The tenth annual D conference, hosted by All Things D, brought remembrance of Steve Jobs by tech leaders who knew him best, along with news from the world of IT. The conference, started in 2003 to showcase technology news and innovation in unscripted discussions with the industry’s biggest players, took place in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., May 29-31. Before a sold out crowd, everyone from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios President Dr. Ed Catmull to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Zynga CEO Mark Pincus participated in unscripted conversations about where technology has taken us and where it may go next.

Remembering Steve Jobs

Unsurprisingly, the legacy of Apple’s Steve Jobs ran through many conversations. Ellison and Catmull, who both knew Jobs well, spoke candidly about the businessman’s well-documented habits, along with some lesser-known personal stories. Ellison told an anecdote of how the two, who were neighbors more than 20 years ago, came to be friends while conspiring to get rid of a noisy peacock that Jobs’ girlfriend had given him for his birthday. Ellison also reminisced about many visits to Jobs’ home, when he was forced repeatedly to watch slightly tweaked versions of Pixar’s “Toy Story,” a testament to Jobs’ quest for perfection. “He was a bit of a control freak,” Ellison put mildly.

Ellison on the Cloud

Ellison also took some time during an interview with Kara Swisher of All Things D to clarify his oft-quoted resistance to cloud computing, saying it wasn’t the idea he objected to but the way people were presenting it. “I objected to people saying, ‘Oh my God, we just invented cloud computing,’” Ellison explained. He said he still considers the Internet to be the last major change in technology, saying that it used to simply be personal computers that were connected to the Internet, but “now we’ve migrated that complexity off the desktop and moved it to Internet servers. That has been recast as cloud computing.” Whatever cloud computing is, Ellison seems finally to have accepted the fact that its name is sticking. According to TechCrunch, he said, “I’m no longer resisting the name. Call it what you want.”

The Wisdom of Patent Lawsuits

Intellectual Ventures CEO Nathan Myhrvold, often maligned as a “patent troll” for his company’s frequent practice of suing other companies for patent infringement acknowledged that he was likely the least popular speaker at the conference. “I never was a popular kid in class. I’m not going to be popular in this class. If I want popularity, I go to a chef’s convention,” Myhrvold, who published a six-book series about the science of cooking, said. His company is the fifth largest patent holder in the U.S. and has made news suing companies like Sprint and AT&T for patent infringement. Myhrvold defended his company’s protection of the patents it holds, saying inventors deserve to make money and that “Thomas Edison’s business model was very similar to ours.”

Full coverage of D10, The All Things Digital Conference, is available on All Things Digital. What was your favorite highlight from the conference?

 

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