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Student in Jobs spat sours on Apple, not journalism

College student who had a well-publicized e-mail spat with Apple's CEO plans to stick with journalism. CNET's Ina Fried caught up with her at Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 launch.

Chelsea Kate Isaacs, the Long Island University journalism student who had a well-publicized spat with Apple CEO Steve Jobs several weeks ago, was among eight student journalists chosen to cover this week's New York launch of Windows Phone 7. Ina Fried/CNET

NEW YORK--Chelsea Kate Isaacs hasn't graduated from college yet. But she's already learned one of the tough lessons of tech journalism: some companies are easier to deal with than others.

Isaacs, a 22-year-old journalism major at Long Island University, came to prominence several weeks ago after a well-publicized e-mail spat with Apple CEO Steve Jobs as she tried to complete a class assignment.

Isaacs turned to Jobs after failing to get answers from Apple's PR department. The e-mails got increasingly terse, ending with Jobs telling Isaacs: "Please leave us alone," according to the e-mail thread posted on Gawker.

This week she had a different sort of experience, turning up at a Microsoft event, of all places.

Isaacs just happened to be among eight students who won a contest run by Microsoft to win a trip to cover the launch of Windows Phone 7. Microsoft picked up the travel expenses, but Isaacs said the group's adviser told them to be tough and hold Microsoft's feet to the fire while meeting with various company executives and learning about the company's products.

As for how she got her chance to cover the Microsoft event, Isaacs applied and submitted a 140-character statement about why she should be one of the students picked. A Microsoft representative said the company was aware of her exchange with Apple, but maintains it played no part in her selection.

Despite two radically different experiences, Isaacs said she has no plans to cover either company any differently.

"It's been a really great challenge and exercise for me to just stay totally in the middle and not be totally biased toward Microsoft because I hate Apple, but I don't hate Apple," she said "I just had one bad experience...It's one person at the company and I still appreciate their products and am still going to look at things objectively."

If anything, Isaacs said the experiences have made her more interested in technology.

"I have always loved technology, but I'm not a tech-obsessed person," she said. "I appreciate it and I use it every day. I've never been the kind of person who is the first (in) line for the new device...But after all this I'm getting much more into technology."

What Apple has lost, though, is a potential customer.

"I have very strict values," she said. "I really felt that was unethical and I wouldn't be comfortable giving a dime. If that's the way you treat consumers, that's not right."

Isaacs said the event did make her more interested in phones, including Windows Phone.

"I think it looks way cooler than Android, honestly," she said. "It just looks much more personal and it has something new to offer. iPhone and Android are very much alike."

So, what phone does she carry?

"I have a BlackBerry, which a lot of tech people say is like, prehistoric, at this point," Isaacs said.