Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 31st May 2007 07:28 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y At the D5 conference yesterday evening (CET), an historic joint interview with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates took place. They were interviewed by the WSJ's Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. Gates: "I admire Steve's taste. And that's not a joke." Jobs: "We've kept our marriage secret for over a decade now." You can find transcripts of the unscripted event here and here, while the AllThingsD website has started posting segments in video of the event as well.
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Hardware company => Software company
by Simon Gray on Thu 31st May 2007 10:10 UTC
Simon Gray
Member since:
2006-06-04

It's interesting how Jobs emphasises in part 2 how Apple is a software company and not a hardware company. Just a couple of years ago the rhetoric was the exact opposite.

Reply Score: 5

Deviate_X Member since:
2005-07-11

"It's interesting how Jobs emphasises in part 2 how Apple is a software company and not a hardware company. Just a couple of years ago the rhetoric was the exact opposite."

Question:

Q. If you throw the hardware (iPod) out of Apple what are you left with?

Answer: Not much

Q. If you throw the hardware (MS Mouse) out of Microsoft what are you left with?

Answer: Microsoft

Reply Parent Score: 5

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

This kind of glosses over the fact that one of their biggest cash cows -- iTunes -- is system-independent.

Microsoft sells Office on Macs, and makes money. Apple sells iTunes on PCs, and makes money. It's harder to worry about the competition pushing you out of the market if you're making money off of them, too...

Reply Parent Score: 1

DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

I take it you don't consider Mac OS X, iLife, Quicktime, or any of the other stuff Apple has done to have any worth?

...and meanwhile:

Q. If you throw the software out of Apple, what are you left with?

Answer: a line of very expensive PC hardware and nicely constructed MP3 players, and an expensive but sleek-looking phone.

Q. If you throw the software out of Microsoft, what are you left with?

Answer: A mouse, some keyboards, some joysticks, an XBox 360, a Zune, and Surface.

Edited 2007-05-31 20:59

Reply Parent Score: 2

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

It's interesting how Jobs emphasises in part 2 how Apple is a software company and not a hardware company. Just a couple of years ago the rhetoric was the exact opposite.


Pardon? Apple has always been a software company. Heck, when Apple made the switch from PowerPC to Intel Steve stated that the 'heart of the Mac is the operating system' - hence, its a software company.

Apple uses MacOS X to sell their hardware. It is what makes their product (in the holistic sense) unique to others out there. Not the performance or hardware, but what it can run which no other hardware can.

For me, however, I think the rhetoric is becoming rather slim at best. When I first bought a Mac (an eMac), the alternatives were pretty slim. You either had a buggy Windows XP, a very impersonal Linux or FreeBSD which lacked mainstream applications.

MacOS X at that point was the only viable alternative out there to Microsoft; it had Microsoft Office, its operating system was easy to use, there was a large array of applications available and hardware support was pretty good.

Flash forward today, and its a different ball game. Laptops are the big growth centre. Hardware development has plateaued because of diminishing returns with each successive generation of product. Most importantly software is starting to plateau. More and more features added with less and less return on them. People merely upgrading so that they don't avoid being left 'in the dark' once the support policy runs out.

Things will change, but I think it'll be slow and gradual. Years ago, people would dimiss the idea of Firefox ever getting onto the desktop (both home and corporate) because the lack of support for "Microsoft standards". There are now open standards technologies providing the functionality which Microsoft provided through their proprietary interfaces. People can move.

Same will occur later on. The question is whether Apple is in a position to either take advantage of this change in market dynamics or will it continue to play a roll as a niche for the uber computing elite with a fist full of dollars. Given that the alternatives have caught up in so many ways to MacOS X, can Apple really expect to be continue to charge premiums for their hardware/software combination when there are cheaper alternatives that aren't weilded to a single platform.

Edited 2007-05-31 16:38

Reply Parent Score: 3

butters Member since:
2005-07-08

In the context of the PC (which is a label I apply to the Mac despite the rhetoric), you're absolutely right. The metaphor and scenarios attributed to the PC have run their course. People will be using PCs in much the same way for many of the same purposes 10 or maybe even 20 years from now. If anything, PCs will become less useful as other form factors and metaphors become better suited to the kinds of tasks we currently do with PCs, particularly in the communications and multimedia areas.

Computing platforms are increasingly focused on specific scenarios where they become smart appliances. While the 10-17" folding laptop doesn't seem to be going anywhere, the special-purpose computing appliance is a huge growth area. The iPod and AppleTV are examples of this trend. The last 5 years of the console market speaks of a transition to the notion of a multimedia consumption appliance. Apple and Microsoft are racing to conquer new footprints and create new metaphors.

But the challenge, particularly for Microsoft, is that nobody has inertia in these new markets, and the problem space that these devices address is nowhere near the scope of a PC. This absence of legacy, combined with predefined requirements, creates a fertile breeding ground for free software solutions. The PC establishment is beginning to become vulnerable to free software in some cases, but the future of these vendors in the appliance space is outright threatened by free software.

The only question mark hanging over the future of this market is the impact of content protection technologies and legislation. If hardware and software needs to be certified in order to access content (think CableCard), then the proprietary vendors are going to win, and the consumer is going to lose.

Reply Parent Score: 2