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Apple Versus Google Innovation Strategies 187

porsche911 writes "The NY Times has a great story comparing the top-down versus bottom-up innovation approaches of Apple and Google. From the article: '"There is nothing democratic about innovation," says Paul Saffo, a veteran technology forecaster in Silicon Valley. "It is always an elite activity, whether by a recognized or unrecognized elite."'"
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Apple Versus Google Innovation Strategies

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  • by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:56PM (#38878717) Homepage Journal

    The results speak for themselves.

    Yes, you people scream "monopoly" about Google every chance you get.

  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:00PM (#38878775)

    Yes, some people are better at some things than other people are, so in a sense "elites" always exist. But they can be organized quite differently, in particular when it comes to openness and boundaries, or what you might call a welcoming versus elitist mentality.

    For example, the Homebrew Computer Club was an elite in a sense, but an elite that was: 1) open in a literal sense to anyone who in good faith wanted to come and participate; and 2) open in a cultural sense to educating people and spreading knowledge. It wasn't an elite in the elitist sense, of a closed club that wouldn't let you in if they didn't deem you worthy. If anything, they represented the opposite type of hacker, the hacker evangelist who actively wants to spread the good word, knowledge, passion, and skills.

    There are some modern organizations that operate similarly, aiming for high quality of community and discourse (so part of the "tech elite"), but without the exclusionary/attitude sort of aspects (so not "elitist"), like Noisebridge [], the Hacker Dojo [], and the SuperHappyDevHouse [] hackathon/parties.

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:03PM (#38878821) Journal

    When asked what market research went into the company's elegant product designs, Steve Jobs had a standard answer: none. "It's not the consumers' job to know what they want," he would add.

    This is misleading. Jobs usual answer was closer to, "Customers really don't know what they want until they actually use it."

    He liked to quote Henry Ford:

    "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said 'faster horses'."

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:08PM (#38878873) Journal

    Needs one kind of elite to innovate, and another kind of elite to monopolize, shut down, put trivial patents around that innovations or other "innovative" measures to avoid them to succeed.

    Heh, I got some laughs out of reading this article as well:

    Yet Apple has also repeatedly displayed its openness to new ideas and influences as exemplified by the visit that Mr. Jobs made to the Palo Alto research center of Xerox in 1979. He saw an experimental computer with a point-and-click mouse and graphical on-screen icons, which he adopted at Apple. It later became the standard for the personal computer industry.

    Is "adopted" the right word here? It's funny how some people consider that same "influence" to be stealing [].

    In 2010, Apple bought Siri, a personal assistant application for smartphones. At the time, it was a small start-up in Silicon Valley that originated as a program funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Pentagon. Last year, Siri became the talking question-answering application on iPhones.

    So those are you examples for 'repeatedly displayed its openness to new ideas and influences'? They "borrow" and idea and then they buy up and assimilate a start-up? Well, if that's your frame of reference, Microsoft excels at openness too! I know this article is not even trying to be exhaustive but Android isn't even mentioned once. I don't understand how Apple can even be called "open" when compared with Google's offerings to everyone [].

  • by recharged95 ( 782975 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:10PM (#38878909) Journal

    Top Down == innovation for the sake of business (value)
    Bottom Up == innovation for the sake of knowledge (evolution)

    Hasn't changed for thousands of years if you think about it. Aside from the power hunger dictator once in a while.

  • by rjstanford ( 69735 ) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:12PM (#38878945) Homepage Journal

    apple has never released a brand new unique product that no one ever has

    And, of course, neither has Google. They took existing ideas that were rapidly becoming seen as vital and did them in a more cohesive, higher quality way then their competitors.

    Just like Apple did.