Tim O'Reilly On Apple As An Innovator

Tim OiReilly, the man behind OiReilly the publishing company, has published an interview with himself about Apple as an innovative company. The interview was actually conducted via e-mail by David Zeiler of the Baltimore Sun, but Mr. OiReilly says that most of it wasnit used (as is the case with most interviews). Accordingly, he wanted to publish the full text, and we are glad he did, as the subject matter is interesting, and we value his thoughts on tech issues.

The comments cover issues such as whether or not Apple or Microsoft is an innovator, how Apple has innovated, why the companyis market share is so small, how Linux fits in, and some holistic thoughts on where the computer industry is today. A snippet:

Success always has a thousand fathers. Neither Apple nor Microsoft invented many of the technologies that they brought to prominence. So "innovator" in that sense is perhaps exaggerated. But what Apple does so well is to realize the potential in a technology, and to frame it in such a way that people discover that they need it. In a way, they are cultural innovators more than they are tech innovators. They have a really great sense of where technology is going. Microsoftis slogan "Where do you want to go today?" may be apposite -- Apple is great at asking "Where do you want to go tomorrow?" and helping to take the industry there. Apple tends to be a market innovator, while Microsoft is a fast follower, delivering that next generation of technology to a wider audience.

A great example of Appleis current market leadership is their realization that "productivity applications" now means applications for managing personal digital assets (music, photos, and videos), while the rest of the industry remained stuck in the 80is definition of office productivity. Their iLife suite is shaping up to be the Microsoft Office of the 00is.

Iim also incredibly impressed with Rendezvous. A lot of companies (notably Sun Microsystems, with Jini and Jxta ) have been working on this concept for years, but Apple is the first company to get it right. Rendezvous is truly revolutionary. Itis one of the things that is going to have the largest impact on application design over the next couple of years. All the UIs, and all the security models, are going to have to be rethought once all applications are rendezvous-enabled. And that is going to happen. Of course, Rendezvous is just the local version of the peer-to-peer concept that Napster and Gnutella launched on the world. Weire just at the beginning of the second internet revolution, and Rendezvous is a big part of it.

Thereis a lot more in the full article, and we recommend it as a very, very good read.