Apple's paranoid public image: Why did Schiller quit Instagram?

Apple's paranoid public image: Why did Schiller quit Instagram?

Summary: A senior Apple executive quit Instagram because it "went to Android," according to reports. Did he jump, or was he pushed? Apple's closed wall nature points to corporate paranoia.


I find it remarkable that despite using a service for months and enjoying what it has to offer, one would cease using one of the most popular smartphone applications on the mobile market this year, simply because it expanded its service to a rival platform.

That is, unless you're an Apple senior vice-president and your job is to market the iOS platform in the best possible light to the hundreds of millions of potential new customers.

Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice-president for marketing did exactly that, apparently confirmed by a direct message to a Twitter user, seen by 9to5Mac, asking him why he had stopped using Instagram.

"It 'jumped the shark' when it went to Android," he said.

Instagram for Android was released on April 3, only a week before Facebook bought the photo-sharing company for $1 billion. It was until then an iOS only application. A three-times spike in Instagram's user base in the short space of a week pushed Zuckerberg into buying the company, it is believed.

Facebook and Apple have a good, but arms-length relationship. Many questioned why Apple opted to join forces with Twitter by offering the microblogging service with 140 million users to its iOS platform, instead of Facebook with more than 850 million users.

It could be that Apple and Facebook drifted apart since the social network's early years, where the technology giant advised Facebook on its company focus, management and direction, seemingly eyeing future potential in the then-startup.Facebook may not have been willing to play ball with Apple with an 'incompatible' set of privacy controls and different ideals.

Or, it could be because Steve Jobs thought Mark Zuckerberg was a "f**king a**hole," according to veteran blogger Robert Scoble.

I'm not picky on which, nor does it particularly matter.

The question still looms as to why Schiller deleted his account. Logically, it makes no sense. Emotionally, at a push, one might be able to empathise. If one loves a platform so much to the point where a trusted product reaches out to 'the enemy' in a bid to grow and expand, I can see the human side to Schiller's dilemma.

But Apple's closed nature put Schiller in a difficult position. Should he abandon a service he clearly enjoyed because the company expanded its business to accommodate the largest section of the U.S. mobile platform market share? Or maybe his public relations team told him to?

Regardless, it points to either a paranoid Apple executive concerned about the public perception of using a service on a rival platform, or Apple PR's paranoid state of mind in telling Schiller to dump the app for much of the same reason.

Knowing how secretive Apple is over its company, its products and its processes --- to levels that if such symptoms were found in a person, they would be a psychologist's dream come true --- it would come as no surprise if Apple told Schiller to stop using the software in the wake of its expansion to the Android platform.

Apple's "thermonuclear war" against Android continues. For a senior figure at Apple, a commander in the war on Android, to use a service owned and operated by the opposition forces is like driving a Russian tank down Wall Street while burning an American flag and whistling 'Hail to the Chief' in a sombre D-major.

It makes sense for a company to provide only software, products and services it creates to its staff. It creates an ecosystem around which its employees can self-evangelise and get to know the products they are working on better. Apple gives out MacBooks and iPhones to its staff, just as Microsoft gives PCs and Windows Phone's to its employees. It recently outlawed its staff from buying Macs and iOS devices through company accounts, according to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, but at least the Redmond giant experimented and didn't give its operating system rival the cold shoulder.

A hint of paranoia mixed in with a strong scent of impending hypocrisy. While Apple continues its battle against Android in the courts, if its senior vice-president carries on using an app on his iPhone, but has a second-degree connection to Android, Apple could be seen as two-timing on its own brand of platform.

And that's where Apple will fall down. Its closed minded nature means the company does not look outside its four-walled eutopic garden, seemingly denying the existence of Android, while making some considerations towards its lesser rivals such as Windows --- which Apple still develops for --- but only because Microsoft's own market share dominance forced it to.

An Apple spokesperson was unavailable for comment at the time of writing. For all we know, they're probably locked in a panic room a hundred feet beneath Cupertino's streets.

Image credit: 9to5Mac.


Topics: Social Enterprise, Android, Apple, Google

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  • Considering the fact that Schiller did not start any advertising campaigns

    ... like "Delete your Instagram account" or even advised Apple's staff to do the same; he did not even announced his move directly anywhere (what we learned was a reply to a question).

    Many people were not happy with the Android expansion, and not because of the new OS support per se, but because of great decline in quality of devices that appear users feeds. Even the best of universal smartphones do not have five lens optical system like iPhone 4S has, and by far most of devices greatly behind even iPhone 4 quality of photographing -- and no wonder, considering the average price of Android phone, which is many times lesser than of iPhone.

    This was just Schiller's personal decision.

    This article's attitude makes you wonder where the actual paranoia lies.
    • That might have made sense...

      That all might have made sense if the majority of the Android phones selling weren't like Galaxy S IIs and Amaze 4G's which have been shown to have better cameras than the iPhone 4S in actual tests. He'll really miss the good stuff as they HTC One X line ramps up with the best camera on the market period. Poor fella.
  • Elitist

    There were other words he could have used, but he kinda sounds like a prick, much like many iPhone Instagram users complaining about new Android users. Good lord.
    Jeff Kibuule
    • Complaints are legitimate; photo feeds get those blurry, washed out photos

      ... now. So "jumped the shark" fits perfectly to what is happening.

      The wish to have higher quality photo feeds is natural to all true lovers of photography, there is nothing elitist about it.
      • Untrue

        DLSR cameras blow away the iPhone 4S. If higher quality photos was the problem, the iPhone 4S doesn't qualify either.
  • Maybe he finally used the app ;-)

    Perhaps he realised that making your photos look crappy and cropped and then sending them to friends wasn't a good idea.

    I'm waiting for virtual Pet Rocks to start.
  • Perhaps what he said is exactly what he meant.

    Reading "between the lines" is only valid if there is an actual message there and sometimes in fact often times there is not. What you think you see between the lines is your imagination and paranoia not the message writer but the receiver... In this case you.

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
  • Money where his mouth is...

    Why doesn't he kick Instagram (and all other apps which are available on Android, or WP7 or RIM) out of the iTunes Store...

    Oh, wait, half the store would disappear. :-P
  • Why not just buy the damn things and shut up.......

    he could very well have bought the company with all the money in the bank. They missed their chance and sorry it is now unleashed. You guys want to talk about a company that wants to hold back innovation, you can look no further than Apple these days. And yes they are a "shark" and will eat your head off if you dare look at them wrong. Thats what you call arrogant a-holes!
    • Complete tool

      You have no idea what your talking. Only thing a shark needs to be eating is you.
      • Awwwww.......

        poor guy, did I hurt your feelings there and you had to come attack me and call me a "tool". I think I struck a nerve and the truth hurts buddy. the writing is all over the wall as to who doesn't play nice in the tech world these days!
  • Here's the reason plain and simple.

    Even with iPhones now on Sprint and Verizon there was only a little spike in its sales. Its back to being outsold as a platform by Android devices. Verizon and Sprint were supposed to be the big turnarounds that brought it back to its path to dominance. So now Apple's savior is exclusive apps. Notice how they pump up Infinity blade. Notice how iFans and Apple paid bloggers alike will only pump up apps that are Apple only? If a great game or app comes out and its cross platform it gets far less Shadowgun for instance (not to mention Shadowgun actually looks better on Android). Had Shadowgun been iOS only bloggers and iFans would be hunting for ways to mention it almost daily till this day. So now Apple just lost what was becoming a huge exclusive and it shows that they won't be able to play the exclusive game much longer either. The old "cheap phones" excuse that fanboys like to use doesn't address the fact that these people cheap phone or not still have Android and are still potential users for apps. And with 850K phones being activated a day its pretty hard to ignore.
    • It's quite simple

      Its quite simple, if you have more manufacturers making more Android phones, you are going to sell more of them than one manufacture making one iPhone. Especially when you give them away in jamboree bags. There is really only one phone maker and one phone for Andoid that's any good and that's Samsung and the Galaxy S3, later referred to as Samdroid. They seem to have the Android market all their own.
  • More inaccuracies

    Steve Jobs never said that about Mark Zuckerberg, some random Apple employee Scoble claims to have asked did. You realize that the laziness in the technology press is reaching the point of blatant lies?
  • Does Android get viruses