“Jobs and Apple are still paying the price for losing a fateful battle with Microsoft in the 1980s. It was fought in court and in the marketplace, and at the end, Apple was left with an insignificant share of the very market one could argue it had invented, personal computers,” Dan Fost writes for The San Francisco Chronicle. “To this day, even as its stock and revenue soar, Apple’s computers are but a sparrow dodging the Microsoft hawk… In a way, Apple’s survival is remarkable… like a dinosaur living beyond the Ice Age. All the early PC-makers like Amiga, Commodore and Acorn crumbled, but idiosyncratic Apple hung on.”
“Even though Jobs has learned from his mistakes and has taken a somewhat different path [with the iPod], many others wonder if the company isn’t repeating history by focusing on the hardware and refusing to license its technology,” Fost writes. “In essence, that’s what happened the first time around: Apple dominated the market for personal computers, but Bill Gates struck a shrewd deal with IBM that allowed him to put Microsoft’s operating system on any computer. Makers of clones, including Compaq, Dell and Gateway, sprang up, selling computers much more cheaply than Apple and winning the business market in a runaway.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: How many hacks will recycle this silly old saw again?! The iPod is not the Mac, so stop trying to compare them. First of all, many people, including us, believe that Apple ended up with a vastly superior platform precisely because they control the whole widget. Now, a song is a song is a song and there is nothing pointing to widespread lust for music subscription outfits. Apple makes the only cross-platform (Mac and Windows) music player plus online music store plus music jukebox software; all tightly and seamlessly integrated.
As we, and others such as Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, explained long ago, the Macintosh platform required and still requires huge investments by developers to create compatible software. So, when faced with budgetary contraints, they chose and still sometimes choose to go with the most popular platforms. The iPod simply plays music in various formats. Music can be encoded, for very little cost, in any format the “developers” (musicians and labels) desire: AAC, MP3, WMA, etc. The music doesn’t need to be rewritten, recorded, and remastered. It’s like writing Photoshop once and then pressing a button to translate it for use on Mac, Windows, Linux, etc. To draw an analogy between Mac OS licensing and the iPod/iTunes symbiotic relationship simply highlights the writer’s ignorance of the vast differences between the two business situations.
Apple should and most probably will license their Fairplay DRM if any competing music store and/or portable digital music player company actually starts competing and taking enough share.
Analyst: Unlike Microsoft, Apple has the advantage by not licensing their technology – October 13, 2005
Tech pundit Enderle incorrectly compares Apple’s Mac OS to iPod licensing – September 01, 2005
Another day, another ‘iPod may go the way of the Mac’ article – August 16, 2004
The iPod is not the Mac, so stop trying to compare them – August 13, 2004
Could Apple be Microsoft today if only had they licensed the Mac OS? – August 09, 2004