Saturday, October 23, 2010

Apple is attacking Windows and Google Chrome OS in a big way

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Linux creator and Linux Foundation Fellow Linus Torvalds is one of three recipients to receive the prestigious C&C Prize in 2010.
Torvalds is being recognized for his "contributions to the advancement of the information technology industry, education, research, and the improvement of our lives," according to NEC C&C Foundation.
Torvalds developed Linux in 1991 while a student at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He released the operating system (OS) under the General Public License and invited others to use it and share. Today, Linux is the leading OS for smartphones and is powering next-generation mobile computing devices. It has drastically reduced the cost for developing countries that want to put computing devices in the hands of students and citizens. Linux is also preferred among the world's largest enterprises to support critical IT infrastructure.

Without Tovalds idea in 1991 to build an open source OS, we would not have been where we are now. Before Linus, crowd sourcing was an unknown development methodology. Linus basically did invent crowd sourcing.
But with open source or crowd sourcing was not really money to make, only a few companies like Redhat or Suse could go grow because they did build their own Linux distribution and make money on the service they offer.

I worked a few years at TopCoder which took the step further to utilize the crowd to build commercial applications. The idea is to cut an application in small components and then let the crowd compete to build these components. TopCoder will choose the best coded components and put them together to a final application. Over 200,000 developers are competing at TopCoder and top developers can make over $100K a year. Many of them are students and get high profile jobs at google, facebook etc because they competed at TopCoder.

But Apple, Facebook and Google are going a step further.
They invented the open development platform to satisfy the consumers. Developer world wide can develop software and games for facebook, android or iOS. They can decide if they work in teams or alone and how much the software will cost. The end user decides if the apps are good by either not downloading the app or rating it good or bad.

Apple does even go a step further. They offer an open platform but restricted and have complex approval concepts. This helps the enduser to have a better experience and developers to make more money. Apple has over 600,000 developers in their network and FB over 1 Million. Facebook made Zynga rich and made them to the fastest growing game company in the world. Without the open platform and crowd sourcing idea, neither Facebook or Zynga would be as big as they are.

Now all this worked fine for small and funny application or games which can run on smart phones or within a website like FB. But enterprise applications or useful complex apps are not really seen yet. This changes when Apple opens it's App store for Mac OSx computers.

With this platform, we will see many good and not so good applications coming up which cost less than traditional applications and can do the same or maybe better.
But the most important part is that Apple will control which application will go into the app store to ensure that the OS does not slow down or that these apps will not spy on us or bring viruses.

To find today shareware or open source application takes forever because there is no good place to go to find. There are many websites which have either for Mac or Windows tons of cheap software or even free, but they are complicated to navigate, have a lot of ads and want you to subscribe and none of them have all of the apps. These platforms are not organized have no controlling system in place etc.

With Apple's new App store all is in one place, only Apple approved apps are in there (ensure good consumer experience) and well organized.
Apple will soon release a new SDK for developers with makes it much easier for developers to build Mac Apps, like they did for iPhones and iPads. Developers can decide how much the app will cost, and Apple will keep 30%. these apps can as well take advantage of Apple's iAd system. I can see new companies on the horizon which don't exist today but are tomorrow one of the biggest Apple app developers.

Apple opens the Mac OS X word to million of developers and tons of new software. I can't wait to see how it will change the consumer landscape.

Clearly it is a step to attack the number one PC OS (Windows). Linux tried it once but failed, it was too techie and found it's main place only in government and web servers. Google is trying as well to attack with their chrome OS but i doubt it will work.

Steve chooses another much smarter path. Instead to come up with a new free OS, they will let the user decide to buy a PC or Mac. Mac has now a market share of 20% and if there are in two years hundred of thousand apps in the Mac app store, the consumer decision seems to be easy. Either buying a none sexy PC with Windows which is cheaper than Apple computers, or a computer where an user can download hundred of thousands apps with one click.

Remember even if Apple would not be more expensive, many users did in the past not buy Apple because many apps did not exist for Apple.

This might turn around and in a few years we don't buy PCs because the coolest apps are only on Mac.

But for sure this move will make Google Chrome DOA before it is even released.

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