By Craig Perrin
Apple Computer just released a new operating system, “Snow Leopard.” What did they do to improve their already class-leading “Leopard”? They simplified it. They dropped the price. And, as David Pogue points out in the New York Times, they dumped a moldy business model.
To keep buyers buying, many software vendors produce “bloatware” – successive upgrades that contain more features but also eat more memory, run more slowly, and crash more often than earlier versions. “Apple’s release strategy is highly unorthodox,” writes Pogue, who then quotes a fictional Apple marketing genius: “’Instead of adding features for their own sake, let’s just make what we’ve got smaller, faster and more refined.’” The pattern that Apple’s strategy represents – from simple, to complex, to bloatware, to simple – is a very old story.
The new simple is never the same as the old. Still, this pattern repeats again and again in virtually every arena of human activity, including business. Apple – ever leading the pack – seems to be saying that it’s now time for simple. Even Microsoft, after the bloated disaster of Windows Vista, will release a simpler operating system in October.
What is the bloatware in your business? What can or should you do to simplify?