IBM achieved tremendous success in the 1970’s by creating a closed and highly integrated mainframe architecture, controlling all IT elements including chip-sets, hardware, terminals, middle-ware, application software, network connections, etc. Now look at Apple. Their strategy of controlling hardware design and underlying software worked great with the iMac. With the recent expansion into displaying mobile advertisements, designing iPad chip-sets and preventing third-party software (Adobe) from working on its platform, Apple’s desire for control has expanded greatly.
From my strategic viewpoint, Steve Jobs is taking a page from 1970 IBM CEO Thomas Watson’s playbook and duplicating its mainframe approach for 21st century consumer applications. Using this approach IBM had a great run for about 30-40 years. If Apple can sell 50 million $500-600 iPhone’s during the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression, then you might want to plan for an Apple-centric world in the decades to come.