By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 6:18 pm
I continue to think of my iPhone not as a phone but as a personal computer. Which is why I continue to be so nonplussed about Apple’s barring of some applications on the grounds that they compete with its own apps, and others at (reportedly) the behest of AT&T. The moves may well serve Apple’s short-term goals. Long term, though, I think they’ll make the iPhone a weaker, less useful platform. That’s not in the interest of iPhone owners, Apple, AT&T, or (come to think of it) anyone except Apple’s competitors.
All of which got me wondering: What if an Apple-like App Store had been the been the only sanctioned way to acquire software for other major computing platforms? Like, for instance, Microsoft Windows? And what if, in this alternative universe, Microsoft’s policies and actions had mirrored those of Apple today?
It would have changed everything–and not for the better. After the jump, a speculative FAQ about the Windows App Store.
Well, maybe, in theory at least–after all, it doesn’t sell Microsoft Office as part of Windows, so it couldn’t use the “it duplicates functionality that’s already in the product” excuse. Call me a cynic, though, but I suspect that competitive office suites would have run into trouble if Microsoft had controlled all Windows software distribution. And hey, didn’t WordPerfect duplicate features in Notepad?
When Netscape first appeared in 1994, the current version of Windows (3.11) didn’t have a browser. Even Windows 95 didn’t have one at first–Internet Explorer was part of the extra-cost Plus Pack. Then again, Windows 95 did ship with the dreadful client for the original version of MSN, a proprietary online service which definitely did compete with the Web. That might have been reason enough for Microsoft to nix Navigator for duplicating Windows functionality. And once IE was part of Windows, Microsoft could have given Navigator the boot retroactively.
They all appeared long after Windows got a browser as standard equipment. No, no, and no.
Seems unlikely, doesn’t it?
Almost certainly not–it unquestionably duplicates features in Windows Media Player. I’m not sure what this would have meant for the existence of iPods as Windows peripherals…
Hmmm. It does duplicate functionality in Paint, but maybe it does enough other things that it would have had a shot. Although it’s possible that Microsoft might have rejected it on the grounds that it could confuse people.
Yes, but it also sells a lot through Amazon–one of the virtues of partnering with everybody rather than one company is that you’re less likely to play favorites. Also, even Apple doesn’t block sites from appearing in Safari.
Interesting idea, but it sounds kind of complicated.
I would hope not. But then, I’m naive about these things–I also thought Apple would give SlingPlayer the go-ahead.
Yes–if it were following Apple’s approach:
Yup–and I’m sure that Microsoft would have issued press releases quoting all kinds of impressive numbers.
My point exactly!