Re: Apple. Will history repeat itself?
I have been thinking about this for a short time now. I have been spending some time studying the computing market at various levels and across varying technologies; most recently the focus was more on the mobile computing industry. But before I dive into some of my personal opinions I want to revisit some brief events throughout history:
From the late 70′s to the 80′s Apple markets personal computers with a proprietary operating system tied to its proprietary hardware. They charge high prices in exchange for a feature rich and an evolving simplified UI. During this time period Microsoft is providing their software solutions as a software only company.
Originally built on MS-DOS (with the first stable release in 1985), Microsoft distributes Windows for the Intel architecture. Over time, they pushed a radical idea of providing an operating system that was not tied to specific proprietary hardware. This enabled many hardware manufacturers to install and distribute licensed copies of the operating system. Although not as advanced as Apple’s OS UI, it was just good enough to get most people to become more productive.
Cheaper hardware + Hardware independent software = Cheaper PCs = Microsoft’s success of the desktop market
Truth be told. You did (and still do) get what you pay for. Microsoft’s applications and series of operating systems were never necessarily well known for stability and security. Overall, their approach to business made sense for its time.
But what do you have now? The focus has shifted to mobility. A lot of applications are now provided services over the web (i.e. the cloud) and our mobile devices provide us access to these services. For the past decade Apple has made a huge comeback and found itself a market which has been leading to its recent success. Although, they continue to push their proprietary model on all their products.
While other companies are competing with Apple, the most noteworthy is Google (indirectly via its ad-based model) and specifically the Android operating system. Google has taken more of an open approach to how Android is presented but in the end, similar to Microsoft with Windows, it is designed to run on varying hardware platforms. With a nice UI (maybe not always as crisp and clean as the iPhone’s OS) and a constantly growing Market with tens of thousands of applications to choose from, Android has proven itself to be a very worthy competitor. Its market growth numbers have reflected this and Android is significantly catching up to the power players of the smart phone industry.
My question is: Is Apple doomed to repeat its own history? Should we continue to expect Apple market share growth? Or will this plateau as more and more Android devices flood the market offering more affordable and feature rich mobile computing experiences?