I'll probably get a C&D order for naming this post after one of the worst sci-fi attempts in history, but at least my geek friends will be amused.
Make no mistake. In my real life job, that is the job I have, I am a corporal in a front line conflict of epic proportions. Some of y'all remain mistaken that the combatants are Microsoft and Apple. No. This is a two front conflict, and the players are MS, Apple and Google. And they are all evil. What, did I write that? Yup. Then whom do I serve? Apple, of course. It's all about the sales, baby, gimme gimme the sales. Never mind that Apple takes most of the gains, and if they could they would take them all. They still leave the crumbs upon which our troopers are fed, and continue another day to fight for the supremacy of Cupertino. Viva le' round fruity thingies! THAT. ARE. OHH. SO. COOOOL!
Microsoft is the old empire, and don't fool yourself. They aren't conceding anything to Apple anytime soon. Without Office, even for the Mac, business doesn't run in the way that business wants to run, which is then how business must run. Document must flow. It must, my precious. Windows is so much a given it might be considered a ubiquitous virus unto itself. You got Windows? Yeah, but the outbreaks are minor, and the doctor says it's nothing to really worry about.
Apple's greatest ally is, and has always been, Microsoft. Despite what many of the youngish retro-geeks think, the 1984 commercial (BEST MARKETING OF ALL TIME!) wasn't about Microsoft. It was slap in the face of IBM. Had IBM decided to take on the PC market, they would and could have crushed Apple like a bug. They didn't. What slapped IBM into weak submission was Microsoft. Apple was more than happy to declare war; it took MS to actually fight and win it. Apple just stood around looking good while the fighting took place. It's all they've really ever been that good at. That's why Jobs, the king of cool, didn't realize where the real fight lay until it was too late. And when Apple's market share was at 2.4%, it wasn't the gigantic visage of Steve Jobs we saw behind the diminutive Bill Gates. (That would certainly have been more attractive.) Don't get me wrong. This conflict wasn't so pretty. Way back in the day, Sun Microsystems, Borland and a browser few tech puppies have heard of of named Netscape had an ambitious plan to create an OS that would tie information to a browser. They challenged MS, and Gates crushed them like bugs. Sun still has relevance because they own Java. Netscape is no more, and Borland is an after thought. Despite the fact that MS had to pay lots of money in anti-trust suits, their victory was and is complete.
Now that Cool is again cool, and Apple is oh so Cool, they are again making a bid for being the go-to product. But they haven't let go of the former war. The way to be the go to product is to force being the go to product, according to Apple. They have even slighted one of their staunchest allies throughout the corporate history of the tech wars, Adobe. So long and thanks for all the fish. Oh, and keep writing that professional software our platform needs to be viable ... KTHXBYE.
But. Like the Huns to old stylee Europe when Europe was all old stylee, there's a new force encroaching. That would be Google. Like Andre Linoge, Google has a simple request, insidious as it is undeniable. Give me what I want and I will go away. Except, Google never goes away. They have the drug that people need. Information, immediate and whole, right at the fingertips. So of course, they stand immediately against what Apple is doing. Apple seeks to corner the market, and Google seeks to profit from the market's size. Microsoft doesn't care. They own everything anyway, and will support whomever seems the stronger. So much for allies.
What inspired this post was a very direct treating of the conflict from mistermix at Balloon Juice.
Google is in business to sell advertising. Their goal is to serve me a relevant ad everywhere I am. To do that, they want to know a lot about me (where I am at the moment, and what I’m doing), so their software needs to run on every device I own. They also need continuously earn my trust, and the trust of every developer whose application serves me an ad. I need to trust that the ad is relevant and useful, and that Google won’t share too much of my personal information. Developers need to trust that the Google ad won’t be so intrusive that it will drive users away from their application or web page.
Apple is in business to sell hardware. They want me to buy one Apple device after another. To do so, they’re always trying to devise ways to lock me and developers to their device. They want to sell me music I can only hear on their devices or using their software, and now they are creating a bookstore that sells books I can only read on their devices or with their software. They want developers to write software that runs only on their devices, so Flash, for example, is forbidden on the iPhone and iPad. They need to earn my trust once, then they’ll lock me in with their Apple-only media and software.
Apple will lose this war. I know it right to my bones. So you may well ask why I am a corporal in the Apple army. That's simple. It pays. I am a mercenary in the tech wars. I will follow the money, win or lose. Google doesn't pay. Microsoft pays, but they aren't in this skirmish. Apple pays. It's that simple.
The only chance of winning that Apple has is to once again rely on their greatest ally and have Windows start blocking non-Apple appropriated product. The emperor won't do that. The emperor will wait to declare a victor and then buy them. I guess that then I will have a new task master.