A lot of people have already commented on Apple’s decision to relax the restrictions on the tools and languages that you can use to create iOS applications:
In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.
What I haven’t seen is anyone wondering why Apple made that decision.
I have followed Apple for long enough to stop believing that they do anything that doesn’t directly benefit them. I just don’t buy the “We heard the developers and we want to please them” reason. It just doesn’t look like Apple.
And then this morning, I read Gartner’s report predicting that Android is now the number two mobile operating system in the world and might even become number one by 2014:
The worldwide mobile operating system (OS) market will be dominated by Symbian and Android, as the two OSs will account for 59.8 percent of mobile OS sales by 2014, according to Gartner, Inc.
I predicted such an outcome a few months ago, but Gartner’s analysis goes even beyond that.
I think these two announcements are connected.
Apple knows the numbers better than anyone else and they realize that they need to start playing nice if they want to remain relevant in the mobile space. Steve Jobs can’t possibly be happy to see the same Windows/Mac movie play out for the second time, especially after he came so close to his goal with the iPhone.
I expect that we’ll be seeing more restrictions lifted about iOS and the app store and probably a few dramatic price cuts on all iOS devices in the coming months, but all these measures will do is slow down the inevitable.
In a nutshell, Gruber was completely wrong about this:
So from Apple’s perspective, changing the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement to prohibit the use of things like Flash CS5 and MonoTouch to create iPhone apps makes complete sense.
but right on with this:
I’m not arguing (up to this point) that it benefits anyone other than Apple itself.
I also think that this:
I don’t think Apple even dreams of a Windows-like share of the mobile market. Microsoft’s mantra was (and remains) “Windows everywhere”. Apple doesn’t want everywhere, they just want everywhere good.
is complete nonsense.
Apple, just like Microsoft, wants total world domination. But since it can’t seem to get it, it has to settle for a looser winning criterion, such as “Quality first, market share secondary”, “We want market share and profit but if we can’t have market share, we’ll settle for profit”, etc…
Whatever the final outcome, I’m sure Gruber will be able to explain that it was Apple’s plan all along.