Apple CEO Steve Jobs and the company’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller have just ended a frank and open discussion with European media.

The discussion replaced the cancelled keynote speech. In the discussion, Jobs and Schiller spoke about Apple’s growth and its iPod, and dealt with why the company continues to dominate the online music industry. What follows are selected notes taken from what they said.

Apple continues to enjoy significant growth. Commenting on this, Jobs nodded at the European market, saying: “Our market has doubled in size and Europe has been a big part of that”. Apple’s leader confirmed that Apple’s US market share now stands at 4.5 per cent, with a global share of 3 per cent.

Apple’s vice president and general manager Pascal Cagni described Apple’s European success: “In Europe in the last quarter Apple saw the fastest ever growth - 6-7 per cent year on year”, he added: “We have done very well in the UK, and fantastically with the iPod, and in Russia and Turkey too”.

The UK is emerging as a particularly strong market: “The UK grew 90 per cent in the last quarter”. (Macworld’s reporter on the scene suspects the figure may have been 19 per cent, rather than 90 per cent).

Apple on target for Intel

Jobs also confirmed Apple’s switch to Intel processors remains on schedule, saying: “We said we’d be shipping by next June and we are on track to have that be a true statement”.

He admitted the company would “find out” if the switch would impact on Mac unit sales.

Schiller observed: “Why do people buy a Mac?”, answering: “It’s not because of the processor. It’s because of the operating system, OS X. Intel Macs will feel the same. The transition can be one that is very easy for customers. It won’t be a dynamic shift for our customers.”

Multiple reports confirm that hardcore advanced PC users have been downloading illegally distributed copies of Apple’s developer version of OS X for Intel processors. They have been hacking the system to make it install on all manner of PC processors, including those from Intel and AMD.

Jobs said: “We don’t know how having OS X available for PCs would affect Macs”, and promised, “we will have technology in OS X for Intel so that it cannot be installed in other PCs”. He also promised that the final version should not be judged on the basis of the developer versions.

But Apple’s leader isn’t pulling punches when it comes to his battle with the pirates. “Theft is bad”, he said, warning: “You don’t want to burn in Hell.”

“We choose to give away some software for free, we choose not to give away other software”, he added.

Does iPod halo drives Mac sales?

Analysts and media have speculated that Apple’s recent resurgence may partially be attributable to the effect of its success in selling iPods to users who have never touched Apple products before. They enjoy their iPod, and then try Mac.

Apple’s executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations Tim Cook discussed the notion, saying: “We will never know precisely whether the iPod has effected Mac sales. The Mac grew 2-3 per cent in the last quarter. This does indicate that iPod sales have a direct effect.”

Schiller was more upbeat: “Customers’ acceptance of the iPod gives them confidence to try the Mac. They want to know if the rest of our products are as cool,” he said.

Clearly happy with his company’s achievements, Jobs said: “The iPod was the first Apple product to get into the hands of millions of people”.

Engineering excellence central to Apple’s vision

Apple’s leader then talked about the beating heart at the centre of Apple’s core, the company’s world-class engineering teams.

“At its core Apple has great engineering and confidence that it has the ability to take complex technology and make it easy for the end user.”

Remaining relevant in a changing world is critical. The idea of making powerful technologies easy to use matters: “That need is becoming more necessasry as technology becomes more complex”, he said.

“Apple does that better than any other company in the world. What makes us different? Most of our competitors don’t have engineers anymore. Everyone else designs in the Far East.”

Given that claim, a question was asked as to why Apple says “designed in California”, rather than “designed in the US” on its products. Jobs responded: “(It’s) because we like California. It is where we are from. It’s not because we are ashamed by the US”.