Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

'Steve Jobs is an Idiot', or 'Why I Like Microsoft'

I've been wanting to rant about this for a while, and now BetaNews' article on the iPhone not being a smartphone gives me reason to.

You know, I always thought Steve Jobs was a pretty smart guy. The decision to license the Mac OS aside, he's a brilliant marketer who has made some very smart moves. And then came an interview with Newsweek's Steven Levy about the iPhone (more commonly known as iTrash):

But it’s not like the walled garden has gone away. “You don’t want your phone to be an open platform,” meaning that anyone can write applications for it and potentially gum up the provider's network, says Jobs. “You need it to work when you need it to work. Cingular doesn’t want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.”

Man, that's gotta be news to Cingular and Microsoft. They've had an open platform for cell phones for a while now, and I haven't read anything about how Company X's line-of-business application taking down Cingular's network. Steve must think we're all stupid enough to buy that like of crap... well, either that or he actually believes what he said. Either way that single statement totally destroyed any credibility that guy had with me (which wasn't much to begin with). It's nothing more than a badly-veiled attempt to lock customers into their closed-box model of doing business.

And this is why I hate Apple. It's not some stupid OS holy war thing, it's a very basic premise: Microsoft is in business to further their profits by creating ecosystems by which smaller companies can create their own systems on top of, like a whale with millions of tiny barnacles attached to it. Apple is only in business for the betterment of Apple, and like a petulant child, they want as much control over everything as possible. Microsoft tries to co-opt everyone in (yes, I'm aware of their past... they haven't always been friendly about it), while Apple locks customers in and third parties out.

That's why I don't understand why Open Source fans like Apple so much. It's one of the most closed-off tech companies on the planet. That's why I've been a fan of Microsoft for so long, and why I'll continue publicly supporting them until someone sews my mouth shut and cuts off my fingers.



  • I must agree...  While I love the eye-candy Apple provides and their products are gorgeous (including in my opinion, the iPhone) I just don't see how the iPhone stands a chance to be successfull in it's first iteration.  

    At $500 - $600, what is 99% of that market?  Executives.  What are executives concerned with when choosing a "smart phone"?  Productivity.  What is necessary for most executives to be productive with regards to their smart devices?  E-mail and word/excel/power point documents.  To this point, I have not heard of any support on the document side for MS documents and I've only heard that they are supporting push-email from GMail and Yahoo.  Can you name me one executive (outside of Google and Yahoo) that uses one of these types of accounts for normal business communication that would be in this price range?  Unless they are willing to integrate this technology, I believe they will have limited their market willing to pay that much for a phone to the Mac-fan-boys and rich kids looking for the next coolest device.  They certainly won't hit 10 million units by the end of '08...

    And don't get me started on the battery life and storage of this "video iPod".  Two movies on a long plane trip and they will have exhausted their storage and their phone will be dead when they land.


    I wonder if Steve pitted the iPhone team against the iPod team like the Apple and the Mac many years ago?

    January 25, 2007 2:24 PM
  • JoeM said:

    could not agree with you more.

    January 25, 2007 2:24 PM
  • bluvg said:

    I have a few issues with Apple, but I have far more with their fanbase, along with the sycophantic, uncritical press response they get (while Microsoft gets nothing BUT hyper-critical reviews laden with suspicion and double-standards).  As for the iPhone, it is quite sexy, but do user testing with a touch-screen vs. a keyboard and ask which users prefer.  An email device it is not.

    January 25, 2007 4:16 PM
  • ET said:

    Love the metaphor Robert... a whale with millions of tiny barnacles attached to it! perfect, just perfect.



    January 25, 2007 4:18 PM
  • GRLT said:

    I just hope that this iPhone doesn't become a standard so that some 75% of the market is locked into this inferior product, stifling development of the smart phone while the other manufacturers ape Apple.  I'm afraid this will kill smartphones for a while just like the portable media player market was set back a few years by the iPod.

    January 25, 2007 4:26 PM
  • Nick said:

    Open source fans love Apple because Apple actually supports open source inititives, and has started up a few of it's own. Like Darwin. The OS X kernel.

    I also think you vastly over-simplified the situation with Apple and Microsoft. They both create eco-systems and they both create their own lock-in strategies. DirectX and IIS were created in the face of existing open source initiatives, and neither exist for the benefit of anyone but Microsoft. On the other hand, Apple flat out gives development tools to every person who owns OS X for free. Obviously, you can play ping-pong back and forth all day.

    While we're talking about openness, why isn't IE open source? Of all Microsoft's software, that's the one that doesn't make sense *not* to be open sourced.

    January 25, 2007 4:43 PM
  • Diego said:

    "It's nothing more than a badly-veiled attempt to lock customers into their closed-box model of doing business."

    Lol, here comes the freedom in Microsoft's hands, with an OS that will force you to use a given CPU architecture.

    January 25, 2007 5:12 PM
  • Jesper said:

    Amen brother McLaws. Well said.

    January 25, 2007 5:20 PM
  • Lorgor said:


    I mostly agree with what you feel with Jobs and his produces. But, as a marine scientist, I will never suggest you to use "whale and barnacles" as example.  


    Yes, with the OS and own manufactured Mac(hine)? It's just enter x86 Intel and that isn't market force? which OS you buy and only have to install or run on a certain machine? Can you build your own machine and install Mac OS X in the last few years?

    January 26, 2007 1:22 AM
  • Colin Walker said:

    Very thought provoking Robert.

    With the removal of "Computers" from the company name is it even possible that Apple could drop computers all together at some point and aim to become a consumer electronics giant, thus being able to close everything down completely?

    January 26, 2007 5:40 AM
  • January 26, 2007 7:00 AM
  • Wesley Shephard said:

    "I'll continue publicly supporting them until someone sews my mouth shut and cuts off my fingers."

    I used to think that way until I got my MSDN renewal and saw how much having access to the full slate of tools was going to cost me. $10,939.00 for Team Suite Premium, or $2,299.00 to renew my Developers edition.

    Microsoft has clearly stepped away from the *smallest* of companies (one man, do everything consultants like me or the small custom software houses I have created over the years). Which is fine, but it doesn't say "be my barnacle". So those of us "do everything" types are being forced at bank balance point to examine open source and alternate operating systems like the Mac.

    I haven't jumped ship yet, but if they keep insulting my investment in learning the Microsoft way by trying to pretend that Developers are kept in a separate cage from Architects, Testers and Data Base Pros... I can't remaining a second class citizen in their ecosystem much longer.

    January 26, 2007 11:34 AM
  • Colin: Very interesting premise,  I think that's whay they're trying to do. But they wouldn't just go the CE lock-in route: think more like Cable companies. They make youbuy their equipment and lock the content up in their box so you can never get it out... that's how Apple will end up.

    January 26, 2007 3:49 PM
  • GRLT said:

    I like that take Robert.  As long as they don't go around inventing their own media formats and charging an arm and a leg like Sony does about every three weeks.

    January 26, 2007 6:35 PM
  • January 26, 2007 11:04 PM
  • @Robert

    Great post on iTrash


    "On the other hand, Apple flat out gives development tools to every person who owns OS X for free."

    Microsoft also offers VS Express which can be considered a great development platform for free. Most of Microsoft SDKs are free too. And for professional developers, MSDN Subscriptions contain all bells and whistles for a reasonable price.

    January 27, 2007 4:13 AM
  • anonymous said:

    Apple is more focussed on the creative artist whereas Microsoft is more focussed on the enterprise and small business. Simple. A creative professional's needs and workflow are indeed best met by Mac OS X and the software lineup they make. Now FOR CONSUMERS, MS has games and media center....Apple has great productivity software...

    Another area is of standards in multimedia - Apple supports JPEG2000, AAC and H.264. MS restricts choice to WMA/WMV. Had it not been for the web, they wouldn't have supported even JPG or PNG. HD Photo is the future...JPEG 2000..what's that? The least they can do is upgrade the broken architecture for audio and video in the next version so at least third parties can support standards.

    January 27, 2007 9:11 AM
  • Anonymous: very true about artists.... but artists are a very small market. Multimedia stuff has more to do with royalty payments than anything else. Apple can afford to support those standards because they don't have the volume MS does. And not everyone uses those formats, so it doesn't make sense to put them in 100% of their 700 million installations when maybe only 5% will actually use them. That's why the ecosystem has add-on support for them.... it's just more of a pain.

    January 27, 2007 4:05 PM