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Steve Jobs saved a long-time Mac developer from an early death

Steve Jobs and the current icon for Audio Hijack

Audio Hijack is the go-to app for recording anything on a Mac, but 18 years after the fact, its makers have only now learned how they were saved by Steve Jobs.

The developer of Rogue Amoeba has previously argued against Apple and in particular its "restrictive" Mac App Store. Now in its 21st year, however, the company has learned how Steve Jobs had their back — without them even knowing it.

Rogue Amoeba founder Paul Kafasis says that it is "rather terrifying" to learn that "if not for an offhand conversation in which we had no involvement, things could have turned out very differently for our company."

The conversation was between podcaster Adam Curry and Apple's Steve Jobs and Eddy Cue, sometime in 2005. As now relayed in a podcast interview with Curry, it concerned how podcasters recorded audio.

Jobs asked how Curry made recordings, and was told it was with what was then called Audio Hijack Pro. But at the time, the highly litigious Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was trying to stop any possible method of pirating music.

"The RIAA wants us to disable Audio Hijack Pro," Eddy Cue reportedly told Curry, "because with it you could record any sound off of your Mac, any song, anything."

Jobs then asked whether Curry and other podcasters needed Audio Hijack. The answer was an emphatic yes, "so Steve Jobs told [the RIAA] to get lost," said Curry.

Rogue Amoeba never heard from the RIAA, and until now didn't know anything about this conversation. Kafasis says hearing the news, even nearly two decades later, was "chilling."

The company continues to make Audio Hijack, plus a range of other audio apps including Loopback, and Farrago.