So whether or not you are a fan of Apple, whether you hate them or respect them, the one thing you can’t deny is they make great software. In all honesty, it’s what makes the iPhone/iPad so successful. Sure, they make fancy looking hardware but the specs are the same as just about any phone out there, in some cases less. But Apple’s dominance has always been because of their software and its ease of use and robust features.
Now let’s look at Google, a company that makes a plethora of great software, programs and apps that range from Navigation, Office Suites, Email, Photos, YouTube, Maps, VoIP services just to name a few, all of which Google offers for free to users.
Even before Google launched its Android mobile OS it supplied its Map software and YouTube to the iPhone upon its launch in 2007. Two apps many people loved and really made the iPhone stand out upon its release. Since the iPhone’s growth and sales exploded, Google has continued to provide Apple with more of its great software and regular updates.
When Google launched its Android OS it obviously filled it with all of its great applications, all the while continuing to support the iPhone. What did Apple do in return? Upon the arrival of Android, Apple asked Google to not allow multi-touch (pinch and squeeze) technology to its Android OS. Google obliged for a bit but after pressure from its customer base and critics, they finally caved. Yet, while Android and iOS seem to compete more and more each passing day, Google still supports Apple as if it never released Android.
To make Apple look even worse, even Microsoft has released their own apps for the iOS platform like Bing and the recently released Photosynth, a panoramic photo creation app. Still, Apple hasn’t shared anything they make with other companies that continue to make them a success. Even in the PC market, Microsoft gives Apple and Mac their Office suite amongst other software and yet Apple, doesn’t return the favor.
So the question needs to be asked, how long till either Apple releases its software for a competing mobile OS or is forced to by law? With Apple barricading itself from the “open” software companies, Google and Microsoft (to a degree) are sharing their products which could be used to build a case against Apple down the line. Google or Microsoft, or even both together, could use the fact that they are sharing their products with Apple, who is seeing massive sales and increased profits, all the while keeping their own applications and programs to themselves.
I’m not talking about Apple refusing to become an open platform. I’m talking about Apple refusing to release an app like iMovie for Android or Windows Phone 7. It is only a matter of time before a good lawyer gathers enough evidence and claims to point out to a judge that Apple’s success is solely based on its hoarding of all its software while using popular software that is made by its competitors.
Could you imagine if Google told Apple you can’t have Google Search, Maps, YouTube (the app, now the website), Voice, Gmail and more on its iPhone? There are more app from Google I’ve left out but you get the point. The iPhone would be severely crippled if this happened.
So while I am a fan of Apple (and Google), I have to say that I feel while Apple’s success is from their own software, their continued success comes from reaping the benefits of open software from its competitors.
So what do you all think? Do you think Apple, while they don’t show it, relies heavily on Google (and Microsoft partly)? Do you think that they should have to share “some” of their technology with competitors to keep a level playing field? While I know some of you don’t like Apple, surely you can’t say you wouldn’t enjoy iPhoto or iMovie on your Android handset, would you?
UPDATE: It was brought to my attention that I left out that Apple does provide Safari and iTunes to Microsoft’s Windows. I thought of these, but I do not feel that their presence on PC’s is the equivalent of say, Office on Mac. Allow me to explain, Apple isn’t happy unless they are dominating in a targeted field. So when they feel their browser is the best, they released it for PC for the simple reason of browser market share. Safari is not a money maker for Apple, nor does it allow a competitor to capitalize on its success and outshine Apple, so it does not matter what platform it is available on. iTunes on the other hand is slightly different case, Apple was forced to release iTunes on PC in order for the iPod to gain a foot hold in the portable music business. Apple knew that the Windows market share was much larger than their Mac install base and played it smart, again for their own gain. With iTunes being on Windows it would not negatively affect Apple’s profits, quite the contrary, it would actually increase it. iTunes didn’t provide a financial gain for Microsoft it only opened the window for more sales of the iPods, because iTunes is not so much of a program as it is a gateway, a gate way to music for the iPod (and now iPhone and iPad). But if Apple released its iLife suite (iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband, iDVD, iWeb) or Final Cut Pro for the PC, then you would most likely see a possible decline in Mac sales. If there is a reason to buy a Mac, Apple will not let that appear on anything else, but an Apple product, period.