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"It works in the short term, but I believe it will bite them in the ass over the long-term."

I disagree. Both Apple and Nintendo have shown proof that their closed 'circle of one' system works. Yes both of them have had a lot of big missed opportunities in the past because of this, but what matters more for these companies is profitability and not marketshare. Both Apple's and Nintendo's closed systems have led to large margins, and a healthy supply of cash flow and reserves.

Yes it doesn't really fully cater to us, but we're not their main market.

Apple has also shown that their closed 'circle of one' system does NOT work. That's why they lost to IBM/MS so long ago. Everything apple was proprietary and people went to PCs.

Good point. And to add to that in order to back in the computer business and come back from irrelevance, Apple had to progressively give up on everything that differentiated them from PCs except for the two things they are actually good at -- the gui and the nice shiny cases. And they had to make sure they could run most PC software.

If apple think their iPhone success shows that people like closed systems, they are kidding themselves. Phones have never really been open (thanks to the carriers), so the iPhone was actually one of the more open phones out there. But once they start competing with actual computers, it is going to be very different.

Yes! That is exactly what is wrong with this picture.

The Newton, just like any other tablet computer had a niche, vertical applications.

And it failed in that niche because of choices set in stone by the Apple team that developed it.

It wasn't open enough.

So, forward 21 years and we're in 2010, where we see a sequel to the Newton, running a proprietary OS on hardware that has been closed to the point where you can't even attach a USB stick.

I'm sure that lots more of these will be sold than there ever were sold of the Newton, but I doubt it will tap the potential of this form factor. For that it needs to be much more open and hackable.

This is just another remote terminal attached to the web, and more importantly for Apple, to itunes.

There is nothing wrong with remote web terminals, but as long as they are computers you should allow access to all that power, locking it and making it hard to put software on it is limiting, not enabling.

I'm not sure if that's really true. The problem with the first Mac was that it launched a couple of years after the IBM PC, and the hardware was underpowered for a GUI OS. By the time the Mac became useful and suitable for businesses, MS had already built too much of a lead for Apple to catch up.

That's what I refer to when I mentioned lost opportunity, the same goes for Nintendo with the advent of Genesis and PS one.

Apple and Nintendo aren't young start ups; they've been around for decades with closed systems. A closed system like iTunes is a big reason Apple has even gotten so successful in recent times; it works I.e they have made tons of money with a closed sys and they probably will continue to do so. Marketshare is another story.

Whether it makes geeks happy is also another story

I don't think it's at all clear that people "went to PCs" because the Mac was proprietary. Macs were also expensive, slow, monochrome, and you couldn't buy them from IBM or Compaq, for example.

The elephant in the room is the iPhone, where "circle of one" seems to be working extremely well. Maybe the model just needed some fine tuning.

Macs were also expensive, slow, monochrome, and you couldn't buy them from IBM or Compaq, for example.

All of those issues are precisely because the Macs were proprietary. If they hadn't been proprietary, none of the issues that made them lose to PCs would have been issues and they may have won the war. In the 80's, every school bought Apple IIe's, so they had the foot in the door.

Then, under the leadership of Mr. Jobs, apple slammed the door shut on their foot and here they are doing it again -- also under Steve Jobs.

Steve is the problem. Eventually, they'll realize this and fire him again when people get tired of his antics.

Starting off on a tangent, Windows is also proprietary. (MS just licensed off used of Windows)

Going back to the subject, before Steve came back Apple tried the MS game where they licensed everything about the Mac (from hardware to software). This strategy failed miserably; most likely because they were already too late.

Fast forwarding to today, Steve is not the problem. He is the main reason Apple is wildly successful today. If he didn't return and revive Apple with the products under his watch, Apple would most likely be gone. Saying Apple is not successful is like saying BMW isn't successful just because it doesn't sell as many cars as either Ford or GM.

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