Doc Searls On What Apple’s Really Up To [11:52 pm]
It’s easy to say that what Apple’s doing here is about marketing. But it’s not, even though clever marketing is involved. See, marketing is about influencing markets. It’s about spin. In the mass-market millieu where Apple lives, it’s about maintaining the fully saturated Matrix-like habitat we call Consumer Culture. That culture was built by those who own and control the means of production. So, what we call “consumer electronics” is really producer electronics. It isn’t about what you and I invent and contribute to the marketplace. It’s about what Sony and Panasonic and Nikon and Canon produce and distribute through retailers for us, the mass market, to consume constantly. It’s producerism, really. As a label, “consumerism” is a red herring. Talking about “consumerism” takes the conversation off into victimville, where the poor consumer needs to get better stuff and less abuse from the big bad producer.
Apple is giving consumers tools that make them producers. This practice radically transform both the marketplace and the economy that thrives on it.
Ignore for a minute that Apple’s stuff is closed-source, that it has any kind of technical or market-category agenda. Instead, look at what it does to supply and demand, production and consumption. It turns consumers into producers. It changes the marketplace by flooding it with new producers, new products and demand for new means of distribution.
[...] What Apple’s doing with “i” apps like GarageBand isn’t about the computer industry; it’s about the entertainment industry. That industry lately has become vigilant about threats from its customers, which it still thinks of as consumers. Instead it should be watching how Apple transforms those consumers into producers. Because the next challenge will be finding ways to turn those producers into partners. The old gig is up. They’ll never be just “consumers” again.
Shades of Charlie Nesson at the 2002 ILaw!