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Questions for Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi

The Re/Code conference begins this week, and Apple executives Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will be answering questions from Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg.

Here are some questions I hope they ask:

For Eddy Cue:

  1. Why is there no app store for Apple TV? Even though the product is running essentially the same hardware and software as the iPhone and iPad and iPod touch and even though it connects to the iTunes stores, there is no option for developers to build apps for it or for consumers to use their TVs to run iOS apps. I might add that it’s been seven years since the platform launched and that’s a long time to wait.
  2. As Amazon has been granted a monopoly on the distribution of ebooks by the US federal government, why not compete by selling ebooks as apps? Apps were used as ebook containers well before the iBookstore launched and there were tens of thousands of “book apps”. Why not encourage authors and publishers to build apps by offering tools which make it easy to do so? I might add that if you do this for authors, why not do it for musicians and video producers? Why have separate stores for different media when they are all just content?
  3. YouTube is becoming the TV of choice for millions. Before it becomes that choice for billions, what are you doing to encourage user-generated video content distribution through your ecosystem?
  4. Apple’s Services revenues are growing remarkably quickly. The number of users is over 800 million. Do you see an opportunity for services to become a more independent business at Apple? In other words, why not bring iTunes to Android?

For Craig Federighi:

  1. Marc Andreessen uses the phrase “Software is Eating the World” to describe the disruption that software-enabled businesses are having on those who don’t depend on software. You are the head of software at Apple; what’s on your plate? In other words, what do you see the opportunity for software at Apple beyond enabling device sales? I might add that although you are leading Software Engineering at Apple, Software and Services are part of Eddy’s organization. Does this separation make sense?
  2. It’s likely that iOS will be used by more people than Windows in the near future. What do you see as the obstacles to iOS replacing Windows for what most business users use daily?
  3. If you believe that iOS can replace Windows (at least in some tasks), do you think the iPad will ever replace the Mac?

This was originally posted on LinkedIn on May 28th.

  • Sternesiech

    Please start your own alternative re/conf (asymconf exec). Would be way more beneficial to the audience.

  • rattyuk

    “Why not encourage authors and publishers to build apps by offering tools which make it easy to do so?”

    Apple makes one of the best tools for authoring ebooks and they give it away free.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      Does it build apps?

      • http://sumocat.blogspot.com Sumocat

        I agree with rattyuk. In fact, I agreed four years ago.
        http://www.gottabemobile.com/2010/01/25/apps-for-ereaders-are-not-the-answer/
        The argument was originally for Amazon’s Kindle, but it applies to Apple’s iPad. To sum up: “Asking publishers to become software developers is the wrong approach.” I commend Apple for taking my advice.

      • Sacto_Joe

        Yes, but what about setting up a DIALOGUE between writers and app developers? And while we’re at it, set up a dialogue between editors and writers. Heck, set up dialogues between editors, app developers, and artists, period!

        Publishers give several things to writers: Editing, publishing/distribution, publicity, and “clout”. Can Apple step in to these roles? Surely the DOJ can’t object to that?

      • http://sumocat.blogspot.com Sumocat

        A) It’s not Apple’s job to mediate between parties. They provide the platform and the tools to develop for that platform. What goes on between the writer, editor, and others happens regardless of that platform.
        B) Yes, Apple can certainly become a publisher, but they stay out of that game except for their own products.
        Frankly, Apple *can* do far more than they currently do, but that doesn’t mean they want to or should do them.

      • Sacto_Joe

        “Frankly, Apple *can* do far more than they currently do, but that doesn’t mean they want to or should do them.”

        I think they should. You appear to think they shouldn’t. I see a major advantage to Apple if they do, namely publishing increased amounts of well edited work on iOS. Please list what you see as disadvantages.

      • http://sumocat.blogspot.com Sumocat

        I simply think Apple should continue to do what they’ve always done, which thus far has not included publishing. As for disadvantages, the key one is that Apple is only good at doing what they’ve always done, which is perfect their products and platform. When they’re forced to branch out, like developing cloud services they originally intended Google to handle, they invariably stumble. If Apple were to engage in publishing, I don’t see why they’d start in a field where they show minimal interest and experience. If anything, I’d expect them to expand into publishing software, perhaps build a stable of games like Nintendo and Microsoft. Books, even interactive ones, seem like it’d be their fourth pick after software, movies, and music.

      • Sacto_Joe

        Stumbling is allowed. Not trying is not allowed. They stumbled with Maps, but they were right to try. And it’s paying dividends that they did.

      • http://sumocat.blogspot.com Sumocat

        “Not trying is not allowed” – And that’s why your argument is invalid. If not trying is not allowed, then Apple should try everything. If they should try their hand at books, then why not movies? Why not music? Why not games? Guess they should have tried netbooks back when they were popular or try a tablet-laptop like Microsoft Surface. Seems ridiculous that they’re not trying their hand at any of these.

        Apple is right to try when they must, as they did with Maps when their hand was forced, but everything else is optional. In fact, that’s one of Apple’s great strengths; in any venture, they have the option and willingness to say “no”.

    • http://www.duskbeforethedawn.net Larry

      iBooks Author is a decent tool, but it only produces enhanced ebooks that are applicable to Apples iBookstore, and not for other venues such as Amazon.

      There are frameworks such as Baker Framework (http://www.bakerframework.com/) which we use on our enhanced ebooks that does turn those ebooks into Apps available at the app store. Since the content in Baker is HTML5, though it is not an exact conversion one can make HTML5 content into an Amazon eBook or ePub eBook for alternate distribution in a few steps. Baker is working on an Android version which will turn HTML5 content into Android apps.

      There are other frameworks like Baker. My concern with Horace’s point of an Apple eBook-to-app solution would be the limited distribution (i.e., to only the Apple app store) that would most likely come with it. Authors/Producers already must deal with different media for eBooks, and enhanced eBooks comes with even more incompatibility, so Producers/Developers have lots of work to support many distribution points.

    • Walt French

      Amazon enjoys its monopoly because the new product is DRM’d e-books and multiple DRMs lock buyers into a single DRM format.

      Seems pretty obvious that if publishers want out from under Amazon’s thumb, they will have to find an industry standard DRM that plays on any manufacturer’s device. Presumably Apple could be induced to take a role in that, although the anti-trust judgement makes it a very dicey proposition.

      I don’t get the de-specialization of having writers become app-developers. Publishers exist to interface between writers and the buyers; the fact that they’ve abdicated to Amazon isn’t a great sign but perhaps they can reclaim their roles.

      • stefnagel

        Agree. For most authors and most books, the way out is not more complexity but less. Drop the DRM (not the copyright). Forget the publishers.

        Lead with your strong suit: Creativity. Workshop and perform your book. Do like Dickens. Travel like Twain.

        Put some skin in the game. Sign and sell printed copies. Here’s a test: If we aren’t willing to print up a thousand copies at our expense, we aren’t serious about the book.

        If the book is good and you do a good job with it, publishers will come see you about an “author’s cut” edition. Others can copy; they cannot recreate your book.

      • jameskatt

        Books are too easily stolen. DRM prevents casual theft. So for most authors it is necessary.

      • David Leppik

        They aren’t significantly easier to steal than music. And Apple got rid of DRM in music once the record labels realized that DRM just walled people into Apple’s ecosystem. Same thing here. (And as Steve Jobs noted in an open letter, managing the complexity of an open system of DRM just isn’t worth it.)

      • David Leppik

        I should add: Step 1 of illegally sharing books or music is “Find the file on your computer.” That’s just enough work to make people think twice before sharing.

      • charly

        That is true of music but watermarking books is truly difficult and they compress to such tiny file sizes that 10GB is probably enough to have a copy of all the English books publish in a year. Wouldn’t you feel the moral urge to download that 10 GB file? I would but for the fact that i rarely read books

      • Clive Foster

        One plausible answer to the DRM/piracy conundrum would be a fixed, low, price per MB of download paid to the file owner/originator via the users internet service provider. The end user simply buys a package with a suitable number of GB per month download included in the service cost.

        These days it should be possible to link an identity tag to each file and direct a payment to the owner regardless of the actual download route or server source. Peer to peer, direct from the owner, via publisher or from some sort of store matters not a jot. The owner still gets his or her cut. A (fixed?) payment to the internet store or download source would also be needed to make the system work as a real world economy.

        Some sort of checksum system would be needed to avoid tag stripping and replacement by organised stealers which seems quite practical. if the original download source were also on the tag then “piracy” and re-distribution merely increases the original suppliers distribution bandwidth. They still get paid. Neatly solves all the paywall problems for newspapers, magazines et al. Headlines and summary direct on line, download to read the whole thing. Want a printed book? Your local print on demand firm simply downloads the layout file and does it there and then. Uniform bindings and size for your library could be just one of the extra services. No need to be stuck with publishers sizes. No huge warehouse full of books or tons of paper in the post either.

        Music and video done the same way too. A GB is a GB whatever the file type. Luxury store or pile it high and sell it cheap version differentiated by per download fee and, perhaps, file resolution.

      • plausible

        In what way is it possibly plausible that video is either completely unaffordable, or that almost every other media form is worthless?

      • Clive Foster

        The actual IP content value of any media is already very low per individual read / listen / watch anyway. Most of what the consumer pays is for delivery services to get it into their hands in the chosen format. The effective value per track play per listener of streamed music is tiny. Similarily with video if you compare with free to air, licence paid as per BBC, or or the potential package contents of a satelite subscription. Once video on demand streaming services gain traction they will probably have the same effect on per-play value per individual consumer as music streaming already has.

        That said a fixed fee per GB may well be an oversimple concept but there is no intrinsic reason why things can’t be equalised either by different per GB fee for each media type or by splitting the fee into two parts. One part file size based and one download set-up charge determined by file type. I suspect that should the concept take hold its likely to end up as either a pure per GB charge or pure download set-up charge.

        Remember that the main objective is to destroy the ability of piracy to provide content without paying the originator and to end-run round Amazons attempts to monopolise e-book and book sales. The important bit is a robust, server independent, charge tag enabling the ISP to determine the originator and channel payment for the download in a manner effectively invisibly to the end consumer.

      • plausible

        If it was possible to identify every file downloaded on the internet then the media producers can just put their own price on everything that is automatically billed to your ISP. You’ve just invented a global DRM system with a bizarre fee structure that doesn’t make sense to anyone involved.

      • charly

        A 100KB book is a thick book and that is when it is not compressed. 100KB for music is a ringtone, and not a particular long one. 100KB for a HD video is a still in which you can see artifacts.

      • stefnagel

        Yep. Digital media will not be the cash cows that print was. We expect to pay about a buck a file for any digital title: shows, apps, tunes, books. So what’s DRM gaining the author, even when it works?

        Let go and move on.

      • charly

        Restriction of market is the main purpose of book DRM. To many good books are free (See Shakespeare or books written in small languages)

      • stefnagel

        Great bit from Lady Gaga’s manager: ““It was more about building a platform on top of music—because music, we realized, sells everything but music.”

        You are the platform.

      • charly

        music is different from movies and books. A piece of music that you only listen ones is probably something you don’t like and wont spend money on. That is not true for a book or a movie. Guilth works somewhat with music but not with books or movies

    • stefnagel

      Apple’s Author builds books best seen on iPads, highly visual, textbook titles. Harkens back to Hypercard. Intended to sell iPads, not books.

  • http://alienryderflex.com/ Darel Rex Finley

    In 2008, when some were pushing for Flash on iOS, John Gruber said, “Apple will not publish a Flash player for the iPhone unless and until there exists some other mobile phone that (a) does run Flash, and (b) starts taking sales away from the iPhone. Which, my guess is, means never.”

    I would like to paraphrase Gruber in answer to Cue question #4: Apple will not put iTunes on Android unless and until there exists some other online media store that (a) does run on Android, and (b) starts taking significant media store share away from iTunes. Which, my guess is, means never.

    Android is the platform for people who rip off everything for free.

    • charly

      Buying media as being a mainstream business is death. The Netflixes, deezer’s and whatever the book-version is will rule the world. You will still be able to buy media but it will be more like buying movies in the vhs era (done but not normal)

      • charly

        that is why you will never see it that happen that a media store is more important than itunes

        ps. is Amazon not bigger or at least of the same order?

  • ChrisPJones

    I can’t agree with the premise of #1 for Eddy, i.e. “the product is running essentially the same hardware”. I’d argue that even if the CPU and memory are identical between an Apple TV and other IOS devices, the differences in the UI hardware are paramount. If we look at the software with the “Model View Controller”, we can say that the models might be identical between the Apple TV and other devices, but the views are substantially different and the controllers are completely different.

    I do think an App Store for Apple TV is an attractive idea, but I don’t think it helps to trivialize the effort that would be involved in getting from here to there.

    • Sacto_Joe

      I don’t think he “trivialized” it. He merely inferred that seven years should be long enough. And I agree.

  • jameskatt

    How exactly is YouTube generating billions of dollars for Google? To me it is a huge loss leader for ads that costs millions in server costs.

    Pundits and ANALysts may like giving things away for free. But Apple is in things for profit.

    • Sacto_Joe

      Relatively speaking, the App Store and the iTunes Store are “loss leaders” for Apple. That is, income from them drags down the gross profit margin. But they are essential to staying in business. YouTube is likewise hugely important to Google. The beauty of creating an alternative for Apple users is that it will detract from Google and Android. Apple is quickly entering the arena where continued growth will come more and more from taking market share away from its competitors.

    • charly

      Youtube costs are mainly server cost which live in Moore law territory. So they may not be profitable in 2008 but it would surprise me if they are not now.

  • rogifan

    As far as your #1 for Craig Federighi, what does Eddy Cue have that you think Craig should own instead? Seems to me right now all SVPs have more than they can handle. Perhaps Apple needs to bring back a SVP of applications and take that off Eddy’s plate.

  • Sacto_Joe

    ” In other words, why not bring iTunes to Android?”

    I won’t often say this, but I don’t agree with you on this one, Horace. Apple iTunes on Android would be a mistake. Others have already pointed out reasons why. Yes, Apple could increase its iTunes sales somewhat, though probably not as much as Horace thinks. But in return, it would take some of the “specialness” away from being an Apple owner. And IMHO, maintaining that sense of specialness, of being near or on the cutting edge of tech, is what keeps Apple’s existing customers happy. Now, if Apple found itself unable to compete against the alternatives to iTunes, then that would be a different matter. But I don’t think that’s been proven. And I also think Apple is very much aware of the need to keep iTunes competitive, and is taking action in that direction.

    We know that iTunes needs to always compete against “free” (ad-based) product. But we know that those who invest in Apple are not the types more interested in “free” than in “best”. They want the best, and they’re ready to pay for it. Apple should never lose sight of that.

    • opportunity

      I don’t think the article you’re replying to takes a position either way on whether it would be a good idea. It just asks whether they “see an opportunity for services to become a more independent business”. The closest thing they have, to my recollection, is the icloud.com web apps being available on Windows. I doubt that is used much by people who don’t own any Apple hardware, though.

      • Sacto_Joe

        Of course it takes a position. Otherwise why state the question. Horace isn’t in the habit of wasting people’s time with rhetorical questions.

      • opportunity

        It wouldn’t be rhetorical, it would be in order to hear the answer.

      • Sacto_Joe

        No. He’s asking a question as a means of suggesting an approach, not in order to get an answer.

      • opportunity
      • californian

        @ Horace,

        I think we are all looking at the wrong problem.

        I would venture to state that iTunes will have less than 20% or even 10% marketshare by 2020.

        Check this TechCrunch article. The trend is clear. Streaming beats downloading. Music has moved to the Cloud. Much like Movies already did. Next are Books. Even productivity Office will go the same route. We will write docs to retrieve and never to store.

        I predict iTunes losing 2-4% marketshare at a minimum every year in the next decade.

        http://techcrunch.com/2014/05/22/bridging-the-download-and-cloud-music-eras/
        ” Even if iTunes’ market share grows from around 63 percent where reports pegged it in 2013, the digital sales pie is shrinking too fast to compensate. Apple needs to enter the streaming business somehow.”

      • charly

        For the streamers it may even be cheaper to give you the songs that you play the most so i expect them to add an option that with their expensive subscription package you get say 5 songs in “turbo” fidelity for keeps.

    • Space Gorilla

      “maintaining that sense of specialness, of being near or on the cutting edge of tech, is what keeps Apple’s existing customers happy”

      This is a fundamental misunderstanding of who Apple’s customers are. Only a very small minority actually care about what you’re describing here.

      • Sacto_Joe

        I don’t agree. Apple’s customer loyalty is paramount to its future success.

      • Space Gorilla

        You’re saying two different things here. One, customer loyalty (or satisfaction) is important for Apple’s future success. Two, Apple’s customer satisfaction comes from a “sense of specialness, of being near or on the cutting edge of tech”.

        You’re right on the first point, wrong on the second. What you’ve got wrong is the foundation of Apple’s great customer satisfaction. Only a very small group cares about cutting edge tech or ‘specialness’.

    • Accent_Sweden

      Questions don’t necessarily flag a questioner’s positions on a topic. The answer could reveal more than why they won’t bring iTunes to Android. It could reveal Apple’s approach and strategy in finer detail to allow us to understand much broader issues. So I’m not sure Horace is telling us he wants iTunes on Android by asking this.

  • Sacto_Joe

    Note to Tim Cook and Apple:

    Hire Horace Deidu!

    • ketanketan

      But then we wouldn’t have asymco : (

  • kaler

    If Tim Cook was onstage, here are the questions I would ask:

    1) Apple has removed Bitcoin wallet Apps from the App Store. How come?
    2) Apple has hundreds of millions of credit cards plugged into iTunes and sells gift cards to purchase digital content. What is Apple’s view on digital, crypto currencies?

    • crypto

      Cryptocurrencies for payment currently solve no problem for their customers; they’re worse than credit and gift cards in essentially every way.

    • Walt French

      An important aspect of wallet applications is that they invite assaults on the potentially very high value of content. As they are third-party apps, Apple has no say in the security measures and cannot perform the level of diligence to ensure that the developer hasn’t put in backdoors or indeed, whether the code wasn’t hijacked during development. Apple security measures are generally very, very good, but it’s one thing to guard against a store of weapons that you buy in a game; quite another to guard against high-value targets.

      Apple IDs, and the credit cards tied to them, are an incredible asset for the company, but they are also a huge liability. Apple must have dozens, perhaps hundreds of people watching to be sure that they don’t violate their customers’ trust. That effort is simply not worth it for some app that Apple has implied liability for, but essentially zero benefit from.

      Bitcoiners have shown remarkable equanimity about the host of these kinds of issues; I personally would be screaming for heads to roll if I lost the many thousands of dollars that are commonplace numbers in the news. And certainly, the store that sold me the app would be at the top of my list of whom to sue if I were defrauded.

      Those are good reasons why Apple doesn’t want anything to do with these. Of course, before Bitcoin acquired ANY widespread recognition, Apple put up rules against the types of apps that would inspire the assaults on its users, and the losses and PR damage that would occur.

      • charly

        Apple security measures are generally very, very good,

        Nice to hear that Apple, the Beatles record company, takes security serious.

  • http://www.philsimon.com/ Phil Simon

    To me, the first question is the most interesting. I would suspect that there hasn’t been the same level of development for AppleTV because of potential copyright infringement issues. I also suspect that many networks and cable companies are not terribly keen on disrupting themselves.

  • handleym

    “Why have separate stores for different media when they are all just content?”

    There is a certain mindset which I call totalizing which insists that the solution to every problem is the ONE TRUE WAY. This was the mindset that sent Intel down the road of creating Atom as an exact replica of the desktop x86, and that told MS the solution to its problem was the exact same UI everywhere from a 4″ phone to a multi-30″-screen desktop system.
    And this same UI, every year or so tells us that one silo is THE ANSWER, the solution to a problem people didn’t know they had.

    Let me ask the question that needs to be asked: why is one store such a great idea? People do not simply buy formless “content” and using the word that way does not change the fact. When people buy a book, they are trying to buy a certain experience; when they buy an audiobook, or a movie, or a song, they are buying a different experience. And for every person going in with the vague idea of “I just want to buy something, anything, related to, say, Star Wars” there a thousand with the much more specific idea of “I want to buy a song”.

  • obarthelemy

    Reading through the comments, I think people are forgetting what Apple themselves are saying:
    1- Apple is a devices company. Anything else is there to support that business, and sometimes (aTV apps, ebooks), that’s probably deemed not required and/or not self-sustaining. Looking at Apple’s cloud/services business as standalone is like looking at BMW’s parts business as standalone.
    2- Apple want lock-in most of all. Dazzle them with the devices, lock them in with the content. Hence no iTunes on Android (and as a very weak band-aid on Windows), locked licenses for educational books, proprietary formats, proprietary cables and peripherals… trying to cast Apple at the forefront for a cross-platform DRM effort is absurd.

    More specifically:
    1- They probably want $100 aTVs to mirror $700 iPhones’ screens, no more.
    2- not enough money.
    3- That needs to be cross-platform. We don’t do cross-platform.
    4- No. Not until Devices growth falters, and we need to start milking existing customers more aggressively. Also, proprietary puts a cap on what we can do.

    1- Nothing, why ? (sorry, I meant magical things that delight require iOS hardware)
    2- Certainly not the fact that the cheapest iOS computers cost 3x what the cheapest Windows computers do, for less capability, power, interoperability, and a poorer ecosystem still ?
    3- No. The mac is magical, Windows isn’t.

    • Kizedek

      “Apple want lock-in most of all. Dazzle them with the devices, lock them in with the content… locked licenses for educational books, proprietary formats…”

      I think you are forgetting past discussions on all this.

      Rather, the content can dazzle with special features. Hence the need for a proprietary format. If you have a full-version of Word, for example, you can access more features in a document than if you merely have access to a client that opens a .doc document using the “open” parts of the Word Standard. You get macros, etc. That is how MS sells Word and why it touts its requirement for “real work”.

      The DRM issue is only an issue with a file that delivers no extra soecial features, such as an eBook delievered through Kindle. There is an ebook and pub standard, as well as PDF — and a Kindle ebook gives no advantage.

      An iBook book on the other hand can add a tremendous amount of value. Of course, that is why educational institutions like to publish books for it. The iBooks Author tool adds a lot of functionality, as well as simply great typography and layout possibilities for different views that go beyond reflowing the text into skinnier columns for portrait view.

      • obarthelemy

        The huge majority of content (music and playlists, videos, books, comics/mangas, magazines; on the more IT side contacts, emails, simple Office docs, even Facetime chats…) has no need whatsoever for specific formats. Apple’s decision to keep most of such content locked in to their ecosystem is purely to keep their users locked-in through their content purchases/creation. Same as MS with Office, really, only Office is somewhat cross-platform now.

        For more marginal stuff, formats are indeed less well established. Companies can work towards standard, open ecosystems (ie, Google’s Chromecast), or closed ones. Apple emphatically always take the closed road, when they could like Google design whatever they want, then throw it out there. Nothing that’s being achieved on the technical side by keeping edubooks formats closed couldn’t also be achieved by the same format, only open. Like Google does for Android: they do whatever they want with it, then others are free to use it, change it… You lose lock-in, you gain penetration and cross-pollination.

        As for the jibe about Surface, if only Office were the only app and feature exclusive to it… (it’s not even exclusive any longer, BTW)

      • Kizedek

        If you read carefully, I acknowledged that Apple could go “open” with iBooks standards (such as through some of the more interesting features of HTML5 coming along), but suggested that they wouldn’t because consistent UX and support across platforms and devices would 1) be a nightmare, and 2) remove differentiation from Apple’s devices. It would be a poorer experience.

        When i want a Kindle book or slab of text to read, I can get it on my iDevice. When i want something better, i can also get it. See how that works?

        Some cars come with 2000 dollar alloy rims that are designed as part of the car and add to the riding/driving experience; they constitute just one more reason to select that car. Now, you may add 2000 dollar alloy rims to your Yugo, because ultimately you are free to do what you want, but one wonders what is really the point. I am sure that people don’t make a big deal of Merc, BMW, Audi et al dont make a big deal about selling their rims to Yugo owners as though that would somehow save their business or justify their existence. Get over it.

      • obarthelemy

        Alloy rims are nothing like content. The proper analogy is having to re-buy all your CDs, DVDs and change ISPs+Pay-TV providers when switching TV set. Sorry, couldn’t come up with a car nor pizza analogy.

      • Kizedek

        We werent taing about specific books/titles/content, we were talking about Apple opeining up its proprietary book platform.

        I think this is your whole problem. You have bought into a complete hardware / software duality — ie. MS or Google as OS/software provider, and OEMs as hardware providers, for which there must be “open” software available.

        Apple devices provide both hardware and software features that needn’t be separated. As an integrated company, Apple does both software and hardware, and both are differentiating features of its products.

        .pub, pdf, etc. are open formats for individual files. Fine. iBooks is a software platform with proprietary features that add value to content. iBooks is a feature that differentiates an iDevice just like its one-piece aluminium casing. There is no need to “open” up iBooks as though software should be treated differently than other aspects of Apple’s work.

        W are well aware of the so-called “loced-in nature of an iDevice; it is not a problem. The problem is when a monopolist like MS or Google locks in your office, your company, your local coffee shop, your city, your ISP, your company… Do you not see the difference?

      • obarthelemy

        “Do you really not see the difference? One is your personal device, one is the environment in which you have to operate.”
        No I don’t. Replace “environment” with “ecosystem” in your sentence. They mean the same thing. The only difference is that Apple haven’t been as successful as Google and MS getting market share thus network effects, but they’re using the same lock-in approach as MS et al before them, at an even higher setting. Google have a Takeout page for migrating out data, and have a OASP version devoid of their cloud services, so I wouldn’t put them in the same bag as MS and Apple, really.
        Apple is using proprietary stuff to differentiate, lock in, and extract rent, like MS with Office.If history teaches us one thing, is that this is a trap. Whatever short-term gains are achieved in features we get to pay for several times over later.

      • Kizedek

        Well, I beg to differ. “Environment” and “Ecosystem” can mean the same thing — in the scientific/ecological sense. But perhaps this is just another example of how you have trouble with analogies and metaphors, and like to fasten on to the wrong part of what is being compared.

        I should be able to tap into various Ecosystems (in the computer sense) to which I personally subscribe from within whatever physical environment I find myself at any given moment — at the office, at the coffee-shop, at the airport.

        My Ecosystems (in the computer sense) are a function of how I configure my own personal device or the services to which I personally subscribe — or, yes, sometimes even dependent upon which device I chose to buy for myself in the first place.

        The computing characteristics of my physical environment, however, are usually beyond my control unless I am using my own wifi network at home.

        When something is beyond my control, I like to imagine that I am in a public, democratic, neutral space, with a level playing field; or, at worst, that I am under a benevolent dictatorship that I choose to operate under.

        In the both senses, your personal Ecosystem/habitat/biosphere means nothing if someone drains the swamp, bulldozes the forest or builds a parking lot, thereby causing wide-scale, Environmental damage in the name of progress.