Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Apple

Woz Worries Microsoft Is Now More Innovative Than Apple 333

Posted by samzenpus
from the listen-up dept.
First time accepted submitter yvajj writes "According to a techcrunch interview, Woz believes that Microsoft is now more innovative than Apple. Per the interview, it seems as though Apple is now just doing newer versions of the iPhone, and are potentially headed into a rut. Another gem from Woz is the fact that he treats all new hardware as something new to learn from and does not approach it with any preconceptions (irrespective of who the manufacturer is / what OS etc.). A great short interview from Woz."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Woz Worries Microsoft Is Now More Innovative Than Apple

Comments Filter:
  • Do RTFA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Interesting interview.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:21PM (#41997835)

    That's refreshing to hear instead of the typical /. preconceived garbage they carry around, calling people as Apple fanbois or Micro$oft; and predicting doom and gloom for every corresponding company's new product launch. /.'ers ability to predict product success is about as good as predicting the stock market.

    • by hoboroadie (1726896) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:07PM (#41998113)

      he treats all new hardware as something new to learn from and does not approach it with any preconception

      The Woz is a very rational guy, and is just enjoying the coolness that his world provides. If you WTFV then you can perceive that he is hyper-aware of the misuse of data by less ethical entities and is somewhat dismayed by this as well. He appreciates the bleeding edge, so an interview is always valuable for that POV. Great to see he's still surfing that wave.

      • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Friday November 16, 2012 @03:28AM (#41999393)

        he treats all new hardware as something new to learn from and does not approach it with any preconception

        The Woz is a very rational guy, and is just enjoying the coolness that his world provides. If you WTFV then you can perceive that he is hyper-aware of the misuse of data by less ethical entities and is somewhat dismayed by this as well. He appreciates the bleeding edge, so an interview is always valuable for that POV. Great to see he's still surfing that wave.

        He is also rich. Not all of use can try out the flavour of the month hardware. We have to pick and choose our platforms carefully.

        • This.

          I'm still using an Android 2.3 phone, and it feels brand new, well, because it actually is only a couple of years old.

    • by c0lo (1497653) on Friday November 16, 2012 @01:05AM (#41998945)

      /.'ers ability to predict product success is about as good as predicting the stock market.

      What about the ability to predict products failure?

  • by Drumhellar (1656065) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:22PM (#41997849)
    Why should he be worried? Innovation benefits everybody, no matter who does it!
    • by Curupira (1899458)

      Why should he be worried? Innovation benefits everybody, no matter who does it!

      Also, if he gets worried, he can ask Machete [theverge.com] for help!

    • by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:13PM (#41998147)

      Fuck it, I'm godwinning this shit right now! When the germans innovated warfare, not everybody ended up benefitting.

      Now, back to our normal programming, the current patent system also discourages your way of thinking. There are open initiatives, that really benefit the whole, if not exactly everyone, and closed initiatives that raise barriers to entry in a market, so every consumer and competing company is a little bit more fucked over so the patent holder can pocket more bucks.

      • by Dodgy G33za (1669772) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:45PM (#41998319)

        But hang on there. Germans made huge leaps forwards with rocketry with their V2. This in turn led to the space race, and the miniaturisation of electronics which led to the microprocessor which led to Apple being able to create products.

        So yes, everyone did benefit. Even the Apple haters.

        Except for the ones who are dead. (apologies to Glados there).

      • When the germans innovated warfare, not everybody ended up benefitting.

        In a very cruel way everybody actually benefited. Hitler's well documented lunacy is the macabre fruit of the 2nd WW. Atrocities must happen before we collectively acknowledge their possibility. As individuals we may seem highly intelligent. Collectively we're barbarians. Yesterday's game theory article illustrated this very clearly.

        Collective learning will make the difference. Luckily we're improving on that every day. Slowly but gradually.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      Maybe because he co-founded Apple and wants to see it succeed? How is there anything wrong with that?

      And if that's not good enough he also owns a bunch of Apple stock, which would be plenty of reason to be worried about stagnation, as well...

    • by mjwx (966435) on Friday November 16, 2012 @02:14AM (#41999163)

      Why should he be worried? Innovation benefits everybody, no matter who does it!

      Exactly, if Apple likes the innovation, they'll just patent it "on a smartphone" and claim they invented it.

  • At this point... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:26PM (#41997865) Journal

    Woz should probably be cheering for Apple's demise at this point...

    Just imagine if IBM had been as good at shifting shiny cyrptographic lockboxes and patent litigation back when Apple was getting started. They would have sued his hacker ass back into the garage for good and we'd all still be speaking EBCDIC.

    • Re:At this point... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:12PM (#41998141)

      Things haven't changed that much. At the time of the first Apple computer, IBM had a patent on the way characters were displayed on a CRT. They enforced it, too. I know a guy at Xerox PARC that found a way around it.

    • by Spykk (823586)
      W/it, we /re>'t spe/,i>g EBCDIC />`_?re? +? w?>der >?b?d` u>derst/>ds _e...
  • by BluPhenix316 (2656403) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:30PM (#41997887)
    That people are going to take this interview and run with it. The Woz is saying he likes hardware. He uses all types and gives it a unbiased review. He said he can see Microsoft being more innovative than Apple. That is all. He isn't saying Apple is doomed and Microsoft is the new king. I think The Woz is a great guy as i've said before in another post and this is another great review from someone who loves hardware and not companies.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      He said he can see Microsoft being more innovative than Apple. That is all. He isn't saying Apple is doomed and Microsoft is the new king.

      Oh so now we're being nuanced? Two days ago when Sinofsky left Microsoft this site was ablaze with predictions of doom for Microsoft, including this [slashdot.org] sensationalist front page article entitled "The Empire in Decline. Now that a respected technologist and geek has something positive to say about Microsoft, all the "Well hold on a second, let's take a moment and be reasonable here..." comments get modded +5.

      Typical Slashdot.

      • by styrotech (136124) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:55AM (#41998919)

        Oh so now we're being nuanced? Two days ago when Sinofsky left Microsoft this site was ablaze with predictions of doom for Microsoft, including this sensationalist front page article entitled "The Empire in Decline. Now that a respected technologist and geek has something positive to say about Microsoft, all the "Well hold on a second, let's take a moment and be reasonable here..." comments get modded +5.

        It's almost like there are differing opinions or something.

        Anyway you're being a little bit hypocritical here Anonymous Coward - your posts are all over the place! You can't make your mind up about anything!

      • Some of us have been consistently nuanced.

        Sinofsky leaving Microsoft is different than say, Forstall leaving Apple.

        I can look at Apple's C level executives and "Leadership", point to half of them and find someone who could make reasonable taste decisions. Particularly guys like Edy Cue, Bob Mansfield and Jony Ive.

        Besides J. Allard and Ray Ozzie, I can't seem to think of anyone at Microsoft who had taste. J. Allard's taste is questionable since he's the one who signed off on the "blades" UI for the origin

    • Think Apple's stock might plummet? Oh wait...
  • by cathector (972646) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:37PM (#41997935)

    seems like one of the few people in the valley who've managed to retain their techno-weenie spirit despite enormous corporate success.

  • by tuppe666 (904118) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:59PM (#41998075)

    The start of the interview eerily echos the likes of RMS talking more about fear of the cloud; Ownership [Device and Data] and Subscription services, which I personally believe is a more interesting topic that this pissing contest topic.

    The question about innovation has troll written all over it. The answer was not as the summary suggest "Microsoft is more innovative than Apple [or Google]", but that Microsoft seemed to be looking for revolutionary innovation as opposed to [Apples] post Jobs evolutionary innovation. Woz explains what he means; Apple is simply producing improved versions of its own products rather than creating new markets [post Steve Jobs]. To be honest I think the word innovation is stretched very heavily to mean something completely different, from what I would say it meant.

    The discussion of whether innovative[sic] people [Scott Forstall] are being pushed out for being like Jobs[Innovative but not nice], Woz and I paraphrase a little basically says Apple creating great products despite Jobs [uses words like dis-admire?; rough; not friendly; real rugged bastard; put people down; make them feel demeaned].

    Woz handled what seemed to be a interviewer with an agenda, with honest answers [or at least came across as such] that unfortunately are hidden behind a summery that does the same.

    • by wvmarle (1070040) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:44PM (#41998313)

      Woz explains what he means; Apple is simply producing improved versions of its own products rather than creating new markets [post Steve Jobs].

      Steve Jobs died now just over a year ago. Some will call it "ages in the computer world", but that depends on your perspective. Indeed many types of devices (particularly mobile phones) have a complete new generation every half year or so. Over the past year Apple introduced the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPad mini, amongst many other accessories and whatnot. That's not too bad. The 4S was shortly after Jobs' death, so is a Jobs-era product, the other two are much newer.

      Indeed they did not introduce anything revolutionary, but then how often did Steve Jobs do that? Not too often I'd wager. Major releases were of course the Apple II back in it's day, and more recently the iPod, later the iPhone and iPad. These shook up the market, but other than the iPod which was totally new they're not that magnificently different. The iPod evolved to have a touch screen, then got a phone component added and it became the iPhone. The iPhone was then upscaled, the phone part removed, and one has the iPad. The underlying OS, and I see the iOS as a major key to their success, is the same for all, making it relatively straightforward.

      OK I highly simplify it, but the point is: this are not totally new devices, they are rather logical evolutions, albeit with significant steps in between. And the iPod was 2001, the iPhone 2007, and the iPad 2010. So maybe in a year or two we could expect something revolutionary by Apple. Not every year, that's too much to ask.

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:04PM (#41998103)

    It is easy to come up with lots of "new" products.

    It is NOT easy to come up with a single new better product that people want to grab out of your hands.

    • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @11:39PM (#41998627)

      Agreed. Moreover, companies that try to enter too many markets have a tendency to spread themselves thin and lose the focus that made them great to begin with. Suggesting that Apple isn't innovating by not creating new markets and revolutionizing with each iteration seems to be a rather short-sighted statement, even though it may be true.

      And I do agree with his general idea that Microsoft is currently trying to find the next revolution, whereas Apple is pursuing evolution, but that is largely due to their relative positions at the moment, and it doesn't speak to their levels of success. Microsoft has fallen behind with their slow pace of evolution, so it needs to steal back attention and open up wallets by introducing something revolutionary, which is exactly what they've been trying to do. In contrast, Apple's formula has been to introduce revolutionary products and then iterate on them for several generations while attempting to invent the next revolution. Not every generation of every device should be revolutionary for the simple reason that it's actually harmful to the customer's ability to use their own devices, since revolutions come with a learning curve.

      Truth be told, I think it's better for innovation when we have companies making revolutionary innovations that leapfrog each other, with evolutionary improvements coming in between. Not only do we retain a rapid pace of overall innovation in the industry, but the products are also given time to mature and grow, allowing their role in our lives to grow at the same time as we find new uses and ways to integrate them into the things we do. Constantly upgrading to the newest revolution is fun for some people, but it limits your ability to actually use the device, since you're having to waste time learning it, setting it up, and working it into your life. Those costs to the user are far lower with evolutionary improvements, but, as I hinted at earlier, those evolutionary improvements must still be significant enough, otherwise their slow pace will cause the company harm.

      • Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:12AM (#41998759) Journal

        What made Sony once great is that the manager never stopped his engineers from trying anything and everything and it gave them a great range of products and a name for quality (Yes I know it popular to hate on Sony now but the company used to be very different when it was still a pure Japanese company). And gosh isn't that "do whatever you want and we see what comes out of it" just like Googles 20% idea except Sony had it at 100% (and because engineers are engineers, got 140%)?

        Focussing on one product, one the core business is a great way to die slowly. It is something managers just don't get, which is why management should be restricted to bean counting, and stopped from running companies. The lower engineers should run the company, the CEO should just make sure that the money is accounted for and try not to steal to much of it.

        MS is indeed an innovative company, they have a LOT of ideas. It just never materializes into products people can buy because MS keeps trying to maximize profits. Take gaming. Halo 4 was actually named in the same list of earners for MS as Windows and Office... that is quite a lot for single game. And is Halo 4 available for that Windows? No it is not. Because MS decided to maximize its profits by focussing on its console instead it is hurting its own OS by starving it of games. (If I don't need a PC for gaming I can run OSX just as easily, gaming is the one lockin remaining).

        There is absolutely no reason for MS not to produce games that run on both Windows and its console and even encourage it. Instead it spends hard cash discouraging this. It is one manager trying to focus on one product and not the business as a whole.

        It is the approach of trying to maximize everything in terms of profit that actually hurts MS badly. When it launched the Zune it launched it with a new DRM scheme and shop incompatible with what they had been selling to MP3 player makers before. Gosh... that is a HELL of a way to get them to buy into your stuff again. First you force them to adopt your scheme, then you launch a new one for your own player.

        The Surface is another example. Google can do it because the Nexus are nice phones but bare ones. But the Surface is a full blown competitor except MS can afford to subsidize the hell out of it. OEM's can't and are already on razor thin margins to begin with. And in order to maximize MS sales, the expensive Surface doesn't even come with a full Office license, with Office being the only selling point the device has. It is understandable they want the extra cash but it is no way to market a product already perceived as behind before launch. Of course, if they did include a full office for "free" the OEM's would be even more upset, but you already upset them so why not go the whole way? (Remember that if you have office on your PC and on your tablet, you now have two licenses to pay for despite only using one at a time)

        Windows 8 is another example. The simple fact is that Phones, Tablets, Consoles, PC's, Laptops are different devices. Trying to get people to use them all the same way is stupid. It would like fitting your bicycle with a steering wheel because well, your car has one? Why not a unified interface for all vehicles? It has been said time and time again, holding up your hand at above heart height is tiring. And for large desktop spaces, some of my monitors are actually out of reach.

        Enabling touch for every interface means Fisher Pricing it to hell and back and desktops have always been about putting as much information as possible on it. I don't WANT huge buttons on my NON-touchscreen monitor just in case I might one day spend extra money just so I can have fingermarks on my screens.

        But MS wants to focus on one product, one interface to rule them all and in darkness bind them... gosh and how did that end in Mordor? Oh yeah, but tying all your power into one focus point, you die along with it.

        The Kinect is another great example. It is a very interesting product but NOT because MS wanted it to be. They jus

  • by monzie (729782) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:19PM (#41998185) Homepage

    Unlike many people who posted here, I actually saw the entire video. I am not a Steve Jobs fan or an apple fanboi.
    I do admire Steve Wozniak, though. ( though am not his spokesperson - this is my interpretation )

    IMO, what he's saying is that
    - Small, incremental evolutions by Apple in their products will not help Apple in the long run.
    - The delta between Apple and it's competitors is reducing.
    - Apple needs to create newer product lines AND/OR create bring out more 'revolutionary products'

    He probably means that we're not seeing the kind of 'jumps' that we saw from iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4
    or the creation of the iPad.

    To conclude, he does not think that apple is doomed per se.
    He is just worried that the pace of innovation might be slowing down at apple. Like all geeks, Woz believes in catching problems earlier rather than later.

    • Playing devils advocate:

      Perhaps Apple has finally reached maturity and can't find much more to innovate. Their philosophy in computing is solid. Their products just need further polish and refinement. This isn't a problem, yet some people assume it to be. "It just works".

  • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:24PM (#41998207) Homepage

    You know, this makes me wonder...

    Apple (Steve Jobs) was known for telling customers that it "just works" and for having limited options because the way it works is--obviously--the "best" way.

    I wonder if Jobs ran his company that way too...just telling his people what to do, rather than teaching them how to arrive at good decisions or good designs on their own. If so, then they really wouldn't have a clue what to do now that he's gone.

    • There is truth to this.... I think Jobs knew what he liked, and his 'vision' of things is what people bought. Now that he's gone, how can you teach the skill of "know what people will like" to anybody else? Forstall might have been one of the few people to kind of get it; it's embued in the personality of a self righteous asshole. Tim Cook certainly doesn't have it, though he might be able to save a lot of cash on the assembly line and through suppliers, ultimately that doesn't help Apple innovate anything.

  • After all that's the only tme they're actually not going down the toilet.

    Oh yeah that's right - they can't.

    *flush*

  • It seems the pendulum is swinging back towards Microsoft. If you live long enough, it will swing back (or away from MSFT) again.

    It reminds me of the days when data was stored on main-frames, mini's, etc. with distributed green-screens... it went to PC's (stored locally), and now the cloud, then...

    It's the pendulum.
  • My takeaway is that Apple is now innovating less than Microsoft, moreso than Microsoft is now innovating more than Apple. Microsoft's weird experiments, and the forcing of it down the throat of the market, isn't much of a deviation for them.

  • That would explain all the lawsuits against competitors...
  • Windoes 8 Phone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 1000101 (584896) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @11:44PM (#41998657)
    I had an iPhone for two years, an Android (HTC Evo) for two years, and I recently got a Nokia 920 with Windows 8. All vey different experiences, but from an overall polish and usability standpoint, Windows 8 is the clear winner. The UI is wonderful. Apple still has the upper hand on hardware (not screens though), and Android has the upper hand in apps and 'openness' (if you even care about that). But when I got this device I felt like I did when I first got the iPhone. Maybe that feeling is what he is referring to.
  • Wrong Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Andreas Mayer (1486091) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:01AM (#41998725) Homepage

    Oh please. Woz didn't say that he believes that Microsoft is more innovative than Apple. He said he has seen Microsoft do some things that seem more innovative than what he has seen from Apple in the last few years.
    But he admits that he doesn't even know the people currently in charge at Apple all that well, so how is he supposed to know what Apple is developing right now?
    I mean, we all know how secretive Apple is. It's also no secret that Microsoft does do a lot of basic research; they frequently show promising tech demos. The original surface anyone? But it's Apple who creates actually successful products while Microsoft largely seems to be content making new versions of Windows and Office every now and then. It's just now with their latest tablet efforts that they are trying something new for a change. And that means new for Microsoft. There's not all that much new for the market in that product.
    Or to take it from another perspective: I believe Microsoft *does* have the resources to produce a really innovative and compelling product. It's just that ... they don't.

    Also, I have to comment on this sentence of the original article:
    "if Tim Cook should stumble, Apple might consider bringing [Woz] back as their CEO."
    That's just ridiculous. Look, I like Woz. He's obviously a really nice guy. And he's very smart; I mean, he built the original Apple-II almost on his own. But let's be honest: He's not a very good business man. He would make a *very* bad replacement for Tim Cook. And you know it.

  • Auntie Em! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ChickenNugget (2032826) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:11AM (#41998753)
    We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Woz
    We hear he is a whiz of a wiz, if ever a wiz there was
    If ever, oh ever a wiz there was, The Wizard of Woz is one because
    Because, because, because, because, because
    Because of the wonderful things he does
    We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Woz
  • Apple is the leader, yes. It's just in the wrong direction.
    • by Lisias (447563)

      Apple is the leader, yes. It's just in the wrong direction.

      So Apple is the wrong leadership...

  • by Bill Dimm (463823) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:25AM (#41998809) Homepage
  • That's true, and it's pretty much guaranteed. When you're winning, you don't innovate. Innovation, after all, is nothing but risk judged over time as successful.

    Microsoft didn't innovate for years. They didn't have to -- they could copy the better things being done by other companies, deliver incremental improvements and changes, and keep their empire pretty much intact. They stumbled on Vista, badly... that was the start of their fall from being "The Most Valueable Tech Company On the Planet". Vista was st

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Friday November 16, 2012 @03:36AM (#41999427)
    To paraphrase Clinton, "It's the software, stupid". Woz is a hardware geek so he does not seem to get that innovation these days comes from "software", not hardware. Apple's products are innovative not because of hardware specs but the "software" and the tight integration between the software and hardware.

    This is precisely why quad core Android phones with 1GB of memory were having their arses handed to them by iPhones with supposedly "slower" processors and less memory. It is really the "software" that makes all of the difference and it is why even the superphones have laggy UIs compared to iOS devices.

"You know, we've won awards for this crap." -- David Letterman

Working...