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Steve Jobs on iPods, Macs, new Microsoft ads, and Apple stock

When asked in a television interview what he thought of Microsoft's new television ad featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Jobs could only muster an "uhhhm." He had a bit more to say on the state of the iPod, Mac, and Apple's stock performance.

In the interview with CNBC's Jim Goldman Tuesday following his presentation of new iPods, Jobs acknowledged that the third-generation iPod nano "fatboy" released last year wasn't as well received as the two models that preceded it, which prompted the player's return to a more vertical form-factor this year.

"It was very clear to us that customers preferred the vertical form-factor for their iPods. That was the first- and second-generation," he said. "The third-generation we went to a squarish design so we could fit in a really high-res screen. And we managed to do both in this [fourth-generation iPod nano]."

Jobs also defended his decision to focus exclusively on Apple's music business on Tuesday, adding that the invite for the event was intended to drive a message Wall Street and industry followers who may have been hoping for announcements related to the company's Mac line.

"Between what we introduced in iPods and the new iTunes 8 with the Genius playlist feature; we had a lot to talk about today," he said. "And..., you know, the invite we sent out said Let's Rock!. So we were trying know..."

Asked if he's surprised at the continued success of his company's computer business, Jobs commented that he believes the Mac has reached a "tipping point" thanks to consumers who are finally looking at the systems as a viable alternative to Windows.

"The other interesting that's happening is that people used to buy a computer for home because they used it at work," he said. "But now, there's enough momentum in Mac in the home that they're starting to say, 'why can't I use this easy to use computer at work too.'"

In the 7 minute interview, Jobs also discusses some of the company's recent missteps, his expectations for the upcoming iPhone 2.1 software update, and the performance of Apple's shares. Although Goldman agreed not to address speculation about Jobs' health on camera, he was allowed to ask him a question in passing about the matter off camera.

"I'm doing fine, really," Jobs said, throwing out an off-hand remark that all recent rumors and speculation over his well-being were spawned by "hedge funds with a big short position in Apple."