I find it fascinating to see the comparison between Apple and Google (and others), and try to understand how to bring these lessons into my own work.
When Apple launches something, it seems to go after the “end-to-end” experience. They seem less interested in building generic “platforms” than others, in particular Google and Amazon.
Though perhaps comparing different products (refraining from saying “apples to oranges”)… the other week, when Google announced their Wallet platform, it’s just that. At the time I wrote about the “end to end experience” others, in particular retail banks, might build on top of Google Wallet to deliver an end-to-end experience.
Apple and Google both seem to be going after consumer markets, and I really believe Google would be more successful over the short term if they helped others build the end-t0-end experience (minimizing the “technology” and maximizing the “consumer value”) as part of their platform roll-out.
Apple’s not waiting for people to use their cloud to innovate… I’ve no doubt that will come and there will be some great innovation. They’ve defined the cloud as 9 specific applications, and then delivered on the end-to-end experience. It’s not everything to everyone, but it’s everything to someone. It’s their beach-head, and I’ve not doubt we’ll see more Apple apps be added to those 9 over time.
With regards to the enterprise market though, say Amazon Web Services, I think Google’s strategy of building a platform is more appropriate and then partnering for the end-t0-end experience. Enterprise success is about getting anchor accounts, and building out solutions around that success. I think success in that case then drives partnerships, perhaps appliances or gateways, that make the cloud misty. Meaning, the customer may not even realize the cloud is there. For example, forget “buying Amazon’s cloud”, a customer might instead buy “enterprise backup to the cloud” which in turn validates the cloud, and creates a leveraged model for driving customer adoption indirectly.
These sorts of relationships are important, and over a relatively short period of time will help get traction on the underlying platform. However, I think that in the enterprise market the platform provider needs to engage directly with the customer around the platform, and bringing a platform to market is more valuable than a solution at first. As the platform matures, then engage with partners who can deliver an end-to-end solution experience to their “niche” markets.