Monday, March 29, 2010

Apple's next surprise: A Facebook alternative

It's easy to make fun of Google's "Don't be evil" philosophy. Just like it was easy to make fun of Al Gore.

Remember how "fun with Al Gore" turned out? We got Dick Cheney.

Maybe we should give Google a bit more credit, because the main rival to Google is the Dick Cheney of the online world - Facebook. Their motto isn't so much "be evil" as "whatever it takes".

Facebook is bad. I no longer suggest friends join up. Fortunately most of my friends who did join are drifting away, tired of account hacks, app scams, and the hopeless task of working with a demonic vendor (shades of pre-reform health insurance). Facebook's numbers keep rising, but there are fewer people I know participating. That's a bit funny. Does anyone audit that stuff?

It's a bit of a shame though. There are a lot of non-App things that Facebook did that I like. I hoped Google would give us a real alternative, but instead we got Buzz. There's more wrongness at Google than we know about.

So if Google can't do it, who has the brand and the money and the reach and the business savvy and just-enough evilness to deliver Facebook type services and a first-class user experience without Facebook-class evil?


Ok, so I admit Apple has struggled with the online world for a while (emphases mine) ...
AOL - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 
... In May 1988, Quantum and Apple launched AppleLink Personal Edition for Apple II and Macintosh computers. In August 1988, Quantum launched PC Link, a service for IBM-compatible PCs developed in a joint venture with the Tandy Corporation. After the company parted ways with Apple in October 1989, Quantum changed the service's name to America Online ...
I used AppleLink, it was pretty good. So too was 1990 AOL for that matter. Since then, not so good. Online hasn't been Jobs thing.

Still. We know Apple has built data centers they're not yet using. We know Apple has an increasing consumer platform reach with the iPhone and the iPad. We know Apple isn't adverse to entering a market and turning it upside down.

I believe Apple is going to go up against Facebook. Soon.
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