This was originally published in May 2010, but I'm republishing it in light of Steve Jobs' passing because it helps to illustrate why he did things the way he did.
Apple has come under fire recently for its approach to product secrecy that led Apple to push police to investigate Gizmodo for how it handled the lost/stolen iPhone prototype.
The issue has also shined the spotlight on Apple's whole approach to a closed ecosystem with iTunes and the iPhone/iPad App Store. This is often attributed to Apple CEO Steve Jobs being a control freak and Apple being greedy.
There are certainly elements of both of those things driving Apple's behavior. But, I recently ran across an article about Jobs in Success Magazine that had a collection of quotes from Jobs about innovation, including the following two quotes that shed an interesting light on how Jobs justifies the closed ecosystem:
1.) "We think that our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it's not up to par, it's our fault, plain and simple."
2.) "You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give it to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new."
I'm not posting this to defend Apple. There are plenty of others who are willing to do that. I actually think Apple would benefit from a more open ecosystem in both iTunes and the App Store by extending Apple's reach to more devices and more developers. However, these two quotes from Jobs help show that the issue is more complicated than just greed and control.