business

Apple’s iOS Development Manifesto: Are They Afraid of Android?

This caught my eye- Apple has released a new video featuring the full gamut of iPhone and iPad application developers, from tiny shops to tech startups to media giants. While I think it’s overall not too remarkable – merely an ad presenting the strengths of Apple’s development platform for mobile devices – I do think it very clearly presents Apple’s approach to the mobile market.

Seeing this video makes me wonder about Apple’s competitive strategy in the quickly evolving mobile device markets. In 2007, they forced the lazy rulers of the cellphone market to start innovating again – and now they’ve finally caught up and started producing high-quality phones, some of whose features apply to many niches better than the “one-size-fits-all” iPhone. Though not #1 in smartphone share, iOS (previously called iPhone OS) certainly dominates among those using their phones for more than SMS and e-mail. But has domination ever been Apple’s strategy? Since Jobs’ return to Apple, the company has shown no ambition to kill the competition; I think they in fact benefit from having competing products around to make the case of Apple products’ superiority. And while the iPhone and iPod certainly lead in their markets, OS X certainly doesn’t – and the three use Apple’s same approach to producing highly-polished combinations of hardware and software.

I’ve maintained that 2010 would be the year of the Android phone, and I think that so far things are turning out that way. Not in terms of an “iPhone killer,” but in terms of a serious competitor. The growth of Android devices, market share, and applications have all exploded, and the Android Marketplace is quickly evolving from a ragtag group of ugly tech utilities to genuinely amazing ones that contend with some of the best iPhone apps. I wonder how Apple views Android now, especially in the light of this video, which takes several shots at perceived downsides to the Android platform. It’s certainly true that today, iOS delivers the biggest return on investment for development work. But where will things go in the future? There are some critical differences in the platforms which affect their potential:

  • Apple’s AT&T exclusivity in the US
  • Approach to usability: Apple picks form & ease of use; Android says, “why not have an annoying menu button if it gives you access to a bunch more features?”
  • Android’s double-edged differentiation sword: can better target various niches, but also introduces fragmentation and compatibility concerns for developers
  • OEM and Developer innovation: On Android, new features can be created just about anywhere, anytime; iOS waits for others to innovate and then introduces a way to “do it right”

I don’t think most of these things are “X is better than Y” values but inherent differences in the appeal of different platforms. As an owner of both kinds of devices, I think we’re going to see Android push smartphone penetration to all kinds of new market segments, and be the new platform for innovation. I see iOS as a major player for the long term, though probably not hanging on to its current dominance of high-end smartphones. There’s plenty of room for both moving ahead, and the only thing that’s certain is that everyone gets more options in their search for the device that best meets their needs.

The New Three-Fifths Compromise

In short, the Supreme Court ruled today that proprietors of corporations are entitled to more freedoms than non-proprietors.

Does anybody remember the three-fifths compromise?

When considering this case, did the Supreme Court consider Section 2 of the fourteenth amendment? It states:

Representatives shall be apportioned …counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed…

A corporation is now a “whole person” under this interpretation. It is owned by “whole persons” who are already guaranteed representation, making them count more than once. This is literally a revival of the three-fifths compromise, as some are entitled to more representation than others. It’s unjust and tyrannical.

One last thing, for those who would argue that corporate personhood is fair because corporations are taxed: taxation does not a person make. I’d actually argue that double taxation should not exist for this same reason; as corporations are collective property of real people, those people should pay personal taxes on their capital gains instead of the corporate “entity” being taxed instead. This preserves the concepts of “no taxation without representation” and “one person, one vote” equally.

Responsible Economic Recovery

The Bush administration’s proposed $700 billion, no-strings-attached bailout of the financial industry is meeting strong opposition from Congress on both the left and right. Senate Banking Committee chairman Chris Dodd, a Democrat, said, “What they have sent us is not acceptable.” Kentucky Republican Jim Brunning said the plan would “take Wall Street’s pain and spread it to the taxpayers… It’s financial socialism, and it’s un-American.”

Not only is this plan risky, but it’s extremely expensive. For comparison, the “liberal,” Democrat-written economic stimulus act passed earlier this year totals $256 billion – $904 per American. (This includes spending over the next 10 years, not just the tax rebate check this year.) The Bush bill would give up to $2293 directly to irresponsible businesses on behalf of every single American. Conservatives, please take note!

The current financial crisis must be dealt with quickly – if we take no action, we will be in a horribly worse situation. But we have to make sure that we take the right action; there are no second chances at this. The rationale for any government intervention is that preventing the failure of these huge companies is not in the public interest. Indeed, if some of these huge companies were to fail, it would have a devastating impact across America. By contrast, the Bush bailout is simply a $700 billion check to the companies that are reaping the consequences of their irresponsibly risky actions.

The federal government must take actions that are truly in the public interest. This means not only keeping these huge companies from failing, but making sure that they cannot continue to take advantage of middle class Americans who are already struggling. Regulations must be put in place to ensure that taxpayers’ investment in these companies actually will benefit them.

The Barack Obama campaign has started a petition online for an economic recovery plan that actually works for Americans. This issue is clearly not a matter of left versus right. Americans need to come together and demand accountability and responsibility from big business and Washington as they plan our economic future. I encourage you to go sign it – this isn’t about Barack Obama or John McCain, or left versus right. It’s about protecting all Americans.

Here is the text of the petition:

Show Your Support for a Responsible Economic Recovery Plan
We are facing a financial crisis as profound as any we have faced since the Great Depression.

Congress and the President are currently debating a bailout of our financial institutions with a price tag of $700 billion in taxpayer dollars. We cannot underestimate our responsibility in taking such an enormous step.

Please sign on to show your support for an economic recovery plan based on these guiding principles:

  • No Golden Parachutes — Taxpayer dollars should not be used to reward the irresponsible Wall Street executives who helmed this disaster.
  • Main Street, Not Just Wall Street — Any bailout plan must include a payback strategy for taxpayers who are footing the bill and aid to innocent homeowners who are facing foreclosure.
  • Bipartisan Oversight — The staggering amount of taxpayer money involved demands a bipartisan board to ensure accountability and oversight.

Project Management is a Crock.

Actual test question:

“You are the project manager of a project that is executing. You are working on ensuring the application of systematic quality activities that were planned in the quality planning process, and ensuring that the project will employ all the processes needed to meet the requirements. Which are you performing?”
a) Quality Control
b) Quality planning
c) Quality assurance
d) Testing

For some reason, people with Project Management Professional certifications make six figures. Because of nonsense buzzwords like “ensuring the application of systematic quality activities”. I am calling foul.

Sometimes I hate being a business major.