By Nathan Rudyk
One of the most satisfying parts about being a Mac user, and in my company's fortunate case, evangelizing Apple technology like Daylite, Billings, PhoneValet and PhoneHerald, is how willing Apple has been to nurture its ecosystem. But I wonder if Steve Jobs has his eyes wide shut on the iPhone ecosystem's potential when I read John Markoff's story today in the New York Times:
“We define everything that is on the phone,” he said. “You don’t want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers.”
The iPhone model, he insisted, would not look like the rest of the wireless industry.
“These are devices that need to work, and you can’t do that if you load any software on them,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn’t mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment.”
Doesn't sound very ecosystem-ish to me. And as Markoff's story points out, this eyes wide shut approach didn't work all that well to make the very first Macintosh (of which I was a proud diskette-feeding owner in the mid-80s, having purchased my beige baby with two thousand hard-earned I.T. freelancer bucks at Eaton's "Computer Room" in Toronto) a hit. It was big hype, big fizzle, despite all its genius.
Alykan Jetha (AJ), the Jobs-like human catalyst behind Daylite and Billings and CEO of Marketcircle, was one of the first to jump on the ecosystem theme of the iPhone, and since then he's been recognized for seeing the potential of the iPhone for Mac's proud and awesomely innovative indie software community.
Maybe Steve should read AJ's Daylite economy blog post. Observers like Markoff seem to think that there's more permanence in an ecosystem approach to the iPhone. Oh yeah, and there's always that stock chart of Microsoft to ponder - a classic eyes wide shut to the ecosystem company.