Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Best Comment in a Long Time

Ian Rae comments “I think Apple demonstrated quite convincingly their inability to compete with their own proprietary hardware and software platforms.”

7 comments on "Best Comment in a Long Time"

  • Iang says:

    Yeah, it’s a nice comment, and has a nice ring, will make a journalist really happy. But as far as a market observation goes, it’s complete crap! It’s more of a loaded attack against Apple, and leads the reader to think that Apple failed, than any perceptive remark.
    In fact, Apple succeeded beyond all expectations by tuning its fully proprietary model to a hybrid model (open source-based OS and proprietary GUI, more market-leading hardware with proprietary tweaks).
    Bear in mind that the thing that Apple finally succeeded in also defeated IBM, Digital, HP, Intel, AT&T, and all the names that are no longer with us. And the thing that Microsoft succeeded in has more to do with network effects and the IBM franchise than any “enlightened business strategy.”
    Don’t get me wrong: Apple makes mistakes, and often really big ones. I don’t like the fact that they do so many things in secret. But to say that they showed they can’t compete is journo talk.

  • Mike says:

    Why can’t I comment on some of your articles?
    The one about the 30 mins for security on International flights was so stupid. Did you realise this and decide to stop intelligent people from posting comments?

  • shrdlu says:

    Did you realise this and decide to stop intelligent people from posting comments?
    No, clearly not.

  • Adam says:

    Thank you for your witty and enlightening comment.
    Comments close 21 days out not to avoid discussion, but because most of the comments that get posted are spam. Stupid comments are rarely a problem from my regular readers, and as you can see, I’m happy to have reasonable discussion, even when it disagrees with me.

  • Ian Rae says:

    To Ian G: you might be taking the comment out of context. I’m actually a looking to buy my first Apple since my beloved Apple ][e. I totally agree that the hybrid model is succeeding quite well for them…so far. And I think you recognize that their move away from the hardcore tech was a good thing. They are very talented at design and marketing. My concern is how well they get the “under the hood” stuff. It might not matter yet but by most accounts they have a somewhat mangled security model (I’ll let actual security folks respond to that) and the jury is out on whether they will wake up re: software reliability. I love my iPod but it crashes all the time, as does iTunes which I gave up on altogether.
    Point was just: their hardware and software platforms were ditched in exchange for the much more stable and cost effective FreeBSD x86PC, by doing so they basically admitted they just aren’t a hardcore computer technology company. Once they started focusing on their strengths in design and marketing they began to put out much better products.

  • Iang says:

    Ian R:
    Thanks, that sounds much better. Every competitor has strengths and weaknesses. If you concentrate on your weaknesses you will fail, etc etc. I don’t quite know what you mean by “hard core computer technology company” … unless you are harkening back to the Apple II days. Lisa and Mac put paid to that, since then, Apple went hard core in to the “usability and reliability” mode, and made the hardware and software bend to that.
    I would see Apple as a design and production company, but they make hardware and software — proprietary or open — to suit their needs, not for its own sake. The Linux community on the other hand makes stuff because it is cool. Very different approach; one is a battle for consumers and the other is a battle for developers.
    Both approaches work; only in the long run can we see the merits and otherwise.
    If I might be so bold, I would say, Apple demonstrated quite convincingly that the battle for hardware and software models is not fought on the techie’s battlefield of choice.

  • Ian Rae says:

    I guess the distinction re: technology I was trying to make is beween “under the hood” technologies versus those that the user directly interacts with.
    To use the analogy of a car: they ain’t so good at developing engines and drivetrains but are awesome at designing the body and interior and doing the integration and tweaking of components. Its unclear whether they are any good at safety, reliability or playing nice with aftermarket upgrades, but as their market share increases I guess we will find out!

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