Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Poisoned Apple?

Sitting here in Times Square between meetings, gazing at the ad on the Nasdaq board for their new iPad app a thought occurred to me - if AT&T has introduced a new 2-tier data plan (which I predicted 6 months ago to my ex-colleagues at Thomson Reuters), won't this have an impact on the usage (and value) of this app?

In looking at the new AT&T models, it appears most users will stay under their $25/month plan - but those numbers are not with devices running multiple apps simultaneously, something only recently can mobile devices do on the AT&T network. The usage described in their press release is very single-threaded and does not factor streaming updates to devices (if it does I missed it) which begs the question I asked my ex-colleagues - if the wireless carriers govern last-mile delivery of information, who holds the power for mobile computing?

Add to it the proposed alliance of over 20 of the largest carriers to build an app platform themselves, have information firms offering apps on the Apple devices jumped the gun? Have they now boxed themselves and have those who have yet to move into mobile computing have an advantage?

Have, as I suggested to my ex-colleagues, info providers made a error in jumping on the Apple bandwagon, only to be hung out by carriers themselves?

I'm sure many will say, no, Apple rules, but Apple has a terrible habit of imploding at their height. I'd argue they are on the verge of doing it again. For example:

- they aggressively push a closed, proprietary platform which they offer at a premium over their competitors

- they aggressively sue competitors or competitor's partners to defend their near-monopoly position

- their strength rests on the harmony of hardware and software

- their products follow a linear path and are not significantly different then their flagship product

Looking at Apple today and Apple of 20+ yrs ago, I see a similar company behaving the same way. Will history repeat? We'll know in 5 years......

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