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Is Apple The New Microsoft? 904

Posted by Zonk
from the snap-judgements-for-sale dept.
Varg Vikernes writes "Even if you don't count Apple's actions this week as a potential threat to first amendment rights (Apple's crackdown on Web sites that love the company), they do nothing to bolster Apple's public image. In fact the company's success of late has yielded accusations of bullying and potentially unlawful business tactics, along with complaints about the fact that songs purchased from its iTunes music service don't work with music players other than its own. According to Forbes, to some these tactics sound like something Apple's neighbor to the North might employ. They wonder aloud Is Apple the New Microsoft?
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Is Apple The New Microsoft?

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  • They wish... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FyRE666 (263011) * on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:39AM (#11852402) Homepage
    In fact, I personally believe that if Gates and co. hadn't screwed Apple over all those years ago to bring out Windows 1.0, then we'd be in a hell of a lot worse position than we are now. At least Microsoft only have a monopoly on Software. If the 2 Steves had managed to create a monopoly where Apple had total control of the OS AND the hardware, then it would be impossible for anyone else to get a look in. We saw how Apple treated the clone system builders, and BeOS for that matter. Actually, now I think of it, Apple are setting up their own stores here in the UK and driving their formerly faithful resellers out of the market with their well know price fixing strategies (try buying apple hardware at better prices than Apple supply it direct to see what I mean).

    I do like (and own) some of Apple's kit, but I'm not one of the blinkered Mac apologists who defend their every action. Apple is not a bunch of nice people; it's a corporation, and frankly I'm not surprised in the slightest at their attempts to monopolise music downloads and attack their own fans' websites. Maybe Wozniak wasn't all about making money, but Jobs and the others left steering the ship certainly are.

    Have you noticed that, althought Apple's own operating system owes a lot to the open source movement, and the thousands of developers whose code they use for free, you and I still cannot run iTunes on our Linux desktop to sync an iPod? No money in it for them...

    It's time some people took off the rose coloured hippy glasses and realised that Apple is just another wannabe monopolist who've (luckily for us) simply been curtailed by an unfortunate event perpetrated by the current software monopolist.
    • by Beltway Prophet (453247) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:59AM (#11852537) Homepage Journal

      Have you noticed that, althought Apple's own operating system owes a lot to the open source movement, and the thousands of developers whose code they use for free, you and I still cannot run iTunes on our Linux desktop to sync an iPod? No money in it for them...


      That's an odd complaint. I don't think Apple is demonstrating a grudge against OSS or Linux in particular, it's just that the market share of Linux on the desktop is tiny (2%). If Linux had 70% of the desktop market, they'd certainly be offering iTunes for X11 and Linux. Moreover, if it were purely a quid-pro-quo arrangement, I'm not sure that Apple would be bound to produce iTunes for Linux - maybe they should provide iTunes for OpenBSD, since they actually use that team's products (OpenSSH, for instance). Just because you get Apache and Samba with Red Hat, and OS X (OS X Server has Samba) also includes them, doesn't make them "part of Linux," after all, though they're clearly important to making Linux useful.
      • by ozric99 (162412)
        I don't think Apple is demonstrating a grudge against OSS or Linux in particular, it's just that the market share of Linux on the desktop is tiny (2%). If Linux had 70% of the desktop market, they'd certainly be offering iTunes for X11 and Linux.

        That's exactly what the parent was talking about - there's no market share so there's no money in it for them (increased ipod/itunes sales).

        • Yes, but it's not as though they could give it away for free, and be happy to get the bucks from the few percent of the few percent of people who only run Linux desktops and also want iPods.

          They'd have to port the thing, which costs money, and they'd have to support the port, which costs money. I would expect that it would be a loss to the company. And, as I pointed out in my post, what platform should they give back to? It's not as though Mac OS X is a complete Red Hat under the hood.

          Is "giving back to t
          • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @02:45PM (#11854111) Journal
            Is "giving back to the OSS community" equivalent to providing a binary RPM that only runs on a recent Red Hat/Fedora?

            I wonder how many of those that complain that Apple hasn't "given enough back" to the OSS community have given anything back to the linux community themselves.

            I see that the originator of this thread, FyRE666 has written games in Javascript [smashcat.org], so perhaps he has some justification for his criticism. But I think there are many free loaders who are just bitter that they can't also freeload off of Apple.
        • by commodoresloat (172735) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @03:10PM (#11854271)
          That's exactly what the parent was talking about

          So what you're saying is, 2 people got modded up for saying the exact same thing. Now your post makes it three.

          Oh, what the hell. There's no market share!! Give me my mod points!!

      • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:08AM (#11852593) Homepage
        By that logic they shouldn't produce iTunes for the Mac either, as it has such a tiny market share.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          So are you denying that claim?
          They make if for the Mac so you can keep it in the family. Apple wants you to only buy Apple, just as any other company. Apple goes the extra mile and actively trys to keep it that way as well (blocking Real comes to mind).

          I always post non positive Apple comments as AC because more often then not, the Apple biased moderators will mod things they do not agree with as troll or off topic instead of trying to reply with a logical rebuttal.
          • I always post non positive Apple comments as AC because more often then not, the Apple biased moderators will mod things they do not agree with as troll or off topic instead of trying to reply with a logical rebuttal.

            I don't blame you. Already that fairly innocent post has had 4 overrated mods, which can only have come from Apple apologists who can't quite identify what about my comment detracts from the discussion but don't want people to see it anyway.

            Overrated is a stupid mod, it's not meta-modera

            • by gl4ss (559668) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @12:10PM (#11852996) Homepage Journal
              how it happens is this, you get modded up as insightful, informative or whatever because you brought up a valid point.

              then over few days you'll get modded down with 'overrated'. why? because apple zealots read the stories even when they're old, normal people that would agree with your valid points don't read old apple stories.

              is apple open? hell no. is apple always nice with 3rd parties? hell no. is apple always right? hell no.

              is 1024*768 high resolution? hell no.

              " Mac mini sports a full-fledged ATI Radeon 9200 with 32MB dedicated DDR SDRAM over an AGP 4x bus." is that incredible graphics? HELL NO, thats about as crappy as you can get while still using ati's or nvidia's current line(and 9200 on 4x bus really means radeon 9000).

              disclaimer, i got an ibook here. it's got it good sides, but it's also got it's bad sides.

              and apples marketing is just full of shit, even when compared to pc gfx card marketing. but what's really bad about is it that some people don't have any criticism over apples marketing terms and really believe that their g4 bundled with 9200 kicks the ass of something that would be considered a general/gaming budget pc, and that 1024*768 is a good resolution.

        • by edwdig (47888) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @12:03PM (#11852957)
          The Mac has a tiny market share, but it's a market that's used to paying Apple money, even if the Apple option costs more than a non-Apple option.

          Then you have Linux users, most of which don't like to pay for things, and bitch like hell if a product doesn't come with the full source code.
      • by delire (809063) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:23AM (#11852693)
        Where do you get your news from? Why do you cite M$'s apparent install base of linux, one based on Linux desktop *sales*. Go read Gartner or Netcraft, the install base of desktop Linux is close to exceeding the Mac - do you see Apple desktops rolled out be the hundreds-of-thousands in Government departments and offices? No and likely you never will. And anyway that's not the point. An argument for giving back to the Unix community, from which they derive so much development capital, should not be justified by popularity alone.
        • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @12:24PM (#11853095)
          Perhaps ... but holding one's breath waiting for Steve Jobs to start playing nice is a recipe for asphyxiation. The open source movement is, after all, largely an honor system, and some of those who benefit from that movement are less honorable than others.

          Apple has been playing off of their maverick, nice-guy image for way too long. It's about time that people realize that Apple long since shed the original hacker mentality and went big corporate. That happened somewhere around 1982, I'd say. Apple Computer is run just as much by suits as IBM has always been. Sure, you have someone like Jobs at the helm who has a vested interest in maintaining that image ... but it's only an image, nonetheless.
      • by SirCyn (694031) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:43AM (#11852835) Journal
        maybe they should provide iTunes for OpenBSD, since they actually use that team's products

        By that logic they should roll iTunes out for FreeBSD, since Darwin (the base of OSX) is based on FreeBSD 5.x. Ever notice how FreeBSD rolls out a new release and OSX rolls out the next month.

        I'm not saying that Darwin and FreeBSD are directly compatible, but the FreeBSD project has benefited from Apple's advancements in Darwin; and porting from one to the other isn't that hard. Google has plenty of good information. [google.com]
      • by northcat (827059) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @12:16PM (#11853035) Journal
        Grandparent is not talking about Apache or Samba or OpenSSH. Grandparent is talking about FreeBSD. OS X uses FreeBSD as the OS and puts Apple's GUI on top of it. And IIRC, it uses Mach, which is another software which can be called Open Source, as the kernel. And as the others have pointed out, what you say is exactly what grandparent said -- they don't have a version of iTunes for Linux because the marker share is small -- no money in it for them. Grandparent's point is that Apple has taken so much from the OSS community and hasn't even given back a version of iTunes. The market share or the money in it for Apple doesn't matter.
        • by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @12:44PM (#11853282)
          And that's wrong because...?

          Let's be clear, Apple doesn't owe Linux a damn thing for using FreeBSD as it's base. It's a different group of people. And Apple pays back to FreeBSD in exactly the way that the open source model says it should, by using the software, and feeding back bug fixes.

          See for example [osviews.com]

          There seems to be an undercurrent on here that companies doing the things that make a profit is somehow immoral. Which is as valid an opinion as any other, but why not just say "all companies are immoral", rather than picking on the ones that you particularly want to spend time on unprofitable stuff.

        • by Slack3r78 (596506) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @03:11PM (#11854288) Homepage
          Wow, could you fit any more FUD into a single post? First off the FreeBSD connection is in the userspace tools - as you mentioned, the kernel itself is based off Mach. As for not giving back, you couldn't be more wrong.

          Is Darwin not giving back? You know, the entire underlying operating system, free and open source, given back to the community? Is open sourcing their entire ZeroConf implementation (aka Rendezvous/Bonjour) not giving back? What about all the improvements to KHTML they've given back? You know, the improvements Apple is donating back so fast that the KHTML literally doesn't have the manpower to merge them all back yet?

          The fact is, Apple has been incredibly good about giving back improvements to Open Source that they've made to the community. Even with BSD licensed software where they technically don't have to give anything at all back if they don't want to, AFAIK they always have.

          So while Apple certainly does some things I don't agree with, you need to seriously check your facts, and somebody needs to negate the insightful mod you've been given because you're anything but.
    • Re:They wish... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Life2Short (593815) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:02AM (#11852552)
      I see your point but when I think of a world not dominated by Microsoft, I don't think of a world dominated by Apple either. Instead I wonder what it would be like if all of those manufacturers from the 80s had made it into the 21st century. What sort of development, competition, changes, might have happened in a world where a Sanyo Silver Fox, Epson, Atari, Amiga, etc., etc., were all viable choices? Perhaps that would have fragmented the market too much, or perhaps we would have seen some real innovation over the past 20 years.
    • Re:They wish... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Fred_A (10934) <`fred' `at' `fredshome.org'> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:06AM (#11852569) Homepage
      Apple's OS owes a lot to open source software yet there's no iTunes software for Linux. A hell of a lot of DVD players actually run Linux yet you still can't get proper DVD playing software for Linux (legally, I know about libcss).

      So what ? If you're that desperate to use iTunes, unlock the files with the "illegal" library just like you unlock your DVDs. And if you don't run Linux, there's probably a Windows or MacOS or Atari or whatever version floating around.

      As for me I'm not even through ripping my CDs so I don't really have a use for an online service, especially not one from Apple. I looked at the players on the market, got an iRiver and never looked back anyway.
    • by puppetluva (46903) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:17AM (#11852648)
      There are big differences between Apple and Microsoft.

      Microsoft goes out of its way to steal competitor products (Sybase SQL server and OS2/Windows) copy innovations without any consideration to the originators (see GUI interface and mice: which both copied but apple paid stock for when they borrowed it), choke the life out of people they have contracts with (Look at the spyglass to IE story) and sabotage technology standards that they don't control (See Java and the butchery they did to Javascript/ECMAscript the supposed standard). Even in their originally innovative products, they primarily engage in anti-competitive, intentional incompatibilities (See every upgrade of Microsoft Office) that sabotage the compatibility efforts of others.

      Apple does none of these things. They are innovating, inventing and are really careful about asking people to mind their own business. They want to make their money by selling the best products in a category - Microsoft wants to make their money by being the only company to sell products in every category.

      To sum it all up: Apple makes, Microsoft takes. If Apple is cooking up new, tasty technology, they have a right to privacy.
    • Re:They wish... (Score:5, Informative)

      by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:18AM (#11852658) Journal
      There's a difference between not supporting rival products any more than you have to and actively looking for ways to smash the opposition. Has Apple got a track history of screwing over competitors as Microsoft has done with Lotus 1-2-3, WordPerfect, DR-DOS, OS/2, etc, etc, etc?

      Pullying the clones was a sensible move. Rather than expanding the marketshare of Apple's OS by attracting Windows-based users to the MacOS fold, all the clones succeeded in doing was stealing hardware sales from Apple itself, which was harming Apple's income. The clones experiment was too little too late to make any dent in the Windows juggernaut and was hurting Apple more than it was helping it, so it had to end.

      Apple not making a deal with BeOS was a decision that was based on several factors. One of which was the price - neither side really wanted to budge from their view of what the OS was worth - and another was the reappearance of Steve Jobs, who clearly favoured an OS based upon NeXT's OS, whether for technical reasons or personal vanity and vindication. Be could have easily cut a deal before Jobs was back on the scene, but they played hardball a little too hard and ended up with nothing.

      As for Apple's stores in the UK undercutting UK resellers, well, I've talked to a manager at one of Apple's biggest UK retail resellers (Micro Anvika) and he said business was booming, even with the Apple London Store only a mile or so away from his company's flagship stores in Tottenham Court Road, so it's hardly as if Apple's UK resellers are crying about it. If anything, Apple's new retail presence and elevated brand awareness has reinvigorated the market, and encouraged resellers to improve on their value-add, which is no bad thing from a consumer point of view.

      Even so, some of the biggest competition the UK resellers face is the disparity between Apple's UK and US pricing: it's long-established fact that it's considerably cheaper to buy a round-trip ticket to New York and pick up a PowerBook there than it is to buy the same PowerBook in the UK.

      Is Apple a wannabe monopolist? Probably, yes. Which company isn't? But nothing it's done so far or anything that you've mentioned in your post is evidence of any monopolistic policy on Apple's part.
      • Re:They wish... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@noSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @01:46PM (#11853767)
        I have seen a smilar boom in Nottingham - my local Apple reseller, who I'm very friendly with given the amount of business that my business puts through them (commercial video maker), has just moved to new premises in a more prominent location in the local shopping centre.

        The store is bigger, redesigned, and with more products on show. It's always full of customers.

        The manager says business has never been so good. Top sellers: iPod mini, G5 iMac, iBook, 12" Powerbook.
    • by voss (52565) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:36AM (#11852783)
      The only reason the PC became the defacto standard was because they didnt kill off their clones.

      Apple even without windows would not dominated because Apple in the 80s and early 90s was DUMB!

      It is likely another company would have created a GUI system for the PC even if microsoft didnt. An example being GEOS which came out BEFORE windows for the Commdore 64. Geos was ported to the PC about the same time as Windows came out...had there been no windows it is likely GEOS would have become the defacto GUI for DOS based systems. In such an event...GEOS and either Microsoft or DRDOS would have merged.

      and Voila... GEOS 95. :)

    • Re:They wish... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 2nd Post! (213333) <gundbear@pacbe l l .net> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:48AM (#11852873) Homepage
      You don't have to be a fan or foe to understand good business.

      Apple isn't 'attacking' fan websites. Take off your bias for a minute and compare this analogy:

      Three websites, say Ars, Anandtech, and Slashdot, publish articles on an upcoming ATI product that no one has heard about.

      ATI has subpoenas issued to Ars, Anandtech, and Slashdot in order to discover the source of the leak.

      Now replace ATI for Apple, and how is that different than the current Apple legal action?

      You also complain about 'formally faithful resellers'. Again, think of it from a business perspective: Apple wants profit. If their resellers satisfied Apple's business needs, why would Apple waste money, effort, and resources opening up stores? Look at the business landscape and tell me that the resellers actually helped Apple; and if they did, do they help more than Apple's own stores? Before the Apple Stores existed in the US, the only place I could acquire them were department stores with broken displays, computer stores with no staffing, and resellers with no customer service. I don't doubt there do exist the odd excellent reseller, but I don't think you can deny there exist a rash of bad outlets either.

      Finally you talk about open source. They give back exactly what they owe, and more. Apple doesn't use Linux, they use BSD; FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD. Towards that end Apple has released their OS core, Darwin, even though the BSD license doesn't require it.

      Apple also uses KHTML for their web browser, and releases that back to the KDE folk.

      Apple has open sourced their networking kit, Rendezvous, and their Quicktime streaming server, and a few other libraries and projects.

      Yes, all of this HAS to have business benefits. If there were no benefits, it would be a waste of YOUR money; you did invest in Apple when you purchased your products. They don't exist to do favors for Linux; when has Linux done favors for Apple?

      I don't believe Apple would be worse than Microsoft, given the chance. I think if they grew to Microsoft proportions, they would suffer a host of ills that currently can be seen afflicting HP, Sony, and Compaq: Lack of vision, lack of direction, lack of coordination, lack of innovation. You don't believe that, but I point to ALL the examples out there. The only company of that size that hasn't become listless (and thus surprised by Apple) is IBM.
    • Re:They wish... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GFLPraxis (745118)
      I have to disagree with the 'attacking their fans' thing.

      I'm tired of people calling anyone who defense Apple apologists when it comes to these court cases.

      ThinkSecret is a for-profit company, NOT a news organization.

      They're convincing people who have signed Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) to ILLEGALLY GIVE THEM INFORMATION.

      We don't know all the information, but if ThinkSecret convinced them to give them the information by giving them something, then they're also guilty of bribing.

      Either way, Apple ha
    • Re:They wish... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DenDave (700621)
      Worship the product not the company...

      any monopoly is bad..
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:40AM (#11852404) Homepage Journal
    In this day and age, everyone does business this way.

    No need to single out Apple for finally joining the crowd in order to stay afloat.
    • In this day and age, everyone does business this way.

      Not entirely true. I know many local companies and larger corporations that I think do a far better job to maintain common sense and moral while staying in business.
    • "Everyone"?

      Yes, there are these kind of news now and then of companies trying to stifle competition, but why aren't we facing a jungle of lawsuits, if what you're saying is true? Did Intel recently bully and make use of unlawful tactics? AMD? Google? Yahoo? ATI?
      • by 2nd Post! (213333) <gundbear@pacbe l l .net> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @12:01PM (#11852948) Homepage
        Enlighten me and tell me what Apple has done that is unlawful?

        Subpoenaing TS to find out where the leak is seems lawful.
        Bundling free AND non-integrated software seems lawful.
        Selling the SAME software in a non-bundled, non-integrated, package seems lawful.

        I'm sure half the examples you want to use are alleged violations: Like Apple's treatment of resellers, but truly, where has Apple been stifling competition?

        Have you not seen how many small, portable, hard drive based mp3 players exist? I would argue there that by making the market profitable, Apple has encouraged competition.

        Have you not seen how many music stores now exist? I would also argue that by making the market viable, Apple has encouraged competition.

        Have you not seen Apple's adoption of Open Source software? I would argue that by making Open Source profitable, that Apple has injected new life into the open source movement; that Open Source need not be garage, back-room, or basement, but is viable for the desktop!
    • No need to single out Apple for finally joining the crowd in order to stay afloat.

      Yes need to single out Apple for finally joining the crowd in order to stay afloat.

      I think it's a relavant topic of discussion whether Apple owes its success to superior products, or cut-throat business practices.

      If I'm considering buying Apple products because their cool now, will I regret it down the road when I realize they're screwing me?

    • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:19AM (#11852666) Homepage
      That's clearly rubbish, I can think of lots of businesses that don't go around doing the things Apple do. Most of them are small, a few are large (think Google, Red Hat etc).

      Saying "it's OK because everybody does it" isn't any kind of moral or legal argument at all - even if you were correct, it wouldn't make it right. At best, it indicates a serious problem with the system. At worst, it indicates that Apple is run by ego-centered millionaires who want to model the world in their image.

  • Not necessarily (Score:3, Insightful)

    by catdevnull (531283) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:42AM (#11852419)
    They way all corporations do their business is by flexing their muscle. When a company starts to measure its success by how much their quarterly results benefit their investors, then they become myopic bullies and innovation stops. MS is far ahead there.
  • Witness the FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greg_barton (5551) * <greg_barton@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:42AM (#11852421) Homepage Journal
    This is pure FUD, and guess what? It's aimed at you, the slashdot reader.

    From the article:

    It's ironic that a company as innovative as Apple Computer could have such a regressive view of the changing world of American media.

    Apple's view may seem regressive to the average slashdot reader, but to the rest of the world, it's way ahead.

    This is a baldfaced attempt to confuse two sources of outrage for the average geek: threats to free speech and threats from Microsoft. It's a common rhetorical and political tactic meant to funnel away attention from the true threat.

    Don't be fooled. Microsoft is the new Microsoft, and the old Microsoft.

    From the article:
    Problem is, the definition of journalism is rapidly changing. "Traditional" media like print newspapers, broadcast news and weekly magazines years ago began being augmented and in some cases supplanted by "new" media on the Web.

    The protection of sources is still a source of contention, even among the "traditional" media. Refer to the Valerie Plame case (another classic "divert the opposition" case) for contention about protection of sources in the traditional media. Protection of sources, even for the major media, is not a set part of the First Amendment.
  • No. (Score:5, Funny)

    by torpor (458) <{ibisum} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:42AM (#11852422) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft is the New Microsoft. Don't ever forget that, peon hoard!!

    (And if anyone else has any "New Microsoft" for sale, won't be long before Microsoft buy that too..)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:42AM (#11852423)
    Bill Gates in a cape with a shroud over his head...

    His crackley voice speaks, "Arise Darth Apple"

    Steve Jobs sets up, "Yes my Lord."

    when you come over to the dark side, all of the evil consumes you.

    Welcome Apple, the Evil that is Gates has consumed you.

    Next we will find Linus cut in half laying on the floor with RMS shaking his head, "ready not for the battle were you. Dead you now are."

    oh yeah, this will be good......

  • Jobs is not Gates (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FunWithHeadlines (644929) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:45AM (#11852439) Homepage
    Steve Jobs is capable of being mean-spirited, cruel, self-centered, and the like. If Apple were to take 90% of the computer market, I have no doubt he would bully people around. That said, no, I don't think Apple ever could be the next Microsoft just because he is not Gates. Microsoft is the way it is because of Bill Gates. His thirst for total domination goes beyond most CEOs. He is not satisifed with 90% and will continue to crush competitors until he has it all.

    Jobs, in contrast, is at his core someone who knows marketing and wants to dazzle his customers. With Microsoft it's what they want and you have to go along with it. With Apple, it's about finding the best customer experience and using that for profit.

    Look at the quality of their respective products. What kind of quality do you get from Gates? Convoluted, buggy, but hey it's got features so shut up. What kind of quality do you get from Jobs? Look at Pixar. They are a money-making machine, but they do it by providing customers with top-notch quality. People are glad to give them their money. With Microsoft, it's often a case of grudgingly giving their money.

    So a world dominated by Steve Jobs would undoubtably have it's own problems, it would be different problems than we have seen from Bill Gates. Their personalities are different enough to ensure that.

    • by greg_barton (5551) * <greg_barton@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:12AM (#11852618) Homepage Journal
      I think it's still possible that, if Jobs had the market dominance of Gates, he'd act just like him.

      And that's exactly why we need antitrust protection. Power corrupts.
    • Exactly. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MattHaffner (101554)

      Jobs, in contrast, is at his core someone who knows marketing and wants to dazzle his customers. With Microsoft it's what they want and you have to go along with it. With Apple, it's about finding the best customer experience and using that for profit.

      That's spot on.

      Apple is in the zone of making products you think you just can't be without. You want them. Have to have them. And you will spend the little extra to get the little extras they spend time investing in making a quality product.

      M$ has labored

  • by Saint Aardvark (159009) * on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:46AM (#11852447) Homepage Journal
    ...Canada?
  • Short answer: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Japong (793982) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:49AM (#11852461)

    "No".

    Longer answer:

    Apple was never really the "friend" of independents. Macs are designed to be closed systems, not particularly open towards user-implemented modifications. This is one of the reasons the systems are so polished, secure and easy to use. The fact that Apple is willing to sue to protect said secrets doesn't make them the new MS... they're just doing the same thing they've always done - protect their products.

    ThinkSecret infringed on that, and it could very well have been detrimental - look at how quickly Intel has designed a Mac-mini clone. Redmond doesn't have to worry about that - most of their software is a clone of Mac ideas anyway.

  • by Cougem (734635) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:50AM (#11852472)
    Apple the New Microsoft? Another one for the neophiliacs [private-eye.co.uk]
  • by katorga (623930) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:51AM (#11852483)
    I've been an Apple user since the Apple II back in the Day. They have always marketed the image the company and the customers as open, free thinkers, and iconoclasts. The reality is that Apple is one of the most closed proprietary companies around. As Apple moves closer to being an entertainment company, I expect the trend will get worse.

    They seek to have total control over their platform and how the users use that platform. Sueing their fansites is exactly the behavior I would expect from Apple.

    It is ironic that Apple used 1984 themes in their first Mac ad since Apple revels in "thought" control.
    • The claim that the users are open and freethinkers has nothing to do with whether the platform is closed.

      While the platform is somewhat closed and he hardware very closed, the release of Darwin and the use of numerous open standards doesn't fit your theory. Their software complies more with open standards than Microsoft's has any year, and I don't think they've tried to make their own proprietary revision of those open standards.

      I think you've missed a few points on the lawsuits There are laws saying th
    • by cowscows (103644) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @12:05PM (#11852968) Journal
      If you really feel that way, then why are you still a customer? Apple most certainly does have a history of proprietary hardware and software. But they also have a history of providing a computing environment that fueled the creation of many creative industries, such as desktop publishing, graphic editing, and as of late, big pushes into movies and music.

      They've pretty much always had total control over their platform. The exception being during the clone era, which didn't go well for a number of reasons. It's how they've managed to keep the quality of their products higher than average.

      I don't understand your argument that they want to totally control how I use my Mac. There's no software on my machine that I can't remove. A lot of their apps are collaborate in neat ways, but if take one of them off, the rest still work. Sure, they dictate what buttons and windows their programs present to me, but doesn't every application writer do that?

      Much of their software writes to open formats, and other developers are free to pull apart and write to those files (keynote, ical, etc...).

      I've installed various versions of Mac OS dozens of times on many different machines, and not once have I been asked to a serial number, or to authenticate.

      I can think of lots of software on my computer that Apple didn't create. I don't even have to ask them for permission to use those programs.

      I'm free to try and upgrade my hardware. My mac is filled mostly with pretty standard components. Video card choices are a bit limited because of the mac's smaller marketshare, but not because of any Apple conspiracy. I guess I can't really change my motherboard, but the percentage of computer users who care in the least what sort of motherboard they have is negligible.

      There are hundreds, probably thousands of Apple fansites that have been operating for years, and I don't think many of them have been sued.

      Linux and OpenBSD and whatnot most certainly do provide an extremely open and free environment. It's an environment that many people thrive in, and really enjoy. There are, however, plenty of other people who like to have a lot of the work already done for them, and that's the market that Apple has always targeted. Paying someone else make a bunch of decisions for you, so that you can get to work on the ones that you're actually interested in, that's not evil. And a company existing to make money off of doing that is not evil either.
    • by MasonMcD (104041) <masonmcd@mac . c om> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @01:10PM (#11853474) Homepage
      They seek to have total control over their platform and how the users use that platform. Sueing their fansites is exactly the behavior I would expect from Apple.


      Hmm. You must be talking about just the chip or something, because on the G5 towers that start at $1400 or something, you can replace/upgrade drives, vid cards, optical drives, memory, etc. as well as add bajillions of compatible 3rd party peripherals. A 16 button mouse, if you want.

      Apple also includes X11, you can use fink or another package manager, you can even install yellowdog linux. They include free dev tools for both the BSD and mac environments. A free compiler. Almost RAD-like cocoa app dev tools that give you the low level stuff for free.

      So I'm not sure what you mean when you say "total control" over how users use the platform, unless you mean you can't build a mac out of spit and tinfoil with an embedded mach kernel with an opensource mac personallity or something.
  • $35B (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tacokill (531275) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:54AM (#11852501)
    Not until they have $35 Billion in the bank. That's with a "B" -- and that's cash.

    see here [yahoo.com]

  • by jessecurry (820286) <jesse@jessecurry.net> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @10:55AM (#11852506) Homepage Journal
    I believe that Apple has a right to know if one of its employees, who would've signed a NDA, is the source of the leak. How would you all feel if in cases such as this the "news source" were required to provide its sources to a third party, at that point the company that wanted to know if a leak was internal would be provided the names of sources only if it matched a list of employees.
    I do love the protections that the press has and feel that those protections should be extended to online media, but I also think that companies should have some protection of their trade secrets.
  • Ok ENOUGH. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SirDrinksAlot (226001) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:02AM (#11852550) Journal
    Even if you don't count Apple's actions this week as a potential threat to first amendment rights (Apple's crackdown on Web sites that love the company), they do nothing to bolster Apple's public image.
    Ok seriously now, thats not helping anything either. Apple has a right to find out who in their company is both breaking the law and lieing to them. Those people who are breaking the law done have any rights in my oppinion and I do hope that Apple finds out who did it and they get fired and punished accordingly.

    If I had a contract with somebody and they broke it, I would want to know about it and so would you.

  • -1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FEEBLE*BMX (695853) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:06AM (#11852571)
    Just mod this whole article -1 Flamebait and get it over with.
  • by Mathetes (132911) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:10AM (#11852598)
    I keep reading that "Red Hat is the new Microsoft" or "Apple is the new Microsoft". There is only one Microsoft! They alone have near monoploy market share. They alone have tried their best to lock people into their own proprietary versions (java, web browsers, office suites).

    Apple may guard their secrets and markets closely, but they also support open standards and open source.

    Red Hat makes the source code for all their products easily available by ftp/http mirrors everywhere.

    To paraphrase Gandalf: There is only one Microsoft and it does not share power!
  • Apple = Microsoft? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gilesx (525831) * <gil@foresig[ ]inux.com ['htl' in gap]> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:11AM (#11852603) Homepage
    Believe it or not, just like Apple, Microsoft also used to have an army of fanboys for whom MS could do no wrong. I remember the fevered launch of Windows 95, with them all lining up outside stores at midnight to be the first to own a copy - I don't think even the Apple fanboys have got this bad yet!

    However, for all the blind loyalty, slowly but surely people started to hate Microsoft. I can see Apple going exactly the same way. Why? Because like Microsoft, they have started to screw the average Joe around and act anti-competitively.

    When they make their cute little computers, they can pretty much get away with charging at a premium, as they have total lock-in and nobody else can make a compatible, yet cheaper device (and competition is one of the main things that commerce is founded on). However, with, for example, the iPod and iTunes store, a lot of other companies have been able to produce alternatives that are cheaper, and do the job just as well, but better. What's the Apple answer? Lower the costs? Make their products (Fairplay DRM I'm looking at you) more attractive to consumers? Nope. Instead they try to stifle the competition by making their hardware only able to purchase tracks from their own online store (which kind of feels like a car manufacturer only allowing their cars to be used with their own brand gas), and taking legal action against any competitor that tries to provide tracks that can be made to work with Apple's hardware.

    If that isn't anti-competitive, and the Microsoft way, then I don't know what is.
    • Used to??? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      Believe it or not, just like Apple, Microsoft also used to have an army of fanboys for whom MS could do no wrong.

      Used to? Jesus man. I still see so much evidence of this going on today here on Slashdot and everywhere else. To an awful lot of people, Microsoft is still a kind, benevolent company who make secure robust software. Or at least they don't seem to bothered by the rest of the shit MS does.

      Instead they try to stifle the competition by making their hardware only able to purchase tracks from t

  • by standards (461431) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:22AM (#11852686)
    Apple's crackdown on Web sites that love the company

    Paying Apple employees to break an agreement with Apple and leak Apple's trade secrets isn't a manifestation of "love".

    Some people have to grow up and understand that a company is about making money, and a company has corporate interests that some blogger may not be able to appreciate. A company isn't "open", like the government is (supposed) to be.

    • by zaren (204877) <holdthis@mail.com> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:41AM (#11852827) Homepage Journal
      Paying Apple employees to break an agreement with Apple and leak Apple's trade secrets isn't a manifestation of "love"

      FINALLY, someone gets it! This isn't about fansite's or blogger's "rights as journalists", this isn't about freedom of speech, this is about someone willing to violate a legally binding contract forbidding them from revealing trade secrets to outsiders, and someone else soliciting that violation.

      Apple has been such a driving force in the industry in recent years due to their ability to innovate. When someone from inside the company leaks information, that innovation is threatened by the million and one companies clamoring to whip out a cheap knockoff of the latest Apple design.

      It's not like these fan sites haven't gotten cease and desist orders for YEARS prior to this. It's not like they didn't know all about Apple's land sharks. The company known as Apple Computer is well within their rights to pursue these legal means to defend their rights.
  • Oh, please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RetiredMidn (441788) * on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:30AM (#11852742) Homepage
    First of all, Apple can't violate the First Amendment, since it applies to Congress.

    Second, this is about unauthorized publication of private information. Certainly nobody believes that "the press", in any of its traditional or more modern forms, has the unfettered freedom to publish private information, especially if the release of the information is potentially harmful to someone.

    Consider the (admittedly imperfect) analogy of a blogger publishing your private medical information, or financial records. Nobody would claim that the first amendment extends to malicious release of private data.

    A reasonable person might argue that a corporation is not entitled to the same protection as a an individual, and it is certainly the case that ThinkSecret's actions were not malicious (although they were arguably harmful). OK, we have the basis for a discussion, but not histrionics about a corporate evil empire trashing our constitutional rights.

    I can't believe Forbes published that drivel. Reasonable people can disagree about whether Apple's actions are reasonable or constructive, but this was an inexcusably sloppy start.

    And, oh, by the way, my pre-iPod MP3 player (a Creative Nomad II) is currently loaded with mostly iTunes-purchased songs. I guess I failed to notice the Apple-logo'd chains around my neck when I loaded it...

    • Re:Oh, please (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sanity (1431) *

      Certainly nobody believes that "the press", in any of its traditional or more modern forms, has the unfettered freedom to publish private information, especially if the release of the information is potentially harmful to someone.

      Yeah, thank God that the Washington Post wasn't able to publish that sensitive private information about the Watergate break-in which would have been terribly damaging to Nixon.

      Get real, almost anything worth publishing will be damaging and considered private to someone.

  • Um... yeah right. (Score:3, Informative)

    by borgheron (172546) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:35AM (#11852772) Homepage Journal
    Apple is protecting it's rights here. Trade secret law is a complicated thing. Apple is entitled to protect it's corporate secrets.

    Companies aren't open, companies aren't free, companies are typically closed, proprietary, and restrictive. Apparently some Apple employees blabbed and they shouldn't have. Things like this can cost companies millions in lost profit.

    Is this bad PR for Apple? Yes, I think it is. Is it within Apple's rights? Certainly. Does it make Apple the next Microsoft? No, last I checked Apple only controlled a fairly modest portion of the market.

    Later, GJC
  • Yes and no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:39AM (#11852803)
    Apple could be the next MS if it continues to follow the MS playbook on how to crush competition. But the article isn't about that really. The author is mixing separate issues together painting Apple in a very bad light. Apple is a long away from MS.

    Apple's stance on Think Secret is about First Amendment rights. From Apple's perspective, it is trying to protect their trade secrets by limiting information about upcoming products. Apple isn't alone in doing this. Most automanufacturers go to great lengths to protect new models. From ThinkSecret's perspective, it's about their First Amendment rights. A court will settle it.

    If it was MS, not only would MS sue ThinkSecret, they would try to influence ThinkSecret's partners, suppliers, and customers in not so subtle ways.

    Apple like some companies have and will continue to bully some resellers This behavior could turn away many, and Apple could be nicer. The sad fact of the matter, though, is that Apple owns a monopoly on their own machines, but they have not in recent memory tried to bully resellers against competitors.

    Microsoft has not only bullied resellers but strong-armed partners too against their competitors. When Win95 was out, many OEMs were persuaded not to install Netscape but IE or their Windows prices might rise. Intel wanted to develop a Java runtime compiler for i386, but MS hinted that AMD would get a more favorable treatment when MS developed their next version of Windows if they did.

    The issue with iTunes keeps coming up, and it never really gets explained. AAC is an open standard. Fairplay contains the DRM. Not many players support AAC and almost all support mp3 (as does iTunes/iPod) and some support wma. Those that support wma have struck deals with MS. Some of those who complain about Apple being closed include MS and Real and that's the pot calling the kettle black. You can always convert the songs into MP3s if you want although it's not a simple process and their will be fidelity loss.

  • by maynard (3337) <j DOT maynard DO ... AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:43AM (#11852838) Journal
    Is it OK for a medium sized business with a small percentage of aggregate market-share to use restraint of trade practices, ethically dubious legal machinations to control product information flow, and closed source development methodology? Complaints about Microsoft have ranged from outright code theft and distribution (Stacker) to breach of contract and restraint of trade while holding a monopoly. And closed source development methodology. Which is worse? Which of the two might cause greater damage across the whole economy? Toss these questions in your ethical scale and decide for yourselves. I know where I sit.

    I'm not pleased with Apple's behavior of late. But IMO Microsoft has a long history of much worse. I'll stick with Apple as long as their product does what I need at a price I can afford (both time and hardware/software expense). I bought a Mac because I don't have time to maintain a Linux box at home any longer. I ran both Linux or *BSD on my home PCs for over ten years, and if I had the time to tinker, I'd go back. Not now. I work full time, I take two evening classes, and I'm a part time landlord. My computer is now a tool, not a toy. So, Mac it is - warts and all.

    *sigh* As good as much Free Software is, sometimes one must make a tradeoff between necessity and available time. And if that means accepting Apple's somewhat rude and abusive behavior, for the moment I'm willing to do so for expidiency's sake. But that doesn't mean I like it. Apple may convince me yet to make my next purchase an Opteron running Linux. --M
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:46AM (#11852859)
    Has anybody else noticed that Apple is not suing ThinkSecret? They are not pursuing damages from ThinkSecret. They are not trying to bully ThinkSecret into disappearing from the web.

    In short, Apple is not attacking ThinkSecret.

    This is not a First Amendment issue. Apple is trying to track down people who violated their NDA. When you sign an NDA, you are signing a legal contract and violating that contract is a violation of the law. When you sign an NDA you have essentially agreed to forfeit your 1st Amendment right as it relates to the subject of the NDA.

    Apple is trying to track down a person or people who willfully and illegally violated the terms of a legally binding agreement that they made with Apple. ThinkSecret is safe. ThinkSecret is not being forced off of the web. They are not being sued for damages. They are not being prosecuted at all. They are being subpoenaed for info that would lead to the prosecution of people who have broken the law (this is not even debatable at this point, these people have violated the terms of a contract that they agreed to). No one is attacking ThinkSecret or their right to say whatever they choose to say.

    And the whole idea of media sources being protected is sketchy at best. There has never been a clear and well-defined legal precedent for this supposed protection. In fact, whenever "sources" have provided info that is later determined to be false or defamatory, they are usually pursued with the blessing of the courts. And when someone provides information by violating a legal contract, why should it be any different? If you didn't want to get in trouble for telling people, you shouldn't have signed the NDA.

    You people have a funny idea of how the first amendment works.
  • by vistic (556838) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @11:53AM (#11852907)
    Microsoft is the new IBM, Apple is the new Microsoft, Google is the new Apple... who's the new Google? ...and what's IBM become?
  • by jidar (83795) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @12:16PM (#11853034)
    Please people, Apple has always been this way. Apple didn't get beat by Microsoft because they were nicer, they just got beat. If you were surprised by Apples recent moves then you just haven't been paying attention.
  • by katharsis83 (581371) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @12:54PM (#11853365)
    "...Apple's actions this week as a potential threat to first amendment rights..."

    Look, just because a company wants to shut down some websites, does not make it an automatic 1st Amendment case. The 1st Amendment was originally ONLY meant for the federal government; i.e. Congress can't make laws saying, "no printing bad stuff about any senators." In the early 20th century, the 1st Amendment was "incorporated" so that it also applies to the states (Schenck v. United States); I think it was the first of the Bill of Rights to be incorporated . BUT THAT IS IT. The 1st Amendment does not apply when Apple is suing a few websites over trade secrets/NDA/etc. This case might be corporate censorship through legal intimidation, but it has absolutely nothing to do with a state or federal government abridging free speech.

    A good example of a current case that DOES involve the 1st Amendment is the Novak/Valerie spying case where two journalists have been held in contempt because they're refusing to reveal their sources. I think it's a journalist from the Post and the Times.

    It's stupid to shout "freedom of speech" whenever anything remotely relating to censorship occurs.
  • by jhealy (91456) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @01:47PM (#11853775)
    I'm tired of people saying there are no compatible mp3 players. Here's the list, straight from Apple [apple.com]

    iPod - Apple
    Nomad II - Creative Labs
    Nomad II MG - Creative Labs
    Nomad II c - Creative Labs
    Nomad Jukebox - Creative Labs
    Nomad Jukebox 20GB - Creative Labs
    Nomad Jukebox C - Creative Labs
    Novad MuVo - Creative Labs
    Rio One - SONICBlue/S3
    Rio 500 - SONICBlue/S3
    Rio 600 - SONICBlue/S3
    Rio 800 - SONICBlue/S3
    Rio 900 - SONICBlue/S3
    Rio S10 - SONICBlue/S3
    Rio S11 - SONICBlue/S3
    Rio S30S - SONICBlue/S3
    Rio S35S - SONICBlue/S3
    Rio S50 - SONICBlue/S3
    Rio Chiba - SONICBlue/S3
    Rio Fuse - SONICBlue/S3
    Rio Cali - SONICBlue/S3
    psa]play 60 - Nike
    psa]play 120 - Nike
    SoundSpace 2 - Nakamichi

    CD MP3 Players

    RioVolt SP250 - SONICBlue/S3
    RioVolt SP100 - SONICBlue/S3
    RioVolt SP90 - SONICBlue/S3
  • by MarkWatson (189759) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @01:54PM (#11853820) Homepage
    Really, I am used to seeing (occasionally :-) stupid stories on Slashdot, but this is ridiculous.

    Apple gives back to the BSD community. Apple mostly supports standards.

    I have made a lot of money over the years because of Microsoft, but I must say that I don't like them for a few simple reasons: lack of support for standards, obfrustcated Microsoft Office file formats, putting marketing before creating simpler more reliable products...

    I respect Bill Gates for his donations to charity. It makes me feel great to be able to regularly contribute small amounts of money to organizations like the Heifer Project, American Friends Service Committee, and Habitat for Humanity. But, WOW!!, I can no even imagine what it must feel like for Bill and Melinda Gates to be able to literally help millions of people instead of of a few.

    But, as a corporation, I am starting to detest Microsoft.

    Apple is my ace in the hole in case Linux is ever outlawed in the USA. I guess that I could live with just OS X.
  • by blair1q (305137) on Saturday March 05, 2005 @02:04PM (#11853901) Journal
    Who are you kidding?

    Apple's persistent proprietary secrecy, its atavistic self-righteousness, and its high profit margins have always been more stringent than Microsoft's.

    Which is why Microsoft has always kicked its ass in the market despite lower product quality.

    Even after 20 years, I still don't buy Apple because I feel I'll be "locked-in" to a proprietary system with expensive add-ons to do simple things. The fact that they'll be done extremely well doesn't sway me or the other billion Windows users.

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