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Tue 18 Mar 2003
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
Category : Commentary/giants.txt
With Sendmail Enabler, I've a taste of how much power is available when one can tap into the Unix command line from a GUI-based application. I'm reminded of Isaac Newton when he said he was standing on the shoulders of giants.
In this very same way, that's what Apple is doing with OS X. Apple didn't create Sendmail, Apache, Java, XML, Unix, or almost everything else that went into the foundation of OS X. What they had was the genius to put the hardware and software together in this incredibly useful way.
That's is akin to a much-praised feature of the economics of the Microsoft-led world - that companies like Dell and HP had the whole world as their laboratory, and that's what's allowed them to make PCs cheap as commodities, spelling the doom of a company like Apple.
When the tables are turned, you don't get many people who noticed that change. I have a theory that the people who write for journals like BusinessWeek don't really understand what they're writing. They see a company that's rich and they find reasons that make good reading about why it's hot. But they're always three steps behind the curve and not much use if you're looking for insight.
That's why this article at InfoWorld is interesting (Apple's Risky Business) - interesting because it's a contrarian view from within a traditionalist IT bastion like InfoWorld. And also because I believe, like that author, that studying Apple will help you understand the rest of the IT industry that much better.