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Apple competing too much with developers?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
<a href="http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/may2002/tc20020522_5198.htm" target="_blank">http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/may2002/tc20020522_5198.htm</a>

[quote] Is Apple bullying its playmates in the Mac sandbox? It controls the sand and the box, too -- in a way Microsoft can only envy. It decides everything from how an application will run on a Mac to the speed of the machine's microprocessors. In addition to hogging the territory, is Apple also taking unfair credit for innovations?

I raise the question now because some small developers are crying foul. They're accusing Apple of freely copying third-party programmers' innovations into its own software. "Apple should work with independent developers, rather than taking everything in the house," Rob McNair-Huff, publisher of the popular Mac Net Journal Web site, wrote recently.

McNair-Huff has a legitimate beef. Examples abound of Apple imitating the best third-party software. Take one of its upcoming programs, iChat, to be released in late summer as part of the OS X upgrade. As described by Apple's own press release, it sounds strikingly familiar to Adam Iser's Adium chat software. And other small developers could make a strong case that the ideas behind recent Apple programs such as iTunes for digital music, iMovie for video editing, and iPhoto for digital photography were, shall we say, inspired by others.

CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK? I'd argue, in fact, that many if not most of the improvements of the legacy operating system, OS 9, were cribbed from other developers. Examples include such popular features as spring-loaded folders, hierarchical menus, and tabbed windows on the bottom of the screen. The late Now Software pioneered all these features.

Apple's imitations can be downright painful to small developers, since its knockoffs, such as iChat and iTunes, are released as free features within its operating system. That weakens the market for the original software from third parties.

Microsoft, of course, has long been chastised for similar behavior. In fact, Apple waged a losing, nearly decade-long battle against the Colossus of Redmond in the 1990s, accusing it of incorporating Mac features into Windows. Several Windows developers have sued Microsoft, too, for its alleged copycat tactics.

INNOVATION'S MARCH. Still, I don't think developers' complaints about Apple have much bite. Apple may dominate its turf, but it's not a particularly big one in the vast playground of the PC market.

Here's the real test of harm: Has Apple's borrowing stymied innovation? I see no sign of it. In fact, despite Apple's growing number of knockoffs, Mac software development appears to be entering a second golden age. New software for OS X has been exploding recently, especially during the past couple of months. Apple says more than 3,000 OS X programs are now available, a figure that doesn't include shareware and freeware. Best of all, OS X has inspired new developers, especially from the Unix community, to publish for the Mac.

And here's a hard truth. Given its resources, Apple can often make an imitation that's better than the original. Its versions tend to be more polished, easier to use, and more stable. These improved versions of good ideas draw more users to the Mac platform.

EXTENDED GRUDGES. That's certainly true of iTunes, iMovie, and iPhoto. I suspect iChat will also have great appeal, especially among those who like instant-messaging but not AOL. Such mass introductions of programs like iChat help expand the appeal of Apple's platform -- and that helps every Mac developer.

I'm not letting Apple off the hook here. The company still has to play nice, and it often doesn't Â*- especially with small developers. They sometimes wake up to find that, after being snubbed by Apple for months, the company has suddenly released its own version of their software.

No wonder many developers nurture extended grudges against Apple. This is one area where Microsoft has excelled: It has worked hard to keep many, although certainly not all, Windows developers happy.

BE LIKE PCs. Apple would do well to use its Macs as a platform to showcase the best of third-party software. It's already doing so to some extent: The latest Macs are shipping with OmniGroup's excellent shareware outliner and graphing programs. But here again, PCs have done better, typically shipping with far more programs than the Mac.

This is one area where Apple should mimic its PC competitors. Showcasing more third-party programs on Macs would illustrate that there's room enough for everyone in the Apple playground.
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post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 
The Whining in the Mac Community has to stop!

Whatever happened to competition?? Some Developers expect for the Sea to part for their products.

Newsflash...competition is what forces you to evolve your product. iTunes is good but if you want to beat it you have to offer features to consumers that Apple will not.

Browsers- consumers are complaining about Pop Ups...how many of the Pay browsers have features to stop this annoyance?? Omniweb does and for that they will get my money someday. They have added a feature that is a tangible benefit to me.

iMovie is simply better than anything that preceded it for consumers. Don't blame Apple because you suck and they ate your lunch.

The Mac Platform must go on...we must evolve and grow the platform. Apple knows that there are legions of developers looking to add unique products to OSX. Screw the lazy Devs that fear competitions...they deserve neither our attention or money.
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post #3 of 8
I think the "penchance" doesn't have much precedence. Sherlock 3 started all this because it obviously rips off Watson which made a better Sherlock wannabe. Otherwise, Apple has provided what for the most part other developers have failed to capitalize on. So I think the word "penchant" isn't justifed.

As for iChat, it will be the official AOL client for OS X, all others are clones/backdoor options anyway. And Appleisn't outstripping others' alternatives in terms of features.
post #4 of 8
The most important thing to remember is that Apple does not exclude others by producing its own apps, it merely creates a baseline of what is available forcing developers to create even better apps. I don't think there is any comparison to MS tactics, because MS integrates its apps in such a way that allows other developers and users no easy way to switch. If you don't like iPhoto, you can easily delete it and use something else. Same with every other program. That is where this new argument falls flat.

[ 05-22-2002: Message edited by: blue2kdave ]</p>
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by blue2kdave:
<strong>The most important thing to remember is that Apple does not exclude others by producing its own apps, it merely creates a baseline of what is available forcing developers to create even better apps. I don't think there is any comparison to MS tactics, because MS integrates its apps in such a way that allows other developers and users no easy way to switch. If you don't like iPhoto, you can easily delete it and use something else. Same with every other program. That is where this new argument falls flat.

[ 05-22-2002: Message edited by: blue2kdave ]</strong><hr></blockquote>


Yes or in the case of Microsoft they also used tactics like Installing IE or Messenger without asking for the users permission. I found this to be extremely distasteful.
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post #6 of 8
Apple will defend it's right to innovate.. wait, sorry that's Micro$oft.

Through the years, Apple has added stuff to the OS that 3rd parties had before them (sticky drop down menus and windowshade).

I don't see the big deal with Sherlock 3 and Watson. Sherlock was on the market a long time before Watson (hence the name). Natural evolution of the program. I bought Watson and will compare with Sherlock 3 and use the one I like most (or both).

As long as you can install 3rd party software and remove the existing Apple products, I don't see what the big deal is. I'm glad that Apple has iTunes, iMovie and soon iChat.

[ 05-24-2002: Message edited by: CodeWarrior ]</p>
post #7 of 8
Come to think of it, the most MS type of thing they do IMO is that the internet web browser preference keeps resetting itself to IE after updates.
post #8 of 8
And it's not surprising that the most MS like behavior on OS X involves an MS application. <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[No]" />

That article sucks, to put it bluntly. Notice how the only person he quotes is a publisher of MacNet(!), whose gripe is "legitimate" even though, as far as I can tell, the man has never released an application in his life.

There is not one quote from a developer. Not one. Haddad's one true assertion is that Apple has had rough relations with developers, but his explanation is false: there are a lot of reasons for that, and this is not one of them. Apple paid many of the developers of shareware hacks that they incorporated, or hired them outright, or both in the case of SoundJam. There hasn't been anything in the way of third-party apps mysteriously breaking after Apple releases a competing product. Also, Apple tends to release simple, consumer-level apps that leave lots of room for more specialized or feature-rich alternatives - the ones that aren't, like FCP, essentially create markets; nobody really took Premiere seriously. There is no analogy here to MS' behavior.

Finally, there is a difference in emphasis between Apple and MS: Apple targets customers; MS targets (earstwhile) competitors. Apple includes iApps that make sense for its markets and its hardware; MS includes apps as part of competitive strategies (obvious examples: Money and Movie Maker).

Haddad's just trolling for hits.
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