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Sorry, Woz, but things haven’t changed at Apple

Last updated on October 14, 2012

Dan Graziano at Boy Genius Report:

[Apple’s] co-founder went on to point out that once upon a time Apple released software on competing platforms, such as its release of iTunes on Windows. Something has recently changed, however: As Wozniak points out, iTunes isn’t available on Android.

In fact, very little has changed, at least regarding app support for competing operating systems. iTunes has been one of the few exceptions to Apple developing software for Windows or any other non-Apple platform; Steve Jobs famously described the port as akin to “giving a glass of ice water to someone in Hell.” Who can really say what beverages apps such as those in the iWork and iLife suites would have represented to the damned? It’s a moot question as Apple never ported any of them and likely never will. iTunes was ported primarily as an interface between the iPod and the PC. Windows didn’t really need another music management program.

There is now less need to create a hedge against Internet Explorer

As to iTunes for Android, it’s important to distinguish between desktop iTunes — which handles the purchasing, management, device transfer and playback of content — and iOS’ iTunes, which is just a store with content playback being managed through other apps. It wouldn’t make any sense to offer desktop iTunes for Android (although perhaps one day a cloud-based solution will support that operating system). And Apple brings little to the table by offering the mobile content store manifestation of iTunes to Android. There are many competitors, including the de facto Google Play and Amazon digital content storefronts, and songs purchased with iTunes can be played on Android devices, with device transfer managed through other apps such as DoubleTwist. What has waned is support for non-Apple devices via iTunes, which was a key feature for the software before Apple launched the iPod.

Safari was another app that Apple had brought to Windows, but hasn’t updated to the latest version. There is now less need to create a hedge against Internet Explorer with the ascent of Webkit-based Chrome on Windows and iOS has provided a fertile enough base for Safari to ensure developer support. The other notable Apple app for Windows is FileMaker, which is managed out of an Apple subsidiary. It’s been a successful product, but I’ve always thought that Apple kept it in-house to ensure that the Mac had a viable database client app (since Microsoft never created a Mac version of Access (or Visual FoxPro for that matter)) and to keep tabs on what life was like for a commercial Windows developer.