February 21, 2010

How Google will beat Apple

The biggest difference between Apple's smart phone and the one based on Google's software is that Google isn't trying to regulate the app market.

The correlary to Rule 34 ("There is porn of it. No exceptions") is, any new medium will have a much better chance of succeeding if it can be used to distribute porn.

In the early days of the home video revolution, a really big percentage of pre-recorded video tapes sold and/or rented were porn. For instance.

Apple seems to be trying to fail. Their iron grip on the iPhone app market is a problem, and they are using it to suppress anything that Jerry Falwell would object to. (Even though he's dead.)

Yeah, yeah; I know all the arguments about why it's a Good Thing for them to maintain control. But the real reason is that Apple Corporation is all about closed platforms. That's been their business model from the very beginning, and it remains so to this day.

That was the main reason the Mac lost out to the PC. And I now think that if the iPhone eventually loses its position as market leader (a big "if", I know) then it will be because the iPhone is a closed standard and users get fed up with Big Steve deciding what they are permitted to download and run. (At least on the Mac, Apple didn't try to control the applications market.)

If Apple used its control simply to make sure that the apps were reliable and that they genuinely did what they claimed to do, that would be different. But this prudery is different matter, and I believe it is a commercial blunder.

Sex sells. Always has, and always will. And if customers can't buy it from you, they'll go to someone else who's willing to sell it to them.

UPDATE: Actually, it isn't the case that their business model has always been about closed platforms. The Apple II was an open platform, and that was one of the big reasons it was so successful.

Then Woz left the corporation, and everything's been closed architecture ever since.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 02:54 PM | Comments (12) | Add Comment
Post contains 357 words, total size 2 kb.

1 I like my iPhone a lot, but I agree that Apple is really starting to turn off a lot of people- mostly geeks at this point.  I thought by now they'd start to loosen up, but they're just getting worse and I just don't get it at all.  I jailbroke my phone the day after I got it, so I can run what I want.  If they ever manage to lock out the jailbreakers, that will for sure send me to Android.  The fact that they are banning soft-core apps that were already approved and available in the app store really pisses me off for the simple reason that developers put time and money into them, got them approved, and then Apple just changed their mind.  It reminds me of when the Mac clone makers all went under in the 90s just because Apple decided to take back their football and stop licensing the OS.  Yeah, I know it's just business, but I don't think it's right to screw people like that.

Posted by: bmatchick at February 21, 2010 06:22 PM (8UONI)

2 What was it about Wozniak leaving that made Apple go hardcore closed platform?

Posted by: metaphysician at February 21, 2010 06:27 PM (DQ9zJ)


Agreed about Apple's control-freakery concerning the app store.  I don't think average folks care much, but from what I've seen, Apple is taking a big hit from programmer/geek types. The problems extend far beyond puritanical stuff too.  And the iPad thing might also complicate matters further.

As to porn, well, the iPhone is also a video player.  You might not be able to download porn directly from iTunes, but I wouldn't be surprised if porn sites provided iPhone optimized versions of their content for download.  So perhaps quasi-softcore apps like iBoobs won't make it, but the killer app for porn is video, and the iPhone will support that just fine.  Perhaps this calls for some, uh, "research."

The real advantage of the iPhone at this point is its interface.  No one I've seen so far even comes close in terms of ease of use, but then I haven't had much experience with the Android phones.  This might change at some point, and angering the programmer/geek types is definitely not a positive step...

Posted by: Mark at February 21, 2010 06:48 PM (1y5ce)

4 That's been their business model from the very beginning…

…of the Macintosh line.  My 2nd computer was an Apple II+, which had the expansion card slots in the back as well as the assembler for the contents of the BIOS.  The first Mac was a closed box.  I've never bought a Mac and never will.  (YMMV.)

Posted by: Mark A. Flacy at February 21, 2010 07:17 PM (Lbkvv)


What was it about Wozniak leaving that made Apple go hardcore closed platform?

Jobs is a control freak, and with Woz gone there wasn't anyone who could balance that.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at February 21, 2010 07:29 PM (+rSRq)

6 Porn is not a universal decider that people try to make it by bringing up the early home video and VHS. Consider that the adult entertainment industry overwhelmingly supported HD-DVD, and HD-DVD lost completely.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at February 21, 2010 07:55 PM (/ppBw)

7 Funny you mention this, here are more fun "facts".

Then Woz left the corporation, and everything's been closed architecture ever since.

And what about when Jobs left Apple Inc. and then came back? Or is it that everybody there is like him, just less "hip"?

Posted by: Jaked at February 21, 2010 09:25 PM (EjkUJ)

8 By the time Jobs left, the basic decisions had been made. Jobs wasn't gone long eough for the company to change directions.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at February 21, 2010 09:28 PM (+rSRq)

9 > In the early days of the home video revolution,
> a really big percentage of pre-recorded video
> tapes sold and/or rented were porn.

Once I read that BetaMax lost out to VHS because at that time Beta didn't have tapes longer than one hour in one direction. VHS allowed people to record longer shows/movies while they were out and watch them later.

I don't have first hand experience since at that time I was living on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain where video recording (or video player) was not even a curiosity for us mere mortals.


Posted by: vilmos at February 21, 2010 09:41 PM (9ilg8)

10 If I wind up getting a full-up smartphone (a definite possibility), it's going to be a Droid, not an iPhone--in no small part because I don't trust Apple when it comes to allowing me what to do.  I could care less about teh pr0n, but I won't stand for being told that they can log into my phone and fiddle with it or destroy it outright whenever they feel like it (same reason I won't buy a Kindle).

Not entirely OT, I finally got to see my first Droid today (my father's--not quite the last person I'd expect to get one, but it was still a surprise).  I was rather impressed--I didn't exactly stress test it, but performance seemed nice, and I really like physical keyboard more than the virtual one (What does Jobs have against things like physical devices and external storage, anyways?  Remember when Apple ditched the floppy drive, years before flash cards were ready to replace it?).

Since I had the opportunity, I couldn't resist dropping over to Google's app store and grabbing one particular free program (IMHO far more drool-worthy than Wobble)--Google Sky Map.  Just point your phone at the sky, and it uses the GPS/compass/inclinometer to show the stars and constellations you're looking at on the display (with a search function to help you find a specific one).  Darn cool.

Posted by: BigD at February 21, 2010 11:02 PM (LjWr8)

11 I've always been a mac guy  and I am very pleased with my recently purchased iMac. However, I will not buy an iPhone precisely because of this idiocy.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at February 22, 2010 12:25 AM (rwhG8)

12 Droid is quite limited too. It does not matter if it's because of Google or the carrier, but the result is: 1. cannot tether without a special app (PDAnet) that works through a "debugging" interface, 2. cannot use digital voice that competes with Google or the carrier, like Vonage. Sure, you get your porn apps... maybe. It's a small consolation though.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at February 22, 2010 09:28 AM (/ppBw)

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