Should vendors be adaptive or obstructive towards apps developed by competitors?

I came up with this question while going through the latest news about Apple blocking Sony’s e-book app and Kindle might be next in line.Sony said in a prepared statement that it has “opened a dialog with Apple” but has “reached an impasse at this time.” On the other hand Apple says that we are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability
to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.
This is definitely not the first time it has happened and vendors like Apple have been obstructive towards the apps of competitors on nearly every level i.e. iPhone, iPad and MAC.
It is anticipated that this sort of rivalry will get more common when we have open operating systems like Android being offered by almost every other vendor. What variables and reasoning do you anticipate behind these decisions? Do you think in the current open source environment, companies restricting themselves to their native apps can survive? Will the users adapt to friendly environment devices or closed ones such as Apple’s?


  • There is a powerful argument to say that vendors should be adaptive to apps developed by competitors. One reason is that if you be obstructive, the competitor is likely to collaborate with another of your competitors and will achieve their goals without you. Instead, be open to working with your competitors to create a joint solution that betters both of you. So long as you calculate the impact on your original business model, you stand a great chance of becoming a better organisation.
    Some open source organisations like Linux, Mozilla and Ruby on Rails have become such popular hits due to their open integration with plug-ins, adaptions and apps. It is the end user who benefits most from such open collaboration.

  • This is a loaded question and in my experience there is no correct answer other than: it depends. In the case of Apple they are bound to the Xcode foundation that makes them in a sense proprietary (obstructive). They use Xcode to their advantage because that is their standard and to change that is costly. So, one factor in this question is development platform.
    Next comes usability which is in the eyes, and minds (and fingers) of the beholder. “User friendly” sells, which is why so many are following the “i-friendly” models (adaptive). Hardware vendors who venture into software areas tend to be very obstructive but often fail to produce advantageous software because they simply have a different mind set about development (the exceptions are those vendors who have a long history of both hardware and software).
    Open source held the promise to level the playing field; and it did in fact in some cases. But the ultimate proof is in the attention or money advantage. If the market is well established, going with the flow (adaptive) reduces marketing costs for newcomers. In a non-establish market, uniqueness is where the money is (obstructive). And of course, there is the smart bunch who know when to switch from obstructive to adaptive as in Apple moving to Intel. As a business you must understand where the market is: established or new, and plan accordingly. But, understand in the outset when the market advantage indicates switching then plan for the least impact of that change in the development cycle.

  • This is why Apple is a “Closed System!” Developers should support Android instead.
    Sony and Kindle will probably have Android Readers out in Q1 of this year…
    I am writing an e-Reader for Android myself for a client. Oracle JavaSE Rules!

  • We at Live Editions plan on staying on course to provide open access to content and the ability to read purchased content across a large number of device. This includes, PCs, MACs, Tablets, Smart Phones and TVs as the application space becomes available on Set Top Boxes.
    We envision two ways to read content; offline using downloaded apps and online through a standard browser. The Apple announcement makes it very likely that the only reading experience that we will make available to iOS users is an online experience.
    It is regrettable that Apple maintains a walled garden approach on their tablet and smart phone devices. Hopefully, in the future, trends will require them to amend their protectionist policies

  • Dirk Myers

    So many times I find myself frustrated with the way Apple does things. It amazes me sometimes how they are able to do business. How can a company benefit at all by shutting so many people out of their playground?
    Funny thing is, I work on a Mac at the office, and own a MacBook Pro and and iPhone that travels with me. My kids have iPods, and my wife has a MacBook. I never used to be that way until I started using one. What the have defies so much of what I think would work, but it does.
    I can honestly admire that though. In a world where companies prostitute themselves to make the customer happy Mac tells you to use the stuff the way they make it or live with what the other guy puts out. McDonald’s did that at one time, and would tell you the Big Mac was a trademark and they wouldn’t change it for you. They made a great product every time. Like many companies they started listening to the consumer and gave them anything they wanted. Now more variables are added to each menu item and more items are added; in addition to those many variables are also many more opportunities for mistakes.
    Honestly, there is a time and a place for everything, but I think Mac shows a pride in it’s product that I think other companies need to stand up and notice.
    I am not normally this long winded, but I guess this is just an area that trips my trigger. I appreciate the question and am sorry for being verbose.
    Have a great week,

Leave a Reply