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Microsoft Businesses Apple

Apple, the New Microsoft? 703

Posted by Zonk
from the rolling-stone-obviously-an-authority-on-this dept.
VE3OGG writes "Apple, the ultimate source of cool. The marketers of slick. The next 'evil empire'? While it might sound goofy at first, Rolling Stone magazine is running an article that summarizes some very interesting points that detail how Apple could become the next technology bad guy. Among the reasons given: Apple's call to be rid of DRM (while continuing to use it in iTunes); Apple's perceived arrogance when they warned consumers not to upgrade to Vista, while not rushing to fix the problem themselves; and Apple's seemingly unstoppable market dominance in the form of the iPod. The iPhone featured heavily as well, a product that is months from release but steals the press from more competitive products. What do you think, could Apple eventually take the place of Microsoft?"
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Apple, the New Microsoft?

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  • penultimate? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TrappedByMyself (861094) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:07PM (#17953892)
    Apple, the penultimate source of cool.

    So who will the last source of cool be? I'm confused.
    Or is someone trying too hard to use big words again?
  • Re:No, because... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:10PM (#17953946)
    Microsoft didn't always suck ...
    Neither did Sony ...

    There are two problems that large companies tend to face which make them evil, the grow too big and one hand of the company doesn't know what the other hand is doing, and they get success too quickly which leads to hubris. The interesting thing is that the companies that survive the eventual fall (Nintendo, IBM) tend to recover and don't make the same mistakes again ...

  • What about DVDs? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sluke (26350) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:12PM (#17953982)
    I noticed that they called Apple the largest purveyor of DRM technology. I thought that far more DVD's had been sold than songs from iTunes. Is there something I'm missing that makes DVD's free of DRM or is this just a case of Apple having DRM that's not broken too badly? I know that here in the USA it's just as illegal (thanks DMCA) to get around one as the other.
  • Apple can't be (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:14PM (#17954036) Journal
    As long as they follow their business model they've always had - tying software to hardware - they'll never achieve enough market penetration to be Microsoft. For consumer level stuff, if iTunes becomes too cumbersome, people will move on. It's yet to face any serious competition, when it does, it won't seem like such an unstoppable force.

    They could have very microsoft-ish market share if they'd sell OS/X for commodity hardware. I'd install it tomorrow if I could (i mean could in a supported way, not a hacky-half-assed way). But they won't, so they're pretty much irrelevant to me as a company. They've never factored into any buying decisions I've been a part of in the business world - I'm sure some businesses love Macs and are all Apple this and Apple that, but that's the exception that proves the rule.

    They'll always remain as a sort of a curiosity. A proprietary platform in a world where hardware and the OS is a commodity. As people move towards internet based productivity apps, and towards cheaper purposed appliances for other things (gaming, media), the whole Mac vs PC thing will become less and less relevant. We already talked about this in the "future of OS's" story today - with virtualization, and other technologies, we'll be able to focus on the applications, and less attention to the chunk of code between the hardware and the application.

    Bottom line; they just don't have the clout, and never will - short of a total remake of their company from the ground up.
  • Re:No, because... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thewldisntenuff (778302) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:24PM (#17954220) Homepage
    Did you just say "largely irrelevant" in regards to IBM and Nintendo?

    IBM makes the chips that powers all of these new consoles and is still a big name in computing.

    Nintendo has created a frenzy around another handheld machine and the Wii, which is killing Sony thus far, and has really revolutionized the way people play video games.

    "...largely irrelevant"? Not a chance.
  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bryansix (761547) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:25PM (#17954260) Homepage
    Exactly! Apple is only hindered in it's evil nature by the amount of market share it has. Look at their lame "I'm better then you" campaign they launched on the PC. Every single argument was a straw man. It was complete and utter bullshit. Then you have the lip service to non-DRM music while their own product locks you into their own service. It's totally hypocritical how Apple acts.
  • by d3xt3r (527989) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:27PM (#17954312)

    Apple right now is, for all intents and purposes, a minority player in the computer arena. The popularity of the iPod plus the feature set of OS X is attracting customers to the Mac product line, but Apple isn't a threat, yet. However, that doesn't mean their isn't room for concern. Apple's latest OS is built on the free, open source FreeBSD [freebsd.org] user land. Their web browser's rendering engine is based on KHTML, an open source toolkit developed in Konqueror [konqueror.org]. But Apple hasn't given much back to the community. Even what they are required by law to give back (enhancements to KHTML) has been done in large dumps rather than providing useful contribution to the Konqueror development team.

    Why does any of this matter? It matters because it illustrates Apple's intent. Apple, just like MS, doesn't want to play nice, support open software or even standards. Apple sells DRM'd media on a closed platform that can only be played with Apple software and devices (iPod).

    But the Catch 22 is, do you support them? Recently I've been encouraging friends and family to move to the Mac, and for now I still think it's a good idea. Why? Because Microsoft is still the number one bad guy and platform diversity will take away power from them. I think we should all be mindful of Apple's practices but their own arrogance will never allow them to be so dominant that they will be a threat. For instance, Apple demands that you use their platform to run their media and their OS. When new device X comes out that's more popular than the iPod, it will force Apple to support the device for have iTunes become irrelevant. Apple's choice not to allow their OS to be run on commodity hardware will hinder them from market dominance. I've long believed that the illusion of choice is part of what helped MS become a monopoly. People when their buying computers think, "should i get an HP, a Dell or an IBM?" When really all their getting is a Windows box.

    Additionally, the shift away from traditional computing to the internet will also hinder Apple from being the next MS or Big Blue. Personally, I'm more worried about Google than Apple

  • Re:Sure, why not? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`Satanicpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:30PM (#17954394) Journal
    You didn't notice the common thread in all the past evil empires that you listed.

    AT&T (The Bells): Phone/Telecom monopoly. Is there a phone/telecom monopoly today? No.
    IBM: Hardware monopoly. Is there a hardware monopoly today? No.
    Microsoft: Software monopoly. Is there a software monopoly today? Yes. Is it shrinking? Yes.

    There is always that guy who jumps in and grabs the whole market when it's brand new. The thing is, it never lasts, and then the market gets filled up with a lot of small savvy competitors, and fragments. This happens over and over throughout history. Microsoft seems eternal to us, but they're still pretty new, I mean, they're younger than I am. In forty years, they'll be completely different, and will not have the same level of dominance.

    Apple may become an evil empire, if they work out a way to do real digital convergence so well that all other attempts fall hilariously flat. But the iPod is not an empire in itself...It's just a nice product.
  • by mangu (126918) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:49PM (#17954760)
    MS, as said above, will always dominate the market. Their OS is destined to reign somewhat supremely over the industry.


    It's funny that at one time the same was said about the Ford Motor Co. In 1927 they built the 15 millionth Model T [asme.org], a record that would stand until 1972, when Volkswagen built the 15 millionth VW beetle [si.edu]. Today, it's only their own PR people [ford.com] who think Ford is increasing their market share [google.com]. Actually, their stock price [yahoo.com] has gone consistently down for the last three years.


    As you see, there's no such thing as a company that will "always dominate". Considering that the software industry evolves much faster than the automotive segment, I don't think we will need to wait 45 years to see another company assume the predominance Microsoft has today.

  • Re:No, because... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Heembo (916647) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:15PM (#17955416) Journal

    Nintendo has created a frenzy around another handheld machine and the Wii, which is killing Sony thus far
    Did you not take notice that the Playstation 2 outsold the Wii (and all other consoles) this season? I hate Sony, but the PlayStation 3 is a very powerful platform, and SONY is still making money off of their Playstation 2! This battle has just begun, and the winner has yet to be decided.
  • Re:No (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ravear (923203) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:02PM (#17956312)

    Google already is the next Microsoft. We just don't all know it yet.
    Oh please. Google has no power over what I do. I'm not forced to buy or use any of their stuff. They have many excellent free opt-in products & adblock takes care of any minor nuisances. This recent anti-google wave on /. sounds rather petty.
  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday February 09, 2007 @07:12PM (#17957236) Homepage Journal
    Rolling Stone's reporting in many areas has consistently been some of the best in all of journalism. Their fact-checking is first-rate and they get some of most prestigious writers around to do the articles. Just because they've written something that brings into question your world-view is not reason enough to denigrate the quality of their work.
  • Re:New? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lowvato (68700) on Friday February 09, 2007 @07:17PM (#17957300) Journal
    I couldn't agree more. I worked in a call center serving Apple when they came out with OS 7.1 (I think it was 7.1). This was a time when the os was horrible and parts of the computer would break because of the way that they packaged it in the box. People wanted to kill us for representing Apple during those dark days. Apple also is much more likely to make major revisions to their OS that leave all their clients with old hardware completely out of the water. One of the ways that they have been able to produce the OSs that they have is by not supporting backward compatibility, something that MS has strived to do. MS is an evil empire. Apple has been evil as well and has historically been one of the most xenophobic of companies and almost died because of it. I'm tired of Mac bigots and I hate MS-centric fools as well. Lets face it, there are evil and good aspects of both companies. I hate it but Visual Studio is a great product and it was not long ago (2 or 3 yrs ago) that I went to an Apple WWDC and they were just talking about thier first XML libraries for COCO. I wouldnt trade VS for COCO any day. Rant Rant Rant.....I hate them all and hope both companies are strife with herpies. Where is my martini? Glurb. I also hate Steve Jobs. Total sensationalist. At least you can look at Bill Gates and say, "That little prick is a geek. A manipulative, territorial, competative little prick but he is a geek." Jobs is just a light bulb in a room full of moths. He represents the marking shit heads that I came to utterly hate in the 80s. Where is my gin and tonic? Oh and one more thing, I utterly hate Steve Ballmer and would pay good money to see him duke it out with Dick Cheney, pastey face to pastey face. Where is my rig?
  • Re:Sure, why not? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Digital Pizza (855175) on Friday February 09, 2007 @07:29PM (#17957440)
    $600 for the mini isn't insane because you're paying for the miniaturized components; it's in the same price ballpark as, for example, the Shuttle PC. The problem is that Apple doesn't offer a regular-sized, consumer-level Core2Duo-based tower computer. The Mac Pro certainly doesn't count because it's Xeon-based, high-end workstation hardware and you pay for that.
  • Re:Sure, why not? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gr8Apes (679165) on Friday February 09, 2007 @07:58PM (#17957718)
    I was pricing the macbook pro Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz, 2GB RAM, 15.4 inch wide screen 1440X900, a 256MB graphics card, 120GB 5400 rpm HD, Bluetooth, wireless G, weighing under 6 lb.

    Dell's came out at around $3300. Apple's was a mere $2500. I didn't even account for the additional software that comes witht he Mac.

    Oh, and I'd love a comparison with the mini. Heck, to be honest, I'd love a comparison with the Mac Pro. Or the iMac. No one can touch them for what they are. That's why Apple's star is rising, and Dell, Gateway, and HP are trying to differentiate their bottom trawling products.
  • FUD factory (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ndipierro (984190) on Friday February 09, 2007 @09:56PM (#17958734) Homepage
    1. microsoft never raced to make its products compatible with any apple release. there's not one piece of intel-ready mac software from microsoft as of right now. that those programs run at all is a testament to apple's concern for customers. and don't think for a moment Office for the mac is charity. MS makes a very nice profit on mac users and will continue to do so.

    2. am i to understand apple is the only company without compatible vista software ready to go on launch day?

  • by gyrogeerloose (849181) on Saturday February 10, 2007 @01:19AM (#17960182) Journal

    I came to this conclusion while reading an article on "back-to-school" computers a while back in which a Windows system was recommended for graphic design students with no mention of a Mac. Without getting into the whole Mac -v- Windows debate, I know from experience working in the pre-press business that it's very Mac-centric and anyone sending files created on a Windows machine for output to a Post Script image setter is at a huge disadvantage. Any tech writer who isn't aware of this is either incompetent or biased

  • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Saturday February 10, 2007 @05:03AM (#17961212) Homepage

    So, Apple is bad because they continue to use DRM on the iTunes store. Brilliant. It can't be because, oh, I don't know, that the media companies would absolutely freak out if Apple unilaterally dropped DRM. They can't -- they would end up in court I suspect.

    According to Fred von Lohmann of the EFF, Apple would not drop iTunes Music Store DRM even if they could [eff.org]. As I understand it (I don't recall exactly where, but I think it was from one of DVD Jon's recent blog posts on the topic), Apple employs DRM on tracks from labels that don't want DRM. von Lohmann concludes, quite rightly:

    Apple's warm embrace of DRM here is every bit as reprehensible as Lexmark's effort to use DRM to eliminate interoperable printer cartridges [com.com] and Chamberlain's effort to use DRM against replacement garage door clickers [wired.com].

    Incredible is the reaction on tech discussion sites like /. and digg where Lexmark and Chamberlain get almost universally razzed but people believe the line that Apple only reluctantly employs digital restrictions.

    von Lohmann's post is quite informative and shows the real purpose of Apple's iTMS DRM—to lock in iTMS customers. DVD Jon builds on this in his recent blog posts.

    Then there's Steve Jobs' recent lie about not "gum[ming] up" networks [fsf.org] with third-party software, which the FSF debunked handily.

    One doesn't need to delve too far into history to see how proprietors, no matter how slick their ads or how popular their consumer electronics, are not working in your best interests.

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