Apple has recently made headlines for banning cross-compilers in iPhone OS 4 SDK, and Steve Jobs fleshed out the specifics in his Thoughts on Flash open letter. This is nothing new. Back in September 1997, Apple and Steve Jobs made headlines for killing something else -- the Mac clones. And as is often the case, the past sheds some interesting light on the present and future of Apple and the iPhone and iPad. This is what Doc Searls wrote about it at the time:

To Steve, clones are the drag of the ordinary on the innovative. All that crap about cloners not sharing the cost of R&D is just rationalization. Steve puts enormous value on the engines of innovation. Killing off the cloners just eliminates a drag on his own R&D, as well as a way to reposition Apple as something closer to what he would have made the company if he had been in charge through the intervening years.

[...] These things I can guarantee about whatever Apple makes from this point forward:

  1. It will be original.
  2. It will be innovative.
  3. It will be exclusive.
  4. It will be expensive.
  5. It's aesthetics will be impeccable.
  6. The influence of developers, even influential developers like you, will be minimal. 7. The influence of customers and users will be held in even higher contempt.
  7. The influence of fellow business artisans such as Larry Ellison (and even Larry's nemesis, Bill Gates) will be significant, though secondary at best to Steve's own muse.

Substitute clones for cross-compilers, pick up an iPhone or iPad, and the post is both still relevant and uncannily prescient.

[ DaveNet, thanks to Dev for sending this in!]