iPhone Store Not Completely Open

Apple has one of the best reputations in American business today. Its products are revered, its CEO is idolized and its stock has been put on a high-priced pedestal.

All this obscures some rather troubling facts: Its computers are overpriced and because they're from a single source, many enterprises are forced to steer clear. And as the king of the Mac, iPod and iPhone platforms, Apple rules with an iron fist.

The latest downer is how Apple is treating iPhone developers. You'd think Apple would want as many iPhone apps as possible, what with Google set to enter the market and Microsoft already a longtime player. As John Belushi might have said, “But noooooo!” If your app competes with Apple’s own software, there's no place for you in the iPhone store.

Ever wonder how cool things would be if Steve Jobs and Bill Gates traded places? How would Apple and Microsoft be different with this kind of switch? Random conjecture welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Ballmer Upbeat
Remember some time around 2000 when Steve Ballmer said tech stocks were overpriced, and months later the tech bubble burst? Ballmer was right about those stocks, and nearly all of them, including his own, took a beating.

While I wasn’t happy that Ballmer was right back then, I'll be pleased if he's right this time around. Last week, in three separate speeches, Mr. Ballmer argued that the tech sector had “buoyancy” and wouldn’t collapse despite the Wall Street debacle. In fact, he has so much faith in his company that Microsoft is buying back $40 billion worth of MSFT shares.

Oracle Takes the Hardware Road
In 1996, Oracle made a run at the hardware with The Network Computer, which as I recall was a $200 dumb terminal that used the Internet to serve up corporate and consumer apps. PCs at the time were cheap enough -- and Web apps lame enough -- that it never worked.

Now Oracle is back in the hardware saddle, this time with a vastly different and higher-end strategy. This time, the Oracle hardware is designed to support a massive database server and a separate storage appliance.

The move is more about packaging than innovation. Oracle will simply blend its software with HP hardware. Still, moves like this make it easier for IT to buy, install, operate and maintain systems, so there's a clear net plus.

Mailbag: More Microsoft Ad Thoughts
Here are more of your thoughts on Microsoft's new "I'm a PC" ads:

The "I'm a PC" ads are much improved over the Seinfeld ad! The Seinfeld ad was funny and quirky, but really failed to get the message across. I like how the "I'm a PC" ad directly addresses the Apple commercial. It does a nice job of eliminating the spin Apple tries to put on PC users as un-cool, nerdy business types. It effectively shows that a wide variety of people in a wide variety of scenarios choose to rely on Windows-based PCs because they do work super-well, regardless of the Apple spin. Why Microsoft did not do this from the start is puzzling! Is this commercial 3.0? It must be, because MS finally got it right!

The Mojave Experiment commercial and Web site is also a good effort to calm the Vista misconception storm. Bravo, MS! Your marketing efforts are looking much, much better now!
-Jason

I'm a PC for now...but just out of necessity!

I wonder if Microsoft is having problems with its ad campaign because most of the creative minds in the advertising industry use Macs. It just seems like millions of dollars should be able to buy higher-quality ads than what we've seen. I guess we could give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt and maybe, just maybe, it's saving the best for last.
-Richard

I don't see the "I'm a PC" ads as defensive, but rather as mocking. MS took the bull by the horns -- a gutsy move, in my book.
-Bernie

The latest MS ads are even more reason to buy Mac. Keep up the good work, MS! The world is laughing at you. Doesn't Microsoft know that "PC" equals "Piece of Crap"?

The one where the "regular Joe" people are shown the "Mojave Experiment" then told it's Vista...they must have pulled those morons out of the Mojave. If they didn't know Vista and how badly it sucks, why should they have any credibility?

-Tom

Join the fray! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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