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Woz Worries Microsoft Is Now More Innovative Than Apple 333

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."
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Woz Worries Microsoft Is Now More Innovative Than Apple

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  • 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 Drumhellar ( 1656065 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:22PM (#41997849)
    Why should he be worried? Innovation benefits everybody, no matter who does it!
  • 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.
  • Really? Woz? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Beat The Odds ( 1109173 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:33PM (#41997911)
    Have you seen Windows 8?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:46PM (#41998011)

    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 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.

  • Re:Really? Woz? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:01PM (#41998079)

    I've been using Windows 8 for weeks. The start menu is now full screen instead of a button, which makes it easier for me to start my programs and the tiles provide information without having to open anything. My email, news, calendar, weather, and stocks all display what I want to know with no effort on my part. I think it is an improvement. I used to have to go to Start -> programs -> and search for my program's folder and try to click on the executable without clicking on the Help, Order, Uninstaller, or Read Me. Now, unless I click on All Apps, the start screen hides all that for me and I need only a single click to get what I need. Administration is easier with just a single right click in the lower left. Holy shit, why didn't someone do this sooner. The start menu is a giant pile of shit that I had to scroll though and search through. With Windows 7 I always created a new toolbar because the start menu sucked. Now I just click. What is your specific grip about it? How long have you used it? Are you a just karma whore?

  • 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.

  • Re:Please Stop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arekin ( 2605525 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:43PM (#41998309)
    Wozniak is a rational voice in a world of fanbois that sees benefit in innovation. Saying that Woz is not qualified on the grounds that he is no longer involved with Apple is erroneous at best. Woz was a true innovator, more so than myself or any other /. commentor and is perfectly suited to comment on his perception of what qualifies as innovation.
  • 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 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).

  • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Thursday November 15, 2012 @10:46PM (#41998327) Journal

    this is the guy that thought the greatest thing he could do for an internet connection was move to Australia. The guy is a bit of a muppet.

    He's wanted to be Australian even before the NBN. The faster internet connection would just be icing on the cake for him.

    Wozniak said: “I intend to call myself an Australian and feel an Australian, and study the history and become as much of a real citizen here as I can,” adding: “For 30 years I’ve had a desire to live in Australia. I’m going to live and die as an Australian.

    His desire to become Australian is just another example of how sane, sensible and grounded the man is.

  • Re:Do RTFA (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @11:31PM (#41998587) Homepage Journal

    Woz. Is kind hearted and thoughtful.

    This excuses him from being wrong and somewhat crazy.

  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @11:42PM (#41998645)

    I wont even begin to say how short sighted this is. Let me see, a technologist wanting to be close to the infrastructure which will be considered TO BECOME THE BEST/FASTEST IN THE WORLD.

    Read up on the NBN and understand what it represents as technology as a whole. Know that it puts every other form of current infrastructure to shame and also know that it will be a precursor to the development as technology as a whole.

    Things to consider.

    - Removal of old style media broadcasting, which includes the retrenchment of satellite technology.
    - The activation and encouragement of voice services within mobile carrier systems to be provided as strictly data. I.E phone carriers simply become ISPs.
    - The removal of ISP infrastructure or responsibility of infrastructure. I.E ISP's as a point of contention simply resell the same level of services throughout the entire network I.E your phone, your internet, your tv come from one place and all competing providers sell the same QOS.

    Get off Slashdot now, pick a new profession and find a another method of contributing to society. Technology isn't your strong point.

  • 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.

  • Re:Do RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lodragandraoidh ( 639696 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:08AM (#41998739) Journal

    In what ways is he wrong, and what ways is he crazy?

    (If you're going to make such a bold statement, at least provide some evidence to support your hypothesis please.)

  • 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

  • Re:Do RTFA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2012 @01:33AM (#41999043)

    This is why I rarely read Slashdot these days. All the posts are bold one liners without content or evidence that make +5 insightful.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Re:Windoes 8 Phone (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @04:31AM (#41999597) Homepage

    Are you seriously comparing a new phone to one from 2 and a half years ago (running a very dated Android release, assuming you didn't bother to update it) or an iPhone (the original? if no, then which?) to a phone that came out two weeks ago?

    I agree that Windows Phone offers a very nice 'no frills, just works' experience, and for some people it's a great choice. It does the basic "keep me connected" functionality very well. But please, let's not be disingenuous in our comparisons.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2012 @06:03AM (#41999839)

    The list of failed predictions is pretty long and substantial. Slashdotters have predicted the following:

    iPod would never be popular.
    IE was dead
    Java would actually be relevant to anything more than Enterprise and a tiny niche market of consumers.
    No floppy drive and no connectivity other than USB! WTF?
    Transmeta, woot! Linus works for them, woot!
    iPad? Will never catch on because they lack so many features of desktops/laptops/netbooks. Linux making serious inroads in to MS dominance on the desktop?

    In summary, we see a lot of the following happening here:

    Product a is shit because it lacks feature b, and anyway I can just buy product c, on to which I can install software d via a simple process of fucking hideously over complicated process e.

    Although Vista and ME were indeed shit, did they lose money for MS? In general on Slashdot we see reasoned predictions buried in a mass of anger, wishful thinking and/or based on the assumption that a big chunk of the market thinks the same way as the manchild acting as a cheerleader for his favourite companies. Pathetic!

  • Re:Do RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Friday November 16, 2012 @06:52AM (#41999953) Homepage Journal

    Wow- your nuts too I see.

    He works at Apple!

    He doesn't work at Apple and hasn't done so since 1987, which is probably before you were born.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev