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Is Apple a Great Partner?

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 20, 2014
Originally posted on 7/17/2013

The New York Times had a compelling piece on Apple's TV strategy today. In a nutshell, the fabled consumer tech company is choosing to work with titans in the television programming industry rather than fight them like Google. The article begins:

"When Apple wanted to revolutionize cellphones, it held hands with AT&T. The partners fought endlessly, but the public loved the finished product: the iPhone.

"Now, as Apple tries to reimagine television, it is taking the partnership route again, collaborating with distributors like Time Warner Cable and programmers like the Walt Disney Company on apps that might eliminate the unpleasant parts of TV watching, like bothersome set-top boxes or clunky remote controls."

Where other tech companies are taking networks and existing distributors head on, "Apple, at least for now, is positioning itself as a friend," according to the article.

Yes, it seems Apple is lauded for just about everything it does. Even its collaboration efforts—its ecosystem of developers and content owners at the heart of the iPhone and iPad innovations is an obvious success—have been championed in the past, even by ASAP executive committee members.

But there have been criticisms of Apple's collaborative execution abilities. As the Times article noted, Apple and AT&T had a rocky relationship, and the argument can be made that Apple didn't vet the existing carriers well if you consider that the iPhone lost plenty of potential customers around 2009 because AT&T's network couldn't handle the Internet traffic generated by the large cluster of customers in the SF Bay Area and New York City metropolitan area.

In addition, Apple has been criticized for dealing with their developers in a draconian (read: less-than-collaborative) way.

What do you think about Apple's collaboration skills?

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