Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Apple Blows The Doors Off Earnings

Apple's profit just continues to rise, and I see it as a grand endorsement of what it means to operate a company based on a philosophy. Obviously, Apple's philosophy has mutated over the years. They started as a company that was so open, they included circuitry maps in their first computers. Today, they are a company almost defined by its famous secrecy and security measures.

I don't think that the security measures are necessary. Even if companies knew precisely what Apple was doing, they would still fail to copy it. They would fail because it is not the ideas that are valuable, it is Apple itself. It is the machine and the philosophy that produce the ideas.

For example, look at the iPhone. Apple was KGB-like secretive about its production, but why? After it was released, the rest of the market did... nothing. Nokia did not and has not responded. It took Google years to match Apple's quality and conception. It was the idea, it was the company.

Apple doesn't need lawsuits. They don't need secrecy. I think that it is painfully obvious that other companies, being run by idiots who have no philosophy, wouldn't know what to do with the information even if Apple made daily reports as to precisely what was happening behind the brushed aluminum curtain.

A good counter-example is Microsoft. Microsoft is one of the two software giants in the tech world, and they have been floundering badly in recent years. I argue that it is because their philosophy, which was tacit, has become depricated. Apple has an explicit philosophy that is discussed at length by Steve Jobs whenever he is given a chance. He wants things to be beautiful and magical. They must do what they do and do it perfectly. It's one of the reasons why Apple's products sometimes have features missing. If they didn't integrate perfectly, they were left on the cutting room floor.

That tacit philosophy that I mentioned at Microsoft, as opposed to Apple's explicit one, was a philosophy of geekiness. They wanted to take what the geeks had and give it to the entire world. And that worked wonders. The 1990's was, in my mind, the golden age of geekdom.

In 1995, we saw the release of Windows 95, which was really the culmination of Microsoft's philosophy. It was still very DOS-y, and allowed the geeks to fuck around to their hearts' content, but was also user-friendly. If you clicked on something, it ran.

But from that point forward, Microsoft's philosophy became ever-more outdated. Geek stuff got pushed further into the background. It stopped being about numbers and more about refinement and experience. It became Apple's time with the release of the iMac.

Apple has nothing to worry about. Microsoft is now trying to copy the gross aspects of Apple, just as other companies are doing, but without the core philosophy, they are failing and will continue to fail.

I wish that I could like Apple. I wish that I could buy their stuff. But I just can't get on board, and I hate other companies for failing to do what Apple does. I WANT what Apple has, but I refuse to be caged. I refuse to buy into a closed ecosystem.

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