One of Apple’s most loyal supporters, programmer, writer and former CTO at Tumblr, Marco Arment, has kicked off something of a Twitterstorm by suggesting that the tech giant’s software is “nosediving” in quality. Maybe he’s got a point.
In his blog post, he doesn’t mince his words:
“Apple’s hardware today is amazing — it has never been better. But the software quality has taken such a nosedive in the last few years that I’m deeply concerned for its future.”
Arment, who is the founder of Instapaper, an app that lets you save stories and other content to read later, and Overcast, a podcasting app, claims that Apple “has completely lost the functional high ground.” So how did this particular bee get into his bonnet?
Basically, Arment thinks Apple’s strategy of trying to launch new software releases every year as a marketing hook is backfiring. The engineers, he thinks can’t keep up with the demands of annual updating, with the result that too many bugs and other problems are appearing.
Marketing, he claims, has acquired too much power at Apple today:
“… the marketing priority of having major new releases every year is clearly impossible for the engineering teams to keep up with while maintaining quality. Maybe it’s an engineering problem, but I suspect not — I doubt that any cohesive engineering team could keep up with these demands and maintain significantly higher quality.”
And as it happens, many Apple loyalists are letting it be known on Twitter that they agree with him: like Ben Thompson, an analyst at Stratechery, and Chris Dixon, a venture capitalist with Andreessen Horowitz.
He hasn’t achieved total consensus, however. Dan Frommer Tech Editor at Quartz, for example, tweeted: “Sorry, but OS X is still way better than Mac OS 8. Apple can and should do better, but situation not dire.”
Even so, a marketing strategy that overstretches the resources of some of the brightest software engineers in the planet might usefully come under review.