In the longer run, however, there proved to be some advantages to Jobs's model.
Even with a small market share, Apple was able to maintain a huge profit margin while other computer makers were commoditized.
In 2010, for example, Apple had just 7% of the revenue in the personal computer market, but it grabbed 35% of the operating profit.
More significantly, in the early 2000s Jobs's insistence on end-to-end integration gave Apple an advantage in developing a digital hub strategy,
which allowed your desktop computer to link seamlessly with a variety of portable devices.
The iPod, for example, was part of a closed and tightly integrated system.
To use it, you had to use Apple's iTunes software and download content from its iTunes Store.
The result was that the iPod, like the iPhone and iPad that followed,
was an elegant delight in contrast to the kludgy rival products that did not offer a seamless end-to-end experience.
The strategy worked. In May 2000 Apple's market value was one-twentieth that of Microsoft.
In May 2010 Apple surpassed Microsoft as the world's most valuable technology company, and by September 2011 it was worth 70% more than Microsoft.
In the first quarter of 2011 the market for Windows PCs shrank by 1%, while the market for Macs grew 28%.
By then the battle had begun anew in the world of mobile devices.
Google took the more open approach, and it made its Android operating system available for use by any maker of tablets or cell phones.
By 2011 its share of the mobile market matched Apple's.
The drawback of Android's openness was the fragmentation that resulted.
Various handset and tablet makers modified Android into dozens of variants and flavors,
making it hard for apps to remain consistent or make full use if its features.
There were merits to both approaches.
Some people wanted the freedom to use more open systems and have more choices of hardware;
others clearly preferred Apple's tight integration and control,
which led to products that had simpler interfaces, longer battery life, greater user-friendliness, and easier handling of content.