Steve Jobs Ballmer look more and more like twins separated at birth or highly sympathetic fellow travelers. Look at the evidence. Both have tried to kill Java. Steve, oops, Steve J has banned Java from iOS4 and is now saying Apple’s Java support on Mac OS/X is deprecated and will be subject to termination. Hey who uses Java on a Mac? And of course Steve B and Bill Gates were willing to pay $2B but no admission of guilt to killing Java on PC clients by polluting the Java stream on PCs with a JVM that was hopelessly outdated plus not one but two non-compatible Java clones – J# and J++.
Both Steves are out to kill Adobe Flash. Steve J has declared in no uncertain terms that Adobe Flash is programma non grata on iOS4 [there are a great deal of stretched facts if not outright falsehoods in this statement; see here for a cogent counter-argument]. He surely would do the same on Mac OS/X if he thought he could get a way with it without a revolt of the graphics designers. And Steve B has been out to kill Flash since a)Microsoft didn’t invent it and b)he hired away a coterie of Flash engineers to develop Silverlight, a Ballmer designated better Flash that just does not run on all OS systems nor browsers.
Speaking of proprietary software, both Steve J and B are very fond of proprietary. Steve B has built up a Windows empire based on proprietary software – it runs only on Intel PCs as does almost all of Microsoft’s application software. Oops, Steve B is late, so very late for Steve J’s mobile revolution; so Windows will shortly, maybe in a years time, run on ARM processors. Steve J has made his mobile platform, iOS4, highly proprietary – you can only develop with the proprietary Objective C – Java and Flash not allowed. And to get your app on Apple you must a)be approved by Apple graders and b)your app must be sold and distributed exclusively through the App Store where Apple whiffs 30% off the top – right away, please and thank you – its a $2B a year and fast growing “business”. And with the Mac App Store, Apple is trying to revert to that same iron control for Mac software sales as well [another point of conflict with Adobe?].
Like twins separated at birth the two Steves help each other. Steve J sells ,on identically the same Intel and other brand name hardware, his Apple Mac boxes for 2-4 times the price of PC boxes. Steve J figures Mac OS/X and style is more than worth the premium. Steve J also refuses to bring multitouch screen operations to the Mac – insisting that over time it is fatiguing for users. This has kept Steve B’s Windows PCs in the ball game with multi-touch [see HP's new desktops] and has kept Macs from taking off and displacing Windows. Steve B has returned the favor by keeping Office for Mac alive – as if that was a big return favor.
Finally, both Steve J and B are monopolists at heart. Steve B has the current Windows monopoly and Steve J is trying to establish the succeeding iOS4+MacOS 10/x monopoly. Both are closed systems but Steve J’s is more so because Steve controls all apps that are allowed to run on iOS4 [and soon MacOS/X] but for Web based apps [however, there are new unexplained performance handicaps on iOS4 Web Apps, see here]. Steve J also gets 30% of all the software sales that originate on iOS4 and soon MacOS/X too. But most clever of all, Steve J does not worry about Android, Blackberry, even Steve B’s Nokia and their ilk; because he’s already wrangled up Jimmy Fallon and all the ultra cools – so he will be able to charge a premium price for his hardware and software without ever having to worry that his sales ever make the Steve B error of becoming a 90%++ monopoly forcing the US or EU governments to prosecute for antitrust violations.
Ahh, there always is a bit of sibling rivalry, even between twins separated at birth.
For a completely different viewpoint take a look at this debate between Bill gates+Microsoft approach to getting work and Steve Jobs+Apple approach at the NYTimes