Apple and Developers
After I posted my comments on Apple as Innovator, I got some strongly-worded mail from a well-known Mac developer. He said:
Jun. 29, 2003 09:10 AM
The emphasis on Apple misses the point. It's never been about Apple!
It's been about Macintosh: a culture of extremely smart and demanding
users that attracted a talented group of developers who created a
tradition centered around crafting highly usable apps with obvious
(The final PS is a reference to my mother's one-time comment that Bill Gates sounded like someone you'd invite over to dinner, only to have him say "I think I'll have all the mashed potatoes." As with all cutting remarks, the edge does violence to the nuances that individuals and companies use to justify to themselves behavior that others find unfriendly. But there's certainly truth to the assertion that successful companies, from Microsoft to Apple, often take more than their fair share of the market, trampling small developers in the process. Ultimately, I do believe that taking too much of the market is counterproductive, since a successful platform requires a strong developer ecosystem. One company can't do it all. No matter how smart you are, you can't always pick the winning path. Progress flourishes only when you allow the exploration of alternatives.)
By idolizing Steve Jobs, we do a disservice to the many people past and
current that have contributed to the Macintosh culture. We're probably
doing him a disservice too!
As to why Apple's stuck with such a small market share, it may very
well be that the self-congratulatory press releases about record number
of downloads of so-called free software aren't resonating. Many
long-time, thoughtful observers of Macintosh myself included are
advocating for a developer-led alternative--an important aspect of
which is an Apple-seeded investment fund to help capitalize independent
Mac software/media developers. (A developer-led strategy has the
extremely important benefit of mitigating the risk of potential
policy/legal actions for anti-competitive pricing/tying practices.)
We'd love your support for the developer-led alternative!
PS--I personally wouldn't invite the Apple management team over for
To that end, I'd like to get a dialogue going. What would you like to see Apple do to better support its independent developer community? Or are they doing just fine?
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