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Is Apple Headed into Decline?

phones-colorSeveral weeks ago when Apple flatly refused to co-operate with FBI to gain access to the San-Bernadino bomber’s phone, it appeared to be the battle of the titans; Big, powerful corporation against the FBI. Who would have be forced to budge?

And now that the phone is question *has* been hacked into, but presumably not by Apple, one may conclude that the score is still even; the FBI got what it wanted, and Apple stood on it’s principle.

Not so fast, I say. Apple lost this round, big time, due to its long standing, arrogant belief in the security of its products. Apple doesn’t challenge and pay third parties to find vulnerabilities in it’s products. Google and Microsoft each have programs that pay hackers millions each year to find and report security holes and vulnerabilities in their software, so that the holes can be plugged. Apparently, Apple thinks that their own in-house engineering team is more than capable of bullet-proofing the products. A rather pompous attitude, I suggest: think about how hard it is to proof-read your own copy. Errors are often missed because you know what the copy is supposed to say, and so you see it as you intended to write it.

Granted, the engineers that write the code are not the same ones that test the products, but they are all part of the same club of over-achieving, talented engineers who are both individually and collectively convinced there has never been such a pool of talent on planet earth. Same concept: these test engineers are all too familiar with the product requirements and how the software is supposed to work, and are vested in the brilliance of the collective engineering staff.

The lesson Apple should have leaned is that its time to embrace the greater community of talent and enlist/pay non-Apple hackers to find and report bugs, holes and other undesirable aspects of the software. But that’s not what Apple did. Instead, in an almost “whine” they asked to be let into the tent of the hackers and shown how it was done. Bad move Apple. Your attitude lacks the humility necessary for great companies to maintain their greatness. As long as you, Apple, believe that you don’t have to co-operate with and embrace the greater community, I fear you will be your own undoing.

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