Microsoft Sees Apple has Been Right All Along

For the majority of Microsoft’s existence, they have been an OS company that provides key software that ran on PCs. Then, in the mid-1980s, they became a software applications company and dabbled in things like mice and keyboards as well. While they got into hardware with the XBox, this product was a vertical play for gamers and had no impact on their core businesses and PC partners. During that, period I was very close to Microsoft. In fact, often Steve Ballmer and I would meet or have lunch when he came down to Silicon Valley to discuss Microsoft’s visions and strategies and he would try and convince me Microsoft was on track to dominate the PC world well into the future.

But on at least two occasions, I suggested to him ultimately Apple had the better business model in that they controlled the hardware and software and also oversaw its user interface so the hardware could be tweaked to the UI. I suggested this type of oversight would help Apple in the long run and give them greater control of their destiny. At the time, Ballmer could not see this as a plus for Apple and banished the idea they would ever want to own or control the entire ecosystem in order to guarantee Microsoft’s future. They relied too heavily on their PC partners to help get Windows to a broad market and, to be fair, during that time period he was right.

However, what concerned me even then was that, as early as 1988, we started to see consolidation in the PC market. Because an IBM PC clone could be made with basic parts taken off the shelf, companies around the world were coming out of the woodwork to create PCs and sell them in local markets. Most of these became what we call “White Box” vendors, but NCR, DEC, Panasonic, Toshiba, Acer, Samsung, Great Wall in China and about 2 dozen other branded vendors jumped in to what was a lucrative market but one that became highly competitive. By the early 1990s, we started to see the first wave of consolidation and well over a dozen companies dropped out of the PC market altogether. That consolidation continues today an,d with each wave of mergers, Microsoft’s partner and distributor pool of Windows decreases.

Microsoft is a smart company and I think they saw the consolidation writing on the wall pick up steam at least 4-5 years ago. Secretly in their labs, they began to create prototypes of various kinds of hardware for two key reasons. One was to try and influence designs they wanted their partners to bring to market such as the 2-in-1 Surface, but the second was even more strategic. Market consolidation is a huge threat to Microsoft and, by creating their own PC hardware, they were building an insurance policy for the future that guarantees that, even if more consolidation takes place, they could become a serious vendor in their own right. This would guarantee there would always be a solid hardware vendor carrying the Windows OS forward should consolidation impact their current partners and reduce the number of vendors who would sell Windows PCs.

With Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 3 and 4 and their new Surface Book, they are now direct competitors to their partners, something Ballmer told me back then Microsoft would never do. Of course, Ballmer’s gone and any strategy he had in the past has been trumped by Microsoft’s new leadership who are much more realistic than Ballmer ever was about Windows future.

But if you look at Microsoft’s new strategy, one can’t help but see this is an acknowledgment Apple’s business model of owning the hardware, software and services is ultimately the best one that assures Microsoft’s control of their destiny. At the moment, it looks like Microsoft will only have three serious PC partners — HP, Dell, and Lenovo — doing any volume. Some are asking how long even these vendors will continue to support PCs given shrinking margins.

It is no secret this move into hardware has angered their current PC partners. While not necessarily seen as a betrayal, they would have preferred Microsoft not get into hardware and put more of their design and software UI resources into their partnerships instead of creating their own hardware and tailoring it for their own devices. However, Microsoft ultimately has no control on how successful Dell, HP or Lenovo will be or even if they will continue to support Windows in PCs, given the volatile state of the market and the level of consolidation that continues today.

What Microsoft has had to conclude is that, in the end, the idea of owning the hardware, software and services is the only way to control their destiny. At this time in their history, they had to make this difficult decision even if it brought them into conflict with their PC partner relationships. It looks like “the Apple Way” is now the Microsoft Way too.

Published by

Tim Bajarin

Tim Bajarin is the President of Creative Strategies, Inc. He is recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. Mr. Bajarin has been with Creative Strategies since 1981 and has served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Xerox, Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Toshiba and numerous others.

185 thoughts on “Microsoft Sees Apple has Been Right All Along”

  1. One customer’s perspective….
    Surely then, you must remember, before the IBM PC (and clone) market, each company made their own proprietary version of their personal computer. All were mutually incompatible, there was essentially no component upgrade market, and where there was, they gouged the customer. I remember Tandy charging 3x for a hard drive, due to a proprietary connector. But they sure controlled their destiny.

    1. That’s what we have standards for; so there isn’t complete anarchy. But that has nothing do with an arbitrary division between hardware and software on one hand, nor on the other the conclusion that a forced adoption of one OS by the whole world is the way forward. As with much of life, balance seems to be a key ingredient.

      1. Which is why I still favor the traditional Intel desktop over all other forms of personal computer. Even laptops, by technical necessity, are limited in function. But many interoperable players are better than single source. And THAT is why we really have standards.

        Then, there’s standards, and then theirs standards. Some standards are by fiat, others by committee. Some are open, others are highly proprietary. Some are both. Windows is highly proprietary, but open.

        1. Certainly, there are standards and then there’re standards.

          A Windows corporation or a Windows world isn’t particularly open. I can’t choose to produce my standardized data or graphic or text or product using a non-Windows solution. The standardized data, graphic, text, or product is like having a dress-code or code of conduct that I happily sign on to. Having to use Windows as my tool to do these things is like being issued with specific, company store items of clothing like I would be issued with in the armed forces or prison.

          1. And yet, that’s exactly my criticism of iOS. An OS is there to run the machine and to support applications. There is no broader platform than Windows in hardware or software.

            If there is no available application on Windows that you desire, you (or someone else) are free to write one. You (or someone else) are free to sell it, as your own property, as you see fit, being beholden to nobody other than the continued existence of the platform. You are free not only to ‘duplicate functionality’ (an App Store restriction), you can replace or improve functionality.

          2. “The argument is a mental model.”

            Exactly.

            “And yet, that’s exactly my criticism of iOS. An OS is there to run the machine and to support applications. There is no broader platform than Windows in hardware or software.”

            Um, no, that’s your mental model. Your criticism is that a computing device and its OS can be one unified product. You are overly influenced by your time behind the blue curtain.

            My mental model of a car is that it comes with its own engine. I don’t think of chassis and engine as two separate products that I have to worry about. But if someone monopolised engine production and made a one-size fits all and everyone fell in line for 30 years, then I suppose we might think that way.

            Apple simply rejects the arbitrary separation of OS and Hardware into different products. Many people around the world are voting with their dollars to reject that view of the world, too.

          3. Then I don’t know how we don’t go back to the bad old days, since BMW parts won’t work in a Mercedes…
            As customers, is that what we want from computing? The state of the car industry?

          4. Who works on their own cars any more? That’s not what people want from their cars, and it’s not what people want from computing.

            But, last time I checked, what I do do, is pretty standardized: a tire is a tire; a bolt is a bolt, a battery is a battery, a rubber windscreen wiper blade is interchangeable… those are standards. Similarly, their are standard protocols around Wifi, USB, file formats etc. in computing.

            Why lump the OS (or engine in my analogy) in with standard bits and bobs? That’s your mind model. I find your complaints to be like complaining you can’t put diesel in your benzine auto, or can’t hook your diesel auto up to a charger for electric cars. You may choose certain characteristics before you buy the car, but it’s pretty much a done deal for the life of that car.

          5. “Who works on cars anymore?”
            If it impacts my mechanic, it impacts me.

            You might be singing a different tune if tires, bolts and batteries all become proprietary, as well as roads, gas stations, and entertainment systems. Cost will go up, and you’ll do what they let you do.

          6. Again, I don’t have the fear that you do that Apple will suddenly make a U-Turn. Again, Apple tends to support open standards much better than either MS or Google who twist and corrupt them into proprietary “standards” at the first opportunity (as opposed to Apple, which pushes what it thinks are the best open standards, like H264, PNG video, etc.).

            Heck, the amount of times Windows users and clients send me, a known Mac user, an Excel or Word file asking me to open it for them and export it back in a Word or Excel flavour they can open with their Windows systems, I’ve lost count.

          7. A few truths:-
            – there are few shade-tree mechanics these days. I used to do a bit but (a) technology means that much less maintenance is required, and (b) a lot of what might be required needs equipment that none of us have.

            As an example, I owned a 1983 BMW 533 “big six” that ran great but needed 3000-mile oil changes and valve adjustments that I quickly learned to do myself [not really hard – just work carefully].

            The thirty-years later version needs no valve adjustments, oil change at 15,000 miles or so. By the way – don’t touch the spark plugs. Unlike former days, they’re good until at least 100,000 miles.

            As you say – people don’t build their own PCs any more. Steve Jobs’ idea has come to pass although a bit later than he thought [typical for visionaries]. Macs are standardized and most PCs go into offices where the users have no idea of what’s supporting the screen.

          8. What I want is the best possible user experience. If that means companies like Apple / MS have to resort to vertical integration and customizing their own components to achieve that, then so be it.

          9. There’s a long-term risk though: if a single company owns all of your digital assets the same way MS owns Corp IT, how long before they start extracting rent and/or “embracing, extending and extinguishing” all things digital ?
            There’s a reason why Corps went for a standard-based, layered, multi-supplier solution, and it’s not just because the product was fine: there was a lot less long-term risk for customers too.

          10. Just so you know, I do agree with many points you just raised. I’ll dwell on where we differ.
            For whatever reason, not the least of which would be my age (I felt the liberating aspects of the original IBM PC clone revolution as a very young man), we do know and care about specs (enough of us anyway). The PC Clone revolution moved the IT function from IT to the user (or their proxy). The user controlled their machine, that’s what made it personal. In the Apple ecosystem the IT function has transferred to Apple exclusively. Great value if you want it, extreme burden if you don’t.
            You must also understand ‘how’ I make my computer purchase choice. I set a target budget first, then I buy the most machine that budget can buy. Historically, even today, Apple’s products are underspeced, often grossly. Being sufficiently versed, the ‘experience’ does not justify the price delta for me. Even so, the experience would not be hurt at all, only improved, if the machines would be better speced.
            I see Apple’s ‘experience’ more as a reason of their existence, rather than a reason to spec as they spec. Still, Windows since version 7, yes including Win8, has finally become a very good OS.

          11. Can you explain a bit more what you mean by “… by fiat.” Are you inferring Microsoft and Apple to be the ‘regulator’?

          12. “f there is no available application on Windows that you desire, you (or someone else) are free to write one. You (or someone else) are free to sell it, as your own property, as you see fit, being beholden to nobody other than the continued existence of the platform. You are free not only to ‘duplicate functionality’ (an App Store restriction), you can replace or improve functionality.”

            If you’re talking about Desktop Apps, as in apps you can download outside the MS App Store, then yes, you’re correct, but you can do the same on OSX as well. If you’re talking about MS App Store apps, then that analogy doesn’t apply. They are essentially as “restrictive” as iOS apps.

          13. Beneath Windows, you’ve got a PC, which you can build from standard parts, run a number of OSes on, freely install any app that’s been made on… then maintain and upgrade freely too.
            And you can mix and match suppliers for parts, whole PC, service, and in a more limited way even OS and apps (say, run Firefox and LibreOffice on Windows and Linux)

            That’s a lot more cost-efficient, at scale, than single OEM, single OS, single ecosystem, non-user maintanble nor upgradeable. If we only had Apple, PC penetration would be a lot lower.

          14. Also, now that MS’s model has run its course (rather than IT’s focus has switched from Corporate ot Customer), it’s fairly easy and lame to outline its limitations in retrospect. The idea of an OEM-independent ecosystem was revolutionary (sorry, disrupting) at the time, and did add a lot of value for everyone involved (MS, users, OEMs) at first. Even IBM benefitted from it early on, the PC was rather meh, software contributed a lot to its success.

        2. “If everyone goes to the vertically integrated position, we’re back where we were before the IBM PC and it’s clones.”

          That’s a bit of a straw man. What, back to when we had 6 or 600 or 60000 computers in the world? If “everyone” has a computer, and interacts with every other single individual on the planet, how can different platforms that each have a billion users be “back where we were”?!?

          Some people even have more than one device, and use one platform for mobile, another for desktop, and yet another on their body. It’s a normal navigation through contexts that everyone faces a thousand times a day. So, no, I categorically do not accept that we are back where we were. But I guess that doesn’t stop you and Putin for yearning for the good old days.

          1. Sir, I’m a liberal (with libertarian leanings), how dare you compare me with Putin. The only thing you could have done worse is compare me with Jobs! 🙂

            The argument is a mental model. ….When taken to the limit, where does it break down. If it is good for one, then it may be good for others, then where does that take us? I see the bad old days….

          1. But you can install Windows on it and there, you’re all traditional. Albeit for the almost negligible price of a shrink-wrapped copy of Windows 10. (I don’t know if the last sentence is sarcastic or not.)

          2. Ok, got me there. But you’re not the typical consumer use case. Though I do have 5 HDDs attached to and installed (myself) in my 6 year old iMac and one more on the Airport base station.

          3. I also have a six core Mac Pro as my token Mac (I repurposed my mini as a ‘real’ ATV in my summer home). It looks like an octopus with everything that’s dangling off it…

      2. “forced” ? nothing was forced, it was a choice. There were alternatives, a few of them worthy (OS/2, GEM…).
        There was a time MS’s OS and apps were just better. Afterwards they started using their locking to expand into neighboring markets and compensate for their increasing mediocrity. But the beginning of it all was simply a better product. Lock-in came in only after.
        Noooow, who might that process happen with next, I wonder ? ^^

        1. The “lock-in” that MS got in trouble over is not the same kind of “lock-in” that you are complaining of Apple. So, no, I am not worried that will happen with Apple next.

          *Everyone* displays the kind of “lock-in” you complain of in Apple, to some degree. Apple’s happens to result in higher customer satisfaction and loyalty, so there must be some greater perceived value in there somewhere (though the cynical among us will wrongly attribute that to some kind of cult attraction).

          But if you think Apple customers are repeat customers simply because their average spend of 49 per year (according to Horace Dediu) in the ecosystem “Locks” them “in”, then you are sadly deluded. It is because there is some other perceived value, neither “cult” nor “49-dollar yearly investment” (which is as imaginative as critics can come up with after 30 years).

          The kind of MS “lock-in” that was a problem to justice departments around the world was due to their modular and “open” business model — and by “open”, a term perhaps raised by Klahanas and not yourself, we are referring to a business model in which the core product is freely (though not free-as-in-beer) licensed out to third parties [I am carrying on two conversations with you on two different sites, so forgive me if I don’t treat them both in a vacuum, I’m sure you can keep up].

          I don’t care if someone with a PC thought they needed to get a Zune because they had bought a bunch of Plays-for-Sure DRM’d AVI videos. Good luck with that. I am more concerned that a corporate IT department keeps Apple out simply because it is some kind of condition of MS enterprise service or technician certification.

          MS was the *supplier* and refused to supply businesses if they didn’t accept certain terms. This is a classic mafia strong-arm tactic. So yes, it’s “forced” if OEMs felt compelled to drop Linux development or whatever due to MS dictating terms, or companies/institutions feel compelled to dictate the use of one type of tool throughout, even when it doesn’t make sense in every use case.

          That’s completely the opposite of a company refusing vendors access to its own store/platform/pruduct if they don’t accept your terms, which is what Apple does (and everyone else including MS). Apple doesn’t care what happens down the street, it cares what happens in its own stores/on it’s own platform/on its own products.

          This latter type of “lock-in” still encourages competition because it means everyone has to strive to make the better product/platform/ecosystem to retain repeat customers. MS is finding that it needs to go more integrated in order to do this, because it is losing ground with its “good enough” franchise partners.

          1. Several things:
            – I doubt the average Apple customer spends only $49/yr in the ecosystem. That’d be one iPhone every 10+ years.
            – Whatever the yearly spend is, interdependence means switching would cost several times that amount in one go. That’s a big hurdle regardless of what the amount is : change phone = change watch, re-buy media, change cloud providers… that’s what creates lock-in.
            – MS PlaysForSure was licensed to both content suppliers and device makers, so it kind of says the contrary of what you want ? MS could do it 10 years ago, Apple won’t do it today ^^
            – No IT department is 100% MS, there’s always Linux, big iron, … lurking somewhere. Where do you get the notion MS made customer sign exclusivity deals ? On the OEM side, Dell and HP are to this day selling Linux machines, not sure about Asus (they did at one time) Acer and Lenovo. Your info is just wrong.
            – Your point about Apple having the right to set conditions for access to its platform is irrelevant: a) Apple is not setting any conditions (in the case of movie content, smartwatches…), just closing it up unconditionally and b) when it is in a position of weakness and needs reach more than lock-in , Apple is happy to do the contrary (see Apple Music on Android), so it’s not a philosophical position, just a tactical one, and a harbinger of things to come.

          2. Obviously, the 49 dollars is independent of the devices. If I were to have an iPhone one time, and two years later think about another phone purchase, I would have sunk 100 bucks into media, apps and services.

            That is not insurmountable. If the competing phone has the better value proposition, the iPhone user could go for it. He would save money by getting a phone more than 100 dollars cheaper than an iPhone. In fact, selling his iPhone after 2 years would cover the purchase of another choice.

            But, most iPhone users really like their iPhones. It’s not the “lock-in” of the media that you introduced in this thread. So what is it? Must be the device itself.

          3. But devices are part of it: iWatch only work with iPhone, and reciprocally. aTV only really makes sense with an AirPlay server. Etc…
            Limiting lock-in to content purchases is relevant, but small change compared to device interdependency (for the $$ amount) and cloud services lock-in (Apple services and apps are mostly not cross-platform, and when they are, only in a degraded form, relevant for the headache factor).

          4. Right. I have always blamed the MPAA and the rights holders (rarely the actual content creators). Never the content providers.

            Joe

          5. Here’s where Apple gets some of the blame. MPAA requires DRM. FIne. But Apple made their DRM to work only on iOS, WIndows, and OSX. Since there’s cross platform DRM (Windows) , why not Android?

          6. OMG. I am not going through this process again. Every video content provider’s platform is closed and locked-in. You can’t watch Amazon purchased content in Netflix. You can watch anyone’s video content on Apple devices when those providers support it. Case in point, Amazon’s DRM only works in Amazon. So even if I have other devices I can play Amazon content, I can’t do so on ATV because Amazon refuses to support it. Even if they did I am still restricted to two devices I can download the content to.

            You are not locked into buying video content from Apple. And when DRM is no longer required (although it is still embedded in digital video hardware playback via HDMI) I have no doubt the result will be the same as with music.

            Joe

          7. And on this matter, Amazon is as bad, if not worse.
            I want to buy a video once, not for each device type, or model, or brand I own. I’m reasonably sure you do too. Apple is targeted because they sell the most, and as the seller, they are the first line of recourse to the customer.
            Note to all of them: The customer should not be caught in the middle of your stupid squabbles.

          8. Hmm, considering a lot of Android watches and Android and Windows devices get stuck in a drawer for much of their lives, I suppose Apple may be onto something.

            I wouldn’t consider a smart watch unless I knew its use and value could be multiplied by slotting into a workflow I already have tried and tested and am happy with. I don’t have room for anything new — it must complement, enhance and multiply value.

            So, does Apple Watch enjoy an “advantage” over Android watches when it comes to convincing an iPhone user to buy a Watch for the first time? You bet. Mostly because the iPhone user has come to expect Apple to deliver on quality, value and promises/expectation. All the “promises” of Android, collectively, and how it can “do anything and everything” means squat when it comes to trusting one OEM/Carrier to deliver value and service around one Android device that may or may not last the test of time.

            How “unfair”! Really, a lot of your arguments come down to this: “Apple shouldn’t do such a good job, it makes everyone else look bad!”

          9. I know, It’s not lock-in when you’re happy !
            Also, nobody’s saying it’s unfair, just that it is revealing.

          10. I know. It’s also revealing when I try to sit down in a nice restaurant and they don’t let me take my bag of McDonald’s food out and eat it right there. They tell me the atmosphere and amenities and services they have painstakingly built up is only for their customers, and not for McDonalds’ customers. I mean, what cheek, they don’t even provide WIFI and straws, so I don’t know what they think they are trying to get away with!

          11. You’re actually saying that Apple’s stuff is not mainly your own, but theirs ? And not realizing it ?

          12. Are you actually saying that you don’t know what an analogy is, that analogies have weaknesses, and that you can’t take it too far?

            In any case, I thought it was obvious. In so far as McDonald’s food isn’t “my” food, either; it’s not what I would prepare at home. No it’s just an example of ubiquitous fast food prepared by all manner of franchisees that gives you a chance to sneer at anyone that doesn’t agree with you in thinking that a hamburger is just a hamburger.

          13. Also, a nice restaurant will make a burger, give you straws, and even give you ketchup (while sighing loudly, I know, I tried it ^^).
            Apple won’t.

          14. You do have a point. If your point, as most of us rather suspect, is just be able lean over to those at the next table and say, “Suckers!”, when we are busily tucking into the house sauce instead of demanding a packet of ketchup.

          15. In this regard Apple is actually better than the other content providers. Apple allows for buying food from other restaurants and eating it in theirs. Try eating Apple video in Netflix and tell me how far you get.

            Joe

          16. “Apple is happy to do the contrary (see Apple Music on Android), so it’s not a philosophical position, just a tactical one, and a harbinger of things to come.”

            I don’t think Apple Music on Android qualifies as “doing the contrary”. They are extending a cloud service beyond their own devices, without supporting those devices, because they presumably feel they can capably do so. Indeed, these services are offered to end users.

            “Doing the contrary” and “applying conditions” like MS might have done (and indeed Google has done with its services) would be to offer the service through an OEM or carrier, with the proviso that OEM or carrier had to take Kindle or Spotify off in order to receive the service on any of their customers’ devices.

          17. Well, they’re doing it for music (where they’re weak) but not for video (where they’re strong). What’s the difference between the two except in one they’re weak, and in the other, strong ?

          18. Weak? My four teenagers have all gravitated to Apple Music as their primary music app/service, and they’ve used lots of other music services. They tell me discovery is especially good.

          19. Feels just a tad early to base any analysis on Apple Music’s market share. Apple just got started, and they’ll continue to iterate. If my kids are any indication Apple Music will do just fine.

          20. Precisely. They need share, so they open it up. When they don’t need share, it gets locked down. again, harbinger of things to come.

          21. Apple Music would do fine just on iOS. You’re way too paranoid. Music is simply easier to deliver in a more open way. Video content is still quite a mess.

          22. The mess exists re: rights, between content creators, distributors, studios, networks, etc. It’s not nearly as sorted out as music, perhaps simply because music moved to digital distribution earlier and is more mature in that respect.

          23. That’s not true, and you know better. The rights issues are separate from the technical issues, and each vendor providing a technical solution has very little control of any rights issues.

          24. Do you have any example of a multiplatform provider that has some content of some IT platforms, but not on others ? Except Apple ?
            Nobody’s disputing the legal and technical issues are different (duh !). I’m disputing the fact that they’re a factor in Apple restricting content to their own platform.
            So, any example ?
            Edit: also, again, the legal issues are not much different for Music and for video….

          25. You are correct that there’s no technical reason Apple can’t be more open re: video. But you are far too dismissive of the legal/rights issues, and you’re wrong that these issues aren’t much different for music and video. Music is much more mature in this regard. It’s not that Apple can’t do what you’d like re: video, it’s that Apple is walking a different path. You’re free to disagree with their approach of course, but given Apple’s current success I’d bet on Apple and not you. Thanks for your input though, we all appreciate it 🙂

          26. So, any example ?

            (of any other digital IT-based video provider being restricted to some platforms but not others ?)

            Methinks you’re dreaming it. No other straw left to grasp at ?

          27. In essence every video content provider is their own platform. Amazon did not pay for the rights for you to watch an Amazon video through Hulu or iTunes or other non-Amazon platform.

            Joe

          28. Also, this is not about what I’d like or not; I don’t really care how Apple milk their customers: I’m not one of them.
            I’m just observing that Apple is taking advantage of ecosystem lock-in to push hardware. And that people seem to have a really hard time realizing that.
            Main reason to buy Apple TV ? Be able to watch your iTunes movies on your TV (what a concept !). It’s the only way to do it. Precious few commentators actually mentioned that in their aTV articles, since it’s not spoon-fed by Apple PR and you’ve got to actually step back and think !
            Apple are in the business of selling devices indeed. All the rest is just for the lock-in, to be activated as soon as the lock-in is strong enough. And the movies lock-in generates aTV sales, which will generate aTV app sales (since aTV is a fragmented ecosystem) and… a virtutous lock-in loop. Virtuous, if you’re Apple ^^ Which you are via your stocks, which explains your strenuous selective blindness, I guess…

          29. Many of us who comment here are just as smart as you, we just don’t share your point of view. It isn’t a case of agreeing with your opinion or being blind fools. You might want to take your ego down a notch and try to understand that you’re not the smartest person in the room. You might learn something from actually listening to others.

          30. SG is right in the sense that music is more mature, mostly in regards that almost no music is sold with DRM any more. But video is not at that point. I can’t play video downloaded from Amazon anywhere I want. First I can only play it through an Amazon player or player approved by Amazon on a platform Amazon supports (AppleTV is currently denied, for example). Second I can only download it to two devices max. There are restrictions everywhere there is legit video content.

            I can’t watch Hulu content through Netflix or vice versa. When Amazon goes out of business, all that content (including books purchased through Kindle) will be at risk. So no video provider is without some level of lock-in by design of the MPAA.

            Personally, I don’t see that changing, pretty much ever. Even in VHS days, video had DRM. HDMI has DRM embedded. There is a lot of content, no matter who you purchased it from, if you aren’t playing through a legit HDMI player through a legit HDMI cable feeding an HDMI monitor, you won’t get to watch. Video producers are extremely protective of their endeavors. All video providers will have to capitulate at least through the foreseeable future.

            Joe

          31. It’s starting to change, a bit: Louis CK releases his stuff w/o DRM, and the BBC recently released a double handful of excellent Dr Who episodes. Both for pay, but with no DRM.

            The issue is not the byzantine regional locks and rights, nor proprietary DRM (Hulu vs Netflix vs Google Play vs iTunes). Each and every content provider has to contend with that, and yet they *all* sell content on a variety of platforms (Amazon on Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Web, and surely others, ditto Netflix). Only Apple lock the content to their own hardware. It’s their choice, not the rights holders.

          32. Which is kind of the beauty of the internet. The content creators can bypass the content distributers, who are the real hold ups.

            You are still missing that each provider is, in fact, their own platform. As I pointed out already, you can’t watch Amazon downloaded video on anything that Amazon does not provide a player or an approved player (like AppleTV). You can’t go to Hulu and demand Hulu let you watch or download the movies and shows you bought on Netflix. Those providers are platforms that are non-interchangeable.

            And as I mentioned before (which means I am repeating myself, so this is likely the last I’ll say on this) those other companies, video content is their product. Only Amazon sells hardware for video. For Amazon in can be easily argued that the hardware is not the product.

            And that you can buy content other than from Apple for iOS devices pretty much makes your point moot. You don’t have to buy video from Apple.

            Joe

          33. “You are still missing that each provider is, in fact, their own platform.”. “Only Amazon sells hardware for video”. Except not: Google sells movies, and has its Movies app on iOS, same as Amazon. The issue is not that the video distribution platform are proprietary, they all are; but the platform operator’s decision to be present on several/competing ecosystems or not, ie to lock in the content to their ecosystem or not. Only Apple does that.

            That you can buy video from other than Apple doesn’t make my point any mooter than that you can use Android with no Google services whatsoever: the overwhelming majority of people still do, so what they do with those default matters a lot. I had the hardest time explaining to people they shouldn’t sign up for their ISP’s email 15 years ago. Same deal with content today: don’t buy content that’s ecosystem-locked. It’s a hassle.

          34. Right. I was trying to be polite. Your point is irrelevant.

            “don’t buy content that’s ecosystem-locked”

            There is no such thing with regard to video.

            Joe

          35. Again, Google’s and Amazon’s content isn’t locked to their own ecosystems, only Apple’s is.
            All content is locked to DRM, but that’s another issue, different from whether or not you’ll have a choice of ecosystem to enjoy your content on, now and in the future. Granted, none of it is future-proof because DRM keeps us at the whim of the content shop, but each seller’s intention are fairly clear: Google is agnostic, Apple is very gnostic, Amazon is wondering whether it’s time to get dickish too.

          36. “Again, Google’s and Amazon’s content isn’t locked to their own ecosystems, only Apple’s is. I can play my Google movies on my brother’s iPhone. He can’t play his iTunes movies on my Android phone.”

            No you can’t. You have to use Google and Amazon’s ecosystem’s players. If they don’t provide them on iOS (AGAIN, as ATV shows) you don’t see squat. That’s not Apple. that’s Amazon and Google.

            Joe

          37. But it doesn’t make you any less locked-in to an/their ecosystem. You are no less at the mercy of lock-in than with Apple. You’re point is moot, irrelevant, meaningless.

            Joe

          38. I’m still locked-in to their video infrastructure (and always would be, there’s no alternative possibility because DRM isn’t cross-vendor), but at least I’m not locked-in to their Mobile ecosystem.
            I can watch my “Google” videos on an iPhone, I can’t watch my “Apple” videos on an Android. That’s a very tangible, relevant, difference.
            And the difference should get bigger in the future, with more ecosystems (TV on top of Mobile and Desktop, probably also VR, car, maybe even Watch). Apple is making sure you have no choice but buy all of these from Apple if you want to watch your Apple vids.

          39. I’m disappointed in our exchange, you’re showing extreme bad faith, examplified here by that purposeful partial quote.
            I can watch Google videos and an iPhone. I can’t watch iTunes videos on an Android. That’s the very avoidable lock-in that is at issue, and that shows Apple’s true colors.
            Deal with it.

          40. I have nothing to deal with. I’m not the one who has blinders on regarding what is or isn’t lock-in.

            We also have precedence regarding how Apple would react if DRM were removed from video. I suspect they would treat it exactly as they do music.

            You just simply do not have the facts to support the argument you are trying to make.

            Joe

          41. Certainly no more so than me not being able to watch my Amazon video on ATV. It’s all lock-in until the MPAA lifts DRM. Everyone will need their ecosystem lock-in to support their DRM.

            And if you are an Android device owner, you buying video content from iTunes is, first impossible. Second, even if it were possible (say you have a Mac, but an Android handset), it is just plain stupid. That’s like going to Ford for parts for your GM even if your other car is a Ford. Buy your video from an Android provider and be happy.

            Joe

          42. “And if you are an Android device owner, you buying video content from iTunes is, first impossible […] second stupid”

            Buying on iTunes as an Android device owner is far from impossible: just do it in the PC. Or it can happen organically if you switched from an iPhone to an Android… you’re not “buying”, but you “have bought”. Apple is using all the levers it can to make sure that doesn’t happen. Google and Amazon aren’t.

            There are plenty of non-stupid reasons for finding oneself with content bought on a former ecosystem, or getting an iPad for some non-stupid reason, and an Android phone for some equally non-stupid, but different, reason. Apple is working hard to make sure you are dis-incented to do that but, thankfully, other content shops will let you watch your content on both, only Apple bars it.

            You seem to not realize there are 2 levels of lock-in: 1- the video is locked in to the video player via DRM, 2- the video player is locked in to the mobile ecosystems it runs on. Each supplier has 1-, but only Apple uses 2- by making their player unavailable on any other mobile platform, which in effect activates 1-.

          43. You do realise that all media is controlled by the rights holders and production companies, hence the prices and terms of availability? Even though Jobs managed to negotiate reasonable terms with those that controlled music, the moving picture people had apparently less to lose and dictated more onerous conditions and prices, never mind somehow forcing the full US “justice” system to attack anyone anywhere with overwhelming force if they were believed to be stealing from them.
            Very few countries are allowed to rent (some) video and streaming is a bitch unless you’re lucky enough to have available, or afford, high speed broadband.
            It’s not in Apple’s or their customers interests to have to charge high prices for media, but content is expensive to produce.

          44. OK, I think I’ve figured something out here. I haven’t totally fleshed this out, but I do believe this is the base point.

            Similar to Amazon with Prime, Apple sees providing an Apple controlled UX for media as a feature, not the actual product. I think this is reflected in the way Apple has always presented their media offerings as break-even with little net margin.

            You don’t have to buy media from Apple to use on Apple devices. But Apple isn’t actually in the media selling business, not in the same sense as Hulu, Roku, or Netflix. To sell media independent of Apple devices is turf Apple, until now, has left untrodden. I contend primarily for lack of control of the UX, as someone else mentioned.

            By the time iTunes was available on Windows, the basis for under-the-hood format support was fairly seamless and likely immutable. And if Google was the sole provider of Android, it would likely make sense here as well. But too much potential for too many hands in Android under-the-hood makes Android support for at least iTunes too much of a nightmare.

            I think this is actually makes Apple Music such a huge departure. This is Apple’s first real media centric product, not simply an available feature. This really is new territory for Apple. We’ll see how well they do.

            The reason media “lock-in” is not really a problem is because you don’t have to buy media from Apple. I think people are smart enough to figure this out pretty quickly. To people that need to play media on different ecosystem devices, at worse this is easily discernible and they simply do not buy form Apple.

            If the customer is only an Apple user this is historically no worse than all the VHS tapes and DVDs I have that I no longer have the ability to watch on ANY device I own. And in reality, other than music, most media is consumed once, less frequently two or three times at most. So the “issue” is fairly self-resolving.

            There is probably more, but that’s all I have the interest in at the moment.

            Joe

          45. “To sell media independent of Apple devices is turf Apple, until now, has left untrodden”.

            Not so: ITunes is on Windows from day 1.
            Music is headed to Android.

            “But too much potential for too many hands in Android under-the-hood
            makes Android support for at least iTunes too much of a nightmare.” that everyone but Apple seems to have no problem with ?

            “f the customer is only an Apple user this is historically no worse than
            all the VHS tapes and DVDs I have that I no longer have the ability to
            watch on ANY device I own. And in reality, other than music, most media
            is consumed once, less frequently two or three times at most. So the
            “issue” is fairly self-resolving.”

            You don’t have any kids ? For “Frozen”, I think we’ve reached 100; and for favorites movies/series, I’ve reached 10 myslef (I’m a big kid).
            I still use some CDs and DVDs. and “if the custmer is only an Apple user” is precisely the point, they have to be AND STAY only an Apple user. Which they’re probably quite happy to be right now, but will have no choice about later.
            Will content obsolete faster than we tire of Apple ? My oldest content is over 25 years old…

          46. I don’t see Apple Music similar to iTunes for Windows at all. This is new for Apple. This is music as a stand alone product, not a value added feature.

            I could be wrong on all of this. Obviously I can’t read their minds and I have no access to any documentation. ITunes for Windows, in my argument, indicted a shift for the iPod. It was not selling media for the sake of selling media. Remember Jobs used to talk about whether something was a product or a feature.

            Jobs wanted the iPod to remain Mac only. He had to be convinced to support Windows. In that regard, the iPod was a “feature” of the Mac PC ecosystem, not a product of its own. Also in that regard iTunes was a “feature” of the Mac. Remember that in the early days iTunes supported other music players.

            I think this was the beginning of Apple and Jobs thinking of an ecosystem as something not PC centric. The iPod was no longer only an added feature for Macs and Mac users. It was its own product, part of something larger in the same way the Mac now was, too.

            Apple from the beginning did not consider selling music/media as a profit center. Putting iTunes on Windows had nothing to do with selling music to Windows’ customers. It had everything to do with selling music/media to iPod customers who also happened to be Windows customers. Even today, who uses iTunes on Windows if they don’t also have an Apple device? Sure, maybe some, but likely not a significant number. And if they did, all the better, but still not the focus.

            I already acknowledged Apple Music on Android in this context. This makes Apple Music a non-hardware product. That’s a pretty big move for Apple.

            You have to understand this. The media companies that (now, BTW, not always) support Android, this is all they do, their only hope for revenue. Media is the product, not simply a value added feature. And supporting Android is not the “happy, happy, joy, joy” you want to imply by saying “everyone but Apple seems to have no problem with”. Many have regularly expressed the difficulties in supporting Android, including game developers.

            I think this is also what kept the Apple TV a hobby. If they viewed media as a product, then that would easily make ATV a “handle” to the razors. But media was not the product (thus not even the razor), until now.

            “‘if the custmer is only an Apple user’ is precisely the point,”

            That may be your point, but it is pointless. It is not a problem to people who use Apple devices. You can try to frame it as a problem, but reality is not with you on that one.

            And yes I have adult children, now. That’s why I had such a large library of tapes and DVDs, all of which (if I hadn’t gotten rid of them already) now take of space unless I decide to invest in another player. Which I might. But I still can’t play them on any Android device. The history of media is littered with “lock-in”.

            Joe

          47. “The media companies that (now, BTW, not always) support Android, this is all they do, their only hope for revenue.”
            ??? Amazon does tablets, yet it supports Android and iOS tablets. Ditto B&N. LeTV (China)does phones…

            Just had my iBrother on Skype. Asked him if he had an aTV -Yes. What for ? -to watch my iTunes movies on the TV.
            That’s it. One motivator and no other choice. Score one for Apple.

            Regarding your DVD anecdote, you must be at least dimly aware of the difference between technical evolution and willful lock-in… Obsolesence is not lock-in.

          48. Yeah. Just try to watch or read content from Amazon without an Amazon player. Talk about “lock-in”. Where will Amazon be 25 years from now?

            Joe

          49. There’s no question MS was (is?) a deplorable company. I don’t see anyone defending them. What they did do is control the industry through corporate participants. Apple controls their customer directly, and I find that even more egregious.

            During the Vista days, I decided to transition to Apple myself. Spent well over $10,000 and ultimately ran away like a *itch!

          50. It’s not really “controlling” if you’ve gone out and purchased yourself an integrated product that has obvious attractions of its own, due to its being an integrated product.

            If you purchased an integrated TV and DVD player, you don’t sit there wondering why you can’t shove a VHS taps into the slot. If you need to, you go purchase a device that plays VHS tapes. You don’t feel “controlled”, you feel glad you aren’t messing with a TV and a DVD player, a mess of cables and two remotes, not taking up extra space.

            Apple’s hardware and OS’s are best viewed as an integrated product, hence the article. Besides, it’s not egregious to under promise and over deliver, with high satisfaction rates. It’s egregious to have all these promises about what the “Android” and “Windows” systems can potentially deliver in the best of circumstances, because they can allegedly “do it all“, and yet, hardly anyone’s experience comes close to that in real life with any single Android or Windows device unless they are very very savvy and patient. That wide-open world of possibility promised by Android and Windows suddenly comes down to the one single choice of device a user purchases and has to live with, trying to acquire and wrangle updates, deal with rampant malware, messy drivers, etc.

            If your’s and Obart’s experience are pretty idyllic, then you are pretty atypical. Hence the article, and hence switching (from both Android and Windows) tending to favor Apple. Android and Windows proponents can’t claim all the promises of those “open” worlds on behalf of very many typical at all; not nearly to the degree that benefits of Apple’s tech and ecosystems accrue to most Apple device users without any effort.

          51. “It’s not really “controlling” if you’ve gone out and purchased yourself an integrated product ”

            “If you purchased an integrated TV and DVD player, you don’t sit there wondering why you can’t shove a VHS tape into the slot.”

            It is when they tell you what you can watch…

          52. Definitely: bye bye Keurig if it can only make coffee from Keurig coffee pods. That would be terrible.

            Mac devices don’t play only iTunes media. They play most everything else too.

            You and Obart are complaining that your Nescafe coffee maker can’t use pods made by Keurig. Who cares? It’s a non-issue. It only affects people addicted to Keurig coffee pods, or those who are only able to buy coffee from in that one form from that one source — zero.

            And why should Keurig help Nescafe sell Nescafe coffee makers?

          53. And why should I be tolerant of lock-in and buy only approved coffee pods. The Gen 1 product even gave you a pod where you could put in your own coffee. Loss of choice….

            I reserve the right to not be required to have an ongoing relationship with companies from which I purchase. The right to choose to not make more money for them.

          54. You shouldn’t. That’s why I said, “bye bye Keurig”. I have an espresso machine with which I can use my own grounds, or pads of a certain configuration.

            That’s exactly the opposite of what is happening with Apple devices and iTunes media. Apple is reserving its media for its own devices — it’s not requiring users of its devices to use only its own media.

            You are complaining for yourself, as though Apple is doing something particularly heinous or unusual; and you use a coffee example that isn’t the same. I think you are honest, but mistaken.

            Obart is purporting to complain on behalf of Apple customers; then insulting them as iSheep if they don’t go along with him. I find this very disingenuous.

          55. Heinous yes, unusual no. Not being unusual does not mean it shouldn’t be called out. It’s lock-in, by design, not some technical reason, and that’s what is bad.

          56. It’s not bad. It’s like an establishment (a hotel or restaurant, for example) saying that the parking places in front of our building are reserved for our clientele, don’t park there if you aren’t using the restaurant or hotel. You want anybody and everybody to be able to fill up the parking spaces at their own convenience without using the hotel or restaurant.

          57. Sigh. The car is owned, which is what I am comparing to a device. However, you cannot always “do what you want” with the car you own. Like, you can’t park in every space you see just because your car will fit in it.

            If a person doesn’t patronise Apple’s establishment, then they can’t park in front of the door and troop into the bathroom. Android devices must move along, the benefits offered to Apple patrons are not for them.

            Apple’s platform is owned by Apple. I think your confusion lies in the fact that the Store, iCloud appears to be *on* the device. I have to let you know, it isn’t. You are seeing a virtual representation of the Store/Cloud/Service/Platform rendered on your device’s screen. They aren’t really *in* there. You seem to have this impression that “owning” your device means you own all the IP represented on it.

            In fact, you don’t really own movies, songs or apps either, even though you “purchase” them. You purchase a license to play them in a certain format on certain devices according to an agreement. I don’t know how you can be as computer savvy as you are and not be familiar with digital and creative IP, software licenses, EULA’s, copyright, etc.

          58. I own that specific copy of the IP. I own the firmware chips, I own the screen, I own the digital file. What I cannot do is distribute copies, which is tantamount to theft.
            This is why jailbreaking is now deemed legal. So is ripping, now, by the way.

          59. iPods were always sold on the basis of ripping (since 2001 or whenever). Do you know what “iTunes Match” is? (it legitimizes — and provides a fresh new copy — of any music you happen to have in your personal library, no matter the source).

            And people were welcome to jailbreak; they just aren’t welcome to come running back to Apple for support after they jailbreak.

          60. 1- When the iPod came out, ripping was highly controversial still. Anyway, I was referring to movies.
            2- With the exception of my Slingbox, which I only use over WiFi. I don’t want to stream outside my home. Ever. Period. But that’s just me.
            3-You are aware that Apple petitioned the Librarian of Congress taking a formal position that jailbreaking is a violation of the DMCA, and thus a crime. Right?

          61. 1. As our conversations attest, many find Apple quite controversial, individuals and Record Companies alike. What I was pointing out was that Apple is a lot more liberal than people appreciate, but extremely business-like where they have to be when dealing with content providers.

            2. You can stream and or download. Some people have terabytes of media, and it is all available to your iDevice without filling up the storage on the device.

            3. What I am aware of (besides the fact that I will come across as an overly ardent Apple defendor at which even I can blush 😉 ), is that Apple, like me, doesn’t like to be backed into a corner or pushed over a barrel. I don’t know for a fact, but pushing for such a decision may have been the only way to keep from being forced to provide unending support to idiots who really screwed up their devices by jailbreaking them and getting their personal data compromised or something. If someone asks Apple to help, they are usually only too happy to bend over backwards (with tons of stories of whole devices being completely replaced at no cost); but no-one, not just Apple, appreciates those who demand help after going against advice and screwing up anyway.

          62. You have every right to just keep bitching and bitching and bitching about how aggrieved you are that Apple doesn’t cater to your every single narrowly defined need. Lord knows that your specific requirements are so universal that Apple’s fortunes can only be explained by fluke.

            Oh, the great awakening will come when Apple’s users will WISE UP and RISE UP to demand that Apple stop making desirable things and wallow in the land of plastic junk. It is so unfair of Apple to keep making things that people are willing to pay extra for. That’s unfair competition!!!

            The day is coming. Apple is doomed to be a niche player making all the money from all the premium customers forever! Oh! The humanity!!!!!

      3. Also, I love the “arbitrary division between hardware and software”. Please do ask any random dev to build the machine their stuff will run on ^^
        And “As with much of life, balance seems to be a key ingredient.”. If we’re throwing platitudes, I’ll go for the scientific one: “As in all of Nature, imbalance is the way forward”

        1. ? What random cubicle worker build his own machine? And for that matter, what random dev creates a viable OS?

          We are talking about a handful of possible OS’s. Only a handful of companies can do both hardware and software. Apparently, doing both brings synergies that actually translates into tangible value to customers. Apparently, MS wants to get it self some of that goodness.

          The “arbitrariness” I speak of is the “mental model” that says the computer industry is somehow naturally broken down into an “open” OS producer and a bunch of OEMs.

          That kind of “openness” is not really open — under the guise of “multiple vendor policies” and “compatibility”, it forced, yes forced, one company’s vision (MS’s) on whole corporations, industries, institutions, etc. If the OS is so important, why not “open” that up to a little competition, too?

          Much better for users to choose specific tools for specific uses: say, a Linux Web Server, a Windows desktop and Apple portables. That would be “open”. That would be more “balanced”.

          I don’t know where you get the idea that companies need to be totally committed to Apple products alone. That’s a straw man. Sorry, but that’s what MS already played for, and it wasn’t pretty. Now they are looking to bring more real value by re-evaluating their philosophy (mostly out of necessity) and trying to do both OS and hardware in integrated products.

          But speaking of “random” devs and engineers, this new direction by MS is really going to bring their products (finally) under more scrutiny, maybe as much as Apple’s! Despite all this “openness” and experience with OEMs and experience in the enterprise, it is rather ironic that Windows is still so tied to X86. They are doubling down on Windows and Windows Everywhere, because, quite frankly, they’ve really had little success outside X86. Windows RT, CE, Kin, etc…. all gone. Poof.

          Ironically, with it’s Unix and NeXT heritage, Apple’s OS foundation is the most versatile, successfully deployed and employed on all sorts of platforms. And it always has been. So, yeah, kudos to those “random” devs and engineers at Apple! They at least can walk and chew gum at the same time. So, uh, yeah, someone can do both.

          1. Well, you say the division between hardware and OS is arbitrary. So there’s no “make hardware” skill, separate from a “make software” skill ?Otherwise the distinction is *not* arbitrary ? Hence, ask a dev to build a PC ?

            The syngergy value is to *some* customers. Apple is not taking the Entrerpise desktop + server market by storm. That used to be the biggest market, now it’s a distant second, but let’s not over-generalize.

            I love how you label MS “open” then proceed to say it’s not, when nobody but you said it was “open” to start with. The best way to win arguments: argue with yourself.

            As for opening the OS… well, there are IP laws that make that hard.
            How did MS ever “sanction” OEMs and forcibly keep them in line ? I’m not aware of MS ever refusing to sells Windows to anyone that could run it (heck, it even runs on Apple hardware), nor on enforcing anything onerous on OEMS. Actually , I thought MS not enforcing much on OEMS was the main issue: race to the bottom, crapware…

            What’s of value is different in Corp and Consumer. Corp does value a choice of suppliers, and a layered approach. Consumers, less so, because they don’t think long term and “easy +sexy” trumps all. The MS model has not suddenly been proved bad: it was simply confronted with a new market, at a time when its main building block, the OS, was in a very sad state. Is the main issue the industry structure, or the fact that Windows Phone and Windows phones sucked for the longest time ? Android has tremendous success, with a responsibilities breakdown on Mobile very similar to Windows’ on Desktop, so I don’t know how we can say structure is that important compared to product.

            It’s funny you call Apple’s foundation most versatile… it’s been deployed in significantly fewer platforms and scenarios than anything else ? They have separate ecosystems for desktop, mobile, TV, watches when MS and android have the same (except MS on watches)… You assert Apple products are better in mixed environment… you can say it, but it’s untrue. Apple upholding standards must be a joke, AirPlay, ADB, Lignthing, Obj-C, Swift, Safari, iTunes … beg to differ.

            In the end, I think rewriting history because circumstances have changed is nonsensical. MS won Corp, and lost Consumer, for a variety of reasons. I think it’s mostly bad product and lack of leadership, not separating OS from hardware – which Android is also doing, with a lot more success.

          2. “They have separate ecosystems for desktop, mobile, TV, watches”

            Don’t agree. Apple’s ecosystem is essentially one ecosystem. The core architecture of their OS’s, for all intents and purpose, is the same with only the GUI being the differentiator. And that ecosystem is tied together with iCloud.

            “You assert Apple products are better in mixed environment… you can say it, but it’s untrue.”

            Considering that IBM is deploying Macs / iOS devices by the tens of thousands, in a mixed environment, and apparently saving $270 for each Mac compared to a PC, proves to me that it is true. Just because others can’t do it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a knock on Apple products. It could mean they’re just incompetent IT guys.

          3. Well since iCloud doesn’t do anything that Google doesn’t do, I guess all computers are one big ecosystem… More seriously, Mobile, desktop, watch and TV all run different apps. If apps are not the core of the ecosystem, what is ?

            Then, first for example, the iWatch only works with iPhones, and reciprocally. No amount of IT competence can change that. Second, IBM was deeply in need of a deal with Apple, I’m not sure what they’re doing and saying is entirely spontaneous, especially since they’re the only ones doing it. Unless they’re the only ones with “competent IT guys”, in which case their current troubles are a huge mystery.

          4. “Well since iCloud doesn’t do anything that Google doesn’t do”
            You have seriously missed the point of integration. Perhaps iCloud doesn’t do anything that Google does (I haven’t compared them lately so don’t know one way or the other). But I am yet to see any offerings from Google or Amazon that integrate with iPhones and Macs as well as Apple’s.

            So perhaps Google does all that iCloud does. Perhaps. If that’s the case then why did Google do a non-standard IMAP and break all the non-Google mail clients?

          5. Well, gDrive and OneDrive are as integrated as iCloud when the host system lets them be. Apple’s don’t, by Apple’s choice. Let’s put the blame where it belongs, and you’re very much making my point for me.

            Google’s IMAP works with all IMAP clients I’ve tried, including my 3 current email clients (including Windows, Windows Metro, K9), for a total of.. around 10, over the years. No issue there.

          6. “It’s funny you call Apple’s foundation most versatile… it’s been deployed in significantly fewer platforms and scenarios than anything else”

            I was referring to how OS X was successfully deployed on personal devices using both PowerPC and Intel chips, with a practically seamless transition; while Windows is pretty much stuck on x86 as far as end users are concerned (it may be different on web servers). Then iOS was successfully deployed on ARM, while “Metro” not so much (not to mention that Metro is far less related to full Windows than iOS is related to full OS X).

            “I think it’s mostly bad product and lack of leadership, not separating OS from hardware – which Android is also doing, with a lot more success.”

            They are related, just as the “success” of Android is even now revealing. In fact, Google didn’t learn anything from MS, leadership and product-wise; so its “success” will be far more fleeting and insubstantial than the 30 years enjoyed by MS.

          7. Windows has been/is deployed on x86, PA-RISC, ARM, MIPS. Including on the raspberry Pi. Low demand lead to discontinuation of 2 versions, but they did run.
            Android is fully SoC-independent, currently runs on x86 and ARM, there were a few MIPS devices not long ago.

            I’m curious as to why you say Metro is less related to Windows than iOS to MacOS. What’s the criteria ? Where are your sources ?

            We’ll see about staying power in 30 years, I guess ? You’re making a unsubstantiated nonsequiturs… plus I disagree with “Google didn’t learn anything from MS”: platform-independence (à la NT kernel), very structured APIs with very automatic version level handling (à la dot.NET), Google-branded flasghips,…

          8. “I’m curious as to why you say Metro is less related to Windows than iOS to MacOS. What’s the criteria ? Where are your sources ?”

            The sources are all over the place: iOS contains core modules that OS X has; only the top UI layers are different. By contrast, Metro is a top layer running simpler types of apps (like widgets/java/.net/web apps, etc.).

            My criteria is that full apps like Pages, Keynote, Word, and sophisticated Video/Photo/Paint/Draw/Audio editing programs with layers are available natively on iOS as well as OS X, and you can readily edit the same file in both environments.

            It seems like MS never really got a Metro/Arm version of Office going as intended. It reserved Office for Surface Pro, and you were thrust back into desktop Windows mode to actually work with your files.

            Then it seemed as though MS totally backtracked on its approach with ARM Surface 1 and Metro, and now everything is full Windows with Metro on top (which people like to switch off unless they have a hybrid they are using in quickie tablet mode).

            It seems as though the accusation that “real work” can’t be done on an iPad really stems from the fact that “real work” can’t be done on anyone else’s tablet.

          9. Frankly, you’re not makaing any sense.

            “”iOS contains core modules that OS X has”.
            -> As opposed to WIndows Metro vs Desktop ????

            “By contrast, Metro is a top layer running simpler types of apps (like widgets/java/.net/web apps, etc.).”
            -> No, it runs any app including complex. java and .net are languages, not types of apps, and don’t force apps to be any simpler than Swift.

            “My criteria is that full apps like Pages, Keynote, Word”
            -> Office ?

            “MS never really got a Metro/Arm version of Office going as intended.
            -> Office on Modern has more features than the Apple equivalents. Not quite equivalent to Office/Desktop for now, but we’re told it’s coming.

            “now everything is full Windows with Metro on top”
            -> Wrong. Again. There an OS kernel, then two sets of libraries+APIs: Win32 (desktop) on one side, WinRT on the other). Windows on desktop x86 has both, Windows on phones and ARM only the second, and no “full Windows”

            “real work” rant

            -> You’re inventing accusations so you can dismiss them ? That’s low even for you… Some people need Windows apps for work, some don’t.

          10. There seems to be a lot of active Stockholm Syndrome happening in the computer world, even though though paths to relative freedom have been available.

    2. And way back then, computers were extremely expensive (in constant dollars), not because the manufactureres were making out like bandits but because the parts were expensive, andas a result, the market for computers was miniscule compared to today. Standardization of components has been a huge boon to PC makers, and Neither Apple nor Microsoft nor any of the surviving PC clone makers is stupid enough to want to revert to the way things were before.

        1. “PS-And what exactly brought prices down….?”

          Computer / device prices have come down due to component prices falling as a result of large scale. Right now the traditional PC market is about 1 billion to 1.5 billion strong and the mobile device (tablet / smartphone) market is 3X that. That’s a hell of a lot more people using computing devices compared to back in the IBM PC days.

          1. Remove the common part and silo them into proprietary versions and all economies of scale vanish. These were based on the ISA standard, which then evolved, and that’s what permitted economies of scale.

        2. You’re conflating granny smiths with road apples.
          1. Nobody except geeks upgrades their laptops, or repairs them, or cares that they are/aren’t repairable/upgradable.
          2. The Apple II was completely repairable and upgradable, and yet it was 100% proprietary.

          1. ?? Very Large customers (Google, FaceBook…) even design their own PCs of standard parts; and “regular” large customers either do repair in-house or have service contracts.
            I don’t think we should apply Customer behaviours/criteria to the Entreprise market. What’s changed is not so much the arguments about whether modular or vertically integrated is better, it’s simply that the gravity center of the market has moved from firmy Corp to firmly Consumer.

            Also, I’m running a 5+ year old PC, and was very glad to be able to give it a new lease of life with just an SSD and vidcard swap, and a stick of RAM. My brother dearly wishes it could do the same with his iMac (he did get the RAM, but even swapping for an SSD is an impossible endeavour)

          2. Translation from Lockineese to ordinary humanspeak:
            “?? Very Large customers (Google, FaceBook…) even design their own PCs of standard parts; and “regular” large customers…”
            Translation: “I wish to believe that large corporations don’t standardize or lease, so I will make sh*t up.”

            “I don’t think we should apply Customer behaviours/criteria to the Entreprise market…”
            Translation: Let nothing interfere with my narrative, business is exactly like I wish to believe.

            “Also, I’m running a 5+ year old PC, and was very glad to be able to give it a…”
            Translation: My uninspired, shoddily assembled PC allows me to replace stuff. My brother, who displays discerning taste, owns an iMac. The iMac is a precision assembled machine, so upgrades are too difficult for me to fathom. I don’t understand things that might require any effort on my part. Those things must be impossible. I am unaware that iMac SSD kits are readily available and millions of people have done what I consider impossible. That interferes with my narrative here in Android/Windows LaLa Land.

          3. 1- or not: http://www.wired.com/2015/07/like-google-facebook-twitter-designs-computer-servers/

            2- indeed. corps buy for the same reasons my teen niece does. Apologies. I’ll tell Dell to start making Rose Gold servers.

            3- uninspired yes, shoddily assembled certainly not: exquisite craftmanship -mine, complete with swear words and a few drops of blood because darn, things are a tight fit in mini-ITX land- and all-premium components.

            4- you’re actually insulting my brother, he’s the one who can’t hack his iMac. And you’re probably right, he’s rather dim… to start with, he bought an iMac ! I’ll let him know what you think of him

            This has been fun. Have a good day !

          4. 1. Only partly true, I’m retrofitting SSDs instead of HDDs pretty much everywhere.

            2. “The Apple II was completely repairable and upgradable, and yet it was 100% proprietary.”.
            Standard CPU. Standard support chips. standard passive electronics, standard PSU…
            The few distinctive things were the content of the ROM chip (the ROM chip itself was a standard part) and the motherboard layout and expansion slots (the motherboard itself was using everybody else’s process). Hey, expansion slot.. they knew something back then ^^

      1. Also, there was a lot of duplication. Everyone had to design an OS, populate an ecosytem, design custom parts…

          1. If you are a hardware vendor, I would avoid rolling your own OS. If you are not going to use Windows then Linux or BSD makes a good choice. Both are readily available. And if you make a fairly pure play such Debian with a modified desktop environment you investment is relatively modest.

          2. Agreed, but this is in the context of vertically integrated, thus highly customized, so molding the OS to the hardware (and vice verca) is inevitable in that context.

      2. Then the industry got big enough that some companies reach a scale which makes it not only possible but economically and competitively advantageous to with a proprietary OS and CPU. This is not unique at all. Allow me to harp on the example of the auto industry where nowadays all the players design and build their own engines. There was a time when they didn’t.

    3. This is typical of new products and markets. It was also the case with early smartphones (Blackberry, Symbian, Palm, Windows mobile). Camera film formats, railroad widths, VCRs all follow a similar pattern.

      The predominant tendency towards modularity and standards is indisputable. Apple really is an anomaly here, and that is why I have little confidence that others can just copy integration and succeed.

      1. When you look at the state of things now, Apple has taken some of the value propositions from Sun, Silicon Graphics, etc. All highly integrated, all defunct.
        “that others can just copy integration and succeed. ”
        For which I’m selfishly grateful. 🙂

  2. Um… No. This is just wrong. Whoever wrote this is an idiot or hopefully just ignorant.

    Microsoft most definitely has the right formula. Who cares how many OEMs die, three more will take their place. That’d how you take over the market and Microsoft is one of the safest companies in terms of revenue. No shortage of high end laptops either.

    The Surface is nothung more but a “hobby’, like the Apple TV. Unless of course, the author will write an article saying ” Apple sees Microsoft was right all along by creating the Xbox”

    1. Do your parents know your using their computer again? Shouldn’t you be memorizing state capitals?

      This forum is a place for adults, so snotty ignorant little twerps don’t belong here. Run along now, and go play with your coloring books. Maybe mommy will give you a cookie.

  3. I hate to continually pound on Clayton Christensen’s theories, but I truly believe that his ideas give you deeper insight on this issue.

    You acknowledge that during your talks with Balmer, he was right about Microsoft’s modular model. If this is true, then the question is, what caused that model to not be good anymore?

    You attribute it to consolidation. However, I fail to understand why you think it was a huge threat to Microsoft. In Porter’s Five Forces analysis, consolidation would shift the bargaining power to the OEMs, hence it would weaken Microsoft’s ability to dictate terms and profits. Consolidation, as far as I’m aware, does not necessarily cause weaker distribution, although there will be an effort to reduce redundancy. If anything, consolidation is an effort to make distribution more efficient.

    So time to talk about Christensen. His theories of modularity and integration suggest that in the early stages of the market where the product is still immature and not “good enough”, a high level of integration is essential to tune the components and squeeze the last drop of performance. However, as components improve, then less integration is necessary to create a “good enough” product. This is often the case of a market that has matured.

    Applying this view, Balmer’s Microsoft was successful with its modular approach because PC hardware was “good enough” and did not have to be carefully optimised for Windows. The fact that an integrated approach is now favoured, is symptomatic of the situation where innovation is blooming and the modular approach is not sufficient to make a “good enough” product.

    If we take the Christensen approach, then the next question is, what rejuvenated the market so that customers where no longer satisfied with their previously “good enough” devices?

    In my view, this is what the mobile revolution is all about. The mobile revolution has dramatically expanded the frontiers of computing, and integration is necessary to fully exploit it. That is why integration is key.

    My opinion is consolidation doesn’t really count. What counts is the frontier. I strongly believe that the Surface is Microsoft’s experiment to survey this new, unexplored territory.

    1. If modularity is an indicator that a market or industry has matured, how do we explain the massive wave of consolidation (of erstwhile independent chassis fabricators, engine builders and coach works) that the auto industry went through in the early 20th century? I would concede that maybe my concepts of modularity and integration are different from yours.

      1. Consolidation is a result of declining profits. The most typical reason given by management when companies merge, is that they can eliminate redundancy, a cost reduction measure.

        When the OEMs found themselves in a price war, they had to cut costs. Consolidation was a logical way to do this.

        So, in terms of cause and effect, in the mid 1990s to 2000s, the PC market matured in a way such that OEMs found themselves competing on price. DELL won this by innovating in retail and the supply chain. Other OEMs responded by cutting costs, often through consolidation.

        I imagine that the same may have happened to the auto industry, although I do not know the actual history.

        My point is that consolidation was correlated to, but not the cause of why Microsoft’s modular model ceased to work. Consolidation was merely symptomatic.

        If I were to chain the events to together, which is generally a perilous excersise,
        I would say;

        0. Technology matured to the point where modularity became feasible
        1. Microsoft modularised PCs
        2. Without differentiation, OEMs profits declined
        3. New entrants like DELL escalated the price war
        4. Companies merged to maintain profits
        5. When mobile burst on the scene, OEMs couldn’t respond because they were not integrated (not because they had consolidated)
        6. Microsoft integrates to better enable itself to respond

        1. I think integration was driven more by the need to improve product quality than just plain-vanilla cost reduction. Intense competition drove the car manufacturers to continually improve the product and cars where the chassis, body, and engine designs are optimized to complement each other outperformed cars whose major components were not. In fact the chassis and body as separate sub-components have completely merged into an integrated unibody in automobiles (but not in trucks). There is no way independent chassis fabricators and coach works operations could have come up with the unibody.

          It is for exactly the same reason that Steve Jobs was fanatical about Apple designing and building the whole widget.

          I would modify the stages in the evolution of industries to 1) integrated very early on (The Wright brothers had to build aero-engine and airframe because no one else could), then 2) a movement towards modularity at early maturity, and possibly (but not always) 3) a movement back towards integration at later maturity under certain industry conditions.

          PC industry evolution got arrested at the modularity stage for about 20 years because Microsoft’s enormous market power completely stifled competition hence they felt no impetus to improve PC quality and performance by more closely integrating hardware and software design.

          Pundits who claimed that the iPhone will eventually lose to Android just like the Mac lost to Windows PCs because the iPhone isn’t ‘open’ seem to think that the Windows experience is the rule when in fact it is the exception. If there had been no Microsoft monopoly, the one-size-fits-all OS would not have dominated the landscape for 30 years.

          1. As I said in my comment, I don’t know the history of car manufacturing in the early 20th century, so I’ll take your word on this.

            Having said that though, are you sure that you are treating consolidation and integration as separate concepts? Are you not mixing the two together?

            If I understand correctly, this article and my comments are about consolidation, the merging of two companies with the same kind of products. What you seem to be talking about in your most recent comment is integration, the merging of two companies that own distinct parts of the value chain.

            Consolidation would be something like the Compaq-HP merger. Integration would be something like the Apple buying P.A. Semi.

            I think consolidation is mostly about costs, and integration is about a better product.

          2. I was responding mainly to your original comments about modularity v. integration, and carelessly used ‘consolidation’ when I should have said ‘integration’. Then your response to my comments about ‘consolidation’ (where I really meant ‘integration’) addressed consolidation in the context of your original post. And that’s how well-meaning conversations get muddled up.

          3. OK. I think I should also try to focus on a single topic on my often-too-long comments. 🙂

            I probably shouldn’t have delved into Integration and should have focused solely on Consolidation.

          4. Except the Mac didn’t actually lose to Windows PC, it took the high ground and held it by focusing on user experience.

          5. Sorry, I’m a big admirer of what Apple has been able to and is doing, but the fact that Apple nearly died in 1997, I take to be evidence that the Mac lost to Windows. But not for good.

          6. Yes, that time period was when Apple lost focus. I could argue that’s evidence that building value within the user experience is what insulates a company against disruption. When Apple moved away from what could insulate them, it was almost game over.

          7. “PC industry evolution got arrested at the modularity stage for about 20 years because Microsoft’s enormous market power back then completely stifled competition hence they felt no impetus to improve PC quality and performance by more closely integrating hardware and software design.”

            It’s not that they felt no impetus to improve PCs. It’s that improvement would come from co-operation and joint development between the PC hardware manufacturers (possible but unlikely). And then them all and Microsoft (quite possible).

            It is now rather amusing to see their joint ad campaign “PC does what”. It’s just a desperation attempt to get people to buy more PCs when the trend has clearly shown that they won’t. This is just free ad money for the TV networks.

    2. My problem with the macro level, is the micro level. Theories of which business model wins might apply, when all things are roughly equal otherwise, say Windows vs MacOS. But sometimes, things are not roughly equal: MS’s Mobile offering was awful, and their app catalog still is. Theories don’t help with execution, nor with developers, developers, developers.
      Also, even from a pure innovation standpoint, I’d argue that modular Android has been more innovative than integrated Apple for a while. It’s hard to find a 2015 iPad Pro features that’s not in the 2012 Galaxy Note 10.1, etc…

      Finally, in some markets, network effects and lock-in are tremendous forces, and in others they aren’t.

      I doubt a unified theory can work across all those situations and moments; Christenssen is famous for carefully picking his examples and their timing so that they make his theories look like they work. I finally gave up on them when I came across someone’s comment (maybe it was even Ben Bajarin’s ?) that some setting was not the right one to apply the theory to. Because when facts don’t fit the theory, we discard the facts ?

      1. When you learn Newtonian physics in school, you learn the concepts of “material points” and “rigid bodies” and you mostly ignore air resistance. These are all artificial constructs or situations that deviate substantially from the real world. However, they are essential for understanding the three laws.

        Abstraction and careful selection of examples are essential for theory building. Do you think Newton could have built theories by studying a feather or a sheet of paper?

        Theories tell us the underlying forces behind what happens in the world. The real world will have many factors that alter the observed behaviour, but the forces are still there.

        Theories tell us what would happen under ideal conditions. It is the job of the person applying the theory to add the effects of other factors. Often, the effect of other factors are not too large, especially when averaging a statistically relevant sample size. In which case, the theory would accurately describe the average behaviour.

        1. You’re both right. I remind you of three guiding corollaries to the scientific method.

          -Theory guides, experiment decides.
          -Things are either too good to be true, or too true to be good.
          -The difference between theory and practice, in theory, is less than the difference between theory and practice, in practice.

          1. Just in case other people think that your comment is plain cynicism, I totally agree.

            The scientific method is messy, but without it, we would still be no further ahead than the ancient Greeks.

          2. Science is sloppy, it only becomes crispy clear ‘when’ understood. Until then it’s a mess.
            Regarding the ancients, I agree 100%. Though they were head and shoulders ahead, for their time, scientific progress comes from the scientific method. As valuable as Aristotle was, again, for his time, his groupie followers held science back for decades. Don’t even get me started on the Pythagoreans.

          3. Nah, they killed him during the sacking of Syracuse. Ancient accounts say some overzealous Roman soldier chopped him down in the middle of contemplating some geometric problem– he was too immersed to pay attention to the soldier’s orders and he got chopped down out of annoyance.

          4. Antoine Lavoisier too. He was beheaded during the Reign of Terror.

            Lagrange lamented the beheading by saying: “It took them only an instant to cut off that head, but France may not produce another like it in a century.”

        2. I’ve never seen Christenssen’s theories applied to anything but carefully chosen and timed anecdotes. Any “statistically significant” study of his stuff ever been carried out ?

          1. His claims are bold, but we have no access to his data nor methodology, and he’s got something sell since he’s now a VC in a firm that seems to mostly sell his “Business Model Simulation (r)”.
            Could be snake oil just as much as the real deal.

          2. I agree. That’s why I hesitated to bring him up until you explicitly asked for statistically relevant data. I’m sure there’s a lot of discussion in academic papers, but unfortunately I don’t have access to these.

          3. To be fair, I’m still not sure about what constitutes “innovation”, and this seem to be a prerequisite. Force Touch (conceptually, a 4th type of click) is, but not the first 3 types of clicks, not Samsung’s Hover function (it’s like Force Touch, but when you hover with the pen) not onscreen gestures and not tap-to-wake ?
            It seems the “you know it when you see it” rule applies ? It seems, even, that the definition is recursive: it’s innovating because it’s successful (actually it’s innovative because it’s in a product that’s successful, even if the success is entirely unrelated to the feature), and we assume products are successful because they’re innovative.

            Is there an innovation scorecard somewhere ?
            What is *not* innovation ?
            Edit, I mean not “what is not innovative”, but what other forces are at play besides innovation ? I’d say fashion, network effects, lock-in and pricing ?

          4. My working definition is…”Innovation is the creative use of knowledge, for the purpose of adding value”. FWIW.

          5. I’ve been told innovation doesn’t count if it’s not “successful”… And then that success is due to innovation…
            Otherwise I’d go with your definition indeed, maybe add something about features, processes and combinations thereof.

          6. One must define success. It’s not only market, or money. Some innovations are even unpublished, or kept in tight circles.

          7. 3D touch is not a fourth type of click, it is a third interface dimension. (A fourth interface dimension, if you count time). A hover function or a click is only a binary yes/no trigger.

          8. The only use cases I’ve read about are around Peek, and that’s yes/know.
            I’m sure there are more specialized uses, but aren’t they marginal ?

          9. I think the better scholars on innovation make it very clear that innovation is not about new technology or features but the potential to improve how things are done.

            Hence in empowering innovations (as recently defined by Christensen), they are typically capabilities that were only accessible to a privileged segment but are now available to the mass market. Computing was previously accessible to a few CS researchers, but now anybody has a supercomputer in their pocket. This is one kind of innovation and it has dramatically changed how we communicate.

            I think it is possible to expand it to any situation where our usage of a certain product increases. Hence if tablets enable us to use computers in the field or construction sites, instead of a pen and paper, then I would also think that this is an empowering innovation.

            Other innovations which are not as interesting as empowering innovations and called sustaining innovations, improve a product but do not increase the number of people who would use it or increase use-cases. The majority of innovations would fall into this category.

            And then there are the efficiency innovations which is a term that I have heard Christensen use recently. These are like the Toyota production system and allow us to do the same things but with less effort. Force touch may be one of these innovations if we focus on the “less effort” side. However, if we find ourselves absorbing more vital information because of this, then it would be more like the empowering innovations. Similarly, if more people actually used Android widgets, then there would be empowering innovation potential.

            So yes, it does look kind of reciprocal, but to the extent that you can predict how a product will be accepted by the market, then I think you have a chance of breaking the reciprocal cycle and actually using it predictively.

          10. Thanks.

            But.

            I’m trying very hard to not get into my cynical mindset, which boils this down to:
            1- If you sell into a new market, or anything that’s new, or in a way that’s new you’re innovating. (that should cover most everything, unless you’re selling produce on the market, taking great care to use the same sign as everyone else ?)
            2- If you sell upmarket or downmarket, you’re innovating (wait, take bio produce out, also, take out massmarket imported produce)
            3- innovations only count when they’re successful (I think M. Dediu said that, so if your funny-shape precooked bio potatomato stand fails, nah, you weren’t *really* innovating)

            Hence, anyone who does anything sucessful is innovating. Reminds me of the Dr Knock play “Every healthy person is a sick man who doesn’t know it”, but as “any uccessful person is an innovator who hasn’t been told yet” (want to be like him ? call Disruption Consulting 1-900-xxx-xxx )

            Re Force-touch:, this is what Samsung pen’s Air View function was doing in 2012: “One use for Air View is in Samsung’s
            messaging app, where hovering over an message will preview its
            text. […] You can quickly preview images in your gallery by hovering your S Pen over them. ” ( http://phandroid.com/2015/02/05/galaxy-note-4-s-pen-tips-tricks/ ). My issue is ForceTouch boils down to “same, but with a finger”, which is similar to the “do it with a computer” which is a criteria for what even the US patent office will (well, should ^^) *not* patent.

          11. Yes, I agree. I don’t have a good criteria for “innovation” either. Maybe if you separate “innovative” from “innovation”, you might get further. Maybe you could use “innovative” to be something that has the potential to be an “innovation”, but may fail.

            As I understand it, “innovation” is about changing the way things are done, but one cannot always accurately predict beforehand if a new product is going to do that or not. Unless you can predict it, it will be reciprocal as you said.

            But I don’t think you have to go to the extreme and say “anything successful is innovating”, because success does not equal changing the way things are done.

            So coming to Force Touch, I agree that the patentability of the idea is questionable. But then, patents are awarded to inventions and not innovations.

            Ultimately I think, you have to think about how it will change behaviour. Force Touch, as far as I understand it (I don’t have a iPhone 6s, so I’m not sure), the point is to allow you to quickly access the most common functions without opening the full application. The hope is I think, if frequent actions become more convenient, you will use them much more often, and that will eventually change how you do things. I consider this to be related to the mobile revolution in that, for example, it was possible to post on Facebook from your desktop PC before, but the convenience of doing it from anywhere on your mobile device completely changed how frequently posts got updated and what was posted.

            If you think of it this way, then Force Touch is “innovative”. It has the potential to change the way people use their phones and is a potential innovation.

            On the other hand, I don’t know about Samsung’s Pen Air View function, but since it requires the use of a stylus, it seems that it is aimed at improving productivity when you are sitting down and doing some serious work. The use case is different from Force Touch which I think is aimed at more casual situations when you have say only 5 seconds before you have to put away your phone. Of course, Force Touch on the Mac will be totally different from Force Touch on the phone.

            I personally have difficulty understanding how ForceTouch or AirView will be useful on anything larger than a phone, other than for summoning a contextual menu, which on the desktop is done by a right-click.

            So, in my limited experience, I would say that ForceTouch is “innovative” on a phone but not so on a Mac/PC. Tablets may fall somewhere in between, but I think it will be closer to Mac/PCs. AirView fails to be “innovative” because due to its requirement for a stylus, it is primarily for tablets and larger (maybe including phablets).

      2. Christenssen, is looking for a generalized principle. That a particular lever may break under a specific load does not invalidate the generalized principle of leverage.

        But that a particular lever can’t hold a particular load should not be ignored.

        Joe

        1. I have trouble seeing more than “new stuff changes things, success breeds complacency” in his theory. Dressed in fancy and expensive words.
          Has any analysis being made on how often his theory has proved valid in the past ?
          Does it have any predictive power ?

  4. While the ‘Apple way’ may be good for MSFT *now* there are times in the recent past where it would have been a *really* bad move for MSFT to begin to make pc hardware.

    This article omits/ignores the impact of the USA and EU Justice Departments and their monopoly lawsuits against MSFT.

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