“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
While this well-known quote by George Santayana stems in one of his writings from 1905, these wise words have been true since the beginning of human history. The practical application of this quote is most usually made by history professors in the context of human oppression and consequent revolution, such as British occupation of the Colonies leading to the American Revolution, or colonization and oppression of India by the same European aggressors and subsequent battle for independence by Indian freedom fighters. However, I would like to take George’s words and think about how they apply to the technology industry setting.
Historically, technologies which have been open and inclusive to change have not only survived, but have actually thrived throughout their evolution. Compare this to technologies which have been proprietary or closed. They have eventually met their fate. Can anyone say VHS versus Betamax? How about to a somewhat lesser extent, MAC versus PC? I feel the same thing is taking place currently in the Smart Phone industry. When an organization tries to control which and whose applications can and cannot exist on their devices just because it may provide similar or better services, (Yes, I am currently an iPhone user), a counter culture will most certainly develop that promotes change and the true values of the free market. We are now seeing that with the rise in sales of Google’s Android-based phones and many more new applications which were originally denied existence by Apple, e.g. Skype, gVoice etc. This, in the smart phone industry, is just as natural an outcome as angry Bostonians throwing English tea into the harbor when imperialist taxation got out of control.
In my opinion, Apple needs to reevaluate and change their approach to include the new guys with competing applications. Time will tell the outcome of all of this, and history will record it for future business organizations. But I would like to end this blog with a reminder straight from Charles Darwin regarding ultimate success: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, or the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Adaptability leads to survivability in the technology world too.
Are you also waiting for your iPhone contract to be completed so you can leverage iPhone denied applications like for free international calls or maybe the application which allows you to provide instant feedback to your Congress Representative regarding pending legislation? I am.