A 2010 email from Steve Jobs, released as part of the Apple’s legal action against Samsung, gives new insight into the inner workings of the company and reveals the darker side of Apple’s business practices.
The email outlines Apple’s 2011 business strategy and focuses on the company’s intensifying battle against Google’s Android operating system. The majority of the message is a rough draft of a presentation to senior Apple executives, but it also features several revelations that throw light on the usually hidden workings of the Cupertino company.
At one point Jobs admits that, “Google and Microsoft are further along on the technology, but haven’t quite figured it out yet,” and in one of the more revealing lines he states that Apple’s aim is to, “tie all of our products together, so we further lock customers into our ecosystem.”
While this won’t come as a surprise to many, it’s quite shocking to see Apple’s business strategy outlined so bluntly and should raise the eyebrows of anyone intending to use Apple’s tablet in education.
Apple’s aim is to, “tie all of our products together, so we further lock customers into our ecosystem.”
Apple promotes itself as a free thinking antidote to Microsoft’s grey business focused software, but this email confirms what many working with Apple technology already know — Apple is as aggressive and domineering as any other large business.
The majority of failings in iOS management are as a result as Apple’s obsessive desire to maintain control over the end device. The iPad’s lackluster MDM support, the rigid and clumsy app management, and the lock in to Apple services are just some of the reasons many Network Administrators are not entirely happy with Apple’s mobile offering.
Apple’s stated focus is to prevent its users from leaving the Apple ecosystem once they have bought into it. The company is deliberately limiting the use of apps, books, movies, and other content outside of their platform for business rather than technical reasons. My concern is that many schools, without in-house technical expertise, are walking into Apple’s trap. How many schools, having purchased thousands of pounds worth of iPad apps and iBooks, have compromised their future technology options?
Windows and Android run on a huge number of devices of all form factors and price points. If one tablet doesn’t suite my needs, or is out of my budget, there are always cheaper alternatives from other manufacturers. With Apple there is no choice. The only option is a premium device from a single manufacturer, and if Apple gets its way, in future all school iPads will have to be purchased directly from the company.
Schools should be pushing back against this type of aggressive business practice. No matter how great the end product is buying into Apple’s ecosystem will result in higher priced devices, higher priced content, and less flexibility for schools.