Apple and Big Picture Strategy

I was sitting there watching Steve Jobs help push one of the biggest Software evolutions in history: The Web Application.

I sat there distraught, thinking, SNAP DANG, my blackberry's browser sucks. My Nokia browser sucks. I quickly installed Opera Mini 4 beta and hit the net on my mobile device. I jumped onto the iPhone Facebook site, logged in on my Blackberry Pearl and started poking around.

Just about then this thought came racing through my mind so I logged onto the iPhone Facebook site on my desktop PC. I was stoked. It worked in both places. Stupid me, of course it worked in both places. So then I started thinking, I wonder if I could use this on a Mac? I don't have a Mac, but I'm sure I could.

Then, this random stream of thought flew through my head: What if Apple is only going to allow a web (Safari) SDK to develop for the iPhone? What if they never release a stand alone SDK for the iPhone?

Well, first, this would probably mean that every application you'd run on the iPhone would be web based... well ah dah. Then I thought, I wonder if they will allow web plugins to run - What if I could run Flash on the iPhone? Then I could create a real RIA with full graphics capability, and use the Safari API's to access the cell features. I loved it.

Then I started thinking, SNAP DARN (Actually, it was more like, I wonder how I could use this for business??). Then I stopped. It slammed me straight in the forehead with no less ferocity than a four by four being slammed into the scull. I could use this for business, infact, I could use this phone for more business features than my Blackberry or my Nokia. And, I could do this all from within the Safari browser. I could not only log into my Intranet, I could follow links from my intranet into my Web Based business applications. So there I was looking at a nice high color graph in Safari thinking: "I can't believe people don't think this will fly in the corporate world".

Then it dawned on me. Apple does not have a very strong foot hold in corporate - in mobile, or desktop. A major issue for Apple was that none of the stand alone software would run on the Mac platform. Well, then came Windows Virtualization on the Mac. That solved the problem nicely, but it still doesn't help Apple. Why should Apple require virtualization to run business applications on their platform? Sure they can still sell more licenses! But why should Apple have Windows virtualization? This has to be helping their single largest competitor maintain it's foothold - and further, allows developers to continue to build applications for the Windows Environment - something they were already skilled and trained to do.

For Apple to grow in corporate, and consumer markets they needed to be able to leverage all the existing hot technologies out there - especially web based applications which nominalize the desktop Operating System. Further, Apple is branching out with it's other devices and including web browsing over WiFi and everything is based on the Safari browser.

So my theory was that Apple could gain a stronger foothold in the corporate market by forcing developers of the iPhone to develop mobile web interfaces. The back ends for these mobile apps would be leveraged against the desktop app (most likely the other way around). So Apple can easily and quickly have people build services for their devices - and easily extend web based business applications to the iPhone.

Further, if Apple can contribute toward the perception that all software will be web based ASAP then they can expiditiously eliminate problems where software will not run on the Apple Desktop.

So yesterday Apple announced they will be opening the iPhone to third party developers. Does this undermine their support of web applications being the future now? Will this negatively affect Apple's ability to reach corporate markets? Is Apple limiting itself to the consumer market? You tell me!

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