The battle between Microsoft and Apple
A few years ago my son purchased an iPhone and was very excited to own the leading technology in the market. He owns a iPod and believes that the iPad is the best tablet in the market. I typically, simply because I’m not an Apple consumer give him all sorts of grief. It is fun to point out how Android with the later start is quickly closing the gap and in fact in many ways has caught up and in a some ways is set up to surpass the iPhone.
The differences between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are at based on the core differences in their personalities. Both men are ambitious and brilliant leaders. Both men have a grasp of technology and its applications only few people have. One of them, if not both of them may actually be one of the rarest human beings – those capable of true independent thinking.
Apple took the approach of total control; similar to its founder’s personality. Apple believes that the secret to long-term success is total control of the operating system, and all the applications developed for it: Case in point, the Apple Application Store where all the applications are approved by Apple and built according to strict apple guidelines. The same has always been true about the entire line of Apple Computers up to the current operating system.
Microsoft, since the days of DOS (Disk Operating System), working with IBM have taken a different approach. They were open to sharing the operating system, to improve it, to work with developers to define the new capabilities. IBM was cloned early and all the clones used the INTEL chip and DOS, then all moved up to the WINDOWS operating system.
Most technology purists will tell you that Apple had the best operating system, running on the best chip set (MOTOROLA) on the market. Yet it was Microsoft that took over the market and is on more computers than any other operating system.
Apple did not learn the lesson. In fact the fabulous success of the iPod cemented their approach as the way to move forward. The iPhone was next and it was a giant leap forward; but one that was soon matched. AT&T and Apple were made for each other. Both companies like to control the technology and the launch of the iPhone was superb; and they built up a significant lead.
Google’s Android’s operating system came out and was available to multiple manufacturers. HTC’s EVO has come the closest, but Samsung is not far behind and more and more phones are coming out using the Android operating system. This multitude of manufacturers and innovators taking full advantage of the Free Market and the need for Smart Phones are rapidly eating away at the lead AT&T and the iPhone received.
The iPad again was revolutionary, but now HTC, Samsung and Toshiba – to name only but a few – all have competing units with a variety of functionality, but all based upon the Android platform. The more people who use it, the more technology pushes the operating system; the better it will be.
Today I was listening to NPR’s All Things Considered and this post finally came clear in my mind: the true difference between the Microsoft approach and the Apple approach. In a story titled “Microsoft Makes Hacking Kinect Easier” (click here to listen to the full story) they point out that Microsoft’s approach was to allow their code, for the revolutionary technology, to be used by others and to develop new applications that even Microsoft had not thought of, or considered.
The Kinect technology can be used to control robots by motions rather than touch. It can be used for physical therapy providing fine motor skills that are not easily replicated without the new technology. Someday we’ll be able to turn on the television, not with a remote control, but by simply twisting our wrist in front of us – turning it on, and controlling the channel and the volume.
Microsoft, by opening up the technology from the game controller to the technological world will likely have started us down a path of great innovation, controlled only by the Free Market and the creativity of innovators and entrepreneurs.
That’s something that is so far outside of the Apple paradigm that I still will give my son grief over his love for all things Apple; not because they are actually lesser technology, but because of what they stand for: Infinite and total control. The Free Market with all its thousands of innovators, while individually may not be as talented in the total are far more creative and more likely to move the technology than Apple’s brand of control
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