In about 10-15 minutes, Apple CEO Steve Jobs will reveal the iPhone SDK, which I'm guessing we won't actually see until the company's developer-oriented WWDC show this summer. But enough speculation, we'll know soon enough. So far, the most interesting thing I've read about this announcement comes from Business Week Online's Peter Burrows, and I think I agree with this almost completely:
If Apple opens up the iPhone and iPod touch to developers just a little, these products will likely get a nice increase in sales as Apple focuses on a few defined opportunities — like harvesting demand from companies that want to let their employees use iPhones with the corporate network.
But if Apple opens up a lot and manages to attract a tidal wave of software development, Apple has a shot at becoming the Microsoft of the mobile market.
Fair enough. Despite its obviously 1.x flaws, I've often argued that the iPhone could be the next important platform (after Windows and the Web), but this will absolutely require Apple to pull out the stops and resist its standard lock-in strategy.
That said, I don't agree with this, mostly for pedantic reasons:
Back in the early 1980s, Microsoft stole the PC market from Apple—despite the Mac’s superiority over the PC—because it won the war for developers.
That comment betrays a lack of understanding about that time period. Microsoft didn't "steal" the PC market, it outmaneuvered Apple, which was unwilling to open up. (Sound familiar?) In fact, according to a Rolling Stone report from a decade ago, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates actually approach Apple CEO John Sculley in the late 1980s to see about Apple opening up the Mac to PC makers. It did so because it's Windows efforts, at the time, were failing badly. Imagine how different the world would have turned out if Sculley had done the right thing.
Anyway, stay tuned: Today could be interesting.