Apple's iTunes a Response to Microsoft's .Net?

in Mac Software edited January 2014
There are few that have followed the news surrounding the introduction of Apple's iTunes for Windows that haven't heard the term Trojan Horse to describe the company's software. Aside from what seems like the software's inevitable ability to change the multimedia landscape, some believe that the software is much bigger than that. osViews Editorial contributor Kelly McNeill believes that iTunes might also be Apple's answer to Microsoft's Dot Net.


  • Reply 1 of 6
    This is the reply I posted on in response to the article:

    QT & Finder vs. .NET? This is *not* a user-interface battle! Yes, at one time Netscape thought they were going to take over the world with browser-based navigation. Today, few really care much about the interface - all OSs do pretty much equal jobs of giving users access to their files and applications. Differences between Mac OS vs. Windows file navigation interfaces mean relatively little.

    Microsoft's .NET has very little to do with user interfaces, either. It is a programming paradigm. The key to the success of any platform is in *applications*. The .NET Framework and Common Language Runtime give Windows programmers a common platform target, independent of the language used. Windows programmers can use their language of choice to build desktop, server, web, or mobile applications, with a large degree of code reuse. Apple has nothing to counter this, although they could have.

    NeXT's OpenStep (the predecesor of OS X and Cocoa) ran on multiple platforms, including Windows. Developers could write once, and compile for multiple platforms, all of which could be combined in a single distributable file. The same app could run on OpenStep (Motorola, Intel, & PA-RISC), Solaris, and Windows NT, all with the same look, feel, and functionality.

    OpenStep had all the potential of Microsoft's .NET, and more - because it ran on more platforms than .NET currently does (and possibly ever will). Yes, Java (theoretically) can do this as well, but only with huge performance penalties, and has not proved practical for most application development. With OpenStep, developers could write one code base, and deploy (nearly) everywhere. If Apple wants a Trojan Horse, it needs to bring back OpenStep in all its glory, running on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. In addition, Windows developers would flock to Apple's free (& excellent) Xcode development environment - which compares very favorably to other (expensive) development tools.

    I contend that the #1 issue holding back Apple's hardware market share isn't the price or performance of its systems - its application availability. Developers would no longer have an excuse for not developing Mac versions of their applications, because their apps would be marketable everywhere. Apple's hardware platform would thrive with OpenStep, because the Mac OS would remain the most elegant, and best integrated operating system to run the thousands of new applications OpenStep would help create.

    Right now, Apple is just sitting on this technology. It would be suicide for Apple to expend resources trying to take over the Windows desktop. It would be a very wise investment for Apple to use its resources to take over Windows development.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    This article seems like a stretch to me too. MS.Net is not an end-user technology, per se. It becomes an end-user technology once it is implemented in the next generation of applications. iTunes, otoh, provides very little value to developers (other than what they get through their headphones). Of course iTunes has the very strong purpose of bringing brand recognition to Apple. But thats about it.
  • Reply 3 of 6

    Originally posted by COS

    Editorial contributor Kelly McNeill believes that iTunes might also be.

    Strrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeettttt tttttttttttttttttch.

    Apple using iTunes and the iTunes Music Store as a way to sell more high-margin iPods is a theory I can understand and agree with. Apple using iTunes for Windows as a Trojan horse to attempt to undermine MS' .Net is way too much of a stretch for me to accept. As much as I love Steve and think he is brilliant, I don't think we should read more into iTunes than him wanting Apple to dominate the online music and portable music player markets.

    However, I do think the poster above has some interesting thoughts about NextStep/OpenStep and using the Mac as a "write once/deploy everywhere" development platform. I'm not a programmer, so I can't comment on its technical virtues, but from a political standpoint, I love it.

    My 2¢.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    I *am* a programmer and I would love Apple to have a cross platform solution to crush Microsoft (REALbasic is great but compared to .net it's still a toy).

    I am also a realist however and I simply cannot see this ever happening. Apple is a hardware company, and they will want to stay a hardware company, especially in this modern climate where it is becoming increasingly hard to guarantee that software will make money since users expect everything to be free and when it isn't they just pirate it anyway. You can't pirate hardware (not yet anyways).

    If apple faciliates the porting of its software and/or OS to Windows then it's hardware sales will die. I love Apple hardware, I think it is the best and I will pay extra for it, but businesses and schools won't, they will buy the cheapest ugliest Dell box they can find that runs the software they need. Same goes for creative professionals whose wallets aren't as fat as they would like, and anyone whose budget and need for speed are more important than having a great looking computer.

    It is in fact much more likely that Microsoft will be the first to bring about cross-platformness in their dev tools, since as a software company, expanding their market to cover that last little 3% will obviously only benefit them, and given the success of VPC it is quite likely that they could get a lot of Windows sales to mac OS users this way (they already do, in fact thanks to VPC).

    They probably won't do this either though because a) they suck at the kind of clean, modular software devlopment needed to pull this off, and b) they aren't as keen to expand into our 3% market as we are to expand into their 97% market, for obvious reasons.

    By asking Apple to take their development tools cross platform we are asking them to kill their OS, and by asking them to port their OS as well we would be asking them to kill their Hardware business. It really makes no sense for them to do this; they don't want to own the world, they want to make money, and unless you really believe that Mac OS could seriously compete against Windows on its home turf then this move can only lose them money - the gain in Windows users switching to Mac OS because they could now run it on their PCs would not nearly compensate for the Mac OS users who would migrate to PC hardware, costing Apple countless hardware sales.

  • Reply 5 of 6
    IMO, one of the huge values to Apple in deploying iTunes for Windows lies in throwing a logjam on the tracks of the WMA format. It'll be a lot easier to attract switchers down the road when you can sell them the idea that all of their purchased and otherwise-acquired music is also compatible with Mac OSX.
  • Reply 6 of 6

    Originally posted by TheFox

    IMO, one of the huge values to Apple in deploying iTunes for Windows lies in throwing a logjam on the tracks of the WMA format. It'll be a lot easier to attract switchers down the road when you can sell them the idea that all of their purchased and otherwise-acquired music is also compatible with Mac OSX.

    Now that's more like it.

    Although Microsoft have also figured this out, hence their accusations of monopolisation on Apple's part: If you use ITMS you have to use iTunes and iPod because no other mp3 player software or hardware supports aac.

    But since loads of people already have iPods on the Windows platform, and iTunes is free (and good), a lot of people are switching to it, leaving wma-compatible services out in the cold.

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