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All in one: Owning the experience is key to Apple's customer satisfaction

John Moltz | June 24, 2014
Owning its customers' experience has enabled Apple to have a leg up its competitors.

But just like most people don't buy Windows computers from a Microsoft Store, most people don't buy Android phones from Google. For the majority of Windows and Android users, the user experience comes pre-cluttered with a confusing cacophony of attempts to steal your eyeballs. And, since those two platforms are used by more people than Apple's, that means most of the people in the world go through their desktop and mobile computing lives like this.

Isn't that sad? Self-destructive behavior usually is.

From soup to nuts
Apple can't and won't do everything itself--but it will, however, try to make sure it's your first point of contact for the services you use most.

For example, when the company first made a maps app, it used data from Google but designed its own app around it. The disagreement that led Apple to change that relationship was about Google wanting to control more of the experience and get more of the user data. That Apple wouldn't allow this to happen should be as obvious as the stickers on a Windows computer.

Meanwhile, with Messages on iOS and OS X, Apple has already taken over the texting experience--if not always perfectly. (You didn't need your messages to be in order, did you?) But messaging is a service Apple's not content to leave in the hands of the carriers. Why should two of its customers have to pay a carrier to send message to each other? This is something even BlackBerry figured out years ago.

With Yosemite and iOS 8, Apple's taking this a step further. Not only can you (theoretically) get your text messages on both iOS and the Mac, but you'll also be able send and receive phone calls from your Mac or send voice messages through Messages. Those cellular and broadband companies? They're just big dumb pipes that Apple sends stuff through. (If you went to the doctor, you wouldn't want the landlord of the building to be in there too, right? What's that guy doing there?)

That's not the only place Apple's attempting to impose control. While Apple devices have long defaulted to Google search, Apple showed at WWDC that Spotlight in Yosemite would use Internet search from Bing. And Safari in Yosemite and iOS 8 will also include DuckDuckGo as a search option. Really, Apple would like you to think of search as just another back-end service, like map data or cellular networking or broadband--a back-end service that you just happen to access from Apple hardware and software.

When digital music was on the rise, Apple bought SoundJam and made iTunes. It made iLife for digital photography and video and it created the boy band formerly known as iWork for users' basic productivity needs. The goal is clear: Apple tries to identify the main things you're going to do with your device and control that experience. As Maps has shown, in some instances it's easier said than done to detach data from the quality of that user experience--but either way, Apple is still determined to own it.


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