If Apple wants a more collaborative management structure, it will need to become a more open, collaborative company.
Apple's Ping social network might have succeeded by being more open. It should have been integrated with Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. It should have had APIs for developers. It shouldn't have required an Apple ID.
With its new management structure, Apple has an opportunity to change the way it manages its business. If it wants to succeed as a service provider, it has to become more like Google, even as Google has been moving to become more like Apple. It doesn't have to change a lot, but it does need to make some adjustments. I suggest 10:
1. Apple should strive to make the best content authoring tools, rather than tools that favor content tailored for Apple devices.
2. Apple should allow third-party iOS and OS X app stores and should charge 10% of app sales revenue in its licensed stores. It should integrate those stores with its app updating mechanisms in iOS and OS X.
3. Apple should copy Google Play. It should treat apps like books, videos, or music: Approve them unless the content is obscene or otherwise unlawful. This would also allow it to reduce its 30% revenue fee, because it wouldn't need to employ as many app reviewers.
4. Apple should make its bug database for iOS and OS X open, the way Mozilla does.
5. Apple should give iOS users root device access and allow alternative operating systems on its hardware.
7. Apple should make more of its private APIs available to developers, and it should open up access to mobile device hardware systems like the phone dialer and the radio.
8. Apple should support the development of third-party hardware extensions to iOS devices outside of its MiFi program, which should focus on certifying medical and scientific accessories rather than consumer hardware.
9. Apple should involve its user and developer communities in the improvement of its Maps app and other online services. It should talk to its community and encourage conversation among its developers, rather than seeking to limit what they can say with non-disclosure agreements.
10. Apple should engage with the public by responding to media queries and by encouraging its employees to blog.
Apple can keep trying to control everything. But its first-mover advantage and patents won't keep the competition at bay forever. Only by opening up can Apple ensure that innovation isn't locked out.
Server Market SplitsvilleJust because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.