Disclaimer, I am a huge Apple fan and a proud owner of a MacPro, MacBookPro, AppleTV and an iPhone. But I have come to realize in the last month or so that there is something fundamentally broken with Apple: I do not think that they have extended their DNA to include the creation, deployment and management of large scale internet applications.
- Apple does not have much experience in deploying and managing large website. The iTunes store which is probably their biggest infrastructure project is focusing on fairly static content and runs on a handful of racks (compare that with Google who is pushing the limits of storage to hexabytes through 10,000s of interconnected computers).
- The best application on the Apple TV is YouTube. The content on it is not great yet but it is the only one which does not require the user to go through iTunes and its local desktop. The iTunes model of replicating locally and sync’ing around is so broken: why can’t – like YouTube – my music and data be on the cloud and accessible directly by my devices? Is it because Apple is more comfortable building desktop applications than internet services?
- The best applications on the iPhone are YouTube and Google Maps (see previous point).
- The choice of promoting Safari over Firefox re-enforces the fact that Apple see the browser as just another application (and not an extensible platform).
It would be great if Apple could extend its DNA/culture from hardware design and client software to include large scale internet applications because that is where I think the next wave of innovation will come from.
What could they do?
- Stop thinking that the desktop (and iTunes) is the center of the universe.
- Hire a few of the infrastructure guys from Google and make them kings (the same way some of the Apple design people are considered kings).
- Acquire 37 signals and a few of the other innovative startups and get them to fix .mac.
- Replace Safari with Firefox – and invest in it to turn it into a shield against Silverlight and AIR.
- Do it quickly because Google and Microsoft are not standing still.
It is just so easy to give free advices! Have a great week end!