There never seems to be any shortage of iPhone-related drama to go around these days. The latest saga involves some disgruntled developers who are more than a bit sore over being denied distribution in the iTunes store.
The claims range from Apple pulling apps without explanation to the removal of apps which are deemed to work a little to much like Apple's own products.
Certainly these claims aren't without a great deal of merit. Honestly, it seems that Apple is being pretty unfair in some of these cases. But nobody should be too shocked, really, this sort of thing should have been expected.
One of the most prevalent themes in Apple's culture is that anything they do, it's done better than anyone else in the world, or it's not done at all. Steve Jobs has publicly stated that the company does not make products he isn't proud to sell, and it's pretty apparent that Steve himself isn't proud of anything less than a masterpiece.
The philosophy has certainly worked out well. It's brought out some of the most iconic electronic devices in the last half century, and many of us out there swear by the Mac.
Unfortunately, the side effect that comes with that is that when you believe you've made a product better than everyone else's, you also tend to conclude that anything anyone does to your product will only make it worse.
Apple considers its products works of art as much as they consider them computer gadgets. And if you've ever seen an artist while gallery workers handle his/her work, you know how edgy they can get. The idea of anyone but you messing with your masterpiece just drives you up the wall.
You can imagine then, how Jobs and Co. reacted when people started wanting to hack away at the iPhone. Those who made the iPhone under the belief that they were doing something nobody else in the world had done or could do (and you can bet that was the theme Saint Steve hammered home early on,) and now everyone wanted to get in there and poke around and re-write everything.
It's understandable then why Apple would be slow to embrace the concept of developers making software for the iPhone, and even slower to open it up to the idea of selling everyone else's software under the iTunes banner.
This isn't simply an iPhone thing either. One of the main reasons the clone program was killed was the belief within Apple that nobody else can make a Mac as well as Apple can. iTunes and the iPod remain tied up in part because putting either on third party hardware would be a downgrade from an Apple-only product. Not playing well with others is hard-coded into this company's DNA.
It's also why you'll never see Apple develop something as open as Android. If something can be done by Joe Schmoe in his spare time and be "good enough" to be sold, Steve Jobs isn't going to want to associate it with his brand. Apple is all about facilitating art in others, but only to the extent that it's not Apple's form of art.
Apple will never buy into the crowdsourcing movement for its products because Apple, by necessity, has to believe that it does what it does better than the crowd ever could.
Is that mode of thinking unfair? Most definitely. Undeserved? perhaps. But you have to admit, it's turned up some pretty cool stuff.
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