Monetization Schemes for Developers Were One of His Greatest Contributions

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2011-10-06 Print this article Print


Meanwhile, others consider Jobs' contribution of monetization schemes for developers as among his greatest achievements.

For instance, Rod Cope, CTO and co-founder of OpenLogic, said, "Two things stand out to me: app store and user focus. The app store concept created a new world where independent software developers can quickly and easily participate in a commercial ecosystem. It's a win-win-win situation for Apple, the software developers, and especially the end users who get a large and accessible market of competitive products. The only other place I've encountered such a large and diverse software market is the world of open source."

Moreover, added Cope: "Perhaps even more important than the app store was Steve Jobs' obsessive focus on the user experience. He realized that adding more features to a piece of software or hardware just for the sake of having new features leads to complexity, bloat, poor performance and more bugs. He applied incredible discipline to each new product and revision to make sure that the human using it would have an improved experience. That might mean removing a feature, adding a very small tweak, reinventing a product family or creating an entirely new market.  I believe he saw each of these as implementation details. The important thing was to make the best user experience imaginable, no matter what it took."

From more of an external point of view, some industry analysts also picked up on the developer ecosystem Jobs created around Apple.

"I think one of the biggest things Jobs did was to elevate developers to a preeminent position in the mobile ecosystem," said Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst at Forrester Research. "Before the iPhone, carriers thought of developers as unimportant; all you had to do was talk to the business development guys at a company when you wanted to get an application built for a new whiz-bang hero phone.

"Now the carriers and more importantly the platform vendors fight tooth and nail over developers, because they are so critical to a platform's success. Developers get free stuff, early access to technology and most importantly the tools they need to directly profit from their creative ideas. Jobs played a big part in making this current golden age for developers, and making them direct beneficiaries of their own talent," Hammond said.

Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, said: "Apple is one of two or three companies in the world that was successful in building a mass developer ecosystem around its products, first around the Macintosh and recently around iOS. And Apple is of course Steve Jobs, and Steve Jobs is Apple. We also tend to forget that the programming language and environment around iOS originated with the NeXT computer, which Steve created after he was forced out of Apple.

"While NeXT itself was not a business success," Hilwa said, "the innovations in application platform and development tools are direct descendents of Mac OS and iOS because Apple bought the company in 1996 and snapped together its technologies with Mac OS. The story illustrates Jobs' extraordinary entrepreneurial tenacity and vision in general, but also that the construction of applications and an application ecosystem are the key goals of a computing platform."

Meanwhile, in his reflection of Jobs, Gosling discusses Apple and its future without Jobs:

So what is a post-Steve Apple? Even though everyone there has been mentally preparing for this moment, it is still a shock. Will Apple crystallize and just repeat the playbook? That will be successful for a few years, but it will eventually veer off. They collectively need to find a new way. There won't be a new Steve. There will certainly be apostolic claimants, but they won't be Steve. The New Apple will have to be a collective result of Steve's teaching to each employee individually. His pursuit of excellence will no longer be imposed. It now has to come from the hearts of everyone.



Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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