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Cellphones Businesses Apple

Apple vs. Google, Who Will Control the iPhone? 213

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that's-a-good-question dept.
Pieroxy writes "Theiphoneblog carries a nice article on the reason Apple rejected the Google Voice application even though it doesn't violate any terms and services. The article goes in depth over the issue of controlling the hardware (Apple) vs. controlling the software (Google & Apple so far) and how Apple doesn't want Google to take over a critical part of its phone. Just like Google is going into the OS business to make sure it never gets cut out, Apple is also building a huge data center to — they guess — take over some online cloud computing business of their own and be less dependent on Google for these services."
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Apple vs. Google, Who Will Control the iPhone?

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  • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:47AM (#29172471) Homepage

    Probably at the end of the day it will be some 17 year old hardware hacking genius from Croatia.

    The skills and resources of the hardware hacking community is far out-stepping the biggest corporations. I'm surprised at their resourcefulness every day when I read about a new hack.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:09AM (#29172715)

      Yeah, cause hacking something developed by talented engineers from scratch takes so much more talent.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      I don't think that ingenuity or resourcefulness really comes into the "who controls the platform" question. DIY outshines the achievements of the professionals in every market you care to name, but it just doesn't scale to world domination. If it did, Linux hackers selling 5GHz nitrogen-cooled palmtops with built-in 3D prototyping equipment and "mad leet" LED downlighting would be in control of the PC market.

  • by iamhigh (1252742) on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:48AM (#29172479)
    THE IPHONE BLOG
    For those who dare to phone different... just like millions of others.
  • by master_p (608214) on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:50AM (#29172519)

    This is very important for the industry. It proves, once more, that software is more important than hardware.

    It also proves that Apple follows a wrong path selling hardware. It has some nice software in its hands, and it could become an alternative to Microsoft/Google if they wanted to.

    Now Google comes and stills their business - if users are accustomed to Google services, they could be tempted to buy an Android-based phone in the future, since the services would be similar to the ones they were used to.

    • Are cars more important than the quality of the roads they drive on?

      I can see myself taking either side of this argument depending on the situation. Without quality hardware, you'll never get to this quality software. This goes beyond the box, as you must consider the infrastructure that connects us all. Quality hardware and software will work in tandem.

      • by Tanktalus (794810) on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:45AM (#29173811) Journal

        Right track, wrong analogy.

        Which sells more cars? The latest and most bleeding edge engine, or the curves and colours of the body? The accuracy of the speedometer, or the layout of the dashboard? The effectiveness of the airbags, or the fact the seats are heated? The range on a single tank of gas, or the ipod interface to the radio?

        The fact is that though we really *should* care more about the former, society generally seems to care more about the latter. We assume the former works, so all advancement is assumed in the latter. We assume the basics (e.g., hardware) are all covered and are perfect, and it's only software that has the problems (or, in the car analogy above, the niceties and extras that are optional and thus distinguishing between vehicles).

        What Apple showed was that our old cell phone hardware could be shown as drastically out of date. What they're getting hurt by is the apps: everyone is just assuming their hardware now. Its value has been commoditised, even if the price tag hasn't been. Google, RIM, and any other competitors in this space are out to show that the hardware really is commodity. Google just has an interesting take on that tactic: by providing a user-interface that is phone-independant, they really are making the hardware commodity.

    • by readthemall (1531267) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:05AM (#29172673)
      And if you don't want to pay Apple or Google for such 'services', you can stick to the traditional model where one can choose among hundreds of phone models and use them with several providers. Just like we have several big photo camera manufacturers, and a few more independent lens manufacturers.

      A phone is just a phone and we don't need it to become another computer platform to be monopolized. Stop selling me services, please, I only need a phone (that is, hardware).

      • by MobyDisk (75490) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:43AM (#29173091) Homepage

        This cannot be understated. The computer industry experienced exponential growth once it became open. It all started the day Compaq produced the first IBM PC clone. That day will only come for phones/PDAs when people can use any phone, with software from any company or individual, with any telephone service provider.

        We need to treat phone technology openly, just like...well... almost every other piece of hardware on earth (TVs, CD players, vacuum cleaners, hammers, baseballs, ...)

        • It also proves that Apple follows a wrong path selling hardware. It has some nice software in its hands, and it could become an alternative to Microsoft/Google if they wanted to.

          Apple DOESN'T want to. They are in a nice spot right now - they can sell fewer product, but at higher margins than the rest of the industry. They don't care that their sales volume is smaller, or their marketshare is 1/10th of their competitor. Once you start lusting after more people, it becomes a race to the bottom. It's why Apple has no computer to compete against the low-end PCs, why the mid-range Apples don't have features enthusiasts want (i.e., expandability), etc. It gets harder to meet the needs of more diverse set of people, and marginal costs to support the next customer rise faster than revenue gained from those extra customers.

          The iPod is an irregularity, and while a money maker, you can tell Apple's not really liking having to sell a whole range of iPods - the line's pretty much stagnated except for the Touch. The only thing keeping them up there is that their competitors are equally stuck - unable to out-iPod the iPod.

          This cannot be understated. The computer industry experienced exponential growth once it became open. It all started the day Compaq produced the first IBM PC clone. That day will only come for phones/PDAs when people can use any phone, with software from any company or individual, with any telephone service provider.

          The cellphone industry already has seen this. 10 years ago, the cellphone population was nowhere near where it is now. Maybe 20 years ago if we include the rest of the world. Cellphones are everywhere. Nokia makes the vast majority of the phones sold, and thus, the vast majority of the phones sold can also run Java applets. There's very little growth left - those who want "a phone" have the low end (which is increasingly including stuff like cameras, mp3 players and such). Those who want an awesome email platform have the millions of Blackberry models out there. Those who want to surf the web have tons of phones that run WebKit. All Apple brought to the table was innovation - the only way to break into a crowded market. Even the iPhone's low marketshare makes Apple happy - they command a good chunk of industry revenues.

          And we won't see open hardware and open OS distributions anytime soon - phones are embedded devices and highly customized to their hardware. Take a look at DD-WRT for open hardware and open OS, and see how many different binaries you need to support all those routers. And that's just because they all are based off similar hardware designs, but still there's no "install this software package and it'll configure itself" distribution.

          As for the "any service provider" - we're already there. It's called GSM (or UMTS/LTE... 3GPP anyhow). Buy an unlocked phone. Buy a SIM card. Put latter into former. Make calls. Go to another country. Buy a new SIM card. Replace existing SIM. Make calls.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by VGPowerlord (621254)

            It's why Apple has no computer to compete against the low-end PCs

            I guess the Mac Mini [apple.com] is just a figment of my imagination, then?

            • by Abreu (173023)

              Sorry, but you can certainly get much more computing power out of $599.00USD than buying a Mac Mini.

              Apple has very respectable workstations in the mid/high end, but the mini is just not competitive (outside the fact that it is the cheapest way to have legal MacOS X).

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by MikeBabcock (65886)

              Nope, but let me help you out with perspective. The Inspiron 537 slim [dell.com] is entry-level at $269 including a DVD+/-RW, 2GB RAM, etc. Like the Mini, it doesn't include a monitor, but with the recommended 18.5" flat panel, it becomes just $499, still $100 cheaper than the Mini (and comes in multiple colours).

              Apple's cheapest offerings are still a lot more expensive than the cheapest PCs out there.

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by prockcore (543967)

                You forget that Apple users measure performance in cubic centimeters. I'm sure your inspiron slim is huge compared to the mini. :)

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward
                Posting anon for modding, but the dell item you list has the celeron processor. To get it up to Mini core duo, the starting price is $499, and that is with Vista Home. To get it with XP (for grins let's say that XP compares with OS-X) then you are paying another $120. In my opinion you're better off with the Mini, but they are at that point comperable in terms of performance and price. I will gladly pay $100 more to get OS-X over Vista. But really I wish that it would come from dell with MythBuntu alre
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Macrat (638047)

                Nope, but let me help you out with perspective. The Inspiron 537 slim [dell.com] is entry-level at $269 including a DVD+/-RW, 2GB RAM, etc.

                But if you spec it with similar processor to the Mac mini the price starts at $664. (As stated at the same link.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by VJ42 (860241) *

          That day will only come for phones/PDAs when people can use any phone, with software from any company or individual, with any telephone service provider.

          I can already do that here in the UK, I can buy any phone I like, with any Mobile provider; if I don't like the provider, I can just change the SIM and get my number ported. I've never had problems installing things on previous phones (mostly from Nokia) or my current Phone [inqmobile.com]. The only phone that tries to restrict what I can install on it is the iPhone, hence why I don't have one.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ajs (35943)

        A phone is just a phone and we don't need it to become another computer platform to be monopolized. Stop selling me services, please, I only need a phone (that is, hardware).

        I disagree. To a large extent, the phone stopped being interesting a few years ago, and increasingly the phone is simply a commodity that's built into your PDA/mobile computing platform. If you didn't want that, then you wouldn't need an iPhone or any other smart phone. You'd just be using a bargain free-with-plan phone.

        No, the vast majority of people buying iPhones are looking for a portable entertainment device with mapping, Web browsing, email and number of other critical features that have nothing to do

    • Now Google comes and stills[sic] their business -

      (emphasis mine)

      Was about to say, nah, spell checkers are where money is. But then I realized, steals Vs stills is an error that is not easy to catch by spell and grammar checkers and one needs a fairly sophisticated AI to do context analysis. No there is no money there.

    • It also proves that Apple follows a wrong path selling hardware. It has some nice software in its hands, and it could become an alternative to Microsoft/Google if they wanted to.

      How does it prove that? Apple is in the business of making money. Right now their making more than almost any software company (with one major exception) and many of their hardware competitors. While I wish they would behave a little different for my personal benefit, you can't pretend they aren't doing what's in their best interest.

    • by jo42 (227475)

      Without the hardware, there is no software.

      If Apple hadn't built the iPhone, I 1000% guarantee you that none of the established players would have. Just look at the track record of Nokia, Motorola, HTC and others - Apple changed the cell phone landscape forever.

      • Seems pretty short sighted to think that no other company would have thought of an "iPhone" like devise.

        Of course, myself not beign a fan of touch screens, I think that could have been a good thing.
    • This is very important for the industry. It proves, once more, that software is more important than hardware. [...] [Apple] has some nice software in its hands, and it could become an alternative to Microsoft/Google if they wanted to.

      If Apple's software were so much better than Google's, Apple would have no problem in competing with Google on a level playing field. Instead, Apple is using their control over the iPhone hardware (and the iPhone hardware is pretty nice) to try to avoid face competition agains

      • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:51AM (#29173885) Homepage

        That doesn't follow. Just because you CAN compete with someone else on a level playing field doesn't mean you want too. If you and I were dueling to the death with pistols, and I know that I am slightly better than you and thus likely to win, should I refuse to allow a further handicap of your abilities just because I'm pretty sure I can win anyway? If I were an honorable man, or a man wishing to appear honorable for some person in the audience, I might indeed refuse to allow you to be further handicapped. Companies have no such honor. Companies take any advantage they can get, even if they already have other advantages.

        Generally speaking, the court of public opinion seems to think that Apple makes one of the best smart-phones on the market right now. It's extremely popular and selling more units daily. Google has had considerably more limited success with Android. This hardly means that Apple is going to let Google find new advantages to catch up if they can help it. By preference they want to keep their dominance, and do so with the least possible effort on their part.

        • by teg (97890)

          Just because you CAN compete with someone else on a level playing field doesn't mean you want too. If you and I were dueling to the death with pistols, and I know that I am slightly better than you and thus likely to win, should I refuse to allow a further handicap of your abilities just because I'm pretty sure I can win anyway?

          And, of course, maybe avoid playing at all? If you've made a lady leave another man for you and he challenges you to a duel, why not at avoid if if possible? If there's little or

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arminw (717974)

        ....If Apple's software were so much better ....

        Apple's main business has never been hardware or software, but integrated working devices that fulfill their function remarkably well, better than cobbled together hardware from one company and software from another. They have also allowed numerous third parties to make numerous accessories that interoperate with their products, as long as these accessories don't change the basic functionality of an Apple product. They want the basic functionality of the Macs,

    • by suzerain (245705) on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:37AM (#29173709) Homepage

      I agree with your second point, actually, and that may well be something that concerns Apple. But I disagree with the assertion in the second paragraph: Apple likes to control the software on its devices, because...they really aren't a hardware company. If they were, they'd have been dead long ago.

      Apple's always been a 'solutions' company; that's what they sell. The iPhone is not the flash memory and processor and screen; it's a package, where they fairly seamlessly combined software and hardware together into a complete whole.

      I didn't buy my MacBook Pro because it has a 2.8 Ghz Intel processor and blah blah...all laptops on the market are essentially the same. I bought it because it runs OS X well, without hackery, and is generally well made. I don't necessarily use all of them, but iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, iWork, and so on are all very nice pieces of software in their own ways, but Apple doesn't try to profit hugely directly from them.

      So the point is: Apple's always been part (and maybe mostly) software company; the difference between them and Microsoft (in most markets) is that Apple just uses the software to sell hardware, whereas Microsoft's empire was all about the software sales itself. So, I can see why Apple's threatened by Google (though as an Apple consumer, I wish they'd get over it and compete instead of trying to block everyone that's outdoing them).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fred_A (10934)

      It also proves that Apple follows a wrong path selling hardware. It has some nice software in its hands, and it could become an alternative to Microsoft/Google if they wanted to.

      Now, where to start with this...

      I don't really use either Apple or Microsoft (my iBook gathers dust and my Windows partition is there for games) but I don't really hate either even though it seems to be fashionable, especially with Ms).

      Microsoft and Google really can't be lumped together. The Venn diagrams for their areas of operation don't intersect that much. They do compete for mindshare though.

      Microsoft makes :

      • operating systems
      • corporate software
      • home software
      • "communication" software (including corpor
    • Apple has ALWAYS followed the hardware path.

      When IBM tried to lock down their hardware and failed, Apple succeeded.

      IBM tried to regain control with the PS/2 using the same tricks apple did--but it failed for exactly that reason, most people rejected a single vendor system.

      If Apple were to try to replace Google's services, I'd probably ignore Apple's offerings (Ever notice that Apple tries to charge for every little thing? I have some icon in my toolbar that I can't get rid of that's linked to a pay apple s

    • by Sandbags (964742)

      "steals their business"? What?!? Explain first how Apple profits from their included free apps. They're providing a platform, and if Google on their device as a free alternate option inticed more customers to buy it, what is Apple to care? Including google means more iPhone buyers and more money.

      Next: Apple profits more than Dell, HP, Acer, and any other competitor off their hardware. Not just in terms of per unit, but Apple actually profited more than the SUM TOTAL of Dell last year of 25% of the shi

    • But, as a software person myself, if you don't control the hardware you sell your software on, you risk having hardware issues blamed on your software. Like it or not, someone's going to license your perfectly good software to use on their crappy hardware and users are going to associate the two. Apple deals with this one way, Google the other.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:50AM (#29172523)

    I know who should control it, the user.

    • by Pieroxy (222434) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:13AM (#29172741) Homepage

      With Apple, it is very doubtful that the users will have a say. Jobs is the ultimate end-user of Apple products and will dictate his views no matter what.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by IBBoard (1128019)

      That's just crazy talk. How can you possible expect a mere user to control something like hardware? We, the hardware and proprietary OS manufacturers, together with our good friends at the RIAA know exactly what should and shouldn't be done with our hardware. Users sometimes whine about not being able to do something, but that's just because they are confused and don't really need to do it. We know best, and we know what they need. If you think we're wrong, email suckered-for-millions-in-license-fees@big-ha

    • by Qubit (100461) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:26AM (#29172889) Homepage Journal

      Mod parent up!

      Name one large company that you'd trust to hold the reigns to your personal computing devices. Just one.

      How about i-rootkit-you-Sony, or i-turn-you-in-Yahoo? Plays-for-only-a-limited-amount-of-time-for-sure-Microsoft?

      Large companies by necessity will bow to government pressures. Large companies by necessity (and legal duty) will listen to the demands of their stockholders. The users are several steps down on the list.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357)

      I came here to say the very same thing. I've read several articles on the case now. (Oddly, I've not yet read TFA, LOL)

      Both Apple and Google ultimately work for the CUSTOMER. If the customer wants such and such, then the customer should get such and such - not what Jobs thinks is best for the customer, and not what Google thinks the customer wants. (Someone is going to pop off with the idea that Apple works for it's stockholders - allow me to quickly point out that the customer's dollars pay the stockho

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Duradin (1261418)

        The customer is always right.

        (Which proves that I will never have access to a time machine capable of going back in time far enough to off the twit that first said that or that event will only occur in an alternate timeline leaving this one to suffer, for eternity, the pain and suffering caused by that statement.)

        If the customer wants something that will put you out of business you shouldn't have to give that to them. Someone else can provide it, but you shouldn't have to commit financial suicide. There's n

      • by ivan_w (1115485)

        Reply because of mod misclick..

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by turbidostato (878842)

        "Both Apple and Google ultimately work for the CUSTOMER."

        No, they don't. Both Apple and Google ultimately work for the CEO. I was going to say "...for the stakeholders" but even this is false nowadays as the recent economical crisis and the millionaire bail out clauses for their higher ranks demonstrates. The customer is not a high priority for any company but a nuisance at most.

        "If the customer wants such and such, then the customer should get such and such"

        Unless, of course, we can lock them in by othe

        • "stockholder's investment is not covered by the customers but by the trade market which may or may not be related to the commercial success of a company."

          I take it that this is a passing reference to the financial meltdown on Wall Street? Yes - I can see that the value of a corporation might be based on paper, rather than the commercial success of that company. That was exposed for all of us to see, quite clearly.

          Bottom line, when the smoke and mirrors fail, every sumbitch in the company, from the floor s

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:51AM (#29172527) Homepage Journal
    the MS of the phone era.
    Make the software and see an internet portal become the end user experience.
    Or they could just have a VOIP deal
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8217871.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    • It's funny you use MS as the example of a failed monopoly; I don't think we're quite there yet. MS is still using its near monopoly to push other services, including their Internet portals.

      But, in any case, Apple is becoming the MS of the phone era, by trying to use one big success (phone hardware) into another big success (online services). It's not at the level of a monopoly yet, but that was exactly Microsoft's strategy: bundling and tying.

  • by onion2k (203094) on Monday August 24, 2009 @08:55AM (#29172577) Homepage

    These articles crop up pretty much daily on various blogs. They all follow a very clear pattern:

    1. Pick a hot IT company.
    2. Pick a service they're not providing.
    3. Pick something that they're spending money on.
    4. Relate points 2 and 3.

    There's no evidence that the two things are related. For all we know Apple might be getting back into selling time-slices on servers because Steve Jobs has hit his head and thinks it's 1983 again. These sorts of poorly researched, uninsightful articles that are absolutely nothing more than *a guess* are completely pointless.

  • by mcwop (31034) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:00AM (#29172615) Homepage
    Daring Fireball had a good piece on this:
    Googleâ(TM)s dependence on hardware and carrier partners puts the final product out of their control â" and into the control of companies whose histories have shown them to be incompetent at design and hostile to users.
    Iâ(TM)d be happy to be proven wrong, but my hunch is that the only way weâ(TM)ll see an iPhone-caliber Android phone is if Google does what theyâ(TM)ve said theyâ(TM)re not going to do, which is to design and ship their own reference model âoegPhoneâ. That doesnâ(TM)t mean Android wonâ(TM)t still be successful in some sense if it remains on its current course, but that I donâ(TM)t expect it to be successful in the âoeholy shit is this awesome!â sense that the iPhone is.

    http://daringfireball.net/2009/08/the_android_opportunity [daringfireball.net]
    • , but that I donâ(TM)t expect it to be successful in the âoeholy shit is this awesome!â sense that the iPhone is. http://daringfireball.net/2009/08/the_android_opportunity [daringfireball.net]

      He is absolutely right, Android is much more likely to be successful in the "the overwhelming majority of cell phones use it" sense than in the "holy shit this is awesome" sense. Of course, Google is aiming for the former not the latter.

    • by Sockatume (732728) on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:05AM (#29173341)

      The "holy shit" part of the iPhone is the OS, though. The original hardware was merely adequate, and only barely for anyone who didn't live in a nest of wi-fi hotspots. Yet it was enough to sell the OS to people.

      To release the One True Google Phone would undo the platform's great advantage. If someone walks into a phone store and wants something that's like an iPhone, but kind of different, probably half of the alternatives are going to be Android handsets.

  • IF you were trying to drop me a hint, hint taken.
  • Equally Bad Logic. (Score:4, Informative)

    by nato10 (600871) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:24AM (#29172879)

    The TechCrunch rebuttal to the points of Apple's letter is spot on, but the idea that somehow Google has power over the iPhone, or that Google Voice gives it more power, is nonsense. It's hard to believe Apple really thinks this, or that TechCrunch would accept it as a valid explanation. How does having iPhone users receive calls via their Google Voice number affect the iPhone overall at all? iPhone users still have to use AT&T for their calls? It no longer ties the user strongly to their iPhone phone number, but with number portability that represents no advantage for Apple or AT&T. Having Google manage your calendar and contacts doesn't make any difference to the iPhone in general. Google Voice may give Google more power over individual iPhone users, but not over the iPhone itself.

    And all Apple would have left is the browser? No, Apple would still have the industry's most advanced, user-friendly handheld OS and probably a hundred thousand apps, including--if they turn out to popular enough to be a thread--Google Voice. If Google has any power over the iPhone, it stems only from their willingness to pull a Microsoft and withdraw those apps and technologies from the iPhone at some point in the future, such as when it comes time for Apple and Google to renegotiate their license for YouTube, maps, and search. But the flip side is equally true; there's no question that its to Google's advantage to be a prominent part of the smart phone platform likely to cell hundreds of millions over the next five years.

    In short, I don't think we've heard the real rationale; certainly TechCrunch didn't provide a believable one. I think it's more likely that Apple perceives Google's calendar and contacts apps as a threat to Mobile Me, which does compete directly with Google. Or that Google Voice potentially interferes with something else Apple considers a unique advantage, perhaps something that they aren't even using yet but is in development. And finally, it's possible that Apple really isn't worried about Google Voice per se, but is worried about opening the door to other challenges to their "no duplication of built-in functionality" rule.

    • by Pieroxy (222434)

      While Google certainly has contracts with Apple to continue support for youtube and maps, a new application (Google Voice) that would be overly popular could make Google more powerful over the platform. If the app became very very popular, they could even threaten Apple to remove the application from the AppStore alltogether. Users wanting the service would have to switch to another phone.

      Although it is a very unlikely scenario, it is not impossible in my view.

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:39AM (#29173031)

      How does having iPhone users receive calls via their Google Voice number affect the iPhone overall at all?

      Apple walked into this market out of the blue and to get anywhere they had to make serious concessions to AT&T. Right now, Apple is getting ready to renegotiate, this time from a position of strength. Apple gets hardware sales from the iPhone and a strategic influence that can help their other products. So what do they have to offer phone companies in order to make the iPhone more functional and thus sell more handsets? Basically, they're offering to bring in new customers and get those customers to pay for services. Every service that is not used by iPhone users, weakens Apple's pitch to cellular phone service providers. So enabling users to bypass AT&T's SMS and thus AT&T's SMS revenue, may sell more iPhones to end users, but also makes AT&T and others less interested in selling iPhones and less likely to make concessions to Apple to get that to happen. Before the iPhone was a success all Apple had was promises and the offer of an exclusive deal where users would be banned from bypassing certain moneymaking services of the cell service provider. Even offering to cut out all other providers they had a hard time getting anyone on board willing to make a good package deal for service given that it needed network tweaks to make it work as nicely as Apple wanted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jDeepbeep (913892)

      In short, I don't think we've heard the real rationale

      My first thought on the matter is that Apple has something similar up it's sleeve (to GVoice) and hasn't brought it to market yet.

    • Maybe, but the problem is that the door is already open. I have all my calendars and contacts syncing now through Google (to the iPhone and the computer). There are some shortcomings like contact groups don't get transferred, but overall it works well enough now. I was hopeful that more and better integration would come, but this seems not to be the case.

  • Just like Google is going into the OS business to make sure it gets never cut out, Apple is also building a huge datacenter to â" they guess â" take over some online cloud computing business of their own and be less dependent on Google for these services.

    As Ned Ryerson, the Insurance Salesman from the movie "Groundhog Day" [imdb.com] famously exclaimed:

    Bing [bing.com] Again!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Apple does not "control the software" with respect to their laptops and desktops as Google and other companies provide email clients, web browsers, IM, calanders, contacts, etc. which compete with Apple's offerings. Apple seems to be doing just fine here and no one is raising a fuss about it. I would have liked to seen a discussion as to why the authors feel that the iphone so different from Apple's other platforms.

  • To feel apple you have to live in apple's world. I can foresee the future when you have to install a Apple(r) Software and logon to it to charge the battery of Apple gadget from any computer other than the registered ones. Its up to their discretion to allow the Apple Gadget to get charged from a non Mac Computer. Software Barricade.
  • Obvious answer (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Em Emalb (452530)

    AT&T (for now, in the US)

  • Its phone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houghi (78078) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:29AM (#29172925)

    Apple doesn't want Google to take over a critical part of its phone.

    Uh, I thought it was MY phone and I bloody well should be able to decide who takes over and how they do it. If the provider is not happy with what I send over it, that is another matter, because I RENT that. I BOUGHT the phone.

    Have people become so ignorant that there is no difference in buying and renting anymore?

    It is actually pretty simple. If you SELL something, the other person becomes the owner and it isn't YOURS anymore. Perhaps they should make a version of "mine" and "yours" like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H9MUWhU7Xw [youtube.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Twinbee (767046)

      Here we go again... uhhh, as much as I think Apple is evil for doing this, and as much as I agree that they should allow any and all software on the phone, your argument about it being allowed to do these things and equating that to being 'yours' is a bit odd.

      For example, if standard PC software is restricted (misses a useful feature) because the developer wants you to pay a little more for the full price version with the feature enabled, you still 'own' both software, it's just that one is more restricted

      • by houghi (78078)

        For example, if standard PC software is restricted (misses a useful feature) because the developer wants you to pay a little more for the full price version with the feature enabled, you still 'own' both software, it's just that one is more restricted than the other - it doesn't make either version any less 'yours'.

        I should be able to ask a different developer. The original developer should have no say in to whether I want to buy features at him or somewhere else. The fact that locking in is very common doe

        • by Twinbee (767046)

          I should be able to ask a different developer.

          Well the analogue in the hardware/iphone world would be to ask a different hardware manufacturer right? Thankfully, Apple isn't the only producer of mobile phones.

          The fact that locking in is very common does not mean it is a good idea.

          That, we can agree on.

    • The car industry went through this (and now after-market parts are readily available, even at dealers), the printer industry is going through it, and the cell phone market is just getting started on it.

      You're right, and I know you're right, but the providers of these products (often a collaboration in North America between the phone maker and a service provider) still want to keep control.

      One of these days I predict that all phones will be unlocked when you get them because of market forces and the law stra

  • by eldridgea (1249582) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:31AM (#29172937)
    Here's what they should do:

    Get with Google and make the iPhone completely run on Google Voice VoIP.

    Make it carrier-agnostic (duh) and make it data-only.

    The iPhone would become a data only device that would have VoIP built right into the device.

    It would work an any network and could even change networks with impunity.

    Also, it *should* be cheaper since you're not paying for tradition phone/voicemail/SMS.

    • by imamac (1083405)
      And monkeys *should* fly out of my you-know-where.
    • by Graymalkin (13732)

      UMTS packet switched calls are already Voice over IP calls. UMTS carriers can support a number of optimizations for these calls that use things like header compression or stripping to reduce the bandwidth needed for calls. With third party VoIP the IP overhead is rarely going to be optimized as the packets will just be treated like normal data packets. This means third party VoIP would in most cases end up using more bandwidth than native UMTS VoIP even using super efficient codecs. Both methods use quite a

  • by wandazulu (265281) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:40AM (#29173037)

    I would think a rising tide lifts all boats: Apple says it's a hardware company, so they produce the best hardware and the best interface to said hardware (OSX and the iPhone variant), period. Make the hardware absolutely bulletproof, a dream to program for, and sit back and let the $$$ roll in.

    If Google come up with software that allows me to make 60-way calls while also making toast and watering the garden, then there should be no reason for Apple to stop them; "we made the best hardware and the best interface to that hardware around. That's all we care about. Go for it!"

    In other words, why is there a problem in the first place? Does Apple really make enough additional money in its contracts with at&t et al to justify meddling in software developers' affairs? I own a Mac, I run OS X, and it gives me everything I want to start with. They've done their job, so now I can install the software I want to use to actually get things done, and go about my business. Why does it have to be different with the iPhone?

    I personally believe the app store is a great idea insofar as it's a single place to go for everything; it was a total nightmare to find JavaMe apps for my Razr and even worse trying to get them installed. That said, I also totally disagree with Apple's heavy-handed approach; if you don't want questionable apps, don't install them, and if they turn out to be not what they purported to be, then review them out of existence.

    In other words, leave me the hell alone to make my own damn choices about apps I want to run. Let Google write whatever they want; if it works for me I'll use it. If it doesn't, I won't. But let me choose for myself.

    • by Dr. Spork (142693)

      Yeah, that would be great, and possibly wise in a world where nobody else was capable of being evil. Legend has it that IBM tried doing this very thing: Make hardware and let others do the software. I hear that didn't work out so well for them. By the time they realized their mistake and tried to take back the control of the software on their PCs, OS2 was too little, too late. They don't make personal computers anymore.

      If Google elbows in and becomes a significant and familiar part of iphone usability, it

    • by suzerain (245705)

      If Google come up with software that allows me to make 60-way calls while also making toast and watering the garden, then there should be no reason for Apple to stop them; "we made the best hardware and the best interface to that hardware around. That's all we care about. Go for it!"

      In other words, why is there a problem in the first place? Does Apple really make enough additional money in its contracts with at&t et al to justify meddling in software developers' affairs?

      There are so many angles to it it's hard to pin down, but it's interesting to speculate. I can think of two issues:

      1. If Apple's indeed making money off the contracts, then I guess that makes them part-carrier, and therefore, not desirous of allowing things that undermine the potential profit from the call-making business.

      2. Apple can't buy Google. If Google Voice completely takes over and blitzkriegs the whole voice calling industry, it could become like...say...the microwave oven. That thing that

  • The real reason (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alzheimers (467217) on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:29AM (#29173613)

    The real reason Apple doesn't want another VOIP app is that it would have the potential to turn the iPod Touch into a viable competitor to their own iPhone.

  • Just strange that they let Yahoo control multiple features (Weather, stocks, search (you can opt for Yahoo instead of Google)) with no concerns for them taking over the device.
    Plus Yahoo has apps for Y! Messenger, Y! Music, and another app that brings in quite a few other services.

    Then on the phone technology, there's Fring which let you make calls through skype and bring in all your IM contacts, and TruPhone which I think also brings in skype and you can make soft phone calls over 3G.

    Seems like their decis

  • Would BlockBuster allow Netflix kiosks in their stores without worries? Heck, would you rent a room in your house if more and more people began living there, outnumbering your family, and began replacing your furniture with alternatives, even if better?

    If this is Apple's reasoning (and yes, I believe it very well be) then it reveals something we've known all along: you can pay money for an iPhone, but you can never own one.

    Blockbuster doesn't have Netflix kiosks in their stores, but they do not refuse to re

  • I think that is the more important question here. ;)

    Apple's hype machine will end at some point.
    Google will start doing evil at some point.
    It's nature at work.

    The only thing I fear, will be when...
    Linux will be a sick mutation of its former self at some point.
    And Microsoft will become a nice open-source company at some point. ...saving us.

    I think then my head might literally explode. ;)

  • by Budenny (888916) on Monday August 24, 2009 @12:34PM (#29175197)

    Its a bet the company strategy, in a context in which its not clear that they need to bet the company. The bet is that they can tie together a monolithic offering, where people will buy into the whole thing because of the excellence of the individual bits. So you buy into iTunes, iPod, the store, the PC software, then that gets tied into the iPhone via the app store...and so on. They have been trying to do this for many years, e-world, running only on Macs, was an early example.

    This is one part of it, but it also has a flip side: the need to exclude apps. The problem is that you are trying to tie apps to hardware to services, to construct a closed little world that your customers never leave. But if they do leave? Then you lose the service revenue, or the app revenue, or the hardware revenue. So you end up with coercion in one way or another, and the immortal line, which probably really reflects what Cupertino has brainwashed itself into, the view that being able to run Google Voice on your iPhone - being able to, notice - detracts from the user experience. They probably really believe this stuff by now, they say it to each other every day, and they get their shills to post it all over the net.

    You see tje risk of course. If it comes about that there is a must have service (like maybe Google Voice, or something in the cloud) or a must have bit of hardware or a must have non-Apple peripheral, all of a sudden they are in the position of having the model break, or else being feature deficient. This is basically what happened to the other monoliths of the 80s and 90s of the last century.

    The puzzling thing is that the vast investments required to keep this thing going, whether in legal fees, in huge data centers, in new product and market entries, are very risky. You cannot afford to have one big loss. But one big loss is inevitable sooner or later. Meanwhile, there is an alternative almost totally risk free strategy, sit on your laurels and pay dividends, and gradually open up all the platforms, and try to maximize returns from each one individually.

    The difficulty is that there is a real tension here. The OS would sell far more free from the tie to the hardware. But the hardware would also sell far more freed from the tie to the OS. The same will happen with the app store as mobile apps develop. You'd have a more viable store if it sold apps for more phones, and you'd sell more iPhones if it would run more apps. Not yet, but that day will come. The same thing will happen with services. The only way, for instance, to make a success out of e-world was to have it run on any OS at all. The only way to make the Mac a success online was to have it support the ISP and online service of your choice.

    So this is what they are targeting, and what they are running headlong into. And it will end in tears. In a few years, but it will end in tears. As it did last time. Learning and repeating history.

What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind. -- Thomas Hewitt Key, 1799-1875

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