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More Like Microsoft!

Entry 902, on 2008-12-02 at 21:10:33 (Rating 2, Computers)

A recent podcast I listened to suggested Apple should follow Microsoft's business model and make their operating system available to any hardware manufacturer which wants to use it. Microsoft Windows has become dominant because it can be run on so many different types of computer: from ultra-cheap junk up to high-end servers. Apple does produce a range of hardware but its very limited compared with what's available in the PC world.

So why doesn't Apple allow other companies to license Mac OS X to run on other hardware? There are probably three reasons: first, Apple's reputation is based on high quality and stylish products which other manufacturers are unlikely to be able to match; second, Apple makes a lot of income from selling hardware and this would be substantially affected by allowing other companies to manufacture competing hardware; and third, Apple match the hardware, operating system, and a lot of the software which provides a more compatible and trouble-free environment.

Maybe the reason Apple has survived (and prospered) is that they aren't like Microsoft. Why try to compete with a company so entrenched in the industry as Microsoft by doing the same thing as them? There's no way anyone can compete that way. Linux competes by focussing on openness and freedom, which is contrary to the corporate philosophy at Microsoft. Apple competes by emphasising style and a tightly controlled hardware and software environment which is also different.

So the people who demand that Apple should open up and allow wider use of the operating system platform are probably asking Apple to commit suicide. As soon as Apple becomes just like Microsoft they might as well do what Michael Dell suggested a year or two back (by the way, who's laughing now Michael?)

Apple are doing well and the Mac's market share is steadily increasing. Other Apple products are becoming very popular (the iPod is hugely dominant and the iPhone is still the most desired smart phone despite competition from Android and RIM). Microsoft has seriously stumbled with Vista and Windows 7 doesn't look much better.

Then there's the question of what market share Apple should really aim for. Do they want to replace Microsoft as a monopoly? Even if that was possible I don't know whether its what they should aspire to. If I was Apple I would be aiming for 10% to 20% market share (they are close now) and concentrate on continuing to create the best computer instead of the most popular.

This strategy has worked well for the last 10 years. Now is not the time to change!

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Comment 1 (1813) by SBFL on 2008-12-06 at 18:35:07:

Classic OJB spin: "Linux competes by focussing on openness and freedom, which is contrary to the corporate philosophy at Microsoft. Apple competes by emphasising style and a tightly controlled hardware and software environment which is also different."

If Linux operates on openness and freedom, and Microsoft at least "makes their operating system available to any hardware manufacturer which wants to use it", then surely it would be more accurate to say that "Linux competes by focussing on openness and freedom, which is contrary to the corporate philosophy at Apple."?

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Comment 2 (1815) by OJB on 2008-12-06 at 22:34:58:

Yes, you do have a point, except I was specifically referring to how the smaller participants in the computer industry compete against the dominant company, Microsoft. Linux doesn't really compete against Apple, so your point is more or less irrelevant. However I do agree that by some criteria Microsoft is more open than Apple. Let me say now: I don't like a lot of Apple's business practices, - but I really like their products!

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Comment 3 (1816) by SBFL on 2008-12-06 at 23:32:09:

Well I am finally in Europe now, so I will keep an eye out for the iPhone and it's price here. Hopefully I can buy it without a package (and it's not as dear as it is in NZ).

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Comment 4 (1817) by OJB on 2008-12-07 at 09:40:59:

Just be aware that operating any smart phone with its full capabilities (full time connection to cell network to collect email, etc) really requires a plan. The $40 per month plan Voda runs here is probably a good choice. If you are going to run an iPhone (or any smart phone) on pre-pay you will need to turn off some of the most useful functions or be prepared to pay a lot more than $40 per month!

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Comment 5 (1825) by SBFL on 2008-12-14 at 06:49:04: Thanks. Good point.

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