Apple was founded by two Steves, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. While Jobs was the entrepreneurial brains behind the company that is now the most valuable in the world, Wozniak was (is) the technical minded. Maybe that is why Wozniak is open to using products other than ones that come from Apple and why Wozniak wants Apple to port iTunes to Android.
The following is a statement Wozniak made on Slashdot:
Let’s look at Apple. Apple’s real rise from the small market-share Macintosh company to the iProducts of today began with iTunes and the iPod. This turned out to be the second huge business which roughly doubled Apple’s ‘size’. If you remember, we ported iTunes to Windows. We now addressed 100% of the world’s market with this integrated system (iPod/iTunes) and it began the era of Apple that we are now in. So why don’t we port iTunes to Android? Did something get closed up? I love Apple products and iTunes and wish it were on my Android products too.
It isn’t entirely clear if Wozniak wants Apple to port iTunes including Apple App Store to Android or just the movies, books, videos, music, etc. part. Regardless of which it is, the idea is stupid.
From the standpoint of a techie and consumer, I understand why Wozniak may see iTunes on Android as a good thing for Apple. From the standpoint of a business, however, he is way off the mark.
First of all, iTunes is a clunky piece of shit. Apple fans use iTunes because they have to — that is the only option they get and they must use it if they want iDevices. iTunes on Android will likely be no better, and a poor quality iTunes app for Android would simply turn people off from Apple products.
Secondly, Apple does not make as much money from iTunes/Apple App Store as it does from selling devices. I haven’t looked at Apple’s financial statements but off the top of my head, based on stats I remember from last year, Apple pulls in 4-5x more revenue from iDevices than iTunes/Apple App Store sales. That doesn’t mean iTunes/Apple App Store is worthless; no, not at all. iTunes/Apple App Store is extremely useful for the purpose of providing iDevices a competitive advantage over the competition; they help create an ecosystem that spurs Apple sales. Apple porting iTunes to Android would mean Apple is giving away their competitive advantage and, in return, lose potential sales — all for not a lot of money made from iTunes sales on Android.
Lastly, as Forbes rightly points out, the iTunes/Apple App Store ecosystem locks people to Apple products. You see, over time, many people purchase movies, books, videos, music, apps, games, etc. from iTunes/Apple App Store. Moving to a non-Apple product means giving up that investment, something that not very many people are likely to do. While it isn’t very consumer friendly, from a business standpoint it is a brilliant move to use your ecosystem as a way to force people to continue buying your products. Porting iTunes to Android would obviously kill this.
While us, consumers, appreciate the thought Woz, Apple isn’t stupid. iTunes is likely never going to go to Android. Thanks for trying, though.