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Forrester on Apple and Steve Jobs

May 14th, 2004 · No Comments

George Colony (CEO of Forrester) writes:

When Jobs arrived back at Apple, he said, “Screw the software business–let’s build our own great applications!” This old computer business stratagem, dating back to the minicomputer industry, yielded the ease and elegance of one computer, one architecture, one software set–openness and interoperability be damned. Without standards and third parties to worry about, you can tune your software for maximum integration and seamlessness–no bulky APIs (application program interfaces) or open drivers to file, rub and sand the cool edges off your systems. And if the software is good enough, consumers have to buy your computers to run it.

It’s not open, and it’s not industry standard or industry certified. It’s just better.

Jobs is delivering on the digital dream. While other companies in the tech industry are either stumbling (Sony), services-focused (IBM), protecting their monopolies (Intel), or shepherding their legacy systems (Microsoft), Jobs is delivering inspired, compelling digital alternatives to the old analog world. The guy has the creativity of Sergei Brin and Larry Page at Google, the experience of Michael Dell, and the connections and persuasiveness of Carly Fiorina.

What it means No. 1: To the enterprise world? Nothing. Jobs is digitizing the consumer world.

What it means No. 2: Consumer electronics vendors, whether they like it or not, will have to contend with a resurgent Apple and an omnipresent Steve Jobs.

What it means No. 3: Watch for Apple to take its music strategy (elegant integration of the personal device, desktop management software, and online music store) into new spaces. Still cameras and video cameras would be obvious markets to attack. Making mobile phones easier to use and highly integrated with the desktop could be a big win for Apple. iSync with Bluetooth would finally make it dead simple to switch phones without trashing address books.

What it means No. 4: Linux plus Apple? Somehow, you know that Jobs won’t be able to resist this one. If Jobs and team point their considerable innovation and creativity back toward desktop applications, they could blow a lot of new thinking into the market. Call it “iWorks”–an integrated desktop suite based on Linux. Apple would feature iWorks first on the Mac and then make it available on Intel machines. This would mean that 5 percent of desktops would have Linux desktops right out of the chute–a great start for the first serious Linux-based Microsoft Office fighter. This one’s a stretch, given that Mac is based on OpenBSD, not Linux. But if the opportunity becomes compelling, I’ll bet Jobs will move.

Tags: Management

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