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Startups a Safer Bet Than Behemoths

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the bahamut-better-still dept.

Businesses 378

Former Slashdot editor ScuttleMonkey raises his voice from the great beyond to say that "TechCrunch's Vivek Wadhwa has a great article that takes a look at difference between startups and 'established' tech companies and what they each mean to the economy and innovation in general. Wadhwa examines statistics surrounding job creation and innovation and while big companies may acquire startups and prove out the business model, the risk and true innovations seems to be living at the startup level almost exclusively. 'Now let's talk about innovation. Apple is the poster child for tech innovation; it releases one groundbreaking product after another. But let's get beyond Apple. I challenge you to name another tech company that innovates like Apple—with game-changing technologies like the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad. Google certainly doesn't fit the bill—after its original search engine and ad platform, it hasn't invented anything earth shattering. Yes, Google did develop a nice email system and some mapping software, but these were incremental innovations. For that matter, what earth-shattering products have IBM, HP, Microsoft, Oracle, or Cisco produced in recent times? These companies constantly acquire startups and take advantage of their own size and distribution channels to scale up the innovations they have purchased.'"

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378 comments

The Stones. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251104)

"Start me up..." TWANG TWANG.

Re:The Stones. (0, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251188)

I know that my post is blatant visibility whoring, but why call him former editor Scuttlemonkey?! Did he move on to greener pastures, is he a casualty of the economy? Did he piss off too many readers? Did he beat up Rob Malda during a drunken heated Android vs. iPhone argument?

Where's the press-release, man?

Re: Where's Scuttlemonkey? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251476)

He's being held hostage at Apple HQ. His job is to post slashvertisements to help combat stuff like this [comixed.com].

Apple and the others... (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251114)

They don't innovate. They scrape the internet looking for ideas, making products that are "just different enough" to avoid existing patents, and they buy up startup companies just as you describe. Just because Apple has better press management skills doesn't mean they don't have similar business practices. Apple is not an exception -- stop dodging this just to please the fanboys.

Re:Apple and the others... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251218)

I think Apple are paying for this never ending hype BS. That have a massive cult like following. I've seen Apple product since the IIe and they have not come up with anything I hadn't been able to buy before they released their version. These examples are dumb: iPod, late to the game mp3 player, didn't take off until they stopped their fixation for proprietary codecs. iTunes - appalling front end for a web-store and cruddy media management. iPhone, very late to smartphones, front end copied from N710 free media player. App store a blatent ripoff of what linux users had a decade before and pay-apps in the infamous Lindows. iPad? Eh, slates have been around for a very long time. They're all still shit at consumer level, but will likely hit the spot within the next two years, for all platforms (well, maybe not windows).

Re:Apple and the others... (5, Insightful)

fat_mike (71855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251400)

That have a massive cult like following. App store a blatent ripoff of what linux users had a decade before

Hmm...This cult thing seems to be contagious.

Why would they want to innovate? (5, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251306)

Real innovation means that their existing products no longer sell because everyone buys the innovative product.

So why would an established company scrap their existing investment?

What they want is something new enough to be interesting ... but not different enough to threaten their cash cows ... that supplements their existing product line.

Apple is great at that. Look at the iPhone. New iterations of their existing product that never threatens their laptop / desktop computer segment. But can supplement it and works well with it.

It is only the startups that don't have an existing investment to threaten that will take the real risks.

Which is why software patents are bad. They allow the existing companies to sue the startups and limit the innovation.

explorers, pioneers, settlers (5, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251324)

Explorers discover or invent things. Pioneers are early adopter to integrate and make useful these inventions. Settlers reap and create a bussiness ecosystem around the places proven by pioneers. Apple has mainly been a pioneer, and microsoft a settler. Apple did not invent the GUI or Dynamic Memory, or Switching power supplies, or Post script or the Mouse. But they did pioneer the use of those technologies. Microsoft and dell/compaq settled those. They did not invent or truly pioneer MP3 players but they did advance that sufficiently to call it their own and then they settled it. Apple did not invent unix, but they did pioneer moving it from the etherial workstation market to the consumer market and now they have settled unix in the consumer market.
Other than their pioneering in search, Google is purely a settler in every market they occupy. Unix on devices, e-mail, documnet process, thin clients (aka "the cloud"). If you want to call google a pioneer then you have to think of it as a meta-pioneer: integration is really what they are about. But That is almost the definition of settling.

Microsoft did pioneering work in a few areas such as windows GUI on embedded devices. You might say that was apple or palm however.

Apple to it's credit actually does a lot of exploration you don't ever hear about. ARM processors? Power-PC processors? Firewire? Conformal Batteries? But they don't really play that angle up a lot. Lately I've been really impressed with microsoft's investment in the visualization field so maybe they are starting to innovate again.

I also suspect that Microsoft has a shot at becoming a settler in the "cloud" field. THeir new Azure technology seems to be just what bussinesses of many different sizes are going to need to go to managed IT.

Re:explorers, pioneers, settlers (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251596)

My work gave everyone a free copy of that book. I guess someone out there read it.

Re:Apple and the others... (4, Insightful)

strayant (789108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251384)

I don't see how an iPod is "game changing" and Google Maps is an "incremental innovation." They BOTH are "incremental innovations". Music players, nay, MP3 players most certainly existed before Apple came into the game.

Is it me, or is the Apple/Google comparison a touch off topic? Sure, they are both popular, but get to the point about the STARTUPS! Hell, I'd even request a comparison to a large company that isn't those two giants.

Re:Apple and the others... (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251388)

They scrape the internet looking for ideas, making products that are "just different enough" to avoid existing patents, and they buy up startup companies just as you describe.

So?

Startups may have great ideas, but they typically lack any experience in industrial design, design for manufacturing, project management, manufacturing, distribution, law (especially customs and import law), marketing, retail distribution management, and customer support.

A brilliant idea is a wonderful thing, but that's only one tiny step in putting a product in consumers' hands. Just because the "behemoths" will purchase a startup for and idea and an injection of enthusiasm, that doesn't mean they don't add a whole shit-ton of value to the process. Trying to argue which part is more important is moot, since neither side is of much value without the other.

No kidding (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251390)

You know it is BS when they trot out the iPhone. Please explain to me how the iPhone is at all innovative. It is a touchscreen smartphone. Not only had I seen those before, I'd seen lots of them. The smartphone market was well established when Apple came in. They may have done theirs better than some others, they may have presented it in a package more attractive to consumers but those are not innovations, those are good design and marketing.

An innovative product is something that is new and different. It is something that people didn't think about before but now go "Oooo, I see a use for that." For example the microwave was an innovative product. It cooked food in a completely different way, using a different technology.

Apple hasn't been in to innovation much at all these days, but the iPhone is the worst example of all. It is their least innovative product, and an example of them going in to a well established market. None of that means it isn't a good product, or a popular one, but you need to separate those from innovative. After all, LCD TVs are an incredibly popular product these days, but certainly aren't innovative, we've had LCDs around for decades.

Unfortunately I think too many Apple fans drink the marketing kool-aid and think that everything Apple does is "innovative". They feel like that matters, for some reason, that somehow it isn't ok to but a product just because it is good and you like it.

Re:No kidding (1)

sgraar (958944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251486)

The problem is that talking about Apple and Google gets attention.

An example of this is the fact that most of the posts here talk about them and not about the article which concerns the difference between startups and established companies. What is sad is that I have just done the same by replying.

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251614)

It's a *multitouch* smart phone with non-sequential voicemail and a walled-garden application ecosystem that is very, very large. No, there weren't other smartphones that were just like it. However, that said, no, that's not "innovation" in a sense that would be believed by anyone but a marketroid; that's a solid incremental improvement: good systems integration, nothing more. Oh, and I have two of them.

Re:Apple and the others... (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251444)

Apple is like 4chan: Neither innovates much on their own but both are where ideas go to become famous. 4chan does it through its massive userbase and Apple through polish and an excellent marketing department.

Re:Apple and the others... (0, Troll)

4iedBandit (133211) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251468)

Really? How amazingly successful were all those cell phones which only had touch screens and no keypad/keyboard before the iphone?

I'll grant you that they don't usually come out with entirely new categories of devices. But what they do which no one else does, is radically change them in ways no one else is willing to risk.

iPod: Reduce the buttons, polish the interface. Integrate seamlessly with iTunes. Made a user experience that was superior to anything else out there. Push for reasonable prices on content. Fought for and eventually won DRM free content with the publishers.

iPhone: Whole screen touch screen interface with just one physical button. A user experience that is superior to anything else out there. With the iTunes App Store they made it easy to get applications which users can be relatively sure will function well and not blow up their phones.

iPad: Completely redesigned the tablet computer interface. Something no other company was willing to do. Huge color screen and great battery life. It also hooks into iTunes and makes it easy for people to use.

I'm getting tired of all the trolls on here who continuously say that Apple sucks. I've got news for you all: the reality distortion field that Steve Jobs projects is JUST A MYTH! If Apple didn't produce insanely great products which people want to buy they would be out of business. In fact, had Jobs not come back Apple computer would have died years ago because they were simply trying to do what every other PC company was doing.

Too many self-proclaimed tech-heads forget that the vast majority of people out there don't care if a device has every feature including the kitchen sink. What most people care about is if the device just works. They don't want to think about it. They don't want to program for it. They don't want to fix it. They just want it to work every time they pick it up. There's no other company that does this better than Apple. Simple marketing tricks may boost sales in the short term, but you have to have a solid product to maintain it in the long term. Remember "Plays-for-sure?" I'm pretty sure my iPod and iPhone have both outlived that.

The Apple anti-fan-boys will easily dismiss this and I'm not saying Apple is perfect. Apple may not be first to market, but they are more than willing to push the market in directions no other major player is willing to go. As long as they maintain their fanatical devotion to design and ease of use, they will become the dominate player in the industry. And it's going to happen faster than anyone thinks.

Don't like their stuff? Don't buy it. But the market seems to like Apple products pretty well, and it's not because they're simply following what everyone else is doing. Fads change much faster than that.

Re:Apple and the others... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251558)

> Really? How amazingly successful were all those cell phones which only had touch screens and no keypad/keyboard before the iphone?

Lack of "success" does not validate the idea that Apple has been "innovative". If anything, it confirms the idea that Apple is like Microsoft but with better marketing. They take ideas that other people have struggled to bring to market and add a little marketing and polish to them. That is not innovation, that's salesmanship.

The author is falsely conflating Apple salesmanship with innovation and buying into the fanboy propaganda.

Re:Apple and the others... (4, Interesting)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251650)

iPod: Reduce the buttons, polish the interface. Integrate seamlessly with iTunes. Made a user experience that was superior to anything else out there. Push for reasonable prices on content. Fought for and eventually won DRM free content with the publishers.

That's not Inovation, that's simple refinement. There is absolutely nothing Inovative about any Apple Products. Even the ][e wasn't inovative. It simply used existing tech in an interesting manner.

I'm sorry to say it but Apple does very little inovating of hardware. Where they tend to be very effective is seeing what the user wants and giving it to them.

Re:Apple and the others... (1)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251600)

"They don't innovate. They scrape the internet looking for ideas, making products that are "just different enough" to avoid existing patents, and they buy up startup companies just as you describe. Just because Apple has better press management skills doesn't mean they don't have similar business practices. Apple is not an exception -- stop dodging this just to please the fanboys."

Windows Mobile was on the market for how long? Why the fuck did it take so long to get a decent phone interface? You can bitch a lot about Apple (I'm a Mac user & i own an iPhone4) but regarding them as "just different" is seriously doing them a disservice. They aren't some saving grace, but they do drag the tech sector kicking and screaming towards reality. Witness the iPhone, iPad, iPod.

In reality, Apple spends 10% of the marketing that Microsoft does.

Re:Apple and the others... (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251640)

Isn't that what innovation is? You take an existing idea, see how it falls short with regards to demand and functionality, and improve upon it. Voila! Innovation! Often, this innovation is simply taking a smattering of smaller, disassociated innovations and turning it into a Finished Product.

Seriously, though. This article is a bunch of nonsense. Not only was I able to think of innovation within several large tech corporations, but I was able to think of some within their "do not innovate" list:

* Intel and AMD: been paying much attention? We've got a bunch of changes here: Intel has ULP Atom CPUs that rival the traditional power-sipping ARM processors now, and in the past 5 years both Intel and AMD have made use of AMD's 64 bit and VT CPU extensions.
* Nvidia and ATI: GPCPUs and CUDA, we're seeing some crazy advances here.
* Oracle (well, Sun): they brought us ZFS, BrandZ/zones, dtrace, and have been large contributors to Xen. How are these not innovative products? There's nothing else out there which is quite like them.
* Microsoft - let's be fair here. These guys have had some pretty innovative products over the years, even in recent times when their products have trended for quality improvement over feature improvement. .NET was a fairly innovative approach (which, yes, they largely "copied" from other ideas, but approached differently). Silverlight, likewise. Meanwhile, there have been incremental improvements of fair significance in Microsoft's desktop and server products: even though I don't like their Office ribbon crap, it's still innovation, and many people like it once they get used to it. That's little different than Apple feature superiority snobbery (which I can't stand, either).
* Nintendo: they're a pretty large company, and yet we got the Wii out of them - arguably a gaming game-changer in many regards.
* Citrix, VMWare, and VirtualBox have all seen significant improvements - innovations.

Is this innovation wrapped in fancy consumer marketing and sold in a shiny box? No, not always. Who cares? It's still tech industry innovation.

If this isn't innovation, ask yourself: how much of an innovation is the iPad, really? It isn't, really, considering how many similar devices came before it and how quickly everyone else was on their tail. The only thing truly 'innovative' about Apple since the inception of the MacOS X has been it's marketing and vertical integration in a nice consumer "appliance": plenty of tablets have come and gone long before Apple did it.

I challenge anyone to name one feature in the iPad (or iPhone, for that matter) which is truly 'innovative' and hasn't been done (often ad-nausea) many times before and which isn't just an OEM bundle with a pretty skin. Just one! I've yet to see one.

Tech innovator? WRONG! (1, Informative)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251116)

Wait... Apple is a "tech innovator"? BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Wrong. Apple uses last gen (or barely current gen) tech in their devices, and trots them out in shiny packages with pretty UIs. Sorry, epic fail.

Re:Tech innovator? WRONG! (2, Interesting)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251186)

"...and trots them out in shiny packages with pretty UIs."

I think you meant well-built packages and user-friendly UIs.

Re:Tech innovator? WRONG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251244)

I think Willy meant what he said.

Re:Tech innovator? WRONG! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251268)

Is that why apply products have a ticking timebomb in the form of non-user replacable batterys?

Re:Tech innovator? WRONG! (2, Insightful)

sgraar (958944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251502)

You can have them replaced by Apple.

I'm not defending — or criticizing — non-user replaceable batteries, just stating that calling them time bombs is a bit of an exaggeration.

Re:Tech innovator? WRONG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251556)

You can have them replaced by Apple.

I'm not defending — or criticizing — non-user replaceable batteries, just stating that calling them time bombs is a bit of an exaggeration.

So, you're basically saying...

Batteries: Replace Different.

Google vs. Apple - Bias? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251254)

Agreed.

If you think that the iPad is a groundbreaking innovation and (for example) Google Docs is not, you're seriously biased. Both are "incremental innovations". Tablets have been around for a long time, and so have office suites. While Google did improve some things, like collaborative editing, Apple did just improve the UI without adding any remarkable technical features.

The term "technical" is far to often used for things that are clearly not technical (like UIs), just because they are used on electronic devices like phones and computers.

PS: I'm not a Google fanboi (i don't use it at all), I just used it as a comparison.

Re:Google vs. Apple - Bias? (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251304)

Yeah. As an example of good, early tablet use, take a look at hacked ePODs one ' s

http://www.amazon.com/Salton-EP1-ePods-Handheld-Computer/dp/B00004YNWY [amazon.com]

http://www.lonnypaul.com/epods-hacking-info-archive/2005/11/29/ [lonnypaul.com]

This artifact from a dot-com flameout was hacked early in the 2000's to allow web surfing and remote desktoping from the underlying MIPS Windows CE impelmentation. A handful of WiFi-b cards were supported. I had one, and everybody thought, at the time, it was really the bee's knees.

Re:Tech innovator? WRONG! (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251338)

Wait, so to be an innovator, you can't focus on design aesthetics, battery life, and other practical concerns? If its not bleeding edge, its not innovative?

Maybe you need to get your head out of your ass and realize that "innovation" != Ghz.

Re:Tech innovator? WRONG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251526)

If its not bleeding edge, its not innovative?

Insofar as presented by the summary, it might well be. It talks about groundbreaking technology, and dismisses Google as a polisher. But this is totally incorrect, as the examples of Apple products given were not ground-breaking at all. I'd call them ground-smoothing if anything.

Which is not bad, it is quite good, but I hope you can understand why some folks are reacting negatively to what is apparently a rather biased article. Calling Apple a "tech innovator" is the problem, not what Apple does. Well, except when it comes to them saying they have the latest and greatest tech, but really, they just polished things up. That is kind of smarmy.

And that's why we don't like the Apple fanboi's.

Re:Tech innovator? WRONG! (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251574)

The article was specifically talking about "tech" innovations, which doesn't include things like aesthetics, battery life (unless it's a new kind of battery altogether), or other practical concerns.

Since Apple doesn't actually make any hardware, I'm at loss as to how anyone could call them a tech innovator.

Re:Tech innovator? WRONG! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251416)

Except they completely change the paradigm of how people actually consume products. Apple brought MP3 players to the masses, multitouch to the masses, modern smartphones + mobile apps to the masses, etc. There are clear before and after effects. If you think innovation is purely in an algorithm, you're a moron that clearly has never tried to actually productionize anything.

TechCrunch is garbage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251126)

How many false stories have they "broken?"

And now this fluff piece?

Here's another earth-shattering conclusion: People with more to lose take fewer risks.

Also, please define "safer bet." That certainly isn't with regard to investment safety.

VMWare (4, Informative)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251132)

"I challenge you to name another tech company that innovates like Apple--with game-changing technologies like the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad."

VMWare. It's owned 80% by EMC, which is a behomoth and totally innovation free. Yet VMWare puts out a lot of very innovative products.

Google made wave and gwt (4, Informative)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251144)

Google made Wave* and GWT which are both quite innovative solutions.

*And then dropped it again.

Dismissing Google? (4, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251158)

Google has quite a few features I use a lot that noone else offers. Google Docs for things I like to keep location neutral while still having full create and edit abilities while not downloading anything. Google Voice to keep my phone number portable along with all its other features. Android running on my as well as millions of other smartphones. etc. Google doesn't innovate? Sounds like selective memory with a bias towards Apple to me. About par for a Slashdot submission as of late.

Re:Dismissing Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251432)

While I love and use every product you mentioned the article was talking about big companies buying startups and then using their own distribution channels.

Google bought Writely and turned it into Google Docs.
They bought Grand Central which became Google Voice.
They also bought Android Inc.

Fantastic products to which Google added a lot, but the initiation was done by a startup.

Re:Dismissing Google? (1)

Z8 (1602647) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251506)

Yep, there's also Google desktop, and Chrome. (And if you count dropped products, Wave. Although that was probably "too innovative" to be successful.)

Also, it's not like Google search was finished 5-10 years ago. Improving search (or even keeping it from deteriorating) requires tons of innovations (e.g. MapReduce). Doing anything at Google's scale makes innovation a necessity behind the scenes. They've also added new search features like Google scholar which I use a lot.

Re:Dismissing Google? (1)

SpammersAreScum (697628) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251532)

Unfortunately for your argument, Google Voice previously existed as Grand Central; Google just bought it and integrated it.

Double standard (5, Insightful)

ICLKennyG (899257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251162)

Oh you mean how apple buys up startups to produce their products or how the iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad were really just incremental innovations of other services and products that people were already offering?! Yea, I agree. Apple is the greatest tech company, but lets be honest; they are more polisher than innovator.

For those of you who are new to the tubes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Nomad [wikipedia.org], http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PressPlay [wikipedia.org], http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartphone [wikipedia.org], http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tablet_pc [wikipedia.org]
Yes, Apple's products did improve upon all these ideas, but they weren't earth shattering. They just used Apple's "size and distribution channels to scale up the innovations" and bring it to the masses.

Re:Double standard (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251204)

the iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad were really just incremental innovations of other services and products that people were already offering?!

I'm no Apple Fanboi, but I think it's fair to track the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad paritally back to the Newton. Of all the really old tech, I think they resemble that more than anything else from the early 90's. Was there any other predecessor to the Newton that made it to general-consumer mass production?

Re:Double standard (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251274)

Apple never claimed to have invented digital music players and in fact the purpose of the iPod was the create a usable nice looking digital music player which is what they did. The iPod wasn't great but compared to the butt ugly Nomad it was awsome.

Apple innovates in design and interfaces and those things are just as important as anything else.

Re:Double standard (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251480)

Apple innovates in design and interfaces and those things are just as important as anything else.

That's why the GP said "polish" the form factor and UI of a technology is largely polishing. Why is this such a hard concept for the average Slashtard to understand?

As far as the polish being "just as important." Seriously? So if the fundamentals of the underworkings of a product are flawed it's A-OK by you as long as it looks pretty? Jesus fuck. No wonder this place is so fucked up anymore. This is not longer about geek, it's about making a fucking fashion statement.

Re:Double standard (0)

Karlt1 (231423) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251340)

For those of you who are new to the tubes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Nomad [wikipedia.org], http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PressPlay [wikipedia.org], http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartphone [wikipedia.org], http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tablet_pc [wikipedia.org]
Yes, Apple's products did improve upon all these ideas, but they weren't earth shattering. They just used Apple's "size and distribution channels to scale up the innovations" and bring it to the masses.

1. Creative Nomad (before the iPod) -- oversized, horrible interface, and a slow computer interface
2. Smartphone -- before the iPhone, which phone had a standards compliant browser and usable media software. Are you really seriously going to say that the standard Palm, BlackBerry, or WinMo device was anyhere near as usable as the iPhone in 2007?
3. PressPlay -- subscription music, before iTunes, where could you *buy* mainstream music by the song and have unlimited rights to burn them to a CD?

--Bill Gates
http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20100211/bill-gates-on-itunes/ [allthingsd.com]

"Steve Jobs ability to focus in on a few things that count, get people who get user interface right and market things as revolutionary are amazing things. This time somehow he has applied his talents in getting a better Licensing deal than anyone else has gotten for music."

Re:Double standard (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251490)

The Nomad wasn't the great innovation, the Rio PMP300 was. Well, actually some obscure device form Korea was but the Rio 300 was the first MP3 player people actually heard about.

Re:Double standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251626)

With respects: Sufficiently advanced polishing is indistinguishable from innovation.

On the computer science side of things, Apple seems to have the talent of anemic undergrads; but their polishing, packaging, and industrial design skills are often the difference between a piece of crap people reluctantly use and something most people either like to use or don't mind using. Their products are far from perfect, but once I try other products and see how much more painful they are -- e.g., my friend who bought an iPhone-like phone and started swearing at it within the first few minutes -- I realize my complaints are much less urgent that they'd be with most (possibly all) other devices. I never would have bought the original Nomad or flash-based players back in the day, because Creative didn't make it pocket-sized and flash players didn't have enough memory. Both were close, but no cigar, while the iPod got it right for myself and many other consumers. I could go through all the current Apple competitors in various product markets and what needs to change before I'd buy them, but hopefully you get my point.

Apple not very innovative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251164)

Apple isn't actually very innovative. They have had one good idea and the rest is just taking that idea and cramming whatever stuff they can into it.

ipod/iphone/ipad/itunes is not innovative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251166)

They are just polished products - there is nothing ground breaking about them per se.

All were preceded by someone else doing largely the same thing, Apple just has good user experience on top of the same ideas that everyone else had, is having, and will have in the future. Sales success != innovation

Apple innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251174)

How are the ipod, iphone and ipad innovations? They were better styled than competitors but hardly the first digital music player/smartphone/tablet computer. Maybe my memory is going but we had mp3 players before the ipod and smartphones before the iphone, right?
Surely what apple was doing with its iblank is just as incremental with what Google is labeled with here?

Re:Apple innovation? (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251544)

I think it's pretty obvious that according to TechCrunch, an innovation is "something that impresses the fanbois." If it doesn't impress the fanbois (i.e. is not made by Apple), it's called a "failed experiment" regardless of how innovative or successful it is.

*cough* (1)

halestock (1750226) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251176)

"Google certainly doesn't fit the bill—after its original search engine and ad platform, it hasn't invented anything earth shattering." Playing down the accomplishments of large, established companies doesn't mean they're not innovative, but it does seem to indicate bias by the author.

Re:*cough* (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251264)

"Google certainly doesn't fit the bill--after its original search engine and ad platform, it hasn't invented anything earth shattering." Playing down the accomplishments of large, established companies doesn't mean they're not innovative, but it does seem to indicate bias by the author.

Exactly. I'm biased myself, as I work for one of those large, established companies. Google didn't invent search, online maps, or online ads. But Google's offerings in those areas kick the butts of the older stuff the way the iPod, iTunes, and iPad do in their areas; if one is innovation the other is too. But then, Wadhwa being an idiot is nothing new.

I'll certainly agree that Microsoft doesn't innovate. IBM does, but not in the consumer product area (does copper interconnect ring a bell? How about supercomputers... I seem to recall IBM occasionally getting ahead in that game of leapfrog.) Cisco... I actually don't know, but again it wouldn't be consumer products... if they made a really innovative new router which switched 100 times as much data for the same price, who would know except the relatively few people who run high bandwidth switching points?

Re:*cough* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251270)

Of course Apple invented MP3 player, cellphone with touchscreen, Internet distribution of content and tablet computer.

Startup? (1)

Heather D (1279828) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251194)

Apple is over 30 now. Of the four examples given in the OP only one might qualify as real innovation.

Re:Startup? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251470)

Which one is that?
  • Ipod: Years before Apple was hip, I had a CD player that played data CDs with MP3's on them. Changing from spinning optical to spinning magnetic media is incremental.
  • Itunes: This is a massive joke if they are referring to the audio player. If they are referring to digitally distributed music sales, that is again only incremental over Napster (which just failed to monetize itself correctly).
  • Iphone: Blackberry with a touchscreen.
  • Ipad: Just another tablet.

The common theme is that the products are well polished and well marketed. Not that they are groundbreaking.

How many slashverts per day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251196)


  But let's get beyond Apple. I challenge you to name another tech company that innovates like Apple—with game-changing technologies like the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad.

Andriod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251200)

Um...how about the #1 smartphone OS?

Re:Andriod (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251232)

First, it's spelled "Android."

Second, Google didn't innovate a damn thing, they bought Android. [businessweek.com]

Re:Andriod (2, Interesting)

valeo.de (1853046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251504)

They bought the company that invented the Android platform back in '05, sure. Are you really saying that in the last five years they've done absolutely nothing innovative with the platform though? I'm not saying they have (my knowledge of Android isn't as vast as my knowledge of the underlying tech, like the Linux kernel), but just because they bought the start-up that created the platform initially, doesn't mean they shouldn't get credit for all the work they've done since.

Apple is marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251208)

Apple makes nice front ends to existing technology. The innovation at Apple takes place in its marketing department.

IBM is a safer bet than Twitter (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251222)

I'm an angel investor, so I can talk fairly competently on this subject.

Let's compare a well known behemoth (IBM) with a well known start-up (Twitter).

If I invest in IBM, I'm guaranteed a healthy return. Barring any major disaster, IBM will consistently return a profit on what I invest.

If I invest in Twitter, I'm not guaranteed a healthy return. My returns may be enormously higher than investing in IBM if the company is successful, and I might lose my entire investment if the company goes bankrupt.

This actually has some real world ramifications for me. The majority of my money is stored away in Corporate Bonds for major companies, because I know that I have a very low probability of losing the money and a very high probability of seeing at least a two to three percent return on my money every year. That's what makes behemoths a safer bet than start-ups. I only give about 15% of my assets towards start-ups at any time, because for the most part, I will break even in what I invest or lose about five to six percent of my investments.

I angel invest in companies for the fun and excitement of creating something, not because I want to make money.

Apple? innovate? choke! (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251236)

Their main innovation is in the marketing department. Really. That and "prettifying" existing tecnologies so that your average consumer won't think it's a nasty technical thing that they won't understand. Now, while that does have some value - especially to their stock price, it's not exactly pushing the boundaries of technology.

It's not even valid to compare the number of patents a company takes out, as a measure of it's innovative measure, since everyone is patenting everything as a marketing ploy to stop other people doing it first.

IBM??? (4, Insightful)

Ken Hall (40554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251246)

IBM innovates more than just about anyone, but most of it is behind the scenes. How about GMR disk technology, for one? Before that, a terrabyte took up a whole room. Now it sits in your hand. Never mind a lot of memory and CPU tech. Problem with IBM is, since it's the biggest of the behemoths, it can be hard to look below the layers of marketing and management to see the cool stuff going on. The startups get a lot of press because they're trying to be seen. That raises capital. The bigger companies with established capital keep their innovations close to the vest till they're ready to exploit. That way, even if they have to share them with others, they still have a bit of a head start.

Re:IBM??? (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251322)

This. IBM has felt the wrath of the government before. It's in their best interests to lay low and keep pumping out cool technology without a lot of fanfare. Speak softly and carry a big stick.

Another problem (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251434)

Is that innovation is often something that you can't see, because it applies to early tech. It happens behind the scenes, and you don't see the results for many years. For example is a scientist invents a process for using carbon nanotubes to produce sub 11nm processors right now, engineers won't be able to develop that in to a workable fab solution for probably a half a decade or more. Then once it is workable, it will take time to design a CPU using it, and build fabs to produce it. By the time yo have the 11nm CPU in your home, the technology is 10 years old.

Also it doesn't seem innovative on the surface. "Oh look, someone made a faster CPU, because that hasn't happened for the past 40 years." You don't see the massive innovation behind that faster CPU.

Consumer products are not on the cutting edge usually because you don't want cutting edge. The cutting edge is expensive, and riddled with problems because it is new. You want tech that has been developed and tested, that is easy and stable to use and can be purchased cheaply. Nothing at all wrong with that, it just means that you rarely see an innovative consumer device.

Re:IBM??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251542)

Not to mention the IBM Model M buckling-spring keyboard, the greatest keyboard ever made.

Earthshattering? Apple? (1)

RJarett (114128) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251258)

How the hell are a crappy set of cellphone, laptops that are 2x the price for the same specs, and media players that cannot play common formats considered earth shattering?

The only thing innovating about Apple is their ability to market to the tweens to Gen XYZ crowd.

Their hardware is subpar.

VMware is innovative and Earth shattering, Google is innovative and earth shattering. There was nothing like Google Earth of the scale of google maps prior.

Re:Earthshattering? Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251368)

Google Earth, aka. Keyhole EarthViewer 3D, you masochistic whore of a slashdot poster.

This is not news to anyone in the stock market (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251278)

Really, this is not news. Higher risk means higher expected returns, if there weren't higher expected returns, noone would invest their money into higher risk ventures. Large Cap companies widthstand widespread financial turmoil better, but Small Cap companies tend to climb out of a recession faster and have much higher growth potential. This is simple logic

Re:This is not news to anyone in the stock market (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251554)

Higher risk means higher potential

returns.

FTFY. Most tech startups never make it to IPO. The assumption is that those that do make it to IPO or get sold to a large company more than make up for those that don't. That's because your downside is limited to 100% of your investment (if you are investing properly). So if 2/3rd go bust, you need 1/3 to return more than 200%. If you can only afford to invest in one pre-IPO startup, you shouldn't be investing in pre-IPO startups.

But I think this article, by concentrating on the successful startups ignores all those that didn't make it to IPO. Articles in the late 80s about tremendous growth of tech companies generally ignored what happened to Kaypro, Spectravision and a few thousand other.

Incremental != None (1)

Bazouel (105242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251282)

Google *is* innovating. It does so in a similar way as Philip Glass music. You listen to it and you barely notice how it evolves and keep adding to the whole, but should make the effort of listening to the beginning and then the end, there is a *huge* difference between them. Google is slowly but surely changing our lives. Apple is more about blowing our mind, which honestly besides the iPhone, there is not much else that did it. Small incremental innovation is still innovation.

Street view (1)

golrien (528571) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251286)

Was providing satellite imagery of the entire world to a level where I can make out the plants in my garden, and then providing street view for every single road in my country something that was done by a startup and then bought by Google? Or is something anyone could do with a weekend and a camera mounted on their car?

News to me (1)

bm_luethke (253362) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251298)

"with game-changing technologies like the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad"

I'm glad to know Apple spent many hours inventing all these things and then gave away their ideas years - and sometimes - decades before they released their own version. Why, I bet the even told Xerox how to make a GUI!

Indeed, the few things Apple truly invented on their own flopped - though in their defense most truly new ideas *do* flop. Apples innovation is in marketing and their reality distortion machine, not their products (see antenna detuning, macbooks sharp front edge for a number of years, insistence on a one button mouse for years, etc).

Innovation is more than just a pretty GUI (4, Insightful)

dwguenther (1100987) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251314)

The author seems to be taking an awfully narrow view of innovation, as if it only matters what occurs in front-page consumer electronics. All of the big companies he names are quite innovative in commercial software and hardware in systems like industrial control, telecommunications and finance that are too complex and specialized to make the splashy tech news. Occasionally news of some big company innovation like IBM's new mainframe makes it to the front page, and reading about the history and technical details of an achievement like that gives some realization of the magnitude of technical progress and innovation going on behind the scenes.

DUH! (1)

SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251356)

Anybody who's worked at both ends knows this. Big companies don't do much organic growth because the small markets don't generate enough income and it's too hard to know what the big markets will be 3-5 years down the road. It's cheaper and safer just to let the market place itself out and then buy a promising company rather than invest in developing something and then probably end up buying a promising company because they have better technology or started from a somewhat different premise.

ipod is an innovation? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251358)

whos this moron? I thought slashdots for geeks? Not a Justin. Bieber loving teenagers.

depends on what you mean by safe (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251364)

Safer in what way? There are very good arguments for investing in the big companies like IBM, Coca Cola this is how Warren Buffet works and how he got so rich - read the Intelligent Investor by Graham (Buffets mentor)

Working for or investing in a VC company has a greater reward but also a greater risk. -I did not lose money on my BT share save scheme in one particularly good year people made $80,000k – unfortunately not me.

But I lost $1,000,000 on paper when the vc backed company I worked for in 2000 went down and that company was a coop, so I had a bigger sweat equity share than the average employee of a vc backed firm does by a long way.

And the surprise is...? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251396)

The advantage of being big is being big.If you instead spent it on 100 small new innovations with no real interdependence, you're no better off than 100 small companies. The whole value is in being able to deliver integrated total solutions the smaller competition can't, it's the only thing justifying the bureaucracy and overhead of being a big company. Mostly they compete not head-to-head but almost like a game or RISK - plenty effort being made to support the borders and juicy cash cows in the center that nobody else manages to serve because it requires interoperability with everything else.

So yeah, almost all the innovation happens in small companies that are bought out. But that's where pretty much all the total failure is too. Big companies have their problems too but most of them never really go under except as a brand, they get bought up by somebody else if they're not doing well. And it's a little easy to say big companies don't innovate to stay big, for example Intel has been the 800lb gorilla in the chip market for quite some time now, but they've done everything but stand still. Even the few times they've taken a wrong path and AMD has caught up on them, that's because they made the wrong choices, not because they didn't try to innovate.

Screw this guy (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251404)

Ok, first of all, how are you going to talk about 'startups' doing all the 'innovation' then go on and on about Apple, a company that's been around since 1977? Oh, wait, I forgot. Everything before OS X 10.0 was just a dark phantasmal nightmare of beige plastic and doesn't count.

Second of all, the likes of Apple don't create core routers capable of moving 322 terabits per second [cisco.com]. They're also not creating electronic chess grand masters [ibm.com], are they? Nope. But at least they're shiny!

Disclaimer, I'm writing this on a MacBook Pro that I'm fairly fond of. It's a nice machine. It's hardly ground breaking or innovative. It has some nice features, and it looks pretty, but frankly I, think being able to move 322Tb/s through a router is a little more earth shattering than a fucking music player.

Big Pharma model (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251406)

Big companies acquire and market, small startups do the real R&D. Increasing reliance on IP which means increasing reliance on government lobbying by the large corporations? At least FCC/FTC is no FDA...

Economics 101 (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251414)

Startups exist to either (a) do something wonderful or (b) begin a process of concentrating vast wealth and material resources.

Corporations AKA "behemoths", OTOH, exist to cement and maintain a successful concentration of wealth (for the execs and shareholders, not so much the rank and file).

Humor at its finest (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251418)

Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!! This is the funniest thing I've read in years. Apple hasn't counted as a startup company in twenty years!

What earthshaking things have the giants done? Let's see...IBM's technologies underlie your high-capacity hard drives. Yeah, those ultra-high capacity drives? IBM developed the technology to record 1Gb/1" square. IBM patents more of its own stuff than any other company in the world, and tons of stuff rely on their development work. Cisco? Ever heard of the Internet? No, they didn't invent it, but without them it would not perform the way it does today.

Now, Apple's iPod? An iterative improvement on the original Walkman. Oh, wait...that was Sony, another giant company, that innovated the personal, portable digital storage media.

Why judge hardware? (2, Insightful)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251422)

The references are all to hardware products. What about Gmail's innovation to get 8gigs in a free account? It used to be hard to get 50mb in your attached account. Innovation is not limited to physical products. I love most of apple's stuff, but this is awfully dismissive. It's an assessment of goals based on a narrow definition.

Challenge Accepted (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251436)

I challenge you to name another tech company that innovates like Apple—with game-changing technologies like the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad.

GE, DuPont, Lockheed Martin, Dow Chemical, Intel, ARM Holdings...and most other large companies with big R&D budgets. All "tech" companies like Apple do is repackage technology developed and sold to them by companies like those I just listed and market them. Apple is an advertising and UI innovator. Good for them. The iPod isn't a game changing technology. It's a UI made possible by the R&D of true scientific innovators.

Who is more innovative? (1)

theflyingturtle (1279972) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251454)

Don't know why this an "Apple Story", but ignoring that part, the article suggests an interesting premise; are startups better bets? More likely to innovate? Sure, I can buy that, startups are often founded around one or two ideas that none of the established companies are currently offering. Safer? Probably not, if one is thinking of investing, while there are exceptions established companies are more likely to play it conservative and far less likely to go belly up. Thing is as someone who is currently working at in a startup company working on a, imo anyway, potentially revolutionary product, the end goal of the vast majority of technology startups is simply to develop a product to the stage were you can get your patent portfolio purchased by a large established company. Who would then go on to taught the innovation as there own and develop it for mass market. If we could leave aside the Apple aspect. What does Slashdot actually think. Are small flexible startups better able to truly innovate? Or are large companies with, huge R&D budgets those pushing the boundaries? I can think of examples to support both sides.

Google Maps is more revolutionary than the iPod (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251474)

If you want pound for pound revolutionary change to society, Google Maps has done way more to change our lives than the iPod, which is really just the next step on the evolutionary chain started by the Sony Walkman. Incremental, my ass. It has single-handedly democratized the way we interact with location and geographical information.

The iPhone was pretty revolutionary, though, touching off a revolution in how we integrate handheld devices into our social lives. And GMail is mostly a souped-up Hotmail that sucks slightly less.

Also, both Google and Apple began as startups with revolutionary products, and both have had hits and misses over the years.

I have no idea what the point of the original article was. None of its assertions sound remotely true.

Incremental ?? (1)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251488)

While Google's myriad diverse products are either ignored for convenience or brushed off as incremental, the author doesn't seem to notice that there might be something incremental about the four Apple products he mentions. Maybe he should try putting them next to each other?

He accuses the other big companies of buying their innovations, and forgets that Apple bought the idea (and dev team) for the iPod, and bought the OS and took the browser that it need to scale the iPod up to become iPhone and iPad.

Perhaps the author just wrote this ridiculous article to stir up controversy and get attention? Perhaps what is happening here is that people who don't understand technology only value innovations that they can put in their hands (helps if they are shiny too).

I would say that it takes more innovation to create diverse products like Go, Earth, Goggles, and Wave, then it does to buy the idea for the iPod, and it is the iPod that leads directly to each of Apple's four innovations.

Incremental innovations? (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251492)

with game-changing technologies like the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad.

A - nothing "game changing" about ANY of those.
MP3 players (both hardware and software) existed for years before iPod.
So did mobile phones - many of them far better and more innovative than iPhone. FFS how many generations was it before iPhone was able to use MMS and copy/paste?
And iPad is nothing more than a big iPod. Again... tablets have been around for years before that.

Yes, Google did develop a nice email system and some mapping software, but these were incremental innovations.

B - Seriously? Some mapping software?
Was there actually something like Google Maps and Google Earth before Google released those? Something that I'm not aware of?
For free, might I add. Just like that "nice email system" that made mailbox sizes a thing of the past.
When was the last time Apple or MS gave away anything like that for free?

And C - ScuttleMonkey is basically contradicting himself.
First he goes on how patents are bad [techcrunch.com] and tosses around an example of Apple and "over 1000 patents" connected to the iPhone.
Then, he goes on about patents being inherently bad for the "innovators" - and again tossing around an example of Apple as an innovator.

Well gosh darn! Apple must be magical like their commercials claim. [hijinksensue.com]
Not only is it an innovator, but a behemoth who is an innovator AND one that is immune to the patent-poison too.

And then he ends it all on a piece de resistance of this whole ordeal by making patents OK - but only if you are a startup.

Simply put, if we are serious about lifting the economy out of its rut, we need to focus all of our energy on helping entrepreneurs.
Provide them with the incentives (tax breaks and seed financing); education; and infrastructure.
And gear public policy--like patent-protection laws--toward the startups.

Not sure how is that supposed to work though.
Only startups get to patent things?
"Behemoths" like MS, Apple, Google, IBM etc. will not be allowed to buy patents? Or startups?
What good would it do to a startup then to patent anything unless they can sell or license it to make much needed cash?
And what will happen to a startup that grows into a "behemoth"? Google was a startup too about a decade ago.

Should startups and "behemoths" REALLY be forced to choose between making a profit and innovating - through legislation?
Gee... I wonder which path would they choose.

Re:Incremental innovations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251642)

B - Seriously? Some mapping software?
Was there actually something like Google Maps and Google Earth before Google released those? Something that I'm not aware of?

Yes?

Terraserver, for example, was providing satellite maps online before there was a Google(or at least around the same time). I can't recall if it gave street directions or anything, but I know there were other sites doing it.

Combining the two isn't amazing innovation. They did well, but it was just polishing.

Google did not invent Google Maps (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251644)

Was there actually something like Google Maps and Google Earth before Google released those? Something that I'm not aware of?

Yes. Google obtained that technology by acquiring Keyhole [wikipedia.org] in 2004. Google Earth is just Keyhole rebranded. Keyhole had the zoom-in from orbit, the ability to fly over terrain, and the smooth dynamic switching to higher resolution data, just like Google Earth has now. But it was a pay product, one that cost about $79 a year. There was an NVidia promotion; a free version that only worked with NVidia graphics cards. I had a Keyhole subscription in my DARPA Grand Challenge days.

Nintendo (1)

Music2Eat (1878664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251496)

The only tech company I can think of that consistently innovates is Nintendo. From the analog stick, to the rumble pack, to motion controls. Nintendo is always out front with new and interesting ideas.

Re:Nintendo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251636)

this man clearly knows what he is talking about, seconded.

100% Garbage (3, Insightful)

Alcoholic Synonymous (990318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251568)

I'm sorry, but this is garbage.

Summary: "Apple is awesome. Everyone else sucks."

What could have been a valid point gets derailed by blatant fanboi blinders. Apple is NOT an innovative company either. It's an innovative spin doctor. They are good at convincing people they must have a trimmed down, stylized, and monetized versions of established technologies. iPod? MP3 players. iPhone? Smartphones. iPad? Tablets. iTunes? Napster.

Further, Apple is just as into buying up established tech and upstarts to inject life into its glossy image as everyone else (SoundJam MP). It even buys open source projects when parts it requires are at risk of being GPLv3'ed (CUPS). Hell, if it were not for FreeBSD's license terms, there probably wouldn't even be a OS X or iOS at all.

Putting Shinola on things is a far cry from being innovative.

Stability vs. radicalism (1)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 3 years ago | (#33251594)

Organizations and other social constructs by their very nature are geared towards stability and survivability. The larger they are, the more conservative they get.
Large organizations are inherently hostile to radical thought and behavior which are necessary for innovation. Their best strategy is to use their endless resources to search and buy small start-ups rather than to futilely try to innovate in a self-defeating environment.

What!? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33251616)

I'm sorry, did we wake up in 2010 and forget the last 30 years of software development? Google continues to reinvent itself and encourage innovation, did we all forget what life was like back when Altavista was your best bet for a search engine? Did we forget that huge improvements in storage, artificial intelligence, and data mining have brought the world together with technologies like instantaneous automatic translation between a few dozen languages? The last 10 years have seen some of the most impressive free software ever released, and they're a giant corporate sponsor... Is someone living under a rock?

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