iPod may define new era of open strategy

For most of his life, Wayne Chang was one of the uninitiated.

While deeply into computers, he never joined the legions of militant Macintosh loyalists who have helped Apple Computer stave off the Microsoft empire. Last year, the 20-year-old Massachusetts college student and programmer finally took the leap and ordered Apple's iPod music player--but by no means does he intend to become a Mac fanatic. "I would expect Apple to make their new products work with Macs first," Chang said. "But in the end, I do expect them to be interoperable and not just tied to the Mac."

As simple as it may seem, this expectation reflects a major change for Apple's corporate culture and practice. The company has long held the philosophy that its software and hardware should be tied almost exclusively to the Macintosh computer for both quality and profit. But it is developing and marketing the iPod with uncharacteristic openness to work with Microsoft's Windows software and other technologies. As the Macintosh celebrates its 20th anniversary Saturday, this diplomacy appears to be a defining element in Apple's strategy. Technology companies face a broad market shift away from traditional computing products and toward consumer electronics. In this emerging era, consumers will likely show little patience for any companies that attempt to lock them into a single brand.

News source: C|Net News.com

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