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Who’s the next Apple? March 13, 2010

Posted by CK in IT.
Tags: , , , , ,

Seriously, if Apple continues providing its customers with all the reasons to hate it, I can well see a large amount of people moving away from it. Apple made a real difference a few years ago when it started providing systems that not only “just worked”, but they were also a pleasure to use. Marketing and good products made people almost religious about the company and every little gem that was coming out of its labs (and Jobs’ mind, I presume).

But in the last year or so, Apple became greedy. It is turning into the new Microsoft, only worse in the sense that they *do* have the best offerings. I have already decided to move away soon, and I know a number of other people who are considering or even have already taken the same decision.

So the question comes naturally: Who’s the next Apple? Who is the company who will offer secure systems that “just work”, painlessly and effortlessly? Who will grab this opportunity, to build a proper interface around a proper kernel and get a bunch of early adopters on its side? Sure, various Linux distributions are getting better and better, but the lack of coherence is almost dramatic. I’m making the experiment these days on a virtual machine, and there is honestly nothing to compare. My contempt for GNOME is well-known to many, as is also my admiration of KDE. The latter (which I am using), although great, it still does not integrate properly with the underlying system. I assume that the non-centralized development of the three layers (kernel & base system, X server, desktop), great as it is in offering choice and nurturing all those different options, it is also the Achilles’ heel of Linux (ok, GNU/Linux) systems. The same applies to *BSD. Certainly, the lack of control on hardware and Microsoft’s strong-arm practices on all vendors doesn’t help either (see for example what happened to netbooks).

My prediction is that there is now great opportunity for someone to invest in a properly good interface on top of a BSD kernel (or Linux, if licensing is not a problem). KDE is technically sound and can be the basis as it is also offering excellent APIs, but would have to integrate much better with the underlying system — and that, I guess, means getting rid of X. If someone does it though, and strikes a few deals with vendors such as Acer, Asus, and the like, I believe there’s a big market ahead. It would have to be someone big, who has the expertise and the marketing power.

So let me ask: Why not Nokia?

They are the largest seller of mobile devices. They bought Trolltech. They are moving to Linux for their phones. They are now partners with Intel on Meego. Is there anything that really prevents Nokia from making the step into desktop and tablet operating systems?



1. v - October 13, 2010

Maybe it will happen, but slowly. See paragraph 4:

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