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Wozniak Would Like to See an Apple Without the Walled Garden

But only if it doesn't affect the quality of Apple products.

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Wozniak Would Like to See an Apple Without the Walled Garden
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Given that Apple currently has more money than a country club of gods right now, it’s hard to argue with the company’s formula for success. Still, Apple’s “walled garden” is a continuous point of criticism and now one of the company’s co-founders has said that opening up the company’s architecture could stand to do more good than harm.

According to iTnews, Steve Wozniak, the man who created Apple with Steve Jobs, said that he thinks “Apple could be just as strong and good” if the company relaxed the restrictions on its devices.

Wozniak went on to evoke the late Steve Jobs’ own obsessive restrictions on the devices developed at Apple:

The company’s approach significantly differed from Wozniak’s own while working at the company, he said, recalling his push to allow the Apple II to have eight expansion slots for additional memory, external storage and accessories.

“Steve Jobs only wanted two slots – a printer and a modem is all people need. He never did engineering, he never wrote a program, he never came from what I did,” he said.

“The Macintosh engineering group snuck a secret test board that could actually expand it but Steve Jobs got wind of that and cut it off.”

In the Jobs era of Apple, even speculation about the company eventually stepping out from behind its walled garden would have been a risible concept. However, now that Tim Cook has taken over the direction of Apple to lead it out of the shadow of Jobs, he’s already allowed some decisions that could be described as a radical departure from how his predecesor conducted business. Earlier this year, Apple offered a settlement deal for Motorola and Samsung, both manufacturers for Android-supported phones, in order to end the patent lawsuits that have been ongoing between the companies. The offer was a notable milestone of Cook-era Apple because such an option is largely regarded to have been an impossibility for Jobs given his infamous tirade about how Android was a stolen product and how he vowed to destroy the operating system.

Since Cook doesn’t to wear a rubber wristband that reads “WWSJD” and, instead, is not opposed to making decisions that might have inflamed his predecesor, the notion of a non-walled garden Apple sometime in the future is less inconceivable than in previous years.

This also isn’t the first time that Wozniak appears to have dissented from long-held practices of Apple. Last month, he was quoted as saying that he’s not a fan of companies that act like patent trolls and kill off innovation. Apple is as guilty as any company when it comes to patent disputes, but again, the settlement with Motorola and Samsung suggests that the company could be headed into a softer direction in that respect.

[Via Slashdot.]

Wozniak Would Like to See an Apple Without the Walled Garden
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  • Gary Bennett

    I was first attracted to Apple products because of Wozniak’s awesome creations (computer, OS, disk drive) and because he brought a spirit of openness (“Go ahead; open up the computer & play around; here’s the operating system code to help you along”) into a world which worshipped the mysterious doings of the computer priesthood. Jobs brought marketing genius and a fashion sense, along with a control fetish that resulted in such early ’80s fiascos as the underpowered Apple III, the closed-box Apple IIC and the underpowered closed-box early Macintoshes. I stayed with Apple IIs (including the IIGS) until the Macs were opened up, color and properly powered. Sadly, in the decade after Jobs was bounced, the corporate culture kept much of Jobs’ character flaws without his vision, and at least got the latter back when he returned; but it is a shame that it has lost the spirit of exploration and wonder and openness that Wozniak imparted to the earliest Apples!

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