Woz worries Microsoft is now more innovative than Apple

By , Nov 16, 2012

When he’s not co-starring in video games, Steve Wozniak is known for being an outspoken gadget-lover. Of course, one of his favorite subjects is Apple. And despite his affiliation with the company, he never seems to hold back his criticisms.

This proved true once again during a recent interview with the Woz at a TED event in Belgium. The Apple co-founder told TechCrunch that he’s worried that Microsoft has surpassed the fruit company in innovation over the past few years…

During the interview, TechCrunch’s Andrew Keen asked Woz if he felt that Microsoft was now more innovative than Apple. Here’s his response:

“I fear that Microsoft might have been sitting in their labs, trying to innovate, with a formula. “How do we come up with new ideas? Let’s not keep doing the same things as before, just the newer versions of them.” They might have been doing that for three years, while Apple was just used to cranking out the newest iPhone and falling a little behind. And that worries me greatly.”

Mr. Wozniak isn’t the only one who thinks that Apple has gotten a little stale over the years. The company is often criticized for releasing handsets and tablets that look too much like their predecessors — even with the recent iPhone 5, which was technically a large departure from the 4S.

He’s also not the only one who thinks that Microsoft is doing some big things in the mobile space. The Windows Phone platform has received a lot of critical acclaim for looking and acting completely different than the iOS and Android platforms, though it has yet to resonate with consumers.

And I have to agree here. I’m not in love with it yet, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for Microsoft and its efforts with Windows Phone. It’s completely original, and I love the live tiles concept. Heck, even on the hardware front, with the Surface, Microsoft is trying to do something different.

But different doesn’t always translate into dollar signs, which is what I think is keeping Apple from trying anything new. A large amount of its revenue depends on iOS device sales, and it doesn’t want to mess with its proven formula. It better be careful though, that’s what got the old Apple into trouble.

What do you think, is Microsoft out-innovating Apple right now?

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  • Paul Dunahoo

    Woz is right.

    • Yacko

      No he’s not. That’s like saying Coyote was far more innovative than Roadrunner. It isn’t about tossing out wild ideas and see which doesn’t blow up in your face.

    • http://twitter.com/purpledodi Jens Tinnerholm

      I agree. Woz got a point

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vincent-Cannava-II/100001688528540 Vincent Cannava II

      yep he is right. victims of their own success worried about alienating their zealots with drastic changes Apple instead has refreshing old ideas with slight updates and other superficial changes. If they don’t recognize this and develop the courage to go out create even if it could fail they will simply just fade into the background.

    • shar

      I was listening to his interview, and aside from innovation, he said something that has hurt me most with apple :

      “… everything even hardware from apple is a subscription, because in a couple of years it isn’t kinda gonna work with the new stuff.”
      I see & feel it every year, and it doesn’t feel good to be outdated!

  • Guest

    Jeez! I agree the surface is game changing and everything but atleast let apple respond Woz.

  • Toni

    I agree. The new Metro interface is far more innovative than anything we have seen on iOS in the past years. Apple turned into a hardware company, they do great hardware, but the software is falling behind.

    • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

      You mean User Interface, because Software is more than user interface and OSX (iOS) is still better than Windows. Better UI tools, Better Foundation.. only need a “refresh” on the look.

      • Toni

        Yes you are right. OSX is still years in front of windows 8 and i guess microsoft will never catch up before the PC market extinguishes. :) But you have to admit that w8 was a bold move from Microsoft. I would love to see something like that from apple, too. The UI has been the same for six years now, its not out dated however in the fast moving Gadget world you want to see sth. new :)

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        I think in general the iOS UI is great, very organized and well designed, the only problem is the “icons…icons…icons…” I think that’s the main complain about the UI. Because inside the apps, the UI is very customizable and we can see very different “tasts” on each app. That’s the part that I love the most in iOS… the look, the feel, the responsiveness, the symmetry.

        Metro is great too.. but “its Now” because is something new… but in one year (maybe..) people will get bored too…

      • Toni

        I agree.

      • Gerard Hampton

        osx isnt ios. osx is a modern version of linux/unix. coincidently so is android. Each OS provides different experiences for different people. who is to say osx is better than windows when windows does everything i want and osx doesnt. but for you it may be the other way around. That said apple are starting to lose their edge on “innovation” seeing as they release newer versions of the same thing and claim its different because the version number changed. Sidenote: windows 8 has been pretty great for me so far. osx is working great on my mothers imac. Wow theyre both good! Fancy that.

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        iOS is based on OSX. And definitly, not LINUX.
        Linux isn’t a operative system either. It’s a kernel.

        OSX is based on the nExtStep, wich has “Mach Kernel” and some BSD. iOS has exacly the same foundation, only compiled for ARM instead of Intel.

        Btw, and just by curiosity, what Windows does that OSX can’t?

        I can tell you a TINY example what OSX does, that Windows can’t. Notification on icons…. :P

        Totally Different User Interfaces on each App…Sandbox Apps that to uninstall you just move “one icon” to Trash… hybrid 32-64 bit NATIVE on the same operative system… and the list goes on.

      • http://twitter.com/purpledodi Jens Tinnerholm

        Osx comes from openbsd kernel so badly bro

      • ishaluka

        Trashing an app icon won’t remove files outside the package. And app
        icon being rather a folder than single file, you can do that on windows
        by simply removing one folder(but not recommended unless portable app).
        OSX
        Sandbox has some cons. Though not all apps can work with sandbox, apps
        not using sandbox are restricted to use some functions and can’t list in
        App store.
        As for 32-64bit hybrid nativity, I don’t know when it’s needed.

        I think the most critical thing windows have is that it can run softwares made for windows.

        I wonder why you started to compare OSX and Windows here.

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        It wasn’t me that started to compare OSX to Windows. I reply to someone who compared both system.

        Btw, you can trash a folder on Windows, but that doesn’t clean the installation on the system, either the registry, so that can make a lot of problem on Windows… in other hand, in OSX, that doesn’t happen, because OSX doesn’t share a “registry” with other applications, so problems will be null. And most of them are just cache that the system remove them alone after a while (when he requires HDD space, for example… because they are tagged as “temporary cache files” or just “config data”. Some people prefer remove them manually, but that’s not a requirement and only use a few kb.

    • CooperB

      I agree. iOS 6 should have been a 5.5 release done without much fanfare. Not much innovation other than the ripoffs of jailbreak apps in iOS5.

    • Falk M.

      Turned into a hardware company?
      Brosiph, that’s what they have always been! :/

      • Toni

        Software was allways more important and better. Now its the other way arround.

      • Falk M.

        More important?
        Better?

        I can agree that they are really lacking in terms of their software department not being innovative enough as of late, but software has never been more important than their hardware.

        Why do you think they didn’t license out OS X once more?
        Why do you think the hardware is rather pricey and their software dirt cheap in comparison?
        Why do you think they build strong and lasting computers without any planned failures, well… APART from dropping support for old hardware on the software side sometime down the road?
        Why doesn’t Apple make software for Windows apart from the stuff that actually makes their devices work (Windows users need something to feed their iPhones with for example)

        Safari was a small venture into the Windows browser market and the only product I can remember from recent times that was software without very direct influence on their hardware side.

        Apple is a hardware company all around, they polish their software to make the hardware sell better and achieve overall perfection. Whether we think they achieve it always or not, that’s their goal.

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        Apple is not hardware company or software company.

        It’s a complete package. For Apple, Hardware and Software SHOULD be connected. Optimized to work each other. It’s like “Body” and “Soul”.

        That’s why Apple doesn’t make software to other companies apart from Safari and iTunes.

        And maybe.. just maybe it was the main reason why Jony Ive and Scott Forstall were fighting each other… because the hardware are still innovating and software don’t. They need to walk together.

      • Falk M.

        Well, every company classifies itself practically and in marketing terms.

        I bet Apple would sign your statement in agreement, but really, let’s not kid ourselves, Apple IS a hardware company.

        Of course they do both, doesn’t mean though that most of their money can’t come from one particular department.

      • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

        I think what you can say is that Apple makes more profit in Hardware, and on that, I agree. But their hardware sells great not only because they are beautiful and high quality, but because the software is great, easy to use and very well designed. The proof of that is that only a very tiny percentage of Mac users install Windows… and most of the time, only use it for games or web development.

      • Falk M.

        True.

        All I’m saying is that companies don’t classify by what they do best or foremost in terms of quality, but what their main products are.

        Seeing how their software is restricted to their ecosystem (partially) and their hardware (mostly), it’s absolutely obvious where they put their focus.

        Them trying to be best in everything doesn’t have anything to do with their classification.

    • burlow

      apple’s only danger is when MS starts implementing their ideas better than apple. Metro is more innovative, but at a cost: it stutters more, drains battery faster, and apps aren’t quite there. Not to mention their phones are bigger and heavier.
      In trying to out-do apple, a lot of companies disregard the little things that make iOS great – really fast camera/access, good battery life, high quality apps, very stable OS that never takes control, stupid-easy video chatting (yes, I use it regularly), and the list could go on. Once MS starts getting these things down, people will care less about whether the weather live tile shows the current temperature.

  • David Shores

    I agree a little on both sides. I have an iphone and love it, although i love it because it’s jailbroken and because I’m waist deep in iOS apps. My computers are windows 8 PC’s, and i’m really diggin the live tiles. I just wish there was a way to make a folder tile to keep everything a bit tidy on the start screen. Both great companies, but I hope Apple steps it up a notch on their next release.

  • Al

    Although, I agree. But Microsoft had no choice in the matter but to shaken up things.. To rethink how they approach the experience with customers due to Apple. It’s competition at its highest form, Apple did it years ago with the creation of their products. But my perspective is Apple will be forced to do the same in response to Microsoft. As a customer in this day in age, with all these company trying to win our wallet… Innovation is key, Samsung is doing it as well… Google has been innovating. Imma fan of technology and what it has to off. I enjoy Google services, Samsung products.. And Imma Apple user, but it’s hard to be in one camp such as Apple when there’s other choices that’s benefitial as well…

  • CollegiateLad

    I see it different. iOS and Android already have winning formulas – They hit homeruns early on… changes come but are somewhat incremental.

    Microsoft on the otherhand hasn’t been relevant in the mobile space for some time. Their products are new and refreshing but are a late response to the already established players. They HAVE to innovate and right NOW or like RIMM, they run the risk of dying a painful death.

    The real question is, is it too little too late? Time will tell.

  • http://twitter.com/myorangeisstuck wahaha

    Even though they have the innovation, they still have to come up with a workable software to compare with iOS and android in the market.

  • Dan

    I agree that Apple has gotten somewhat stale. I used to love their products, but the latest incarnations have not captivated me. Reason being I did not upgrade to iPhone 5. I’m not ready to jump on the Microsoft bandwagon just yet, but you never know.

  • Lordthree

    Woz went sideways years ago.

  • Audi

    Would some body shut this guy up

    • Falk M.

      Maybe you should lead by example?

    • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

      It’s hes opinion. Doesn’t mean he’s right or wrong.
      Just because Microsoft is innovating doesn’t mean that they are now better than Apple, but it’s fair to recognize their work. Personally I hate Microsoft, since the early 90’s. But I’m happy to see that at least… now… today… they are following their own pattern instead of ripping of. That’s what I call a REAL COMPETITION. Offering to the users different choices.. different tastes.

  • thedarkknight80

    I’m just happy we live in such an exciting time . I have to say that 2013 will bring even more innovations to the table ( gadgets speaking ) .

    Apple needs to step it up and i that is part why i say i’m looking forward to 2013 …

  • http://twitter.com/Jirakaz Zak Wallace

    First off, why is this a bad thing? People are too far up their asses about Apple. I LOVE my iphone, but this doesn’t mean they don’t release features late and act like they did something huge. God forbid someone makes them TRY again!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    yeah but they make sucky stuff like the damn zuun….

  • Joonyaboy

    I think the hardware is spot-on. But iOS6 needs help, like NOW. One day in Cydia would open up a whole world of possibilities for iOS

    • thedarkknight80

      Maybe i’m fantasizing , but it would be great if , first day as the OS head, Jony Ive walks in and says : ” ok everyone , let’s call in the cydia guys , and get me some more desks and iMacs in here , we need more room ! “

  • JT_CHITOWN

    I love Woz, but I think he suffers the common curse of many tech geniuses: early adopter obsession. As a lifelong inventor and tinkerer, he is always onto the next thing, even if it is not fully baked. While Apple is innovative, they are not messy in their approach and rarely do anything unless it has been refined, refined, refined, and at odds to Woz’s predilection to blaze new paths no matter how messy.

    I agree that Windows 8 looks unique and interesting, but I am constantly hearing reports, even from devout Microsoft users, of RT being supremely buggy and laggy and was pushed out too soon. Compare that to Apple avoiding LTE until Qualcomm had chips that could provide LTE without major compromises on battery life. The few times Apple has pushed out things prematurely, say MobileMe and iOS 6 Maps, bad press has dogged them ruthlessly.

  • Irfan Tarique

    Multiple Cores in processors are useless unless the software is optimized to it

  • Blahblahtldr

    Windows 8 wont make it big unless it completely lets go the backwards compatibility.
    They wont do that because that is one of their main selling points.
    When you use a native desktop app on a tablet you will have to coop with less space. That is also the reason why they keep the resolutions on the tablet fairly low compared to the competition. Higher resolution means smaller fonts, icons etc
    Android, iOS and the tiles(metro) interface can scale without much hassle. Desktop applications cant so they simply cant increase the resolution because it makes it unsuable.

    So mickey please drop the useless backward compatibility for tablets and while you’re at it also stop forcing a tablet os to desktops. It is for a very good reason Apple choose to make iOS instead of putting OSX on tablets. You should do the same.

  • Obsidian71

    This should be filed in the “Humor” section. In 1981 (3 years prior to the Mac launch) Woz was in a plane crash and had significant TBI. He developed Anterograde Amnesia.

    Frankly the tech press is mind f*****ng Woz at every step of the way. Doesn’t mean he’s wrong but the shameless prostituting of his quotes is sickening.

  • thedarkknight80

    The only way IOS will dominate in the UI race is if the following scenario happens :

    Jony Ive walks in and says : ” ok everyone , let’s call in the cydia guys , and get me some more desks and iMacs in here , we need more room ! “

  • SoCoMagNuM

    I gave up my iPhone cause i wanted a new experience. iPhones are great phones dont get me wrong. Never said it was crap. Just lost my lust for it and the software became kinda stale. Went with Galaxy 3 and havent regret my purchase. maybe next round ill try a windows phone for a new fresh face as well. Apple wont try anything new cause their tried and true way has worked all these years for fans (i had iphones for 4+ years). eventually people will move on if Apple doesnt start to “innovate” as they claim they do. Most their new features/gimmicks have been in the game for a while. they just present it like its new cause its “new” to people all things apple…and people go for it.

  • maurid

    Well you don’t say.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eduardo.antonmartinez Eduardo Anton Martinez

    The only thing that happens to woz is that he will never get over the fact that he is not the CEO of apple… Ever since Steve died and Tim took th epower, Woz has been creating an anti-apple campaing against himself actually. I think he is just being ridiculous, independently from whos more innovative now, Wox is just demonstrating how jealous he is in the most infant way.

  • John Davis

    Woz is great as long as you don’t take him too seriously.

    Microsoft, innovative?

    Not unless this is some new and unusual definition of the word.

    In any case, Ballmer just fired the guy behind Windows 7, 8 and the Metro UI.

    Microsoft is run by committees. Apple by individuals. Committees don’t innovate, individuals do.

  • http://twitter.com/aineelGD ✘✘Aineel Nocum

    haters gonna hate