In an earlier article, I fought Apple’s use of close source. Now, I see why they did it.
After reading Steve Jobs’ biography, the reason that Apple chooses to keep their source closed became very clear.
It’s all about the “End-To-End User Experience,” which I will abbreviate to the EUE for the sake of this article.
What is the EUE?
When Steve Jobs started Apple with buddy Steve Wozniak, he understood that if you controlled what the customer could do with the device, you could also control the experience. This means that from the time you open the package, to the time you sell it or throw it away, you know exactly what to expect- in Apple’s case, sophistication, beauty, speed, etc.
When you use your Microsoft PC, your computer may be fast, but the programs bloated and slow. In this case, you should like the computer, but you don’t. If the programs are quick but the computer is slow, then you should like the programs, but you won’t. Jobs effectively removed that out of the equation by saying, why can’t we make both really good?
When you use an Apple PC, your computer will be fast, and because the programs were designed with the same level of care and high quality, (not to toot apple’s horn) and will run quickly as well. This means that you will enjoy the computer and programs more, because neither is depreciating the other. This ties in nicely with iTunes, iPods, and the iStore. If you want a song on your iPod, you want the store you buy the song from to be good, the player you transfer the song in to be good, the device you’re using to play the song to be good, the computer you’re using to download the song to be good. That’s a lot of pressure to put on other manufacturers, who may not live up to the Apple standard, which would drag down the user experience.
Instead, what Jobs did is he removed the uncertainty. You know they were all made by the same company, and you know they’re all going to be of a certain quality.
You can see companies like Google doing this as well, with less aggressive business practices.
While Google does not force you to use Google products with Google products, they make it easier and encourage you to do so. Google’s products (Android, Google Search, Youtube, Chrome) work better with other Google products (Chrome OS, Blogger, Picasa, Drive). If you use them in tandem, you get a better experience.
If you control the EUE, like Apple does strictly or even loosely like Google, your users will be happier. The cool thing is that Google does it while remaining mostly open source!