Why Apple’s controlling nature is a core asset, not a flaw

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“Apple has been the subject of some bashing lately, I’ve noticed, which is not surprising in light of the company’s popularity and consistent output of beautiful products that work,” Dan Ramsden writes for Seeking Alpha.

“With 1 million iPad units sold in one month, what’s not to criticize? Maybe some of the bashing is warranted, I don’t know, but much of it seems off,” Ramsden writes. “The anti-trust investigation, for example, can’t be right. Although common sense and law don’t necessarily overlap, the idea that a company which is not even close to a monopoly should be regulated as if it were a market, an industry of its own, is sort of disturbing – even by the standards of law that may defy reason. The app store being a store like any other, a private enterprise, I can’t believe that the way its owner determines to stock the shelves is a regulatory issue, and I can only assume that this campaign, whoever is behind it, will end of its own lack of substance.”

Ramsden writes, “The more annoying criticism, however – annoying to me at least because it is like a chorus from the rafters that keeps spreading – is that Apple’s downfall will stem from its refusal to embrace openness… In an environment in which the force of progress is based on perfection, evolution, and smoothing of edges, as opposed to, say, replacing the typewriter and calculator with a computer in every home, the trait that may have been negative thirty years ago could be a valuable asset now. Control, attention to detail, a closed architecture based on superior design and quality manufacture, are good things when the object is not a new technology as much as a superior alternative.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple was right all along. Vertical integration is superior to horizontal. For proof, look no further that Microsoft and Google trying and failing, with Zune and Nexus One respectively. Those who complain the loudest that Apple is “closed” are the very ones trying the hardest to emulate Apple. What the Apple wannabes are really complaining about is that they can’t come even remotely close to Apple’s level of vertical integration.


  1. Agreed. If they investigate Apple why not Nintendo or Sony PlayStation. At least Apple dev tool is free and available to anypne. Is it the case with Sony and Nintendo???

  2. Where apple stands apart is in it’s consistent ability to read the public; it’s wants, desires, and such, and to integrate those concepts into it’s products. Apple is promoting html5 over flash because the core of it’s management is based off of creating that “experience” and the use of flash would only degrade it

  3. The term “Open” is becoming as abused and non-specific as the term “Multimedia” did in the ’90’s.

    So, the definition of the term is only meaningful in the context which it serves. Adobe has their own seld-serving definition, so does Microsoft, and so does Apple for that matter.

    At the end of the day, most people don’t go to the store to buy an “Open” device. They go to the store to buy a device that does what they need it to do in the most efficient, reliable, and yes pleasing manner possible.

    Apple’s continued delivery of devices such as these to the market is what will keep the Apple Stores “open” for years to come.

  4. @Tommy Boy

    FreeHand may be officially dead and unsupported, but it’s still “for sale” in the Adobe online store. Elsewhere on the Adobe site, they give FreeHand away for free.

    Try and figure that one out. I can’t.

  5. If enough ‘everyday’ consumers start falling for the ‘open’ absurdity, and that Apple is ‘closed’, apple needs to take serious steps to counteract it.

    I firmly believe that the competition will use the ‘closed’ argument to smear Apple. They’re already doing it, it’s only a matter of time before every also-ran starts echoing this. Why? Because it’s the only argument they have for the uneducated. Unfortunately, there are a lot of uneducated out there which could quickly result in an echo chamber that snowballs out of control.

    I hope this is not the case, but the competition is starting to play dirty. It is up to Apple to confront the issue in a way that doesn’t alienate the consumer.

  6. The bottom line is that, unless Apple is violating the law—which they are not doing, imho—then they can do whatever they want; and anyone who doesn’t like it should just STFU and go buy a stupid pc. The marketplace will decide whether Apple is following a viable strategy or not, just like it does for Apple’s competitors.

  7. This guy understands. Apple did not sit down at the iPhone/iPad planning meetings and say, “Let’s create a CLOSED strategy.” Apple’s strategy is the one that optimizes quality, usability, and user experience above all else, not the strategy that is “open” or “closed.” Apple’s primary motivation is to sell you the hardware.

  8. “Truth be told, I always found this to be an empty slogan – that those who don’t know their history are bound to repeat it. I think that those who do, are just as bound. “

    I agree with his conclusions. I do, however, disagree with this segment. The problem is not that the adage is incorrect. The problem is that you actually have to understand the history, not regurgitate it like the “apple is going to loss their lead again” crowd. Windows being licensed to every box maker was a key part, but it was critical only in the context of computers being relatively expensive and market penetrance for consumers being small. Everyone may not have a smart phone, but they do have phones and, with subsidy, can easily afford to migrate to another device. Turnover time is much shorter. Investment in software is much less. The critical issues for OS dominance are much different than for mobile device dominance.

    Apple could very well lose (iPod)/not achieve (iPhone, iPad) market dominance, but it won’t be because of openness. It will be about the quality of the product. Because that is the most critical issue now, I’m betting on Apple.

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