Andy Hertzfeld Speaks

O’Reilly News has a nice interview with the man who wrote the original Macintosh operating system. He works for Google these days and has an interesting perspective on what makes the companies tick:

One of the ways that they’re different has to do with essentially their trust of employees. Apple is very secretive within the company; people working on Macs don’t know anything about the new iPods, etc. Google is extremely open within the company; once you’re a Google employee you have access to just about every piece of information there is. So that’s a fairly striking difference. I would say Google is a little more bottom-up oriented. Even though the leaders of Google are brilliant and fantastic, they like having a lot of impetus with the individual contributors whereas Apple is not that way. It’s more like a master plan formulated by a single individual.

Long term, Google’s is the better approach. Maybe the peaks won’t be as great, but the troughs won’t be as deep either. I’m sure Apple could have done without the Jobs-less early 1990s.

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