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Summary:

When reading this piece in the Wall Street Journal about the Konfabulator, I wondered if Apple fails the community test, as out lined by Robert Young earlier this week. Imitation, as far as Mr. Rose is concerned, had nothing to do with flattery in this case. […]

When reading this piece in the Wall Street Journal about the Konfabulator, I wondered if Apple fails the community test, as out lined by Robert Young earlier this week.

Imitation, as far as Mr. Rose is concerned, had nothing to do with flattery in this case. A former Apple programmer, Mr. Rose says he was “steamrolled” by Dashboard.When word of Dashboard first leaked out in the Apple programmer community, nearly a year before Tiger’s official release, it seemed Mr. Rose’s former employer was poised to decimate the population of Konfabulator users. “All I can say is I was grumpy,” he recalls.

I had earlier argued that Dashboard was a good example of Apple biting the hand that feeds. Watson search being replaced by Sherlock was another example. The new iTunes has features such as Outlook sync which should put a pinch on some indy developers. I do understand it is a tough balancing act, but Apple is one of those companies which I personally think needs to do more to embrace and extend its community. But that’s just me – others might feel differently!

By Om Malik

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  1. Konfabulator was junk. What it should have been was a simple little, *free* JavaScript/DHTML runtime with some libraries to make widget creation easier.

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  2. I have to agree with PWB, Konfafulator was very problematic. Dashboard widgets are in no way similar to Konfab, Dashboard uses standard html/css/javascript and is totally open to any web developer. Konfab was/is it’s own little world.
    Widget have been around forever is some form or fashion, Apple did not bitch-slap Rose.

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  3. Anybody in the “Operating System Utilities” business risks being stomped upon by the maker of the Operating System. I remember when some of the top selling software for Windows 3.1 was stuff to make it work better. Should Microsoft not have released Windows 95 and killed off that market?

    Heck, Mac OS X does live disk defragmentation, thus hurting companies like Symantec. Should Apple not do these things?

    If you’re in the “operating system utilities” market, you have to be aware that one of your competitors is the company that makes the operating system. You need to either be able to compete with those kinds of resources or have an exit strategy for if/when you get trumped.

    Heck, the company I work for does color management software. Apple is nibbling away at our edges. I keep an eye on it so I can adjust my software plans accordingly. In some ways, it’s kind of nice. I don’t have to write a color calculator because Apple wrote one for me, so I can spend time doing interesting things.

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  4. Anybody in the “Operating System Utilities” business risks being stomped upon by the maker of the Operating System. I remember when some of the top selling software for Windows 3.1 was stuff to make it work better. Should Microsoft not have released Windows 95 and killed off that market?

    Heck, Mac OS X does live disk defragmentation, thus hurting companies like Symantec. Should Apple not do these things?

    If you’re in the “operating system utilities” market, you have to be aware that one of your competitors is the company that makes the operating system. You need to either be able to compete with those kinds of resources or have an exit strategy for if/when you get trumped.

    Heck, the company I work for does color management software. Apple is nibbling away at our edges. I keep an eye on it so I can adjust my software plans accordingly. In some ways, it’s kind of nice. I don’t have to write a color calculator because Apple wrote one for me, so I can spend time doing interesting things.

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  5. I won’t take on the issue PWB raises, maybe Konfab missed out on being open, but from a design and branding front there was a lot of “sharing” by Apple that I’m sure my kindergarten teacher wouldn’t have approved.

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  6. OS companies should and will do this. Good ISVs learn to move ahead of them. Asking an OS to stand still is silly. Most of what we take for granted in operating systems was made by ISVs at an earlier time.

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  7. This story will grow to replace the “Apple copied Xerox” meme.

    Konfab was not great. Dashboard is better. Rose was given a years notice. Chose to bitch publicly and run to Windows – an environment that has been and on again off again for applets. I hope that Yahoo satisfied him.

    Apple’s move was good for Apple’s consumers. That is the hand that feeds them. Yes, ISVs are required to support the platform. Many do, quite successfully without too many bites.

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  8. [...] Well since Yahoo has Konfabulator, Google has its Sidebar and Apple has its Dashboard Widgets, Microsoft needed to come-up with something. A brand new category imaginatively called — drum roll please – Microsoft Gadgets. I like to call it, “A million new ways to get hacked.” [...]

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