Apple picks a fight it can't win
Windows users are forced to use iTunes if they want to play their iPods, which, like everyone else, they do. But it's a painful, time-consuming and irritating experience for many who are used to largely standardized Windows conventions of button, bar and menu placement and functionality.
Apple gets away with its our-way-or-the-highway UI design with QuickTime because controls beyond the standard VCR "Play," "Pause," "Stop," "Fast-forward," etc., are unnecessary and therefore absent.
But on a browser, Apple will need to do things the Windows way or get eaten alive.
Although Microsoft's Internet Explorer dominates browser market share, Apple's real competition is Firefox, which most active and advanced users love and which is the other major browser not bundled with Windows. Most people inclined to install a second or replacement browser on Windows have already done so, and most have installed Firefox.
Firefox fans are small in number compared with Internet Explorer users, but they're a passionate, enthusiastic and vocal crowd. It's these Firefox users that Apple will find at the entrance of the Windows browser market, with swords and shields at the ready.
Mozilla has taken a play out of Microsoft's own playbook by making Firefox almost fully compatible with a World Wide Web largely designed to work on IE. Rather than fighting and resisting these de facto standards, it has embraced and even improved upon them.
Will Apple follow this winning formula? The beta suggests it may not.
Apple will need to approach Windows UI with humility -- a rare commodity at Apple -- and do things the Microsoft way, or pay the price in market share.
Why pick a fight now?
Some analysts are suggesting, and I tend to agree with them, that a primary motive for entering the browser fight this late in the game has little to do with browsers and everything to do with iPhones.
Jobs announced Monday that the iPhone would support third-party applications only in the form of Internet-based browser applications. And guess which browser runs on the iPhone? Apple no doubt wants to provide additional incentive to software developers to build sites and applications that support Safari.
See how Apple "thinks different" about these things?
Rather than providing iPhone users with the existing universe of largely IE-optimized applications and sites in a browser that supports existing standards, and telling iPhone application developers to just go ahead and build universally compatible apps that will also run on the iPhone, Apple feels the overpowering need to once again build and control a new, proprietary playing field.
This is the problem with Apple's plan: To control the user experience of third-party apps on the iPhone, Apple needs to control a quasi-proprietary browser platform. To get developers to build for the browser, Apple needs the power of market share. To get market share, Apple needs Windows compatibility and Windows-user acceptance. And -- here's where the logic fails -- to get a critical mass of Windows users, Safari needs to embrace existing Web standards, UI conventions and functionality.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more