 something or other. I'm like, lady, I'm f-----g Steve Jobs, and she says, "Sir, I don't care who you're f-----g, you can't just call up and get our CEO." Unreal.

Speaking of another CEO, I'm curious about you and Bill Gates. You seemed to get kind of choked up on stage at the D5 conference. Are you and he pals now?
Fake Steve: Beastmaster Bill and I go way back, as I'm sure you know. I just felt, sitting there looking at him, how old he's become, and me too. We're old men now. Weird, right? I mean, there were kids in that audience who weren't born when Bill and I started out. It just got me thinking, that's all.

Since we're talking about big figures from your past, I'm curious: You were kind of harsh in your Woz post. Why no love for the Woz? I mean, did he really have to wait in line?
Fake Steve: Look, Woz is a nice enough guy. He didn't need to wait in line. That's the big misimpression. We gave him an iPhone early last week. Two of them, in fact. Then he shows up at the store as if we didn't. He's looking for attention, OK? And he likes to play the martyr. Frankly, I think Woz should go do some work. Start a company or something. He's too young to be just hanging out doing nothing and dining out on his glory days. Also, just remember: Woz didn't want to quit his job at HP to start Apple. Are you aware of that? I had to twist his arm, the big dope. His dad told him he should stay at HP and that I was a scumbag. Dumbass Woz. He'd still be at HP, or probably he'd have been laid off by now, if I hadn't saved him. He'd be living in some ranch house in Mountain View, driving a (crappy) car, complaining about the house prices in the Bay Area.

Well, but Woz is a hero to the people because he shows up at everything riding his Segway, meeting the people, pressing the flesh. Why don't you do that?
Fake Steve: I'm allergic to non-vegans. I get hives. Honestly, even with allergy medicine if I get too exposed I suffer for days afterwards.

So, is that really your car and your house, as has been reported, on Google's Street View?
Fake Steve: That's my stuff, yes.

How did you feel having your stuff broadcast to the world like that? I mean, it's your car and some guy going into an adult video store. And that's basically Street View for you.
Fake Steve: No me gusta, as they say in French.

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