Linked by Kroc Camen on Sat 29th May 2010 20:41 UTC
Apple I've been meaning to write this for some time, and for all the time I delayed the more poignant the point I wanted to make started to become as new news came out further solidifying my angle. When I begun writing this article the iPad had not yet been revealed, iPhone OS 4 was not on the map and Apple had not yet purchased Lala. You've probably just noticed that all of these events in fact point toward Apple embracing the web more and in this article I will point out why this is not the case because I believe Apple's agenda here is similar to something we've already seen in recent history.
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Google will force Apple to adapt...
by tomcat on Sun 30th May 2010 23:38 UTC
tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

Google Android recently overtook Apple's iPhone to reach the #2 market position in smartphones. It did so (essentially) by carpet-bombing Apple's market with 2-for-1 deals on smartphones -- deals that can't be ignored by consumers. This trend is essentially following the same pattern that occurred during the late 80's and 90's, when Microsoft started competing with Apple in the PC vs Mac environment on volume. Apple clung to their high profit margins, and saw their market share steadily decline until Microsoft stagnated. Substitute Google for Microsoft, and you see the current playing field in smartphones & Internet content pretty clearly.

Google has a vested interest in embracing the Web. It's the thing that drives most of their profit, and walled-gardens are a threat to Google's hegemony in search. And, for all Apple's work up until now in cultivating its walled gardens and trying to keep content providers inside that wall, the fact of the matter is that those same content providers will not be able to ignore Google for long. What Google will do is force Apple to play a different game. In my opinion, opening up and embracing the Web is not something that Apple really knows how to do. They've built their business on mostly proprietary technology (OS, firmware, iTunes, phone, iPad, etc), they like it that way, and it would be difficult for them to change. But time is not on their side.

Apple is going to undergo heavy antitrust scrutiny soon. Their exclusive deals with content providers are going to end -- or be forced to end -- and Apple will be forced to change its behavior with iTunes and content lock-up. It's just a question of time. Meanwhile, Google is building a very attractive pathway to new devices, and leveraging pure Web technologies built on WebKit and other open source tools to create pretty cool stuff.

This dynamic is very good for the market and the consumer. It means that there won't be a single fat lazy monopolist sitting in a toll booth for every Web-based purchase that we make. It means that we will have a choice about where we get our content, how we use it, and how we share it. Apple doesn't want anyone peering at the man behind the curtain pulling the control levers, but it's too late. They've pissed off a lot of people, they've grown very, very fast atop outstanding innovations, and while they deserve to prosper, they don't deserve to sit in that tollbooth to control our computing lives.

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