Recently, Marco Arment wrote a letter that basically went viral on the declining prospects of Apple computers software. In this article “Has Apple’s software quality taken ‘a nosedive’ lately?“. I would certainly have to concur with this conclusion. If you haven’t read the article, it is well worth a read as Apple is beginning to influence many areas of our lives.
Seems to have Been Some Regrets
Shortly after I read the article, which essentially went viral overnight, it caught the author off. He seemed to express some regrets about having written the article for whatever reason I cannot fathom. I personally think there have been many reasons for a while to be concerned about Apple.
Apple’s Survival was Important but at what Cost
There is no question I was worried about Apple’s survival in 1997. When Apple brought Steve Jobs back to the company I felt hopeful. He fullfilled my wishes many times over and I’m glad to see that Apple survivied and in a big way. Is it becoming almost the Microsoft of the late 90’s. Is competitiveness and openness in jeopardy?
On the Software Front
I too believe Apple is pushing too hard to get releases of operating systems out to users at such a clip the quality of that software might be in jeopardy. Company’s, any company, can only move at a certain speed. Do we actually need one full OS release yearly and look at what it did to this years release of OSX. I think this issue should be seriously considered and that Marco Arment’s letter isn’t without warrant at all.
Openeness is A Separate but Intertwined Issue
Back in the late 90s there was great concern as to how competitive and open Microsoft would be. In the end, they really weren’t very open at all as power does corrupt.
But what does this mean for the user. A great deal. If you become highly reliant on a closed system for magic it can‘t perform, then if it starts to fail you start to fail. If systems are open, all your ducks aren’t lined up in one basket.
This is a cause for concern with Apple. We’re getting so reliant on everything Apple it’s as if how can you think about an alternative. How would it work. Yet, it would. Open standards engender ingenuity.
Back to the Letter
One of the key points in Marco Arment’s letter is that if the quality of Apple’s software is on a downward spiral, it is we the users that will pay the price as we aren’t going to have many places to turn. He goes on to further state that the company might do itself some irreparable harm if it continues with this wreckless course. With all this I agree.
I have one little pet peeve to add to the mix which has historical precedence. Lack of openness is of no benefit to anyone in the end as it breaks the spirit of ingenuity and forces one to put all your eggs in one basket. Is this anti-competitive. This has always begged the question but it verges on that.
Apple has brought us some great stuff of which there can be no question. I would just ask two things of Apple. Slow down and share the wealth. Be an open company. Apple’s history is one of a closed company yet it has drawn many times on open standards. Continue to draw on those open standards and avoid cutting off your nose to spite you face.