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Don't Panic, But We've Passed Peak Apple (and Google, and Facebook) 307

Posted by timothy
from the everything-that-will-be-invented-has-been-invented dept.
waderoush writes "Over the last decade, just three companies — Google, Apple, and Facebook — have generated most of the new ideas and most of the business momentum in the world of computing. (Add in Amazon, if you're feeling generous.) But it's been a long time since any of these companies introduced anything indisputably new — and there are good reasons to think they never will again. This Xconomy essay argues that the innovation engines at Google, Apple, and Facebook are out of gas (the most surprising thing about OS X Mavericks is that it's not named after a cat) and that other players will have to come up with the underpinnings for the next big cycle of advances in computing. Granted, it's not as if any of these companies will disappear. But the idea that they'll go on generating ideas as groundbreaking as the ones that landed them in the spotlight defies common sense, statistics, and the lessons of history, which show that real innovation almost always comes from small companies. Apple, Google, and Facebook aren't too big to fail — but they may be too big to keep succeeding."
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Don't Panic, But We've Passed Peak Apple (and Google, and Facebook)

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  • by alphatel (1450715) * on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:26AM (#44014309)
    When all your in-house innovation leads to outhouse fabrication, you can easily switch gears. Buy everyone who innovates and shut out any possible competition. It's been the premier business road map for centuries.
    • Re:Business Map (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cenan (1892902) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:45AM (#44014363)

      Which is why Facebook is owned by Google, which in turn is owned by Microsoft, which in turn is owned by IBM, which.... oh wait.. nevermind. You can only buy if someone is willing to sell to you, no matter the size of your purse - if that is the entirety of your business road map you're bound to be left behind in the dust when someone comes along, innovative and unwilling to sell. Like Google+, Bing or OS2.

      • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:09AM (#44014465) Journal

        Without pioneering folks like Jack Kilby, you think we have electronic computers ?

        Without hardware providers such as Intel which transformed CPU into affordable commodity items, you think we get $399 iPhone/iPad ?

        And by the way, what kind of "innovation" FB has brought to the world ?

        • by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:13AM (#44014479) Homepage

          There is more innovation in home Garages and basements than Apple,Google,FB,Microsoft, and HP combined. They just lack funding.

          • by poetmatt (793785)

            lacking funding? no, not really.

            the successful ones come from home garages such as apple, google, fb, and microsoft. In today's market it's even easier with stuff like kickstarter.

        • by dAzED1 (33635) <brianlamere&yahoo,com> on Saturday June 15, 2013 @12:28PM (#44015307) Homepage Journal
          Don't be silly - FB umm...err...well, they made a website using PHP like hundreds of thousands of other websites! One that allowed you to communicate with your friends and family, like myspace and all the other things before it! They got a lot of money with sustainable profit model! They...err...sorry, that's all I can think of...

          Anyone who would give the packaging to FB (same as Apple, really) has to give the packaging of AWS to Amazon...and on a technical level, they are leagues and leagues beyond FB on "innovation" in that packaging.

          • by dAzED1 (33635)
            err...that should say "got a lot of money without a sustainable profit model" - oh well ;) Slashdot should "innovate" a way to edit posts...
          • by Sloppy (14984) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @02:45PM (#44016343) Homepage Journal

            I'll tell you what Facebook innovated. (You're not going to like it, though, because we tend to think of innovation as synonymous with "progress" and progress is usually measured in terms of end user utility. And what I'm about to say is totally not that.)

            Facebook somehow had a website that was popular (that's not a part of the innovation, but it's an extremely important prerequisite) and then got a million other websites to embed references to Facebook resources into theirs, like Google did with Google Analytics. Since most browsers, by default, are happy to load any embedded resource referenced on a page, that gave Facebook an incredible number of "hits" from diverse sources.

            Most classical (i.e. naive) 1990s-thinking web people would see these "hits" as totally valueless, because they're not pageloads, they aren't showing ads that you got paid to run, or whatever. The clever people, though, saw that you use this sort of thing with a cookie and combined with referer[sic], to build marketing profiles.

            The mid-late 1990s clever people knew that too, but their references were ads themselves (e.g. doubleclick). They had to pay to get other webmasters to embed this crap. Nobody is going to embed a doubleclick image (i.e. an ad for something) unless you give them money.

            You don't get paid to embed Google Analytics javascript, though. You don't get paid to embed a Facebook "like" button. So Facebook can do all the same "spying" that doubleclick.net could do a decade earlier, but without paying for it.

            And webmasters embed these things for free, because they feel they get something out of it. With Google Analytics, you get the reports and analysis. Sure, you could get a lot of that from your own logs, but not all of it (Google knows some things about your visitors, that you might not, and this is their business, they're able to "keep up") and GA is easy and there and waiting for you. With Facebook like buttons, discussions, etc, webmasters are counting on the popularity of Facebook, to make it so that people who use their own site, will generate events on their Facebook profiles which will be seen by other Facebook users who don't use their own site, and maybe someone will curiously click through and you get a new visitor.

            You gotta give Facebook some credit for that. I get how Google turns their spying into money, but I still don't really understand how Facebook does. (Apparently Wall Street doesn't understand it either, judging from the ever-falling stock price.) But there's probably an angle, and however it can be used, Facebook has very successfully put into place at least half of it already. Getting so much of the web to embed your script or iframe (and without having to pay them for it) -- holy crap, I totally can't imagine that happening fifteen years ago.

            So it's innovation. Just not the kind users like to see happen.

            • by hjf (703092)

              Facebook's business is not spying on third party pages. These are just "brand awareness" and trying to bring people into facebook. Make them sign up.

              Facebook's business IS about you telling them about you. Who you are. What you are. Who your friends are. What you like. Where you are.

              If you manage a page, you can get into the ad manager and start an ad campaign. Use the "advanced" options and see the segmentation options: location (city-level), sex, age, marital status, interests (likes). you can even target

      • by westlake (615356)

        You can only buy if someone is willing to sell to you, no matter the size of your purse

        That someone, however, can be a group of stockholders with a controlling interest in your company.

        It can be someone you owe a great deal of money --- someone who can force a change in management, ownership, or outright liquidation,

    • by mangu (126918) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:15AM (#44014487)

      When all your in-house innovation leads to outhouse fabrication

      How much innovation is needed to fabricate a tiny room [google.com]?

      Buy everyone who innovates and shut out any possible competition

      In this case, I believe you mean shit out any possible competition.

  • Sorry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blackicye (760472) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:26AM (#44014311)

    But I won't believe it till Netcraft confirms it.

  • Hmm, maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrDoh! (71235) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:35AM (#44014333) Homepage Journal
    To be fair, once Google gets their cars that drive themselves, glasses that give me information at all times, and provide TV/phone services through a high speed fiber connection for cheaper than anyone else, I'm ok if they take a break for a bit and coast, just improving what they've already done. THEN they can start on the jetpacks, holograms, and teleportation.
    • by taxman_10m (41083)

      glasses that give me information at all times

      That will be awesome. A pint glass that displays FULL, HALF-FULL, EMPTY status. Two words: game changer.

    • Re:Hmm, maybe (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dinfinity (2300094) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:37AM (#44014573)
      • by symbolset (646467) *
        Or tethered kite wind power generators, solar plants. Or asteroid mines, network technologies, methods of manipulating big data. Free open source video codecs for all, an OS for my lightbulbs, a library for ALL the books. And on and on.
    • Re:Hmm, maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @02:32PM (#44016223)

      "To be fair, once Google gets their cars that drive themselves, glasses that give me information at all times, and provide TV/phone services through a high speed fiber connection for cheaper than anyone else, I'm ok if they take a break for a bit and coast, just improving what they've already done."

      This brings up a bone I have to pick with OP's basic premise. I think he's got things a bit distorted here.

      Look at the announcement of the new Mac Pros at WWDC. You may not agree with everything they did with it, but to say it's "not innovation" is just a little bit skewed.

      Google's big successes so far have been (A) a search engine, and (B) cheap fiber to the home. And B isn't even original, they just did it for less.

      Driverless vehicles are nothing new, and the technology isn't even theirs. They just threw money behind it. Glass is pretty much the same: not an original idea, or even a very good one... other companies are doing "augmented" and "virtual" reality better, and without a Google lock-in. They did good on Maps but they abused it too. Hell, Facebook wasn't even Zuckerberg's idea. And the only "innovation" Facebook really represents is how to make money via privacy intrusion.

      Not to burst anybody's bubble, but other than Google's search engine, pretty much ALL of the successful ideas from both companies have been evolutionary, not revolutionary. Pretty obvious ways to go, actually. In fact, pretty much all the other attempts at "revolutionary" things at Google have failed.

      I'm not trying to compare companies here. I'm just saying OP doesn't have it right. He lumps things together that don't belong together, and makes generalizations about them that are just plain false. Google and Facebook have not, for the most part, been innovators. They had one or two good ideas and ran with them. We should not expect those companies to come up with the the next big ideas. That would be asking too much.

      • Re:Hmm, maybe (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Dahamma (304068) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @05:17PM (#44017325)

        Driverless vehicles are nothing new, and the technology isn't even theirs. They just threw money behind it.

        Companies don't have ideas, people have ideas. Companies just throw money at those people to develop the ideas that the company will then own. But to say all of those people working on that project at Google haven't innovated is absurd!

        And innovation isn't just coming up with an idea in a sci-fi novel, it's making the idea WORK in the real world. Show me anyone who is as close as Google to making self-driving cars a reality and I'll agree it's not innovation. And more specifically, "a driverless car" is just one vague concept. There have probably been dozens or hundreds of innovations in the course of that project so far. Same with MANY other successful projects you call "evolutionary"...

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      Your subject was too kind, instead of "hmm, maybe" it should have been "what bullshit!"

      As you said, Google is attempting innovation left and right, spending millions of dollars on projects that may or may not ever see the light of day. For example, add to your list the very next /. article on providing Internet access to remote/disaster areas with high altitude balloons.

      Here's a starter, would take hours to read about all of the research projects they are either sponsoring or working on in house...

      http://r [google.com]

  • Glass??? (Score:2, Informative)

    by brunes69 (86786)

    Google Glass is not completely new? In what way?

    Yes there has been VR before and there has been AR before but not like this and not in a format digestable by any consumer.

    I seriously think Glass is going to change the way people operate.

    • by sottitron (923868)
      And I think the subtle thing that Google realized and did absolutely right is that Glass isn't something that needs a new service contract from Verizon or AT&T or TMobile. Everyone in the market for Glass has a smartphone and probably high speed internet at home, so Glass is a peripheral to your smartphone when you are away from home. This is what the iPad should have been - a bluetooth peripheral to your iPhone. Tethering be damned!
      • by Dahamma (304068)

        I agree with the first part! That's why Apple still hasn't figured out how to break into the living room. Everyone keeps rumoring that they will build an actual "Apple TV" (not just a $99 box you plug into one) but the problem is people don't want to buy a new $2000 television with built-in software obsolescence every couple of years (ie. Apple's primary business model), and the profit margin on most "normal" TVs way too low for an Apple product...

        Don't agree with the iPad, though. To make it truly a "per

    • by helfen (791121)

      I seriously think Glass is going to change the way people operate.

      Maybe, but it can as well end like for example cybersex of the 90. and 00. (anyone? :-)) It is really, really hard to predict which technology will catch on.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      I suggest you learn about Wearable computing. Prof Thad Starner and Prof Steve Mann have been working on basically what is Glass for over 20 years. Students at MIT and UofT have been wearing and using glass for almost all of that time.

      Let me guess, you also think tablets are new. I had a tablet in 1995 it was a 7" model and ran windows

  • Summary says: Apple, Google and Facebook "areN'T too big too fail". Shouldn't it it say "are too big to fail" ? Makes more sense IMHO...

    • by Cenan (1892902) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:48AM (#44014383)

      They can absolutely fail, that they have not yet proves nothing. Nokia is barely hanging on, yet 10 years ago we would easily have believed that label on them.

      • by Not_Wiggins (686627) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @11:09AM (#44014927) Journal

        And to extend your point...
        Before Nokia, it was Motorola that made the best phones on the market.
        But, they stagnated and Nokia took it over with their innovation.
        After building their market, Nokia stagnated and others started taking over from them (Samsung comes to mind).

        One can't always be the market leader because of the load of work on the company.
        Being the biggest/best producer of something requires a company to supply a lot of product to meet that demand. So, a lot of resource is spent just on maintaining supply required by being in 1st place.
        That doesn't leave as much resource or insight into "what to develop next." The leader in a market doesn't have someone else to look at to see what they need to develop... they can only look to themselves.

        Competitors behind/outside of the market leader have the opportunity to see what directions that leader is trying out and to follow in step... focusing on how to take those concepts that seem to work and build upon them.

        Innovate or replicate... two main strategies of product growth and success for a business.

        If you're the leader, you have to innovate to keep your lead. Replicating a competitors innovation means "you're falling behind" and appear to be "failing" (whether that is true or not... it tends to be the perspective of the market).
        As a competitor, you can innovate and/or replicate (and improve) to capture some of that market away from the leader.
        Constant correct innovation is impossible to maintain forever for a single business.

    • by rossdee (243626) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:00AM (#44014445)

      Can you see the government bailing them out (as they did wall street and the car makers?
      Thats what 'too big to fail means

  • These companies cannot easily or quickly go way beyond their current expertise, like for example investigating human genome related innovations, but that does not mean that they cannot be transformative again. Apple as an example has released a lot of transformative products in a short time frame: iPod, iphone, ipad, macbook air have all been hugely influential. It is perhaps too high an expactations to expect them to keep up the current pace. However I think that the smartwatch, once it get released, can b
  • by simplexion (1142447) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:51AM (#44014405)
    I guess this isn't happening then? http://www.google.com/loon/ [google.com]
    Maybe whoever wrote this article isn't impressed by interesting things that these companies create. Do they believe that because they are big and their innovations should also be "big"? This article is stupid.
  • Have they? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529@yaPERIODhoo.com minus punct> on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:17AM (#44014495)

    Facebook was the result of some epic timing, but I can't necessarily call them innovative. Before Facebook, there were some pretty well populated social networks, Myspace being the one whose problems they solved, but Geocities, AIM, and IRC before it also helped break ground. Facebook brought very few foundational ideas to the table.

    Apple is a victim of its own success. No matter what they release, it will be compared to the iPhone (which brought smartphones and data plans to the masses), or the iPad (which all but started the tablet PC market). Very few companies have ever had products that successful, and the fact of the matter is that it's nearly impossible to maintain that momentum consistently.

    Google might have a handful of good ideas left in it, but they have a different problem. When they started, it was basically a haven for geeks where they could throw Jell-O at the wall and see what stuck. I'm certain that there were projects that spent a week being added to the drawing board and were never pursued, to say nothing of the projects that have ultimately been scrapped over time. The problem is that Google has financial expectations on it now, which means that the geeks who could come up with some innovative ideas need to allocate their time pursuant to whether they can meet their deadlines. This kind of thinking leaves a lot of the gambling on the table.

    Amazon doesn't need much innovation. They're the Wal-Mart of the internet, and this isn't a bad thing. They all but 'personify' the term "economies of scale". .If it's a good idea, Amazon can throw resources at it, whether it be servers, distribution, money, or audience. They have all of these things in great abundance, and generally keep their customers happy with cheap prices and (unlike wal-mart) generally very good customer service, and do so extremely efficiently. As long as they keep doing this, and do it as well as they have been for nearly 20 years, then they will continue to be profitable.

    The problem with innovation in this context is that it doesn't seem to count, except when it does. The Newton was innovative. The PocketPC was, at some level, innovative. "Innovation" isn't what's being looked for. What is being looked for is "Innovation that immediately captures the public's attention and makes a substantial amount of money, market share, and mindshare in a very short period of time".

    • Re:Have they? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by foniksonik (573572) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @12:03PM (#44015167) Homepage Journal

      Facebook has innovated.

      They've innovated in data centers - you can't operate at the scale they do (bigger than Google or Apple in terms of networking and hardware) without innovation.

      They've innovated in Big Data - hundreds of millions of users, billions of relationships between the accounts. Their Social Graph implementation is a big deal. Mining said data to enable search, photo tagging/suggest (just the scale of facial recognition going on is mind boggling) and of course for advertising / segmentation purposes.

      They've innovated in their app program for developers - Zynga's FarmVille for better or worse was a sensation and would not have happened without FBs developer API.

      They've innovated in Single Sign On / Federated ID - FB is the biggest provider of SSO in the western world (Weibo and TaoBao may have them beat in China). Salesforce is next followed by Twitter and LinkedIn.

      I'm no FB fan as a consumer but to say they haven't innovated is the height of ignorance as a technologist.

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:17AM (#44014499)

    Innovation does NOT occur just in "big pieces" in hardware and software. Arguably, the major innovations done today affecting the 'big pieces' are logistical and nano-structure components. Jounalists often see only the forest, not the trees, so they can't see what has just popped out of the soil.

    These innovations are leading to miniaturization at a fast rate, parts with new properties, electronics with new functions, multi-functions, faster performance and software that knows how to integrate functions across devices and time.

    The innovations inside the new MacBook Air don't excite a journalist as he has "seen that before", but to an innovator there is a lot to see both in hardware, ICs, battery and software. People forget that the MacBook Air is about 1/4th of the weight of the old PowerBooks of a half dozen years back and are faster and work longer hours on a charge.

    Improved software systems are easy for journalists to ignore because that requires testing and journalists are basically lazy on doing actual testing and comparisons and retrospective analysis as software systems improve.

    • they are english major's who's comprehension of the world rivals those flipping burgers, except they have status, money and power they demand be respected.

      I say don't respect them, and call them who they are.
  • by csumpi (2258986) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:37AM (#44014575)
    — Google, Apple, and Facebook — have generated most of the new ideas and most of the business momentum in the world of computing."

    Stopped reading right there.
  • ... these companies were founded on an initial innovation, but bought, borrowed or stole most of their innovation hence.
  • The truth is we don't know. Big groundbreaking ideas are rare which is why it is amazing Apple has had 3-4 in the entire history of the company (Not every year as media for some weird reason expects), Google 2-3 maybe, and Facebook 1. These companies simply refine existing ideas over and over and make them into great products. For example Google search was groundbreaking, but gmail was taking an existing idea and cleaning it up and making it something you might want to use. Google Earth was purchased from
    • by itsdapead (734413)

      The truth is we don't know. Big groundbreaking ideas are rare which is why it is amazing Apple has had 3-4 in the entire history of the company (Not every year as media for some weird reason expects),

      3-4? Lets see:
      Apple II (Maybe a tie with Commodore PET and the TRS-80 for 'take home and plug in' personal computer).
      Lisa/Mac GUI (Yes, I know it was inspired by Xerox, but Xerox weren't going anywhere with it.)
      Laserwriter & DTP (Apple didn't invent the laser printer, but they put the pieces together: GUI computers with built-in networking to share the expensive printer).
      Powerbook No they didn't invent the laptop, but the first Powerbook introduced the now-standard laptop format with the set-ba

  • Why would I even read the link if the first line of is an obvious, lazy, over-generalized lie?

    "Over the last decade, just three companies — Google, Apple, and Facebook — have generated most of the new ideas and most of the business momentum in the world of computing."

    Only a moron who's view of computing comes from the pages of Time magazine would make such a pathetic, sweeping overgeneralization ignoring the vast innovations that have been happening in the wold of computing, driven by thousands

  • It looks at innovation only from the conumer stand point on what brand he sees as the end consumer. This is why I hate the press, why I hate journalists, and why I hate anyone who studies English or whatever other language is native to them in college. Your worthless pricks with no more understanding of the world, than the average guy mowing your lawn, or serving you burgers, but your confidence and arrogance in repeating urban legends and your inability to see your own confirmation bias is disgusting.

    Your
  • by tanveer1979 (530624) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @10:23AM (#44014737) Homepage Journal

    The period from 1950s to the 1980s was the age of invention.
    People haven gotten stupider since then. They have wisened up. Why spend hard work on invention when you can buy a patent. And these smart people have created an ecosystem which nurtures MBA, Law and other non contributing disciplines. Its the culture of "Manage" rather than do. And when everybody just goes ahead and wants a pie from the big machine, what happens, slowly but steadily, invention, innovation starts dying. Over every invention lies the sword of patent. Invent a new touch screen? Give it to XYZ for free because you are stepping on some tiny patent somewhere.
    And this will continue. Very soon the engineers will vanish, and the world will be doomed, as deserved.

    • by moeinvt (851793)

      Companies do seem to go through a perverse transformation as they grow. I'd add "accountants" to your MBA and lawyer list. The companies start out as innovators and inventors when they're run by engineers. Once the bean counters take over, it's all about the quarterly numbers. When your time frame for decision making is 3 months, or at most a year, who cares about innovation and invention that *might* pay off years later?
      I think patents definitely drain resources because companies are involved in defen

    • by jythie (914043)
      A lot of research has been done into what caused the 'perfect storm' of innovation starting in the 50, and it is hard to say what exactly the roots are.

      It can, however, be argued that the rate of innovation has not really dropped off since then. There is an issue of how we perceive time. Just like we look back over the last few decades and pick out a few 'classic' movies to show how movies were 'better back then', we tend to look at innovation over a wide time frame and then look at a short horizon today
  • Article is nothing more than an attempt to play with the stock market. It is quite obvious when you start off with a giant pile of bullshit line like:

    Over the last decade, just three companies — Google, Apple, and Facebook — have generated most of the new ideas and most of the business momentum in the world of computing.

    Right, because there are only like 5 or 6 computing companies in the world. Certainly smaller companies could never contribute anything worthwhile to society. Oops, what he really means is that smaller companies are not good for stock trading.

    And even still, the premise of "Apple and Google have run out of ideas," is ludicrous at best. (I will give him Facebo

    • by jythie (914043)
      Ironically, it is probably because of the stock market that Facebook is falling off the 'idea' wagon. Good investor relations and significant innovation are incompatible, so the more a company has to answer to stockholders, the less likely it is to come up with new ideas.
  • The others are not really innovative.

    Elon Musk has it right when he points out that Silly Valley is a great concentration of brainpower pursuing small ideas because of the ease of cashing in on them.

    Maybe their will be more innovation in the internet space. After all it's attracting a lot of talent.

    But really there are bigger problems. But because they are bigger it seems few want to take them on.

  • I am not sure where the author is getting the idea that these 3 companies "have generated most of the new ideas". Business momentum I can see, they had the brands, marketing department, and resources to get things out into the public sphere... but most of the new idea? Not by a long shot.

    I do not accuse their engineers of sitting on their hands, they came up with some good stuff, but the bulk of the 'new ideas' tends to come from small companies, FOSS projects, research, and students screwing around. A l
  • the most surprising thing about OS X Mavericks is that it's not named after a cat

    Why is that surprising? They were running of cat names [xkcd.com]. The choices left were Cougar or Sabretooth. And then the next release would have had the same problem. They had to change the naming scheme eventually. They switched to big wave surfing spots. After a dozen or so versions, they may have to switch again.

  • From the summary:

    it's been a long time since any of these companies introduced anything indisputably new

    Like forever.

    People who use the word innovation are either young or senile. Is there anything that is truly new? The secret to their success is not innovation but excellence. Apple, Facebook, and Google were not the first to make the products that they are famous for, not a single one. But theirs were maybe the best, or at least the favorite.

    The reporter's focus on innovation instead of excellence is my first problem with the article. My other problem is his focus on the size of a company i

  • If by "Generate" you mean "BUY", then i agree with you.
    BUT, if by "Generate" you mean "INVENT", then i disagree with you.
  • Sometimes geeks have an abysmal grasp of history.

    http://www.carhistory4u.com/the-last-100-years/car-production [carhistory4u.com]

    "During the period 1896 to 1930 over 1,800 car manufacturers were believed to have existed in America"

    How many now?
    Basically three, although there's a few niche makers like Tesla.

    Mature industries consolidate into oligopolies.
    Welcome to the end of the IT Boom.

  • The problem isn't a **current** lack of innovation...

    The problem is non-techies do not understand the difference between a true 'innovation' and a new product that sells alot and gets media hype.

    iPod sells alot, has good ads, and gets alot of press. iPod then becomes, in retrospect to the mind of a non-techie, an 'innovation'...and the marketer who brought it to completion...well he's the 'innovator'...

    wrong. iPod wasn't an 'innovation' and Steve Jobs was a marketer/salesman.

    however, that's not the end at all! The **click wheel** was the 'innovation' and it wasn't designed by Jobs. But ask any young kid to name an 'innovator' and they'll say Jobs, the salesman.

    Not 'knocking' Steve Jobs (getting major lables to put their music on iTunes IMHO required true innovative salesmanship)...

    The greater point is that a grand misunderstanding of why tech is awesome and the nature of 'innovation' in practice...that misunderstanding creates the context where this errant article could be developed.

    Don't look at what sells to find innovation...that's a lagging indicator...look at what busy people in high stress jobs do to get things done...it's the pressure of necessity that mother's innovation ;)

  • by Whatchamacallit (21721) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @01:54PM (#44015841) Homepage

    Mind blowing, industry disruptive invention is not going to stop. It's just that it doesn't happen rapidly and never has! Apple first built iPad prototypes internally and decided to take the technology to the iPhone and release it first. So in 2007 before the iPhone was announced there was an early iPad prototype. The iPad didn't get announced until 2010! So for three more years the iPad was refined and improved, while the iPhone was also improved. Only when Apple was satisfied enough with the iPad was it released to the public. The App Store wasn't announced until 2008. The MacPro hasn't changed much since 2010, but the new cylindrical MacPro was announced via sneak peak at WWDC 2013. I would bet money it's been in design for years! A new design starts after the last one shipped. There may be a bit of a break after a stressful launch but they always go right back to the drawing board when they return. One of the reasons the 2010 MacPro wasn't updated were Xeon delays at Intel. The Xeon E5 Ivy Bridge / E3 Haswell design hasn't really started shipping till now. The E5 Xeon is the processor of choice used in workstations and smaller servers. So the new MacPro cylindrical design will have dual E5 Xeon's with up to 12 cores (6 cores each).

    Apple's pace hasn't changed, they have always been about releasing when it's ready and not before. The media forgets how long it took for these products to ship. I guess there was this long period of customer awe in between that's dissipated lately as new products are not as stunning. That doesn't mean there are not things in the R&D pipeline that will change the world! There has always been an attention to detail with Apple designs that exceed that of the rest of the industry. The secrecy is what drives articles like this. But it's also what allows Apple to compete. If they announce products early, the competition will have a "Me Too" product ready. Even though a "Me Too" doesn't come close, it will be cheaper and not as good but will still sell fairly well.

    Apple is working on changing television as we know it. I have already built a home solution that far exceeds what the industry has available. However, it's extremely geeky and not ready for general consumer use. But I can watch the TV shows and movies I want, how I want, when I want, and where I want. I have complete freedom to beam it around the house from iPhone, iPad, and multiple TV's. I have a server that manages the content like a TiVo would but much much better. It's the media delivery mechanism and the content itself that has to adapt. Apple is no doubt struggling to get the media companies to play ball. Movies studios, TV networks, Sports distribution channels, etc. They all have to radically change the way they do business. It's not about Prime Time any more. I don't consume media on a schedule any more. I rarely watch live TV. I don't see commercials. I can pause a show in the living room and resume it in the bedroom or on an iPad (No, it's not AT&T Uverse either and it's not streamed from a data center). I can even have new shows transcoded and sync'd to the iPad so when I take a long train commute, I can watch my show on an iPad offline. Apple's competitors know they are working on TV and they are trying to produce new TV's that innovate. Samsung has voice and motion controls, Sony has PS4, Microsoft XBox One, etc. They all think they know what Apple is doing but I would bet they aren't even close. Apple cannot announce their new TV solution until they can get the content providers in line. They did it first with the music industry and they did it with the book industry now it's time to do it with the TV/Movie/Video industries.

    Google is not a tech company, they are an advertising company that uses technology. Facebook is not a tech company, they are a social media advertising company that uses cheesy technology. Apple is not a technology company either but a design company that mixes technology and the liberal arts. HP, Samsung, etc., etc. these are electron

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @02:34PM (#44016263)

    Google, Apple, and Facebook were never "groundbreaking". They were well executed implementations of largely known technologies and ideas. And much of the innovation that came out of these companies actually was acquired, when they bought up startups and academics, thereby also spreading the wealth.

    And that's not going to stop either: people are going to continue to come up with innovative ideas, form small startups, and then the Googles and Apples of this world are going to buy them and stick their name on it.

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