There is no shame in copying excellence. In fact, I would say that a core tenet of excellence is its ability to inspire excellence in others. Microsoft had the first smartphone, that doesn’t diminish Apple. Microsoft had the first smart watch, that doesn’t diminish Google. Microsoft had the first DVR, that doesn’t diminish Tivo. You see, standing on other’s shoulders (not their necks) is a harmonious succession of advancements and innovations in the marketplace. Long live compound innovations.
Am I the only one thinking it? If Microsoft was the first, why does everyone else get credit? The reason is clear and irrefutable. History rewards the successful. Creators may innovate an idea (say, a GUI and a mouse) but whoever brings it to market successfully receives that historical reward. Of course, nobody would believe Microsoft invented the smartphone; like, nobody would believe Microsoft didn’t invent Windows – clear and irrefutable. Sort of.
There is an abundance of excellence in the Apple, Android, and Windows Phone products. Excellence in engineering comes from people, and each of them employs people. Excellence in design comes from people, and each of them employs people. No single person “owns” innovation. Concurrently, no single company does either.
I believe when companies fight to be the most innovative, consumers win.
Having said that, today was the reveal of Apple’s IPhone 5S. A truly beautiful offering. Not one that I plan to invest in, but one I can appreciate. As I admired it, I suddenly realized why I liked it. Imitation is the best form of flattery. And, the new IPhone 5S (and IOS7) has some particularly flattering features – especially when you consider them next to a Microsoft Windows Phone.