Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Technology (Apple) Businesses Apple Technology

Apple Platform Lock-Ins, A 3rd Party Dev's Opinion 411

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-sir-i-don't-like-it dept.
Iftekhar writes "Wil Shipley, of Delicious Monster fame, has written a very candid essay on what he perceives as Apple's growing trend toward platform lock-ins. He writes: 'Why is the iPhone locked to a single carrier, so I can't travel internationally with it? There's really only one viable reason: Apple wanted a share of the carrier's profits, which meant giving AT&T an exclusive deal. Which meant, we get screwed so Apple can make more money. It's that simple. [...] As Apple gets more and more of its revenue from non-Mac devices, they are also getting more and more of their revenue from devices that simply exclude third parties. Consumers suffer from this. We suffer from increased prices and decreased competition and innovation. We suffer so Apple can make a few more bucks, when Apple is clearly not hurting for money.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Platform Lock-Ins, A 3rd Party Dev's Opinion

Comments Filter:
  • by ZipR (584654) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @11:43AM (#20719465)
    Apple is a company that's trying to maximize its profits? Wha????
  • Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DogDude (805747) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @11:43AM (#20719467) Homepage
    What an astute essay! Of course, it's about 20 years late, but hey, better late than never, huh?

    Apple has been actively engaging in hardware/software lock-in for 20+ years. Nothing has changed other than this one particular person has started to remove his head from his ass. Yippee.
  • You know what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Icarus1919 (802533) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @11:45AM (#20719489)
    You know what? I'm sick of this sort of thing. Guess what guys, Apple is in it for the money! They're not running a charity here. Yes, they locked in with another company, it's their prerogative. When you create a product you get to decide if someone is going to exclusively sell it, that's the way it works. No one is forcing you to buy the iPhone. Yeah, it's a create phone, but other phones get the job done just fine.
  • by Oz0ne (13272) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @11:47AM (#20719501) Homepage
    Apple when dealing with third parties loses some control over the experience of using their devices.

    They want to minimize this. It's bad enough they have people perceiving the iphone to have problems because of cell service outages, ridiculous billing from at&t, awful customer support at AT&T, etc. Imagine if they were having to fight that battle on more than one front?

    It's silly, because it's not apples fault, but everyone (average consumer) will relate the bad experience to apple even if they are one of the more clear thinking ones.

    Since their inception, they've kept control of their hardware, ensuring a consistent and good experience on their computer. This is their strength over microsoft. This is their strength over Dell. They can give you a good experience and manage it. They don't have anyone else to blame!
  • by weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @11:47AM (#20719505) Journal
    It could be argued that alternatives (some being less "harmful" to consumer) would actually be better at maximizing profits, than using lock-ins.
  • So don't buy it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by forsetti (158019) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @11:48AM (#20719515)
    'Nuff said.
  • by noewun (591275) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @11:51AM (#20719541) Journal

    There's really only one viable reason: Apple wanted a share of the carrier's profits, which meant giving AT&T an exclusive deal.

    Oh, Lord. Please point out to me the place in the U.S. where it's easy to buy an unlocked phone and take it from carrier to carrier, cause I'd like to live there. Then maybe I could cancel my contract without an early termination fee and sign up to another carrier without signing a contract. Look, Apple does some stupid shit, but blaming them for the terrible and non-competitive state of the U.S. cel phone industry is just plain stupid. We have, IMO, a de facto telecommunications monopoly in this country, and the reasons for that are a whole lot more complicate than 'Apple is teh sux0r!' The whole essay reads like someone who lives a fair distance from logic. And then there's this:

    But recently, well... the generous view would be that Apple's screwing up. . .

    No, the view among a small percentage of Slashdot posters and some people with blogs is that Apple's screwing up. The view of most rational people is they're doing just fine. Why didn't he just call the essay "I Hate Apple"?

  • by User 956 (568564) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @11:53AM (#20719561) Homepage
    As Apple gets more and more of its revenue from non-Mac devices, they are also getting more and more of their revenue from devices that simply exclude third parties. Consumers suffer from this.

    I wouldn't refer to anyone that can afford a $600 phone as "suffering".
  • Wow (Score:1, Insightful)

    by El Lobo (994537) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @11:54AM (#20719569)
    Wow! Apple ... lock in? That's news to me.. lets see. I can run OSX on... a mac only. I can *legally* use an iPod with.... iTunes only... Where are the Mac Clones? Gone... Apple... Locked... No shit, Sherlock.
  • by s4m7 (519684) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:02PM (#20719639) Homepage

    It's bad enough they have people perceiving the iphone to have problems because of cell service outages[.]
    Right, because I blame motorola for my verizon service sucking.

    they've kept control of their hardware, ensuring a consistent and good experience on their computer.

    Silly me, after paying $1500 for the damn thing, I was walking around under the mistaken impression it was my computer.

    come on, fanboys. you can do better.

    Eloquence. [thebestpag...iverse.net]
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:03PM (#20719657) Homepage Journal

    There's really only one viable reason: Apple wanted a share of the carrier's profits, which meant giving AT&T an exclusive deal.

    How does Shipley know this? It could just as easily have been that no mobile carrier would agree to allow the iPhone on its network (and to incorporate features like visual voice mail) unless it was under an exclusive license.

    I'm not saying that's necessarily how it went down, but it's well known that Jobs cares little for the mobile carriers.

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:04PM (#20719661)

    Didn't some judge say that kind of behavior was illegal?
    Apple has a monopoly on a key business device? Really? Is Apple trying to keep out other cell phone makers out of the market? Are they trying to control a hardware platform/device they did not create? No. Just as with consoles, the maker of the device makes the rules and if you don't like those rules then don't buy the device.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:04PM (#20719663)
    Luckily for Apple however, there's enough idiots in the world to pay for their over-priced, under-featured, low quality products.

    The amount of defects in Apple is quite astonishing and the software aint much better, yet people flock back to them again and again. Hell, the new iPods don't even look good - one of the few things usually going for Apple products and yet I bet they'll still sell like hotcakes.

    People say it's Apple's UIs that do it for them, but anyone able to talk in an even slightly non-biased manner will realise that iTunes, one of Apple's primary products is pretty damn atrocious.
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:04PM (#20719665)
    Because.... ???

    Look. Go whine somewhere else. You've made your bed, go lie in it.

     
  • by LehiNephi (695428) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:05PM (#20719671) Journal
    If you don't like it, don't buy it. If you're a 3rd party developer, then don't develop applications for it. Vote with your wallet. Nobody is forcing you to buy the iPhone. Go buy a different smartphone that allows 3rd-party apps.

    "Consumers suffer from this. We suffer from increased prices and decreased competition and innovation."

    This might actually make sense if this were a necessity of life, but this is a luxury item we're talking about. I give this a big fat "SO WHAT?" What Apple decided to do with the iPhone was a business decision. Business decisions are made based on the potential to make the company money, either in the short- or long-term. Making customers happy is only important to a company when doing so will help the company make money. If a company makes its customers happy but doesn't make a profit, its competitors will drive it into the ground. This is the whole basis for capitalism: if you don't like one company's product, take your money elsewhere. Besides, everyone was warned well in advance that the iPhone would be closed to third-party apps. There was no surprise. Now, if the iPhone had originally allowed 3rd party apps, and then through an update removed that ability, then you would have a cause to complain.

    But the whining I hear day after day about "oh no, the iPhone doesn't do [insert pet feature]! Woe is me!" has long passed the point of "annoying". Face it, even if all the current complaints about the iPhone were resolved, we'd find something else to complain about.

    The instant I heard "We suffer so Apple can make a few more bucks, when Apple is clearly not hurting for money," the article lost all credibility. Nobody is making you suffer. And so what if they have money? Do you know where that money goes? Let's see...it goes to paying all the people who work for the company. It pays the CEO a big fat paycheck, which he then spends on yacht, which creates jobs. Or he invests it, which means that the money goes to fund some other project or initiative which gives other people jobs. Money sitting in a pile does a company no good.
  • Re:You know what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by astrashe (7452) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:05PM (#20719675) Journal
    That was pretty much my reaction to it as well.

    If you want freedom, go with open source. Write code for linux phones, support that ecosystem, make them better. But don't whine about Apple being what it is.

  • by CharAznable (702598) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:11PM (#20719719)
    As an iPhone owner, you are not Apple's customer. You are the product. The iPhone is a device that uses a shiny interface to deliver subscribers to AT&T, who is Apple's true customer in this deal. I've been an Apple user since 1986, but this time I think I'll pass.
  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:17PM (#20719761) Homepage Journal
    So does most any other company in existence. This isnt an 'Apple thing'.

    The good news is that Apple has always made good products. ( well the Apple III not withstanding, everyone gets to make a mistake every so often :) )
  • by Scudsucker (17617) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:20PM (#20719779) Homepage Journal
    that it is Microsoft. A soon as they get more than 15% market share in anything (got forbid higher like with the Ipods), they start pulling stunts and tricks to lock-in people, hardware, devs.. Steve Jobs makes Bill Gates and Ballmer look like open source zealots.

    Holy super atomic hyperbole batman! The iPhone has been out for four months and hasn't come close to 1% of the phone market, so it's a wee bit early to be calling them monopolists. Would your ass like to speak up and make any other predictions while you are at it?
  • Re:You know what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:33PM (#20719913) Journal
    It's not about Apple making money. We all know Apple is a company, and companies like money, and I don't think many here would claim that's a bad thing. The point is how Apple is going about it. I use a Mac, and a large part of the reason for that is code written by Wil Shipley and his former employees. Without OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner, I would have a lot less reason to use a Mac. OS X is nice, but it's third party software that makes it really superb. Take that away, and you have a much less useful platform. The more Apple locks down their devices, the less useful they are. My Nokia phone lacks a few features, but I've been able to get third party software that makes up for that. If I replaced it with an iPhone and found it lacked features I need (actually, the iPhone lacks pretty much all of the features I actually use on a phone beyond making phone calls, but that's not the point), then I have no way of adding them. This means that I will not be buying an iPhone, irrespective of how shiny it is. This means that Apple has lost a potential sale due to their lock-in policy.
  • strange... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:34PM (#20719925)
    I have never heard Microsoft ever preventing you from running some other company's browser or media player on a Windows machine, yet Microsoft is evil because they give you a free browser and media player with Windows. I have never heard Microsoft ever insist that you had to buy your PC from them, yet Microsoft is evil because most PCs are sold with Windows pre-loaded.

    Apple is in every way more restrictive, but is the force of goodness and light.

    I'll never understand fanboys.
  • by Simonetta (207550) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:36PM (#20719935)
    Yes, I too believed the endless Apple hype. Even twenty years ago before knowing anything about computers and electronics (they are the same thing, in reality).
        Then when I was an electronics student, the original Mac came out. What a media shitstorm! You would have thought that the sun danced in front of Dan Rather and cast of thousands in a sleepy little Portuguese village. Then people started exiting the Jobs reality-distortion field and real reports started circulating (but not being published as most computer magazines were dependent on computer company ad purchases and wouldn't report anything dispiriting about anybody's computer. Plus,there was no WWW then).
          Well this little box was an earth shattering copy of a Xerox Star and somewhat cheaper, but it had one problem. It couldn't, well,..uh.. do..anything actually. I mean after you wiggled the mouse around and clicked on some menu bars, well that was about it. That's what you got for your $2000. It even took five swaps to copy a floppy disk.
          The problem was that the machine had no memory. It had two banks of 64K chips to run the whole show. But there were holes and traces on the circuit board to hold the new 256K RAM chips. It wasn't long before hardware hackers (and there were many then) realized that by carefully removing the 64K chips and replacing them with 256K chips, the new Mac could perform almost as well as a CPM machine or even a RadioShack Trash-80. Apple would upgrade your new machine, but they charged two to three times as much as the cost of the 256K RAM chips themselves. And basically all they did was pop the top, unscrew the main circuit board from the box, pull some easy-on,easy-off connectors, put in the new board with the 256K RAM chips and slap everything back together. It took about 15 minutes, maybe, if the store was busy. But Apple charged many hundreds of dollars for this, uh, service.
          So lots of people, (first customers, the ones who took a chance and paid the big bucks for Apple's new machine) simply did this procedure themselves. Word filtered back to this asshole Steve Jobs that about this and he decided that: "Anyone who did a non-Apple upgrade of the Mac RAM could NOT be allowed to purchase upgrade ROMs that fixed all the little bugs in version 1.0". This was a big thing: ROM chip swap was the only way to upgrade the Mac OS and, back then, almost everybody was a hardware hacker. Popular computer magazines published schematics and code to home-build copies of the latest equipment and peripherals that were being reviewed and sold.
          Not long after that Jobs was thrown out of the company for being a greedy megalomaniac and pissing off the entire Apple community. But he never lost the uncanny ability to take people's money, give them second-rate equipment, and convince them that they were part of some 'insanely great' movement of which he was the guru through which the divine light of technology and coolness passed.
        So it comes as no surprise that one by one, millions of people come to learn what a greedy vicious little fraud this guy is. Do yourself a favor; don't buy stuff from this guy. You can always get the same functionality in better and much cheaper equipment elsewhere.
  • "growing trend"? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by m2943 (1140797) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:38PM (#20719957)
    MacOS was very proprietary, and Apple went to court protecting whatever proprietary aspects of it could.

    OS X may use some open source components and command line UNIX interface, but the administration tools, graphics libraries, development tools, primary scripting language, and user interface are entirely proprietary.

    Apple likes to create the impression that this is because their tools are better, but there is little concrete evidence that Quartz, Cocoa, AppleScript, Xcode, or Objective C are better than their open source equivalents. The main areas where Apple clearly wins are design, marketing, and out-of-box experience.

    Apple's strategy seems to always have been, and continue to be, to be as proprietary as they can get away with. Nothing wrong with that--they are a for profit company. But don't you forget that they are a company and do what maximizes their profit, not what maximizes your benefit. And don't you forget that companies are very effective at marketing and creating addictive products--Apple products feel good, but so do lots of things that aren't good for you.
  • Rules of the road (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grumling (94709) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:51PM (#20720035) Homepage
    He who owns the road sets the rules. If you don't like it, don't buy it. If you want to play in Steve's sandbox, you better do what Steve says, or he just might smite you. If your business model depends on the whims of a tyrant, you'd better have some cash on hand to weather the storm.
  • by Divebus (860563) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:51PM (#20720037)

    Customers are suffering? I've been suffering under Apple for many years and intend to continue, if you call that suffering.

    iPod: Show me another company that develops an enormously popular product then continuously replaces it with major functional extensions and increasingly sexy devices in the face of almost no competition.


    Show me another company with this kind of popular product that doesn't try to leverage the RIAA against its customers. If it was up to any other company, we'd be paying between $2.50 and $4.50 for legal music downloads and be able to listen to them three times - just like the RIAA wants. Oh... wait... no, we'd be getting music from all the torrent sites instead. All of it.


    If anything, Apple is holding the prices down for mainstream music and allowing fair use of music like no other company - and at the same time showing the music industry how to keep EVERYONE from stealing from them. Apple is helping the artists in spite of the RIAA "cut open the golden goose" business model. They even host buckets of indie labels on ITMS.


    However, the original model of encrypted music downloads is now harming the ability to move directly to other music playing devices. That's changing too - if only the record labels would lift the contractual requirement of encryption. Meanwhile, exercise your ability to move the music around with the pathways supplied by Apple in spite of the RIAA protests.


    Even sticking to their guns in the computer industry, Apple is slowly getting noticed as a better choice than Windows. They could have sold out to the mainstream Lemmings but OS X users are almost universally much happier with their machines than Windows users. It's all about principal.

    Customers suffering indeed.

  • Re:Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Leftist Troll (825839) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:54PM (#20720053)
    I feel that my OS X coexists with Linux quite happily. [snip] The world would be a better place if there was 6+ apple like companies that all supported the open formats.

    If only Apple would start supporting open formats [technocrat.net] like ogg and odf, and stop wasting their time [blogspot.com] trying to sabotage their devices to break Linux compatibility, I would agree with you.
  • by Quixadhal (45024) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @12:55PM (#20720057) Homepage Journal
    Back in the good old days of mainframes, people (companies) used to invest a large chunk of cash into a single powerful mainframe system. They were then obliged to spend even more cash to buy peripherals for that system, which usually were only available from the original vendor. Some folks grumbled about this, but those were mostly bean counters and management (who listened to the bean counters far more often than their technical staff).

        The technical staff generally were happy with this arrangement. Part of the cash going to the vendor usually also paid for a nice fat service contract which meant if your disk drive walked a bit too far and bent the pins on the connector, they'd happily wander out and fix it for you. Sure, it might take them a little time, but generally speaking they'd eventually get it right and things would work properly.

        It also meant that the developers could learn how the system worked in a few months and then be productive for many years to come. No need to relearn the OS every few years because an update was just that, an update -- not a whole wad of new stuff lumped in and a big chunk of old stuff ripped out. No need to write code to handle 5 billion possible combinations of hardware from vendors who can't even read an English spec sheet when they design their chipsets. You wrote code, it worked.

        Then the microcomputer arrived and the PC got the attention of the bean counters. Not only could you buy dozens of these little boxes for a fraction of the cost of that big lump of iron in the basement, but there were no service contracts to sign... and no need for super-specialized support staff. The company could hire the VP's grandma to do tech support.

        Thus the industry went through a total reversal of operating standards. We went from having single-source products which were well tested, reliable, and backed by support from the folks who built and designed the systems, to cobbled together bits of duct tape and bailing wire that needed to be kicked every few hours to keep it running. But, it's cheaper.

        So, you'll forgive me if I don't take you guys very seriously when you say how much you love Apple because it just works, and because everything meshes together nicely, but you hate Apple because you can't add anything you want onto it and make it into the kind of frankenbox a typical PC is.

        Apple made the decision to sign a deal with AT&T for the money. Duh, they're a company trying to make a profit. They probably ALSO figured if they only had to deal with ONE vendor, they wouldn't have to worry if their new iPhone gizmo looked horrible when Bob's Budget Cellz decided to write their own GUI to slap on it for their customers.

        In short... make up your mind folks. You can have it done cheap, done right, or done quick... choose two.
  • I mean, just because Apple makes a product, that doesn't mean you need to get one. If the iPhone provides what you need better than the alternatives, and you don't need what it doesn't provide... go for it. If it doesn't... get something else.

    There's no "platform lock-in" to the iPhone. If there was an iPhone SDK, there would be, but as it is if you don't have an iPhone you can get another phone that can still use all the same third-party content you could if you had one, and if you do you aren't locked into it. This is a different kind of lockin-in, and it's got nothing to do with developers.

    On the iPod...

    Now we see that iPod owners who upgrade to a newer iPod must re-buy the games they've already bought, because the new iPods are incompatible with the old. No credit given for having already bought an identical game.

    Is he talking about games produced by Apple, or games produced by third parties? I don't know, I never bought games for my iPod. I never even considered buying games for my iPod. Why? Because it was obviously a closed system from the start.

    But I did buy some software for my Palm, and had to re-buy some of it when I got a newer PalmOS device, because the older games didn't handle the new screen size. That's not Palm's fault, and I don't blame them for that (and not just because there's enough well-earned blame landing on them as it is).

    And I'm certainly not going to *create* a platform lock-in for them by buying an iPhone and crack into it.

    What should Steve do? Well, for starters, give up on trying to control everything.

    Oh, I can only agree, but Steve isn't going to do that, so my recommendation is to stick to the Mac, ignore the 'appliance' products, and have an exit strategy so you can jump ship if Apple decides they're going to get serious about making the Mac an appliance again. That way we'll never have to put up with 1984 being just like 1984.

    In the meantime, be picky.

    Apple needs to be able to say, "Look, NBC, you want to be dumb-asses and try to sell people crap they don't want, fine -- we're still going to sell iPods that'll play your programs, we just won't sell your programs on the nicest internet store in the world. Your loss, suckers, call us when you change your mind."

    I don't think Apple can say that. Because you will only be able to download those videos to your iPod on Windows: We're Sorry the requested download is unavailable. Downloads are only available to users located in the United States that have a Microsoft operating system and Internet Explorer web browser. Please check back soon for other offers.

    Now *there* is your *platform* lock in.

    I don't write programs for Apple because I worship Apple. I write programs for them because they have the best development environment

    Don't write programs for Apple. Write programs for Macintosh. You can't write programs for Apple's appliances.

    I agree with you, they should make it possible, it wouldn't even be that hard... it'd just be another target option for XCode.

    But Apple's decided they're not interested in selling iAppliances to me, so I'm not going to get one.

  • by hhlost (757118) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @01:01PM (#20720111)
    Apple's just Microsoft in cooler clothes. Where does the personification of Linux fit in those clever commercials? Oh, right -- it doesn't fit in a 'commercial' at all.
  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @01:10PM (#20720181) Homepage Journal

    Look, Apple does some stupid shit, but blaming them for the terrible and non-competitive state of the U.S. cel phone industry is just plain stupid. We have, IMO, a de facto telecommunications monopoly in this country, and the reasons for that are a whole lot more complicate than 'Apple is teh sux0r!' The whole essay reads like someone who lives a fair distance from logic.
    Right on the money, let's quote from our electronic freedom prophet:

    A more common phenomenon

    Locked cellphones have become common in North America as carriers claim that they sell "subsidized" phones in return for an exclusive commitment and long-term contract from consumers. While many consumers may like the opportunity to purchase a phone for a fraction of the full retail price, others would presumably prefer the freedom of an "unlocked" cellphone that would allow them to easily switch between carriers.

    The freedom provided by unlocked cellphones is particularly useful for people who travel, since they can avoid roaming fees by converting their phone into a local phone in most countries by simply inserting a local SIM card. This approach is standard in Europe and Asia, where consumers would not tolerate a market comprised solely of locked cellphones.
        Michael Geist


    So why is the iPhone carrier-locked? Because that's the way things are in the market where the iPhone was developed. Mystery solved!
  • by pestie (141370) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @01:16PM (#20720239) Homepage
    The problem is that people think Apple is their friend. This is no doubt a testament to their marketing skills, but the fanboy crowd really needs to get their collective head out of their collective ass about this. Apple is a publicly-traded corporation, with all the financial responsibilities that entails (i.e. they are obligated by law to act in the best interest of their profits). The sooner people get it through their head that Steve Jobs isn't going to stop by their house and do a couple bong hits with them, the sooner they'll stop whining.
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @01:31PM (#20720363)

    As Apple gets more and more of its revenue from non-Mac devices, they are also getting more and more of their revenue from devices that simply exclude third parties. Consumers suffer from this. We suffer from increased prices and decreased competition...
    And this non-Mac situation differs from the Mac situation how?

    How many OS-X machines have you built with cheap parts you can get at Frys? How many run on low price/bulk volume Dell or Gateway hardware?

    If you want to use OS-X, general* consensus is that you pay several hundred bucks more for your locked in Apple hardware than you would for a comparable third party's hardware. (*note: Yes, there are arguments against this but it's still a very, very common belief)

    Have you ever installed the superior iPod interface software on a cheaper MP3 player? OK, so that's trickier than an OS install... So how many non-Apple MP3 players have you bought that have licensed the iPod interface, plug in to iTunes and can read your iTunes store purchases?

    Again, for access to Apple's prized world, they lock you to their hardware and then bill you $50-$100 more than the equivalent MP3 player from Creative, Sandisk or whoever.

    In short, Apple has always increased revenue by refusing to even consider competitors, meaning there's decreased competition and increased prices.

    The only difference this time is they've partnered with someone to do it because there's an area they have no existing business strength in. It's still the same basic premise... they just have funkier TV ads now that have made most of us think they're our cool friend and not the same business that's always wanted to maximise profits from us through a model of non-competition.

    On the flipside, they do get to keep using the [somewhat arguable] phrase, "It Just Works" because, unlike Microsoft's open approach to other hardware vendors, they don't get a reputation for putting out buggy systems when product X completely fails to work with product Y and product Z was never tested properly in the first place.

    By that rationale, they could equally argue, "Had we openned it up, we'd have to rely on carriers for testing as we couldn't test with every one of them. The moment Sprint or T-Mobile had a glitch where everyone's emails disappeared or a virus got in to the system that we couldn't lock out by forced updates, news stories would tar the iPhone's name as well as just the guilty vendor, people would see the iPhone as buggy and we'd lose our market share through something that wasn't our fault. We'd rather stay locked to something we can control, sell a few less but maintain our reputation."

    Whether for profits or for quality, it hardly matters. One has always been the claim against Apple, the other has always been their defense. Nothing's changed in far longer than the iPhone's lifetime.
  • by vertinox (846076) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @01:48PM (#20720485)
    Apple is a company that's trying to maximize its profits? Wha????

    Short term gains do not always result in long term profits.

    In fact, done in the worst possible way could result in you having toilet paper worth more than your stock price.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23, 2007 @01:48PM (#20720491)
    Seems missing 2 or 3 channels out of 13 or 14 is unlikely to be a problem. I doubt Apple can allow a product sold in the U.S. to be used on unauthorized channels. The FCC would not approve the product for sale here if Apple did.
  • Re:Still... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by reidconti (219106) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @01:54PM (#20720543)
    Actually, I think it's the exact opposite. 99% of the population would be better off using Apple products, because they simply work better than the alternatives. Your perceived "lack of functionality" (which I would dispute, but that's another story..) doesn't bother Joe consumer because he's not an uber-geek. The very real lack of Windows headaches alone, makes the Mac a better choice for almost everyone out there.

    That would only leave the very confused Geek Squad-style geeks (you know the ones, who think they are computer geniuses because they work in the helpdesk) to muck in the registry.
  • by drcagn (715012) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @01:59PM (#20720563) Homepage
    Note: I am a huge Apple user; my music player is an iPod, my laptop is a MacBook, and I've stopped building custom PCs so I could buy Apple hardware.

    The iPod is a great mp3 player, but the reason Apple continues to innovate (which it hardly has, except in the case of the iPhone) is not from the kindness of The Steve's heart. Apple does have competition: itself, and if Apple wants to keep selling iPods, it has to innovate against its last generation of players. Oh, and trust me, if we were still stuck in iPod generations of the past, such as before the photo/video support and color screen, there would have been a real "iPod Killer" already.

    Apple has kept prices down and the MAFIAA at bay because its in their advantage if they do. They would prefer to sell a lot of cheap music and make less money per song than they would to sell expensive music, make a little money, pay off the MAFIAA, and then have their music store bomb because of the prices.

    Apple in my opinion is a much better choice than Windows or Linux. I've been on Windows since 3.11, I switched to Mandrake Linux and Gentoo Linux for months, and I had used OS X for months. I eventually switched to OS X and I think OS X makes it worthwhile to stick around with Apple's little annoyances. Yes, Apple is expensive, but if you pay, it Just Works, and that's something I haven't seen anywhere else. But I'm not going to defend some of the shifty shit that they do to make us pay more or lock us in.
  • by JMZorko (150414) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @02:19PM (#20720731) Homepage
    "...but the administration tools, graphics libraries, development tools, primary scripting language, and user interface are entirely proprietary."

    ???

    Um, gcc is proprietary? LDAP is proprietary? gdb is proprietary? Apache is proprietary? Yes, XCode isn't open-source, but anyone can write Mac apps with just gcc / gdb and a bash shell. Regarding Netinfo and stuff, that's open-source as well. Aqua and AppleScript are not open-soure, true, but you don't have to use them (as if using them somehow makes you "unpure" or something -- whatever); just run X and X apps, treat your Mac as a BSD machine. ... and ObjC is _not_ proprietary, either. gcc has been complining ObjC for years now.

    Regards,

    John

  • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @02:22PM (#20720759)

    There's no "platform lock-in" to the iPhone. If there was an iPhone SDK, there would be, but as it is if you don't have an iPhone you can get another phone that can still use all the same third-party content you could if you had one, and if you do you aren't locked into it. This is a different kind of lockin-in, and it's got nothing to do with developers.


    His complaint is that developers are locked out, and thus customers are locked in to whatever Apple deigns to produce. Perhaps that's not quite the same as lock-in to Windows, but it has the same effect - a slow erosion of rights until you realise you don't even own your device. The same can not be said for OS X on the desktop.

    The real fear here (and this is voiced in the article), is that in 10 years, when the OS X platform is mostly about mobile devices, and there are 10 million iPhones to each 1 million macs (this day will come), only Apple will control everything about these phones, and all the 3rd party developers will have to find some other platform to use, and customers will have to take what they're given, or look elsewhere. That would be a real shame, and a disappointment for many mac users. People would desert the platform in droves. Apple has done a good job up to now of balancing their need for control with the needs of their customers, but the iPhone, with no promise of being open at all, isn't looking good.

    Oh, I can only agree, but Steve isn't going to do that, so my recommendation is to stick to the Mac, ignore the 'appliance' products, and have an exit strategy so you can jump ship if Apple decides they're going to get serious about making the Mac an appliance again. That way we'll never have to put up with 1984 being just like 1984.


    All it would take from Apple would be a simple statement that the SDK is coming next year, and people should be patient till then. That would calm a lot of nerves. As it is it's starting to look like hubris on the part of Apple, perhaps the thought that they can do it all themselves so much better (when they patently can't). The iPhone is the future of the mac, it *is* the future mac, and Shipley doesn't like what he sees, as far as software support goes. This is what Jobs said before he came back, I believe he meant it :

    Steve Jobs (1996): The PC wars are over. Microsoft won a long time ago. If I were the head of Apple, I would milk the Mac for all it's worth and then move on the next big thing.


    I think Shipley rightly feels if no-one speaks out, then Jobs will think it's fine to continue down this path - perhaps even try to switch the entire OS X platform to a closed one like the iPhone, and to hell with the developers (they've said that enough times : ). I disagree that Apple has necessarily made an irreversible decision on this, and feel with enough pressure they could be encouraged to change their mind. Pressure from people like Wil Shipley and potential customers.

    The main problem is - there is no device like this out there, and no prospect of one in the near future, so we have nowhere to jump ship to if Apple gets worse.
    • OpenMoko looks nice, but is severely crippled and doesn't yet work well as a phone, let alone incorporate things like a finger operated touchscreen and wifi support.
    • Palm OS is a joke which is no longer funny
    • Windows Mobile Edition or whatever it's called now is also crap, *and* is made by Microsoft [robweir.com].

    So for those who see this as a great device with huge potential, the attempt by Apple to lock this down so that they control it completely is foolish, disappointing, and short-sighted. Apple have not tried this on the desktop, so why do it on the phone? That's what he's asking. In short, this is a new departure for Apple (contrary to most of the comments on this thread), and as potential customers, we should speak up if we don't like what we see - it could be a defining moment for Apple.
  • Re:Still... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Penguin Follower (576525) <TuxTheBurninator&gmail,com> on Sunday September 23, 2007 @02:30PM (#20720841) Journal

    For many people, the attraction to Apple ends when they find out that they can't easily do something that's important to them.

    Hard? Since when is a Mac hard to use? If you've been doing it the Microsoft Way for years then I can see where things might seem backwards to you at first. I've been using MS products since DOS 4.0. So when I "switched" to MacOS X there were a few things that I thought were strange. Looking back on it now I actually prefer the Apple way of doing most things. I keep a PC around to run MS products on though (of course I have to, my job is supporting the MS Windows). So I haven't completely switched, I just prefer to do things on my Mac.

    This isn't to say I have always agreed with Apple's products. While the interface of MacOS has always intrigued me, the underpinnings of the OS were lackluster in the Classic OS. That was one of the things to keep me from switching for a long time. MacOS X changed that (for the better) for me. I get a UNIX layer underneath a very usable GUI, and plenty of software at my disposal.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @02:31PM (#20720853)

    Customers are suffering? I've been suffering under Apple for many years and intend to continue, if you call that suffering.

    iPod: Show me another company that develops an enormously popular product then continuously replaces it with major functional extensions and increasingly sexy devices in the face of almost no competition.

    They don't have a choice, if they were putting out rock solid devices the way that their competition does, they'd have no way of continuing to sell more iPods each quarter. Presently they have around 70%, I believe, of the mp3 player market, if they were to only focus on selling to new customers, they would only have 30% or so of the market to deal with.

    On the other hand, a manufacturer with 20% market share, can make a good product that is solid, reliable and requires little servicing, and still be able to double market share without actually doing anything beyond a good fundamental player. I still have my original NJB3 from 2002, and my Zen Xtra from 2004, and I use them regularly, with no problems. For what they were designed to do, there is little reason to buy a new player with more bells and whistles.

    Show me another company with this kind of popular product that doesn't try to leverage the RIAA against its customers. If it was up to any other company, we'd be paying between $2.50 and $4.50 for legal music downloads and be able to listen to them three times - just like the RIAA wants. Oh... wait... no, we'd be getting music from all the torrent sites instead. All of it.

    No, we wouldn't, most iPod users won't even pay $1 per track for the DRMed music available for iPod only. If you think that people would pay $2.50 for a track, you would be wrong. And that isn't a matter of Apple being good or bad, its just a statement that people would just buy CDs instead, as it would be much less expensive to plop down $18 for a cd than to pay $25 for it.

    If anything, Apple is holding the prices down for mainstream music and allowing fair use of music like no other company - and at the same time showing the music industry how to keep EVERYONE from stealing from them. Apple is helping the artists in spite of the RIAA "cut open the golden goose" business model. They even host buckets of indie labels on ITMS.

    How so? There are alternatives to the ITMS for indie artists, things like weedshare or old fashioned mp3s. Indie artists right now probably have better access to potential fans than they ever did. These days I can find an artist that never performs in my home state, let alone city, and buy a CD without ever having to pony up to see them perform the first time. Allowing for a much larger potential for people to find good music via word of mouth.

    However, the original model of encrypted music downloads is now harming the ability to move directly to other music playing devices. That's changing too - if only the record labels would lift the contractual requirement of encryption. Meanwhile, exercise your ability to move the music around with the pathways supplied by Apple in spite of the RIAA protests.

    No arguments here, this is a problem with any encryption scheme available today. The one nit though is that MS also provides the ability to burn music to CDs under their more traditional buy it forever model. Unless I'm grossly misinformed.

    Even sticking to their guns in the computer industry, Apple is slowly getting noticed as a better choice than Windows. They could have sold out to the mainstream Lemmings but OS X users are almost universally much happier with their machines than Windows users. It's all about principal.

    Customers suffering indeed.

    Ha, Ha, nice try. The Mac is still the Zune of the computer world. Solid stuff, but doesn't get a real look by most consumers. Last time I heard, Apple had about 6% of the desktop market, with other OSes, being nearly 4. Was really just holding its own. Probably not the most accurate numbers, but still. While I do agree that Apple computers are of great quality, the fact that I went with something else rather than a Mac should speak volumes about the way this competition is shaping up.
  • Re:Duh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23, 2007 @02:59PM (#20721049)
    No one gives a shit what aac is either, they just rip "iTunes files". If iTunes ripped to ogg vorbis by default, then that's what they'd use.
  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @03:58PM (#20721481)

    I suffered through your (possibly anti-Apple) ramblings which had a premise that Apple makes inferior products and therefore must lock-in their current market share while trying to attract new converts. I digested your made up statistics and your conspiracy theories, but quite frankly you keep contradicting yourself. Either Apple has a lock with iTunes OR there are alternatives that are available. You even mention Zune which is another alternative to use.

    So just when I thought that you are a person that thinks Apple products are junk, you blow me away with the following:

    While I do agree that Apple computers are of great quality, the fact that I went with something else rather than a Mac should speak volumes about the way this competition is shaping up.

    So basically you like the "great quality" of an Apple computer, but you are too cheap to spend money on one and you disregard Apple's growing market share and assume everybody is as cheap as you are.

    So let me try to decode your comments above:

    1. You are happy with your current MP3 player, and see no need for any of the bells and whistles that an iPod may have.

    2. Since you have no need for those additional features, you assume no one else desires them either.

    3. You have the personal opinion that Apple makes an inferior product or at least imply that Apple products are inferior.

    4. People other than you buy an iPod and are happy with them, but since you question the quality of an iPod, you assume some lock-in or at least mind control exists.

    5. Price per song is important to you, and you feel comfortable with the fact that price is important to everyone else.

    6. You acknowledge that Apple knows that price is important to everyone, since this is why they try to keep prices at $0.99 per song.

    7. You acknowledge that Apple is not alone with its iTunes services. There are alternatives for independent musicians and you even mention Microsoft Zune.

    8. You discovered that, just like iTunes, Microsoft Media Player allows you to burn CD tracks.

    9. That Apple has a market share inverse proportional to Microsoft. Being that Apple has great market share of music players and a small but growing market share for desktops, and Microsoft has a great market share of desktop machines and a small market share for music players.

    10. Despite your feelings expressed in #3, you really think Apple computers are great but you are too cheap to buy one.

    11. You have the opinion that others are as cheap as you are.

    Did I interpret everything correctly?

  • Re:You know what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by p0tat03 (985078) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @04:25PM (#20721701)

    I'll support Linux phones as soon as FOSS figures out how to design a good UI. I'm serious, instead of getting some halfway-decent Photoshoppers to make your icons, why don't you involve some real usability specialists? I really despise the attitude that some FOSS supporters have - the whole "well, the button's right there, n00b" mentality is what keeps Linux an arcade black box that no mainstream user will voluntarily touch.

    Linux needs to stop being feature upgrades and start becoming more cohesive. Why is it called "Synaptic" when it can be called "Package Installer"? In every distro I've used the OS has always felt like components glued together. This doesn't help Linux marketing, especially when a mainstream new user is supposed to magically supposed to figure out that "GIMP" = "Image Editor", and every freaking app has a "K" attached to its name. While I appreciate the need to allow developer freedom for each component, Linux will not be usable until there is a unifying body that can dictate UI design guidelines, icon design guidelines, etc, etc, for all parts of the OS.

  • by DECS (891519) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @04:30PM (#20721733) Homepage Journal
    Which is why Apple dropped the price of the iPhone to $399, when it could have continued to sell millions at $600. The iPhone was already cheaper than other phones when the cost of service was included. It cost nearly $200 less than the "$99" Motorola Q after two years of mobile service. It's now nearly $400 less than the Q, which is far inferior in every way.

    Ten Fake Apple Scandals: 1 - Phony Rage About iPhone Price and Profits [roughlydrafted.com]

    We have yet to see what third party software is going to get delivered. Clearly, its in Shipley's interests to have open access to the iPhone, and I'm sure he could deliver so really cool apps. At the same time, it also looks like the OS X architecture wasn't designed from the start to accommodate open development, so providing open access now is not just a matter of "letting people in," but in making sure the system can handle it.

    It's a bit like people waiting in line at a busy restaurant. They see open tables and bitch because they think they should be seated immediately, but if they were, they'd be complaining about the service being slow and the kitchen being backed up. It's easy to run multibillion dollar operations from the safety of home, but Apple seems to be doing a good job of actually delivering real technology.

    If developers really wanted to impress us with their work, why haven't we seen very many web apps tuned for the iPhone like Facebook's iphone.facebook.com ? That app demonstrates what can be done, and is pretty impressive. If they can't master regular AJAX, why are they demanding to have open inside access to the yet unfinished iPhone OS X 1.0.2 system? Apple doesn't even have its own apps done yet; its waiting on Leopard to deliver iCal/Notes integration.

    Using iPhone: iCal, CalDAV Calendar Servers, and Mac OS X Leopard [roughlydrafted.com]

    It took Microsoft ten years to deliver its mobile platform, and its still a steaming pile of crap. Windows Enthusiasts are saying the iPhone can't do revocation, but that's a laugh because Windows Mobile 5 can't even remote erase Flash RAM cards. Since WM phones don't have enough RAM on them to do anything, users have all their content (and "company secrets") on Flash RAM cards that the IT staff can't remotely wipe anyway. WM is a joke. WM apps are a joke. WM phones are a joke.

    Six Reasons Why Apple May Never Open the iPhone [roughlydrafted.com] outlined the rationale behind the strategy driving Apple's software plans for its new mobile. At the same time, it's important to take a reasonable appraisal of the iPhone's supposedly closed nature. While Apple is unlikely to open up the iPhone in the same sense as the Mac anytime soon, it is already an open platform in ways that matter. How Closed Is the iPhone? [roughlydrafted.com] and How Open will the iPhone Get? [roughlydrafted.com]

  • Re:You know what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @04:41PM (#20721795)

    These people believe Apple exists to make them happy, not to make money.

    I don't think so. I think they believe that Apple products are better than the rest and fill their needs perfectly, and they are are willing to pay the premium for what they consider the superior experience. More power to them if it makes them happy.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @04:44PM (#20721811)

    It's *definitedly* Apple's fault because they locked the iPhone with AT&T!

    Apple did not want to go into the phone business, but Apple wanted to make the iPhone experience as good as it could get with easy activation with iTunes and some neat features. If Apple wanted to make a phone that was unlocked and maintain a good user experience, they would have to put out a phone with a reduced feature set.

    While I personally would think an iTouch with a generic GSM phone would be a killer product, Apple wanted more. I can't blame them since there was already a failed attempt for an iTune compatible phone from Motorola and nay-sayers would be complaining that Apple didn't innovate enough.

    So Apple was damned if they did and damned if they didn't... If I was going to be damned anyway, I would do what Apple did. Which was to make a product that everyone wants with features that only going with a single carrier can provide.

    Personally, I think that Apple believes that after 2 years, they would have sufficiently proven demand for services to the point that other carriers would have no choice but to make their networks iPhone and iTunes friendly.

  • by 16K Ram Pack (690082) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `dnomla.mit'> on Sunday September 23, 2007 @05:06PM (#20721955) Homepage
    It's not just about profits today as profits tomorrow. Treat customers with contempt and you might be able to get a few more bucks out of them this time, but next time, they'll go elsewhere.
  • Right off the Bat (Score:2, Insightful)

    by His Shadow (689816) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @05:47PM (#20722253) Homepage Journal
    ... I'm calling BS on the idea that consumers have in any way "suffered" from Apple's control over the user experience with respect to it's products. Just the lack of malware, trojans and viruses alone is worth hundreds of dollars per user per year. The consistency of the user experience is another bonus that one cannot put a price on. And let's have a quick look at the iPhone. In one product release Apple has betrayed the utter lameness and anti-consumer stance of companies that have had more than 15 years to do something forward looking in the realm of cellular phones/PDA's. And does anyone need to be reminded that Apple grew this market clout all on it's own, in an industry that is slaved to the Microsoft hegemony? Anyone who doubts that can pull up more than a dozen articles in a 10 second search that engage in such blatant lies and anti-Apple FUD it would make Bill Gates blush. The writer can't travel internationally with his iPhone? They are called roaming charges, simpleton. You pay to run on someone else's network. Absolutely everyone does it. This has nothing to do with Apple.

    Apple is "trying" to charge them (third party manufacturers) a "Made for iPod" sticker tax for adding no value? First off, it isn't trying, it *is*charging, and secondly, no value? The value is that the accessory will actually work with your iPod. That's value. And again, when everybody and their goddamned dog does the same thing for thoroughly ridiculous reasons (makers of vanilla power bars that are "Windows Certified") exactly what is the complaint here? That Apple makes a bit of money making sure that third party device stick to Apple's guidelines and the products behave in a consistent fashion? How fucking evil of Apple.

    Seriously now. People that pointed out where Microsoft's market dominance would lead were for decades derided as haters and sour grapes types. Now that Apple has committed the crime of surviving into this Millennium and is again producing innovative cutting edge products and services that people actually go out of their way to buy, Apple is in the wrong and is somehow worse than Microsoft? Please. Shove all this whining up your ass.

  • by FLEB (312391) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @06:16PM (#20722429) Homepage Journal
    You might like your Creative Zen, but the company is only a follower behind Microsoft, and supported the plan to homogenize the world being one absolute DRM dictator. It's in your own interests that Apple kicked Microsoft's ass, because otherwise your CDs would have WMA files on them and the only download stores would be Urge and Walmart and other MediaNet supplied DRM subscriptions.

    This makes no sense. What's the incentive for Creative, or any other hardware-maker, to omit easily-implementable, ubiquitous, and value-adding functions (MP3) from their players? Even if they were so well convinced/paid off by that they did drop open formats, they'd end up alienating their market with a sub-par product that, save for any other unique "killer app" functionality that made it a must-have, would be run out by any competitor with half a brain.

    Unless the content producers have the means and the resolve to force a disruptive amount of incompatibility with certain hardware, they simply don't have the relevant leverage to force those hardware-makers to cripple their products for the good of the content producers. Perhaps this is a feasible concept in an emerging market/tech (digital TV and the "Broadcast Flag"), but MP3 was a de facto standard before portable players ever came around, and by the time they got popular, it was an unstoppable force.
  • Re:Still... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @07:40PM (#20722977) Journal
    99% of the population would be better off using Apple products, because they simply work better than the alternatives. Your perceived "lack of functionality" (which I would dispute, but that's another story..) doesn't bother Joe consumer because he's not an uber-geek.

    The 99% who aren't uber-geeks would not be better off - they simply wouldn't care, and would do fine on any platform, for that reason. A BeBox would do the job. Of course, then you take into account other factors, such as cost.

    (My parents recently bought their first laptop - supposedly I should have urged them to spend a few hundred pounds more to get a machine that I knew nothing about and couldn't help them with, because if they got Windows, I'd be swamped with trying to help them out with problems. And you know what? Not a problem. OTOH, I know they would've complained everytime someone gave them some software, and it wouldn't work on their machine...)
  • Reduced Features (Score:3, Insightful)

    by meehawl (73285) <meehawl.spam@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday September 23, 2007 @08:00PM (#20723117) Homepage Journal
    Apple took a risk with the iphone by releasing an expensive device with extra features that not everyone would consider essential.

    Apple took a risk with the iphone by releasing an expensive device lacking features that most people would consider essential.

    There, fixed that for you.
  • by DECS (891519) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @10:06PM (#20723791) Homepage Journal
    Why would Creative omit support for open standards? Because as a licensee to Windows Media hardware and software, Microsoft would have the leverage to demand it.

    You might as well wonder out loud why PC makers don't offer free operating systems on their PCs, since it would please customers and offer attractive options to Windows.

    Have any PC makers worried too much about alienating consumers? No, they're only worried about pushing whatever Microsoft sells them. Look how many failures they've trotted out with enthusiastic backing, from Handheld PC to PocketPC to UMPC to Mira to Media2Go and PlaysForSure. They just keep lining up for more poorly conceived, Microsoft-centric ideas that aren't very good. None of them have innovated much on their own, whether Creative/Rio on the music end or HP/Dell/Samsumg/etc on the PC side.

    You give a good example of hardware makers ready to support the broadcast flag, unaware of what that means for consumers. What about the really outrageous levels of DRM being pushed in HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, or even what came with DVD? Every generation of tech gets worse and more restricted, and more expensive.

    Remember that nobody believed that the iPod would make a big difference back in 2001, because Microsoft was fated to rule the world with Windows Media. And now the Windows Enthusiasts are all lined up to agree amongst themselves what a bad thing it might be to have a real rival to Microsoft, able to line up content and offer it for cheaper.

    Microsoft needs all the competition it can get, and if it has to face a music business dominated by Apple and a mobile smartphone business dominated by Symbian, let's not weep too long for the company that screwed us through the 90s with its monopoly in PC operating systems and desktop software, and then worked to destroy the web and media downloads and set up a Palladium police force to cage us in little DRM boxes.

    How Microsoft Got Its Office Monopoly [roughlydrafted.com]
    Origins of the Blu-ray vs HD-DVD War [roughlydrafted.com]
    SCO, Linux, and Microsoft in the History of OS: 2000s [roughlydrafted.com]

  • by DECS (891519) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @10:22PM (#20723871) Homepage Journal
    No I'm saying you're unreasonable in demanding that Apple more than match Microsoft's abilities in the last ten years of its futile WinCE development within just six months of iPhone sales. Well, more than match... or perhaps 'exceed in every way possible.' Apple does have limited resources.

    Apple doesn't make 81% profit margins from sales of half decade old software, as Microsoft reports in its earning statements. Perhaps Windows users are the real chumps, paying a premium to run old software laden with WGA spyware, unwelcomed auto-updates, and donating 25% of their processing power to run antivirus software because Windows will fall apart and make a mess without tightly fastened diapers.

    Am I a slave for running out to pay $600 for a phone that does everything I want the way I want it to work, and saving myself several hundred dollars over the cost of buying a less capable Windows Mobile phone that technically "runs third party software," of which 90% of is worthless, overpriced garbage, and ties me to a CDMA2000 plan that only works in the US, and only on Verizon? Or only on Sprint?

    Oh, and I got $100 back. When has Microsoft done that?

    Think about that as you play your $600 xbox elite and its $50 games, or your $4000 gamer PC which you invest a $1000 of new video card hardware into every year. I don't complain about your spending, so don't fantasize sexual violence just because I bought a phone I'm happy with.

    Microsoft's Outrageous Office Profits [roughlydrafted.com]
    WGA the Dog: Microsoft's DRM Failure Earns Zoon Nomination [roughlydrafted.com]

  • by DECS (891519) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @10:27PM (#20723919) Homepage Journal
    Apple users pay for software, not plastic. Compare the volumes of plastic in the clunky Zune to the iPods; clearly, plastic buyers would go for the Zune, and pay more to do so.

    And when you say elite, are you talking about the Xbox 360 Elite, which charges you more for an HDMI connector, but doesn't even include WiFi? Or the Zune Halo, which has a painting on it? Or the Ultimatum version of Vista, which delivers Media Center features for the price of an Apple TV, without the hardware?

    It's the Windows Enthusiasts who paid for Microsoft's 81% profit margins buying copies of the half decade old Windows XP last year. Sounds like the foolish customers are those that didn't get a Mac.

    Microsoft's Outrageous Office Profits [roughlydrafted.com]
  • by shmlco (594907) on Sunday September 23, 2007 @11:51PM (#20724545) Homepage
    "That was awesome how you completely dodged the question of locked-up iPhones and iPod touches."

    Well let's see, by partnering with AT&T Apple gained immediate access to AT&T's customers through an agreement that let them upgrade existing accounts immediately, regardless of contract. They also gained a marketing partner, and an additional 2,000 or so outlets for the phone. They also got AT&T to do some custom software support, in part due to the exclusive deal. They also convinced them not to rape their customers with overly expensive data plans.

    They also convinced AT&T to support Apple's iTunes store for downloadable music (against their Mobile Music offering), and also in regard to downloadable ring tones (also against AT&T's offerings). And they also managed (mostly) to convince AT&T not to screw with the phone's interface or software or syncing services (like Sprint requiring a Vision plan to get photos off one of their phones). AND they got a cut of the service plan.

    Without an arrangement, I suspect Apple would have had a difficult time getting their phone offered by AT&T and T-Mobile, especially in terms of it having a competing music service offering.

    Translated, AT&T got to offer Apple's latest and greatest to their customers, and Apple got a Titanic-sized boatload of concessions. Concessions that I think tend to vastly outweigh the minor inconvenience of having an "unlocked" phone. But that's just me.
  • by joto (134244) on Monday September 24, 2007 @02:41AM (#20725503)

    It's not just about profits today as profits tomorrow. Treat customers with contempt and you might be able to get a few more bucks out of them this time, but next time, they'll go elsewhere.

    Actually, modern business practices are exactly the opposite of what you preach. The important thing is the bottom line. Money you earn now can be accounted for, and are proof to your stockholders that you are successful. Money earned later is hypothetical money, and must be viewed just as any other investment. If banks wouldn't lend you money for such an investment, there's little reason to assume stockholders would.

    Also, if you treat your customers good, you are wasting money on already satisfied customers. What you should do, is to treat your loyal customers like crap. If some customers are getting so dissatisfied that it's likely they switch, you throw them a bone or two, as long as it's not more than what you would loose if they switched. Thus, paradoxically, the worst customers gets the best treatment, which feels "wrong", but quite certainly maximizes what's important: profit!

    Apple has understood this for a long time. Apples loyal customers, or "fanboys" aren't loyal because they get good treatment from Apple. They are loyal because they (a) actually like the products, (b) see Apple as a fashion statement, (c) prefer to vote for the underdog, or (d) are graphic designers.

  • by SIIHP (1128921) on Monday September 24, 2007 @11:55AM (#20729891) Journal
    "Personal insults, the last defense of a poor argument."

    I suppose if I was trying to make any argument at all, you'd have something

    Since my point was to tell you that both you and your joke were dumb, there's really nothing to argue over.

    See, it was a s-t-a-t-e-m-e-n-t not an argument.

    But you can't tell that your joke was awful, so why would I expect you to see there's no argument in process.

  • by DECS (891519) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @08:29PM (#20750613) Homepage Journal
    Your Microsoft spin: "Being able to play MP3s wouldn't do any good if the world could only obtain pop music from iTunes on a rental basis, and DVDs only came with FairPlay encrypted video, and CDs became vehicles for AAC with FairPlay rather than raw AIFF data."

    Except that Apple doesn't sell Janus-like DRM that expires content (no iTunes rentals like all the Napster/Rhapsody Microsoft WMA stores) and never made any deals to push FairPlay on DVD (as Microsoft did, ever hear of WM9 DVDs? Terminator 2?) and didn't set its sights on deploying a monoculture of WMA in the model of Microsoft's PC monopoly.

    It's tiring to hear from morons who weren't paying attention in 2004 when the shills were all jizzing themselves over a world locked up tight by Windows Media and policed by Bill Gates' Palladium hardware. Trying to suggest iTunes is anything similar just highlights your ignorance of what happen when you were apparently not paying any attention. Go read CNET archives from 2001-2005.

    Apple doesn't have to license FairPlay, because it doesn't run a purportedly open media platform. It sells a device, and sells content for it. That system does not lock out anyone else from selling their own device and selling content, and the fact that Apple is kicking Microsofts ass doesn't make that any different. Apple no more has a monopoly in music than Sony had in Walkmen or Nintendo had in gaming. Apple has lots of large competitors, and does not have exclusive contracts with content providers. Again, your ignorance of the issues is astounding.

    Apple's shareholders need new customers to buy its products. Microsoft's shareholder need Microsoft to maintain its dominance of the market. Not the same thing.

    "It's no better than Microsoft."

    Obviously, you're not a shareholder.

    Forbes' Fake Steve Jobs Is Also Fake On Apple [roughlydrafted.com]
    Daniel Lyons is the author of the Fake Steve Jobs blog and a columnist at Forbes. After developing a reputation for attacking bloggers, open source, and any alternatives to Microsoft, Lyons has shed his skin to escape from one scandal while at the same time squirming into position to choke the truth out of his next victim: Apple.

All warranty and guarantee clauses become null and void upon payment of invoice.

Working...