I’m an 8‑month old iPhone convert. While I hate myself for converting, I’d do it again in a heartbeat (and continue to hate myself for it).
I love my iPhone, or rather, what my iPhone could be. Apple owns the end-to-end experience and has turned the mobile phone into a piece of art, that is, when it’s doing what Steve thought it should. If I want something even a little bit different, no way. I’d love my iPhone on Verizon’s network. Can’t do it. I’d love a new-email count to display on the lock-screen. Nope. I’d love to build a library of short-cuts so I can type faster. Not gonna happen. I don’t want the complexity of unlocking the phone, and don’t want to lose the features I gain by locking myself into a proprietary system (visual voicemail). And, for these missing features, as well as the pleasure of a 2‑year lock in, I pay a premium for the service. Approximately 20% more cost with less functionality between AT&T and my former carrier, T‑Mobile.
Why did I move to the iPhone? A few simple reasons:
- Visual voicemail
- Better end-to-end integration experience (less stuff I need to figure out to get everything working right by using a carrier-supported phone)
- One-device to carry for music, PDA, and phone
- Single place to find 3rd party apps
- Reasonable browsing
Let’s switch from db-the-geek to db-the-enterprise-architect, examine and reword that list:
- Features specific to my current needs (visual voicemail, reasonable browsing)
- Lower complexity (better integration, single device)
- Lower cost of ownership, easier to maximize my investment (single app exchange, one device, end-to-end experience has less moving parts)
What if Larry is taking a page from Steve’s playbook with the acquisition of Sun?
What if Larry delivers an enterprise appliance that adds some creative (though proprietary) features while lowering complexity? What if is significantly lowers my overall cost of ownership in exchange for a deeper commitment and lock-in to Oracle?
How would that change the software market? Forget the software market, how would that change the business of technology? Who would be positioned to follow? IBM, yep. HP, maybe? Microsoft… they haven’t started yet, though they can certainly make a run for it.
I don’t think I’m crazy for thinking this. TIBCO have recently put their middleware on an appliance, and IBM acquired DataPower over 3 years ago and put them in the WebSphere software division when they did. There is a big difference between IBM and TIBCO’s moves compared to what a true iPhone-like push into the integration space would entail. But, think of this over the weekend…
What if Oracle did to the enterprise integration space what Apple did to the mobile phone space?
Postscript: I’m not sure I’ve written this so well, so want to explain… while I’m paying a premium to AT&T and Apple to join the iPhone club, my overall costs (if I were took at myself as a business) are lower… it’s easier to integrate the phone with my computer, I don’t need multiple devices or chargers, my learning curve is less, and there’re less electronics around as I move to the future that will need to be integrated. This doesn’t make so much sense when thinking about my personal life, but these points do make sense when thinking about enterprise integration, and having an enterprise device intead of a personal mobile phone. You might say the analogy doesn’t carry as well as it might when looking at these issues, and for that I apologize for any confusion. I do believe overall costs to an enterprise if Oracle did do this would drop, in exchange for being locked into Oracle. However, some of the costs savings would be off-set by a premium I’d pay Oracle, and that might make me feel like I’m getting less for more when I forget about other costs I’m saving. For me, personally, my mobile bill is higher, but in theory, I’ve sold off my other ipod, cleaned my apartment of all the excess chargers, and I expect the shelf-life of my iPhone to be 2‑years, compared to my previous history of replacing phones very 9 months. But, I certainly don’t think of those things everytime I get my AT&T bill and remember how many calls were dropped that month, and realize that I’m paying more to AT&T than I did to T‑Mobile, and my service is worse. I hope that helps to explain things.