Adding dependency to Apple

Adding dependency to Apple

Apple, given their history, is acutely aware of the pain that can result when their destiny depends on companies outside their control. Microsoft, Adobe, Google, Hollywood, AT&T, Nuance, and the list goes on. In yet another thoughtful piece on his blog, Hypercritical, John Siracusa argues that despite all this, Apple might do well to consider a few more dependencies.

An unfortunate side effect of doing everything yourself is that every other company starts to look like an enemy. Realistically, Apple can’t do everything—or can’t do everything well, anyway. Online services are only going to become more important with time, so it’s understandable that Apple wants to be the master of its own destiny in this area. But it needs to improve much more quickly if it wants to even remain competitive, let alone catch up to Google. Failing that, it needs to find some partners that aren’t mortal enemies. (I’m sure Marissa Mayer would take Tim Cook’s call.)

It's an interesting quandary. Apple ultimately suffered from their partnerships with Microsoft, Google, and Samsung. In essence, they taught their partners how to become their competitors. Apple is currently partnering with Nuance for Siri's voice detection, yet Google's in-house voice services are providing far better service. If Apple had voice in-house, would it be more competitive? Is Apple's lack of experience with services in general better served by partnerships or acquisitions?

Siricusa looks at the history and the current situation, and also at Samsung and Google, their dependencies, and how they compare and contrast with Apple's.

It's great to see Siracusa blogging more regularly again, and as usual, the whole article is a fascinating read. check it out.

Source: Hypercritical

(Along with Marco Arment and Casey Liss, John Siracusa is also podcasting about technology again. You can find their new show -- which has been excellent, so far -- at Accidental Tech Podcast)

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 22 comments. Add yours.

richard451 says:

"Apple ultimately suffered from their partnerships with Microsoft, Google, and Samsung." By suffered you mean grow into the largest tech company in the world? Other companies would kill for that kind of suffering.

p.s. Yahoo was a preferred launch partner of the iPhone

Carioca32 says:

Good point.

And i don't remember where Apple has ever suffered from its partnership with Microsoft, I think the opposite is true.

Rene Ritchie says:

Read the history :)

At several stages in their corporate life, Apple was forced to alter their destiny due to dependency on Microsoft -- namely Office support.

That Apple prospered in spite of this is in part because of this -- Jobs' drive to ensure it not happen again. Which, of course, can create an opposite extreme.

richard451 says:

"That Apple prospered in spite of this is in part because of this -- Jobs' drive to ensure it not happen again" But according to you it did, with Google and Samsung. Your theory needs some work.

Ultimately Jobs saw the need to work with other vendors to get the job done. Once Apple abandoned the NIH attitude, they prospered.

SockRolid says:

Well, that's funny.
I thought Apple was "closed" and "proprietary" and "arrogant" and all that other horsesh1t.

shinuyuki says:

Personally, I think Apple should do everything in house to maximize their shitty battery life due to the battery's size. That being said, Apple should have done what Google did to manage their voice recognition.

SockRolid says:

Oh, I'm pretty sure the rampant copying of concepts and the sharing of actual code from Mac OS to Windows (starting with Windows 1.0) might have done more than a little harm to Apple. How quickly they forget.

Here's a primer for the youngsters:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Computer,_Inc._v._Microsoft_Corporation

asuperstarr says:

I think they have to pick their battles. I don't like the partnership with nuance, there are so many limitations with Siri.

ShameerMulji says:

The biggest limitation of Siri is that it's entirely server-based. Once some of the core functionality becomes client-based, I'm confident it'll get much better.

Trappiste says:

Can't tell if it is good or bad. Siri does not work on my iP5. Nor does Passbook. Or, well, anything Apple advertises these days. Of course, next time I buy from another maker, to ge tthe full deal for my EUR 800.

vianar says:

They partner to learn from them, perfect the process and try to become independent from the partner before the partner starts to rip off their ideas (I'm talking about you Samsung).

wscotchmer says:

It seems to me that these things are cyclical. Partnerships work for a while and can be great but then their usefulness wains and the partners move on or even become rivals. Then something shifts and new partnerships make sense and even sometime this means getting back into bed with old acquaintances. It is fascinating to watch how this plays out sometimes.

chaitanya91845 says:

Sorry, I am new to the world of Apple. But when did Apple depend on either Google or Samsung??

metllicamilitia says:

Maps, processors, services, parts, etc. the iPhone is very still very much a very great Google phone made by Samsung in China.

chaitanya91845 says:

Oh yes. Apple is temporarily dependant on google for mapping services. But I had read somewhere that Apple will depend on Texas Instruments so that it can stop using Samsung parts. I thought it already happened in iPhone 5.

metllicamilitia says:

I agree, Apple made great competitors and turned them into enemies. But Apple's lack of experience and bull headed determination may ultimately be its downfall. They need to spend more time perfecting what they want to implement before casting aside the companies they depend on. Their attempts at what those other companies do needs to be at least on par at release or it will bite them in the ass, as seen with maps. I think they can do it, but they need to spend more time with it first.

ShameerMulji says:

"I think they can do it, but they need to spend more time with it first."

And more money (as in acquisitions).

BrianTufo says:

I wish Apple would do more with services but it also is almost required to partner with trustworthy companies for help too. I think the maps issue point that out easily.

ern741 says:

Love Siracusa. Not always on target but he sure knows how to pull on a thread.

lomow says:

John S (and Rene) are misguided on this. Apple has plenty of partners - FB, Twitter, baidu, sina weibo, chinese email services, book publishers, music publishers, etc. These partnerships provide services for the platform that Apple either doesn't want to build or can't build. I don't see Google having anywhere near the same range of partnerships.