Tech4Africa

Quality is Apple's secret

2010-08-13 10:43
Apple's Erin Caton says quality product and people make the difference at Apple. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Apple's Erin Caton says quality product and people make the difference at Apple. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johannesburg – Apple Inc’s success may lie in its ability to build high quality hardware and attract innovative and creative people to work for the company that has recently overtaken Microsoft to be the biggest technology firm in the world, says Apple engineering project manager for Mobile Me, Erin Caton.

“Apple hardware is almost indestructible. I’ve heard of people who have put their iPod through the washing cycle and it survived,” Caton told News24 at the Tech4Africa conference.

She said that the success of Apple was an enigma to her, but that Apple products were near universal in California, where this Canadian lives.

“Near where I live, almost everyone has an iPod. So I think that has a large role to play in our success. Also, I think the introduction of iTunes has added to that and we’re the top music distributer. I can’t walk down the street without seeing someone with their iPhone,” said Caton.

She added that the company, notoriously secretive about its plans, hires an eclectic group of engineers who are encouraged to be innovative.

Secret

“It’s a nice mix, all the people are brilliant; I love my engineers – we’re like a family. Everything is kept hush-hush so no-one really knows what someone else is doing. There’s no specific thing I can think of that we’re developing now, but I’m sure it will be something cool,” Caton said.

She acknowledged that competitors will try to grab Apple’s market share, but added that the company’s strategy was decided by CEO Steve Jobs for whom she has enormous respect. She rejected the suggestion though, that Apple’s dominance would attract the attention of US legislators.

“Look, you don’t have to buy Apple products, and there’re always people out there developing different products. When you buy it, you’ve made your purchase decision and everything that comes with it. You can’t worry about government intervention when you want your products to sell,” said Caton.

She said that Apple’s dominance didn’t mean it might buy Microsoft.

“Look, I’m not the strategist for the company, but I don’t think Apple will buy Microsoft because all the really good people from Microsoft leave and come to work for Apple,” Caton said, laughing.

She said that her next step would be to focus on her hobby and family.

“I have a really great team and I love to travel, but my next step is to start a family and my husband and I have a photographic website, Flashbullet.com, so yea, I’d like to do that next.

“Everything about my job is stressful; it’s my job to be stressed with deadlines and problem-solving,” said Caton.

The Tech4Africa conference ends on Friday, and you can follow the News24 Tech4Africa blog here.

- News24 Tech4Africa Blog

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Read more on:    apple  |  internet  |  technology

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