Apple’s Role in Spurring Social Software
Yesterday and Sunday, The New York Times on the Web published a pair of stories that deftly chronicle how the entertainment and computing industries are converging, as the proliferation of social software such as WiFi, peer-to-peer networking, and handheld devices continues to force both industries to evolve.
At the center of this convergence is Apple. The computer company, during the second tenure of Chairman Steve Jobs, has remained a distant second to Microsoft in terms of personal computer operating system market share. But recently, Apple has been at the forefront of several several social software initiatives that make the company vitally relevant. Through its AirPort system, Apple was one of the first companies to offer and simplify WiFi access through the personal computer. Apple is at the center of SubEthaEdit, a collaborative editing platform that allows all users to type anywhere in the text without locking parts of the text for other users. SNTReport.com was one of the first publications to cover this technology when Steve Arnold wrote a feature story about it in March.
And there is the iPod, Apple’s wildly successful handheld device. Apple now sells more iPods than it does computers, and the device (along with the iTunes Music Store) perhaps singlehandedly legitimized the market for downloaded music. The company introduced the iPod Mini, a smaller version of the iPod, in January to great industry acclaim and customer demand.
Perhaps most importantly, Apple has made its hardware and software easily compatible with the Windows operating system: the iPod runs on both platforms, and Apple’s computers generally interface well with networks that run the Windows platform.
Evelyn Nussenbaum. Technology and Show Business Kiss and Make Up. The New York Times on the Web. (Free registration required). April 26, 2004.
John Markoff. Oh, Yeah, He Also Sells Computers. The New York Times on the Web. (Free registration required). April 25, 2004.
Steven Arnold. A Mac Collaborative Editor Breaks New Ground. SNTReport.com. March 2, 2004.
(n.b. The Times places stories in their fee-based archives after seven days.)