Microsoft might be learning the good things from Apple, but Apple seems to be only learning only the bad things from Microsoft. Think about it, Microsoft might not admit it but they did take some ideas from Apple in the design of Windows Vista and Windows 7. However has Apple taken anything from Microsoft in their new products and software? Well yeah. they did, and unfortunately it is from the Microsoft of the early 90's.
Lets take a look at their #1 most well known piece of software, iTunes. You may not know it but Apple often issues updates to iTunes to prevent third parties they don't like integrating with it or working around their copy protection systems.
This is the old school thinking that limited Microsoft back in the day, and they were forced to change so they could expand. Apple has in the past released updates to either intentionally or unintentionally block or remove certain media players from working with their programs. This kind of thinking limits users in what they can do with what they have, and drives people away from supporting the product.
The latest example of this was removing support of the Palm Pre from iTunes in the latest update. If this was an intentional removal, or accidentail is not known. What is known is that this does'nt help Apple at all. Sure the Pre supports purchases through the Amazon MP3 store and not the apple store directly on the device. However someone who can sync their pre with their computer using iTunes is more likely to buy from the iTunes store than someone who can't sync.
Another example of this controlling behavior is when you take your iPod and try to sync it with another computer. Normally most mobile devices will merge the data on the device with the data on the computer your are syncing it with. This is for a number of reasons, one being if you need to rebuild the data on the computer with what is on the device after a reformat, etc. Apple does'nt take too kindly to this as for some reason iTunes only syncs in one direction for music. Taking a iPod to another computer and syncing it will overwrite all the data on the iPod with the data on the computer you just syncronized with.
Lets now take a look at the hardware, and we have all seen some of these issues before if you really use Apple products. Many if not almost all of their smaller mobile products do not have user replaceable batteries, yet almost every other product does. Sure I can understand the iPod is proprietery in design and is "difficult" to service, and that's why they don't make it user changeable. That's fine I can make that logic jump, however they drew the line with the Macbook Air. There simply is no reason at all to allow the end user to replace the battery on a $2,000 laptop. If the battery goes, (which it will eventually) or does'nt charge as well; the end user should be able to buy a new one and put it in theirself. However Apple seems to only want people to come to them to get things fixed, no matter how simple they are.
Which brings me to their hardware service and repair. Apple makes it extremly difficult for any small business to be allowed to repair or service their equipment, and often gives little to no help on guiding a company on how to go about getting what is needed to service their systems. Instead Apple prefers to open more of their retail stores, and drive business to them instead of the smaller mom and pop computer repair stores that are all over the place. This hurts Apple again, because since if these little repair shops are unable to work on the devices for Apple then what motivation do they have to tinker with Apple devices, or tell someone to buy them? They would be throwing their business away telling someone to go with an Apple product, because when it breaks (and all computers will break, Apple or not) they won't be allowed to fix it, or even get parts for it.
All of this is like the Microsoft of the early 90's where they tried to control how you could use their software with strict licensing, only allowed certain vendors access to their API or to integrate with their products, and at times ignored fixes and suggestions made by customers because "Microsoft knew what was right".
Apple is making these same mistakes, given a bit differently over 10 years later. Microsoft learned quickly that to gain that foothold in the business market they needed to be more friendly to developers, designers, and ultimately the end user. Because if the end user is not happy and feels limited, they don't use your product no matter how nice or bad it might be.
Last Updated: 07/20/2009 01:15 AM