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Comment on "Follow-Up to "Secret Ingredient""
by Dan Price — Sep 05
Cheers for the kind words Scott! I can't emphasize enough just how different these product/platform business models are.

Microsoft's strategy is aggressively target the enterprise market. To the individual, products like SQL Server 2005, TeamServices, .Net 3.0, ISS etc seem bloated and unpolished, crammed with features that no-one customer could ever make full use of. iLife they are not. But to a 3rd party, these 'middle tier' products represent the foundation of potential business applications, the scalability of which Apple is unlikely to ever match on it's own.

There is a 'follow-my-lead' attitude among some MS partners who attempt to emulate this strategy and this can stifle innovation; it's hard to walk far from the path Microsoft has itself set. The reality is this business model can only really work for one company; Microsoft. Playing in the Microsoft sandpit can be dangerous for this reason - successful 3rd party products have a tendency to become Microsoft products.

It's also a mistake to compare Apple with Microsoft in this sense. MS could never 'start from scratch' as Apple effectively did in 2001 and the same goes for their ability to innovate and take risks; they have to support these middle tier products and the ecosystems they sustain. Apple really has no such equivalents, at least not in the enterprise market (except may xGrid, and xSan).

It's not all about the OS wars! And for as long as OSX runs only on Apple-branded systems, they could hardly be called competitors either. Next to all this, Zune, Origami, even Vista are all peripheral. But those are the products we as individual consumers care about - It's a whole different ball game for big business.
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