Apple iCloud Relives Past Mistakes


Apple is slowly taking over Microsoft as the dominant software company both by mindshare and by revenue. It has hung it’s hat on being the leader in the post-PC (read: no-Microsoft) world. It’s actually a quote straight from Steve Jobs.

Yet, after their announcement yesterday, Apple stock tanked. With the new OS announcement, new iOS with tons of new APIs, new cloud service splash.. not helping Apple – and with the record shipments revenues and profit – Apple has not moved an inch in 2011. Why?

Those Who Ignore History Are Doomed To Repeat It

Once upon a time, Apple was a leading software company that had a winning platform and actually started the PC revolution. It manufactured it’s own PC, it’s own OS and everything in between. But as the other software and hardware companies came to market and worked with each other, Apple was left in the dust. IBM, Microsoft, HP, Packard Bell, Acer and countless others worked together and kept on innovating leaving Apple in the dust which it wouldn’t recover from well until Apple’s iPod became a hit in early 2000’s.

Seemingly similar stuff is happening today. Google’s Android took off after the iPhone and has blasted right by Apple in terms of market share. Apple keeps on sliding because it lives in a closed world where they make the handset, the OS, the cloud service and virtually everything in between. Their cloud pitch:

“Competition will never be able to make it ‘just work’” – Steve Jobs

Apple is making a bet that their control and restrictions will get more people attached to their cloud and that they will just win. But if that was the case, Android wouldn’t stand a chance. Furthermore, Apple has no NFC, no 4G phones, no flexibility in their device selection whatsoever. That is not a winning recipe, there is only so far that great marketing can take you.

Right now Apple is making the same mistake it made in the 90’s. Instead of opening up it’s cloud and it’s platform an licensing it’s OS and it’s massive library – it’s closing things down. It’s trying to make the “cloud” a feature of the iPhone/iPad/iOS which is something that will ultimately only appeal to the iFans and not to the overall marketplace.

Let’s remember that Apple’s resurection was thanks to Microsoft’s investment and iTunes on Windows. If Apple made their iPod capable of taking music files only from their 7% desktop PC, they would be long gone by now. Yet, they are ignoring that now and instead of applying their massive mobile dominance and experience to gain market share they are clamping down yet again.

Except they aren’t the sole player now. Look at this PC Magazine comparison of Amazon Cloud Player, Apple iCloud and Google Music. Apple is more expensive than anything else out there and it needs friends.

Apple owes it’s success to the massive army of developers who built tons and tons of apps for the first really good smartphone and tablet. Now as Android takes Apple over in those categories with an open approach, and has a larger audience, guess where developers will start to look to? Developers made Microsoft and they made Apple in the mobile world. But with Apple falling back, will they learn from their history on how to embrace the open cloud or will they stick to what has failed them before?

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