Jobs' Apple as premier platform mantra to accelerate
Apple CEO Steve Jobs will deliver another sermon to the Mac faithful at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), but amid all the pyrotechnics about the iPhone, App Store and third party software goodies keep in mind the big picture: There's a platform war about to start.It's safe to say that Apple is winning over developers--the WWDC is sold out--but the game of software has always been won in the trenches.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs will deliver another sermon to the Mac faithful at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), but amid all the pyrotechnics about the iPhone, App Store and third party software goodies keep in mind the big picture: There's a platform war about to start.
It's safe to say that Apple is winning over developers--the WWDC is sold out--but the game of software has always been won in the trenches. And if the rumors (Techmeme) are to be believed Apple will roll out a new Mac just for developers. The game is clear: Win over developers--ideally as young as possible--and keep them on your platform. That's Microsoft's secret. The software giant has its faults, but it's not to hard to find teenage programmers on its platform. Microsoft is good to its developers.
Open source also has its legions of developers focused on everything from desktop operating systems to mobile platforms to enterprise tools. And take the developer game out further you get the Webtop where every company from Google to Adobe to Facebook is making a play to be a platform.
Whether there's a new iPhone (that perhaps supports 3G) is interesting but not what's important. The real important news next week is news we already know. The iPod and iPhone have now become a software platform. I've talked in the past about the iPod as a hardware platform. Starting Monday, it's now a full software platform as well. That's super important because it means developers will the iPod and the iPhone places that AAPL alone could not, that no individual company could.
Gartenberg adds that everyone wants to be a platform, but the key for developers is making sure there's a big base to tap. Since the WWDC is sold out, Gartenberg makes the leap that Apple has attracted developers beyond the core Mac developer types.
Is Gartenberg's hunch on target? Quite possibly, but Apple still can't afford to lose the Mac faithful.
"As a software developer for Mac OS X, I just hope that Apple doesn't start cutting back there in favor of the iPhone. Now, the iPhone is great, don't get me wrong, but as far as I know, the Mac still makes more money."
And then Morgenstern adds:
Remember that a year ago Apple said that the testing of the iPhone required it to shift engineering and QA resources from the Mac OS X team away from Leopard testing and bug fixing. This resulted in a delay to the introduction of the long-awaited OS.
So there's the juggling act. How will developer relations go for Apple? Too iPhone heavy and Apple could annoy some developers. Then again you could argue that's where Apple should place its bets since the iPhone could pull in the rest of the arsenal.
This PGP effort really just gives Mac folks what Windows users have had for years. What's the big deal? The Mac has become important enough within businesses to warrant some focus. With Mac share representing a miniscule portion of the enterprise perhaps companies could get away with not worrying about securing them as much. But with Macs hitting the 4 percent ballpark within corporations, the formula changes. Meanwhile, the Mac is positioning itself as a multipurpose platform. Developers like the Mac platform because it has a familiar Unix feel to it and it can run Windows as well as OS X. Add it up and the Mac is positioned as a Swiss Army knife.
But it's very early days in the Apple-as-a-platform mantra. Apple's platform pitch is really just beginning and it remains to be seen if Steve Jobs & Co. can achieve most favored platform status. The Apple as a major platform mantra kicks off today.