The role of the “800-pound gorilla” between Microsoft and Apple will be played by Apple until further notice.
And it might not be for the best, especially where future products are concerned.
Taking precedence today is an article on CNN Money wherein Microsoft chief financial officer Tami Reller conceded that Windows 8 users “shouldn’t expect an iTunes app on Windows 8 any time soon.”
Not an encouraging sign, especially from one of the world’s largest software companies, and a company that’s been used to a comfortable role as the aforementioned 800-pound gorilla.
Still, that’s not the entire story.
What’s being said here, both through Reller’s statement as well as Apple’s actions, is that Apple is presently unwilling to create a native version of its iTunes program that will hook into Windows 8’s Metro interface. Love or hate Microsoft’s tile-riffic, touch-based operating system, Apple’s current version of iTunes will only play nice with the “classic” desktop, something that Microsoft would love to see changed but may not be able to push Apple into changing its mind about.
And you can kind of see Apple’s point on this. Not only would Apple have to tie up a decently sized team of developers to ensure that Microsoft got its wish for a native, tile-filled version of iTunes, but there’s also the conventional wisdom that Microsoft will go back to its more classic, Start-button-based look in Windows 8.1 (or at least offer this as a more visible option.
Metro has its fans, but it’s also made some people want to hurl their notebooks and desktops across the room, and if Apple’s not sympathetic to it, then that doesn’t help its chances of longevity.
Perhaps the thing to look into at this moment in time is the relationship between Apple and Microsoft and the tone being expressed by Apple through its decision not to develop a native Windows 8 app for iTunes. Though probably cost-effective and pragmatic (rumor has it that Apple is putting everyone they can find into finishing iOS 7), Apple has taken on the role of the rather large gorilla in this scenario, and seems to be dictating both standards and terms.
This isn’t the best move to make for a company that’s still waiting for an amazing version of Microsoft Office to emerge for the iOS and thus help it get even more iPads to the masses.
Microsoft, in turn, seems to have realized that it’s going to need a native version of iTunes to help it sell even more Windows 8 devices, its modestly selling Surface tablet notwithstanding.
And to the rest of the world in general, this seems more like a battle of corporate egos, if not a grudge match that occasionally rises to the surface between the two biggest kids on the block.
You may not love your ally/sometimes-competitor. And you may sometimes wish your ally/sometimes-competitor would be attacked by nothing less than the hideous Sharktopus as they saunter along the beach one fine day. But if you’re in software—an inter-company dating game that never ends—you’re going to need each other, and whoever’s turn it is to play the 800-pound gorilla should never forget this.