It’s the mid 1980’s, and Apple is into its third generation of computers with the creation of the first Macintosh. Meanwhile, Microsoft has been solidifying its hold on the OS market by contracting a Windows system on every PC based computer manufactured.
It is right at this time that a paradigm is created. Apple’s desire for stern proprietary policies when it comes to software for their personal computers leads the majority of the world to create programs for pc-based machines, rather than Apple based ones. Microsoft becomes the world’s largest operating system seller, and subsequently, the world’s largest software company and Apple spends the next 20 years as a niche brand with a small loyal base of customers.
This changed in the early 21st century with the advent of the iPod, iPhone, and most recently, the iPad. Apple surged ahead in the consumer products market, and finally provided eager customers with exactly what they wanted in terms of entertainment and functional hardware.
However, Apple under the command of its CEO Steve Jobs, still lives in a paradigm that it is above the fray of reaching out to the consumer and that all roads should lead TO Apple, not the other way around. This mindset is proven once again as Apple has chosen not to attend the world’s largest consumer electronics show (CES) this year just as consumers want to embrace the iPad.
Is Apple making the same mistake it did 30 years ago by staying apart from the computing world versus integrating with it?
As CES kicks off this week, manufactures intend to show off their versions of the tablet computer, and will have no competition from Apple at the show. Companies such as Motorolla, Dell, and Samsung are unveiling imitations that may not be on par yet with the iPad, but more importantly, they will be in an environment to get their new products out into the public eye.
In an article yesterday from the Associated Press, it is estimated over 100 different tablet pc’s are in design right now to compete with the iPad.
But nearly every other company in the industry will be there for CES, which runs Thursday to Sunday and is the largest trade show of any kind in the Americas. A good many of them will show off their tablets — computing slabs with touch-sensitive screens. Big names expected to do so include Motorola Inc. and Dell Inc.
DisplaySearch analyst Richard Semenza estimated that a hundred different tablet models are in development, though not all of them will reach store shelves.
Over the past decade, Apple has been able to weather the competition and stay on top with their portable music devices such as the iPod, and their phone technologies of the iPhone. But even then, Apple made proprietary decisions such as selling the iPhone only to AT&T customers, and companies such as RIM and Motorola have been able to equal or surpass them with the Blackberry and the Droid.
Microsoft proved that embracing the industry as a whole helped create a system that 90% of the world uses, and to this day, the pc-based system is still the industry standard. Until Apple chooses to come off its proprietary cloud and open itself up to the customer, versus demanding the customer come to them, they will remain a well engineered niche in the computing world, but will be passed over and over by strong consumer driven companies.