Weblog:   Apple and Developers
Subject:   Diversify, diversify, diversify
Date:   2003-06-29 16:10:00
From:   ablair
The developer who wrote in has a few good points, notably that Apple cannot do it all alone. The pervasive "not invented here" culture of the 90's at the company seems to be almost gone, and good riddance. Adopting other technologies where they are clearly better frees Apple to do what they do best: make functionality available to the user, easily.

The idea presented of Apple providing seed funding for encouraging important products sounds good but in practice would be problematic unless handled delicatly. Much of what we could want on the platform is available already in commercial software somewhere (albeit less easy to use & more expensive, often on another platform) and what would developers think of Apple directly seeding their competition? Specialized software functionality not commerically available has often been started already in open source projects (though frequently underdeveloped, and not easy to use) - should Apple fund seed projects that offer the same functionality as these too? Instead of this, the best answer is to spend some resources in key open source projects themselves, which they appear to be doing (and probably getting the most bang for their buck in the process). Key developers making mature apps already widely adopted (eg. AutoCAD, ArcView) can only be encouraged to port versions over, there is little use re-iventing very complicated wheels. If they don't, then committing resources to a competing commercial or open source app already started is the prudent alternative. Such a project reducing the risk from legal actions for anti-competitive practices seems a bit far-fetched though: Apple is in little danger of significant actions. At least until they have over 50% market share (and this will never happen, and dosen't need to).

Are there examples of such seed programs on different platforms, and what has their success been like?

And I agree, the community idolizes a very human, very fallible Steve Jobs too much. Luckily others respect him enough to give him influence, which he uses to the betterment of the platform (eg. recently with the large labels & iTMS).