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Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius by Jay Elliot

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Maintaining Control of Quality

Apple has been criticized for keeping a chokehold control over applications for the iPhone. I’ve never understood the criticism. Millions of people choose Apple products because they all know that anything that comes from the Steve Jobs factory is going to be miles better and phenomenally more satisfying to use than any competitive product. Steve understood without even needing to think about it that he could only maintain that quality with the iPhone if the apps available for it—being created by thousands of people outside Apple—met the high standards of the phone itself.

Compare that to the apps for Google’s Android operating system that runs so many products made by iPhone competitors. Any teenager with a little time on his hands and a bit of technical or programming skill can create an Android app and make it available on the Android Market sites. A great many of the Android apps are poorly designed and not much good for anything more than frustrating the users. Google does not see this as a reflection on its own reputation and the reputation of the cell phone manufacturers that run the Google software. Their decision not to maintain control of the quality of the apps flies in the face of everything Steve Jobs stood for, and customers suffer the annoyance and frustration of trying to deal with applications that simply don’t work.

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