The Big Squeeze


Apple gives away software for free in exchange for your buying their hardware. This is not charity. It’s also in marked contrast to Google, who gives away software for free in exchange for selling your attention (and personal information) to advertisers. Apple and Google are squeezing Microsoft from both sides, and the result is that less and less perceived value in the industry resides solely in software. You can make money selling hardware (like Apple) or make money selling ads (like Google), but given the popularity of Apple’s hardware and Google’s apps and services, it’s getting harder for Microsoft to make money by selling software.

This view has been expressed before, but it bears repeating — especially after being brought back into such sharp focus last week when Apple made pretty much everything but their pro apps free of charge.

Another interesting tidbit from Gruber’s blog is that upgrading to iWork 5 leaves your old iWork apps installed on your computer. It moves them to a subfolder in Applications called iWork ’09. I’m happy with the new version of Numbers, but I went back to using the old Pages. It’s not that I missed any of the functionality Apple stripped out, because I never used it to begin with. But I hate the new toolbar. It sits there, un-hideable and unloved, constantly trying to take my attention away from what I’m writing. Now I know how Word users feel about the Ribbon.

It’s not the end of the world. I no longer upgrade software for the sake of upgrading. So if the new stuff doesn’t work, just use the old stuff.