Why keeping secrets is paramount at Apple

Apple Store“Apple has long been notoriously secretive about its unreleased products,” Daniel Eran writes for RoughlyDrafted. “Critics compare Apple’s secrecy against the transparent development efforts of open source projects, and even with other commercial developers. Microsoft, for example, has a history of providing detailed roadmaps of future plans. Why does Apple keep its future plans under wraps?”

“If Apple is doing so well in delivering new features, why were some features left under wraps at WWDC? After all, Microsoft has long used early announcements of future plans to overshadow and divert attention from competitors’ existing products. Why isn’t Apple doing this with Leopard? There are multiple reasons,” Eran writes.

Eran’s reasons for Apple’s secrecy:
• It avoids setting up the company for failure (see: Vista)
• It’s how Apple generates the biggest media splash
• It’s how Apple makes the “tech journalist” monkeys dance
• Apple’s unique role as a fixture of national headlines

Erna writes, “While Apple’s secrecy works to its advantage in creating excitement for consumer products, the same secrecy can work against Apple’s efforts to working with partners, particularly in Open Source projects, and in dealing with corporate customers. An upcoming article will look at Apple’s recent efforts to adapt and provide more open information about their future plans.”

Full article with much more here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan The Man” for the heads up.]

26 Comments

  1. Doesn’t do any good when there is so much speculation on future Apple products that the speculation becomes fact without Apple saying a word. People whining because such-and-such product is late to market when no announcement was ever made. “Apple lied to us” and all that crap.

  2. Apple can’t win. People would complain if something “great” was promised, but not delivered. Now, people complain that Apple doesn’t share enough, i.e. the Leopard demo. Overall, I think the Apple approach beats the heck out of M$’s.

  3. > Microsoft, for example, has a history of providing detailed roadmaps of future plans.>

    Hahahahahahaha, future vista vaporware you mean. Yes indeedy, MS anounces the future waaaaaay in advance—-like five years!

  4. All the speculation and “not knowing” surrounding what Apple is or isn’t doing is fun, interesting and quite frankly, very entertaining to me – I enjoy the way product announcements are made by Apple – they make it exciting to find out – and they get all sorts of free press that way, too – very smart strategy.

    However, those people, pundits and otherwise, that end up complaining that their hopes were raised to the heights by all that speculation are just deluding themselves. They raised their own hopes and made the choice to climb that mountain all by themselves. They can climb right back down again, dejected and depressed – all by themselves – and just shut up about having to do it.

  5. ANNOUNCING WINDOWS TIME TRAVEL 1.0 with SP1

    Wednesday 30th August 2006

    Microsoft today announced plans to release the first portable device that will allow consumers to literally travel backwards and forward in time. The new M$TT with SP1 is the first of its’ kind ever, and company spokesman Steve Ballmer Jr. was on hand to give BBC news the lowdown:

    “Forget Apple’s ‘Time Machine’, all that allows you to do is recover lost work. Micro$oft’s new Time Travel with SP1 allows you to LITERALLY recover lost time. Using our patented technology the TT SP1 will calculate how much time you have lost standing at bus stops and transport you back the desired time, so you can have fun instead of waiting for the bus! It’s fab!”

    Microsoft said the TT SP1 will be available from January 2060, but Bill Gates (who is still alive and running on Windows XP SP4, known as Vista 2.0) said he will not bring the technology to the market until it is ready.

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