This was published on TheAge website today and is well worth a read. The orig story is here ->> Link Why Apple and folly go hand-in-glove By Graeme Philipson May 10, 2005 Foolish decisions prove that Apple is a slow corporate learner. You've really got to hand it to Apple. It keeps making great technology, and keeps offending everybody it can. It's a good thing its products are so good, or the company would have disappeared long ago, such is its serial capacity for poor decisions. Apple's latest act of corporate lunacy is to pull all books published by Wiley from sale in its Apple centres. Wiley, one of the world's leading scientific publishing houses and purveyors of the Complete Idiot's Guide series, is being punished for the sin of releasing a unauthorised biography of Apple boss Steve Jobs. The book is iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business, by Jeffery Young and William L. Simon. Young wrote a biography of the young Jobs 20 years ago, a fine book called The Journey is the Reward. Both books portray Jobs pretty much as he is, a bad-tempered genius. Companies pretty well reflect the personalities of those at the top. Apple's spitefulness will, of course, serve only to increase publicity for the book. Will censors never learn that their actions are invariably counterproductive? AdvertisementAdvertisement Not Apple. It is a slow learner. Its history is dotted with foolish decisions that have ensured the opposite outcome to that intended. That's a common enough phenomenon in this world. And you see it everywhere in the IT industry. Vendors continually adopt counterproductive strategies or release products that drag the business down. Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) was good at this - its founder Ken Olson famously said that he couldn't see any reason why someone would want a computer in their house. He also dismissed Unix as "snake oil". Ten years ago Novell totally misread the way the networking market was going. Until it was too late, it believed its own hype rather than the glaring evidence of Microsoft Windows' growing capabilities as a network operating system. Or consider also the tale of Siebel, currently struggling to remain an independent company. It sells software that helps people look after their customers (CRM - customer relationship management), but for years it has neglected its own customer base, selling them inferior products and providing lousy service, chasing market share at the expense of all else. But Apple does folly better than all of these. Ever since it blew the chance in the early 1980s to make the Apple II the microcomputer standard instead of the IBM PC, it has committed one act of corporate foolishness after another. The Apple III was a disaster, rushed onto the market way before it was ready. The Lisa, the company's first attempt at a machine with a graphical user interface, was overpriced and underfunctioned, and disappeared without trace. Even the Macintosh, a great computer and one of the most seminal products ever released, has suffered from constant poor decisions. And don't even get me started on the first Macintosh "portable", or on Apple's repeated half-hearted attempts to address the corporate market. But by far Apple's biggest mistake has been in not opening the Mac's architecture to other developers. It actually did do this for a short time but then reversed its decision when it found that other companies could make and sell perfectly good Mac clones at a much lower price. Rather than work with these people, Apple peremptorily withdrew its licensing from the clone makers to ensure that only Apple could make Macintoshes. It's called cutting off your nose to spite your face. Another giant mistake was the "Star Trek" balls-up. In the early '90s, following the initial success of Microsoft Windows, Apple thought it might be a good idea to port its much-superior operating system to the Intel platform. It developed the software, a technological tour de force that made an ordinary PC indistinguishable from a Macintosh. But the software, codenamed "Star Trek" (to boldly go where no Mac has gone before) was never released, because Apple didn't want to muddy the waters at the same time it was moving from the Motorola to the PowerPC chip. And a dozen years ago, Apple also walked away, at the 11th hour, from discussions with IBM about merging. It would have created a PC powerhouse, and the deal was all but done. Apple and IBM senior executives met at a hotel near Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in October 1994 to thrash out the final details. At the last minute, Apple's CEO Michael Spindler demanded more money, and the IBM guys walked away. Apple's recent dummy spit over Young's book comes just after it sued some young bloggers for publishing details of new Macs they had heard about from friends working at Apple. Apple is paranoid about controlling information about itself, while pretending to champion free speech and creativity. Apple's corporate slogan is "Think different" - memorable, if ungrammatical. The problem is, Apple always thinks the same. In the past few years the iPod and continued innovation of the Macintosh architecture have ensured Apple's survival where many - myself included - had predicted its demise. But if it continues its own march of folly, that demise will be inevitable.