1984. An Orwellian year. The year of my birth. It was also the year in which Apple Computer released the original Macintosh Computer, heralded by this now-legendary advert:
The computer too was momentous in the history of personal computing, for being the first computer ever to use a GUI instead of a CUI, (in English – Pictures instead of text).
Fast-forward 26 years. From the days when Apple was the upstart against Big Brother (then: IBM), the savior from “Information Purification”; to being the upstart against Big Brother (More recent then: Microsoft) and the maker of computers for ‘discerning consumers’; to the maker of the Ipod and Master of Itunes; and dare I say it; comptroller of the media-music-internet consumerist ecosystem.
Things have changed from 1984. Apple is now known for operating a vertical-locked monopoly of device, software, and internet portal for media and applications. They are known for hilarious, and certainly arbitrary, control over who and what are deemed worthy of of a place in their reality.
Now, Apple has gone on to tell artists how to behave on their new social-networking component of iTunes. Fast Company summarizes the hilarity of this idea well enough for our purposes.
So now that we’ve established Apple’s Big Brother-esque true colors, who is the Upstart?
Are you thinking Microsoft? We’ll come back to them.
If there is any company that can give Apple pause, it is probably Google. The android mobile platform, with its classical little-guy pitch of openness, and the army of phones that are running it, are actually managing to put pressure on the Mighty Iphone.
Apple. Dominant. The closed book and controller of right.
Google. The agressive upstart. Winner of some fights, but not The Fight. Not yet.
The big question, where does the Elder Big Brother stand in all this? What happened to Microsoft? While they’re around, nobody, least of Microsoft, seems to have a full idea where they stand on the entire battle.
Take, for instance, their strange idea of banning user ringtones on Windows Phone 7. Very Apple. Very Big Brother.
But there can be only one Big Brother. Microsoft does not control the ecosystem. They are not open-alternate-ecosystem-emablers a la Google. So what are they? Also-rans? I hope not?