Apple stops business relationship with SurfaceInk over tablet prototype
Look no further than this story if you need proof of Apple’s possessive nature. SurfaceInk, who showed a 12.1-inch Ubuntu-running tablet prototype in June, has been dumped by Apple presumable over the fact that they can make a decent looking tablet. The founder of SurfaceInk, Eric Bauswell, confirmed yesterday that Apple had decided to split with the Californian design firm over “Apple’s growing awareness of our turnkey capabilities.” The firm had worked with Apple in the past on multiple design projects.
SurfaceInk originally developed their prototype tablet to meet clients needs who were interested in the tablet format. The result, which was five years in development, was created as a testing platform and shown off in this video by Charbax of ARMDevices.net.
So why would Apple dump a long-standing business relationship over a piece of hardware? According to Bauswell, they viewed SurfaceInk’s capabilities as a competitive threat. That seems to be a stretch, not Apple seeing everyone as being a competitor, but that this prototype and the rumored 7-inch and 8.9-inch models in development could pose a threat to the iPad. However, this is Apple’s modus operandi: move into a new niche category, claim it as your own, and consider everyone else — even if their project has been in development longer than yours — as a threat. Some would call that frugal business sense while others, a bully pulpit.
Whatever the case, you can’t deny Apple performs clandestine business moves against friend of foe. It places what would normally be considered borderline conspiracy theories like that of Mike Cane in a whole new light. If Apple is willing to sever a business relationship over a tablet by a design firm, wouldn’t they be calculated enough to interrupt another major electronic manufacturer’s entry into the tablet market? That may not be the focus of Apple’s music-centric September 1st media event, but it certainly could be “one more thing…” away from taking the spot light off Samsung’s new Galaxy tablet — potentially with a new iPad announcement.
Apple hasn’t protected themselves in this case though. Their move may have opened up the door for another, larger competitor to swoop in and begin a new relationship with SurfaceInk — who now looks like the little mouse that scared the large Apple elephant.
Source: New York Times