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Apple and Developers

by Tim O'Reilly
Jun. 29, 2003

After I posted my comments on Apple as Innovator, I got some strongly-worded mail from a well-known Mac developer. He said: (The final PS is a reference to my mother's one-time comment that Bill Gates sounded like someone you'd invite over to dinner, only to have him say "I think I'll have all the mashed potatoes." As with all cutting remarks, the edge does violence to the nuances that individuals and companies use to justify to themselves behavior that others find unfriendly. But there's certainly truth to the assertion that successful companies, from Microsoft to Apple, often take more than their fair share of the market, trampling small developers in the process. Ultimately, I do believe that taking too much of the market is counterproductive, since a successful platform requires a strong developer ecosystem. One company can't do it all. No matter how smart you are, you can't always pick the winning path. Progress flourishes only when you allow the exploration of alternatives.)

I replied:

To that end, I'd like to get a dialogue going. What would you like to see Apple do to better support its independent developer community? Or are they doing just fine?

Tim O'Reilly is the founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, Inc., thought by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world. In addition to Foo Camps ("Friends of O'Reilly" Camps, which gave rise to the "un-conference" movement), O'Reilly Media also hosts conferences on technology topics, including the Web 2.0 Summit, the Web 2.0 Expo, the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, the Gov 2.0 Summit, and the Gov 2.0 Expo. Tim's blog, the O'Reilly Radar, "watches the alpha geeks" to determine emerging technology trends, and serves as a platform for advocacy about issues of importance to the technical community. Tim's long-term vision for his company is to change the world by spreading the knowledge of innovators. In addition to O'Reilly Media, Tim is a founder of Safari Books Online, a pioneering subscription service for accessing books online, and O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, an early-stage venture firm.

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