Apple's Exec Shakeup: 10 Necessary Fixes - InformationWeek

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Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Apple's Exec Shakeup: 10 Necessary Fixes

If Apple wants a more collaborative management structure, it will need to become a more open, collaborative company.

Apple's Ping social network might have succeeded by being more open. It should have been integrated with Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. It should have had APIs for developers. It shouldn't have required an Apple ID.

Several Apple software applications exhibit the same reluctance to be open. The iBooks Author app, for example, requires content published in the native .ibooks format to be sold exclusively through Apple's iBookstore. The iWeb authoring application, now discontinued, created Web page code that wasn't fully portable to websites not hosted on Apple's MobileMe service. And the iAds Producer app can be used only as outlined in the license agreement, to create HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript ads and animations exclusively for Apple's iAds network.

With its new management structure, Apple has an opportunity to change the way it manages its business. If it wants to succeed as a service provider, it has to become more like Google, even as Google has been moving to become more like Apple. It doesn't have to change a lot, but it does need to make some adjustments. I suggest 10:

1. Apple should strive to make the best content authoring tools, rather than tools that favor content tailored for Apple devices.

2. Apple should allow third-party iOS and OS X app stores and should charge 10% of app sales revenue in its licensed stores. It should integrate those stores with its app updating mechanisms in iOS and OS X.

3. Apple should copy Google Play. It should treat apps like books, videos, or music: Approve them unless the content is obscene or otherwise unlawful. This would also allow it to reduce its 30% revenue fee, because it wouldn't need to employ as many app reviewers.

4. Apple should make its bug database for iOS and OS X open, the way Mozilla does.

5. Apple should give iOS users root device access and allow alternative operating systems on its hardware.

6. Apple should find a way to make its Nitro JavaScript engine work with third-party apps using WebViews, so all apps have a level playing field regardless of whether they're using mobile Safari or not.

7. Apple should make more of its private APIs available to developers, and it should open up access to mobile device hardware systems like the phone dialer and the radio.

8. Apple should support the development of third-party hardware extensions to iOS devices outside of its MiFi program, which should focus on certifying medical and scientific accessories rather than consumer hardware.

9. Apple should involve its user and developer communities in the improvement of its Maps app and other online services. It should talk to its community and encourage conversation among its developers, rather than seeking to limit what they can say with non-disclosure agreements.

10. Apple should engage with the public by responding to media queries and by encouraging its employees to blog.

Apple can keep trying to control everything. But its first-mover advantage and patents won't keep the competition at bay forever. Only by opening up can Apple ensure that innovation isn't locked out.

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User Rank: Apprentice
11/2/2012 | 4:33:12 PM
re: Apple's Exec Shakeup: 10 Necessary Fixes
The 10 things you've identified that Apple needs to change identify how restrictive and controlling as a company they are (not such a bad thing), and how restrictive and controlled the platform is to the customer (very bad), and why unless that change happens people like me will never invest in Apple anything other than stock. On the stock tip; if you didn't get in 7 years ago don't both now unless you see change, they are loosing market share.
User Rank: Apprentice
11/2/2012 | 2:29:57 PM
re: Apple's Exec Shakeup: 10 Necessary Fixes
Let's not forget why there are so many Apple Fanboys and gals'. Apple is always seeking customer feedback and should perhaps do so in a more public way but that would also take away from some of the allure. While it is true that no company is an island those companies such as Apple and Coca-Cola who revel in their market dominance do so with full knowledge of what, how and why they are doing so. It is to protect their brand and retain that loyal following. The fact that Apple polices everything is the very reason we love their products, if they want to be like Microsoft or Dell that would be easy. Let's hope that never happens!
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