Thursday, September 17, 2009

What do Apple and the White House have in common?


That’s right, the White House seems to be taking its cue from Apple’s App Store in providing applications for government purposes. Seems like a stretch but according to the Wall Street Journal, our chief information officer Vivek Kundra is leading the charge to “…address some of the barriers to improving the way the government leverages new technology.”

Earlier this year, according to Aayush Arya (, Apple’s App Store had more than 25,000 applications and over 800 million downloads. The White House doesn’t have that much variety yet -as of right now they have applications for social media and productivity, with plans to provide options for web hosting and other IT services.

The concept of cloud computing and downloadable applications may not be a breakthrough concept but if the White House is successful in providing government agencies with transparent resources and allowing the public to have more access to government spending information, they may be disrupting the way that the public sector considers managing their information systems. There are already skeptics regarding whether the White House can really follow through with this idea. Oracle’s Larry Ellison seems to believe that the ‘app format’ is just a trend that the government will not be able to keep up with.

I have high hopes for Kundra and the government because there seems to be a need and an opportunity to utilize a more high-tech method of delivering information and services. As long as they can minimize the lag that often exists between the government policies and technology, I think they stand a reasonable chance of succeeding. I would like to highlight one aspect that stuck out to me- the issue of cost. The government must balance acting quickly to stay with the technology trend AND mimizing cost. Think about it: if a government agency is going to buy a time-management app for $85,000 (the current actual cost of the service), I think we have bigger problems to deal with.

Do you think the White House App store stands a chance? Take a look at the article to decide for yourself:

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