The Justified Apple Hate

Anyone who knows the geeky side of me knows that I hate Apple with a vengeance. Usually, it's to do with the kind of people buys Apple products. People that are more concerned with style over substance. The kind of people that you would usually find at overpriced coffee shops arguing about why other operating systems are crappy when they themselves don't know how to work the more advance features on their Macbook Pros.

However, there is another side of Apple which I have always despised, one that for the past few weeks have been cropping up all over the news of late. It's not so much the fact that Apple products are usually overpriced proprietary hardware which can be found at any PC shop for half the price. That's more the fact that it has become increasingly apparent that Apple stands for everything that's against the freedom of choice and that people are buying the idea with much hypocrisy. Let me explain.

Before this, there was a company called Microsoft whose plan was to make an operating system that everyone could use. Of course that was successful enough and as a result they were used by the majority of PC consumers out there. Of course, they were then accused of violating anti-trust laws which was due to them bundling their own internet browsers with the software and as a result forcing other browsers off the market because everyone would choose to use Microsoft's own Internet Explorer by default. It didn't matter that Microsoft didn't force you to use their browsers or hinder the use of third party programs. It just mattered that they had the majority market share and everyone was gunning for them.

Fast forward a few years and you see Apple's domination over the portable music industry. Consumers, frustrated over the lack of innovation and user friendliness of a widely used operating system that's full of security loopholes, slowly buy into Apple's "hip and cool" marketing campaign. The only catch is, because you're buying into the brand, what you buy into is much more expensive than the usual parts. At the same time, because what you're buying is solely owned by Apple, they call the shots on what you can or cannot do with their products.

Guess who gets more flak?

That's not just all. Apple has been known to try and buy off consumers who report defective goods with "standard" non-disclosure agreements. While I'm not too clear on this corporate-type arrangement, it's pretty clear that Apple doesn't want word to spread that their products are anything but perfect. After all, when a company whose reputation is built upon the image of its products and not the quality of it, its success hinges upon the marketing. If word gets out to the general masses that you can buy better goods from other brands at a cheaper price (preferably goods that doesn't explode), that would spell bad business for you.

Apple is also known for its (formerly) DRM music in iTunes as well as it's insane and often unreasonable selection criteria for its iPhone app. Such examples of Apple's control-freak like nature include turning down the use of alternate apps (such as the Google Voice fiasco) because it duplicates (and some say do better) the functions that are offered by default on the iPhone and censoring a dictionary (I am not making this shit up).

It just seems like there is no freedom to do what you want when you buy into Apple products. Sure, from a distance, it would seem like Microsoft pulled the same shit off years ago and I'm not trying to defend that, but Microsoft still gave people a choice. You still could install third party programs and run them off your system without problems. Yet, people seem to get some crazy idea that because they control the majority of the home and business operating system software, that this is a bad thing. The EU wanted to have all their version of Windows 7 come without Internet Explorer. How catatonically blind-sided do you have to be to take out the only browser in the system where you can download other browsers? Thank God they changed their minds about that.

Yet when Apple pulls the same thing with more lethality and control, people turn a blind eye. While normal consumers have an excuse in that they don't know anything better, there are also people willing to defend Apple's actions to death for reasons that defy common sense.

I stand by my hatred of Apple and its products with a militant pose, but I draw the line at being evangelical about it. I can understand why some people would want to use it and I have no beef against these people because it works well with them and you can't duplicate the same things on other operating systems. But I will not stand by and watch an overcommercialised, overpriced product take credit for what it does not rightfully deserve. I will not stand by and watch friends be swindled and conned by a product which can be replaced by something better for half the price. I will not stand by a company that tells you what you can or cannot do with a product that you rightfully bought with your own money.

You'd think with so many compelling reasons, more people would see the same light I have. Then again, most people are easily swayed by a shiny pebble than a well argued point. It's why Apple will always be here to stay, and the secret geek war, will burn until one side wins, or every one is dead.

6 Comments

  • August 7, 2009 - 00:21 | Permalink

    Of course, they were then accused of violating anti-trust laws which was due to them bundling their own internet browsers with the software and as a result forcing other browsers off the market because everyone would choose to use Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer by default.

    From the government’s standpoint, yes this is technically true. But anyone in the IT community, particularly PC vendors, could tell you that it was considerably more than that (and I don’t mean the whole “Media Player” issue, which was in itself also stupid). MS would strongarm PC retailers into uning only their OS by doing things like threatening to not allow that company to sell computers with Windows installed if they also offered support for other operating systems. The same applied to a number of shops: if they supported anything other than MS on PC hardware (ex, Linux) their MS credentials would be pulled. In one rather memorable occasion, someone I knew got a call from an MS rep stating that “We [Microsoft] don’t believe you can properly service our systems if you offer assistance for any others.” This would have dealt a death blow to the business. THIS is why Microsoft was being called a monopolists. The IE and Media things were the only issues that the US and EU gov’ts (respectively) decided to tackle because it was with these two that MS put down the hammer: companies COULDN’T sell computers with Netscape or WinAmp instead of IE or WMP. Licensing agreements didn’t allow them to do so. They didn’t continue chasing other issues because, face it, what would it accomplish? The monopoly, as far as the software (not the OS) was concerned was broken, and the rules made there were enough to allow other people in the game.

    I would argue about your point regarding the price, too, at least of the PCs. If you compare oranges to oranges, items of similar quality, you see that their computers are around the same price as similar quality PCs. (When I did my computer shopping I did the comparison with Dells and HPs. In both cases, computers with very similar specs to my Mac were +/- US$50 of the Apple’s pricing. Considering the superior OS (more secure, more stable, and far more user-friendly than Windows OS’s at the time–I’m not counting Windows 7 as I have no experience w/it yet.) the Mac easily won out.

    (Caveat: As far as development tools are concerned, particularly RAD tools, Windows has Apple beat, from what I know. I’m not a developer, only a writer, so therefore my usage, while more advanced than most users, is not to the level of developers. If anything I’m a novice system administrator.)

    Now, I’m not here defending Apple’s recent actions with the iPhone or with censoring. I also completely disagree with their whole smackdown of the clone market. (Psystar should be allowed to do its thing.) I vehemently disagree with those moves, and actions like those push me away from purchasing the iPhone, and which have me reconsidering going back to Linux. (I despise dealing with viruses, so Windows is out of the question.) So I completely understand your position. In many ways I agree, which is why I root so strongly for Google in their endeavors, and why I love the Open Source movement. But I gotta tell ya, having used various versions of Windows, Linux, Unix and MacOS (BeOS also deserves a mention), from an end user standpoint, there isn’t much that matches up to the Apple experience and THAT is why people flock to it. The people who make fun of the whole “iProduct” deal are usually people who haven’t used it for an extended period of time. If they did, they’d probably appreciate WHY people flock to it as they do, even if they themselves don’t.

    P.S.
    Thanks for igniting a Mac/Windows flamewar. If you’ll excuse me I’m gong to go make some popcorn. Want some?

  • August 7, 2009 - 00:48 | Permalink

    hmm very interesting point of view regarding Apple.. well.. i actually own a Macbook.. haha.. no “Pro” though.. =P and i find it quite unique when compared to windows (okay maybe windows is too common these days).. the reason why i got a macbook is not because im against windows.. but its just that i would like to try out smth new.. =)

    i agree that it’s overpriced and other goods can be better with half the price.. but some people can afford it.. thats why.. =)

  • August 7, 2009 - 09:17 | Permalink

    Gnorb: It’s not much of a flame war when hardly anyone reads what’s been written and there aren’t any fanboys on either side.

    Maybe I am now arguing about the monopoly from the current standpoint. Microsoft has come a long way since its mafioso-style business era and for the most part, a lot of people can simply develop third party programs that can enhance user experience on Windows. Then again, its no different from Apple selling its systems with Safari and Quicktime/iTunes only. When you look at it that way. there is little difference that only Apple stores are legally qualified to sell Apple products, and they don’t give the licensing to just anyone because they control their market as such. It’s like the rather exclusive club where all the cool kids are which people want to join, and that is their selling point.

    I realise that in the states, Apple products are really cheap. If I compare that with other countries, it is not. Countries like Malaysia and Australia where I’ve been, Apple computer products (and the iPhone, with exception of iPods) are ridiculously expensive in comparison to standard PC parts. It’s not to say that other brand names are not expensive as well, but in terms of the price, they are marginally cheaper. Even more so when you have the ability to build your own system from computer parts that you get for cheap.

    I have used Macs before because I needed to know if I was missing out anything and I can say that there isn’t much to the “Apple Experience” that I cannot already get with Windows. That’s why I say that at the end of the day it boils down to the practical functionality of the thing. Whether it be Linux, Windows or MacOS, people should be allowed to use it freely for the purposes that suit them. A lot of people tend to bash Microsoft because they are almost ubiquitous and people take that for granted. Of course, at the same time, a lot of people don’t know better as well. They just hear good things about Apple, bad things from Microsoft and probably nothing from Linux (case point in Australia, a high school teacher said that students shouldn’t buy Linux systems because she thought that that operating system didn’t exist and its just people out to con students). They just get shown what OSX can do and no one shows them what you can do with Windows or Linux. From a marketing point of view, Apple’s got their team right. It’s aggressive, it picks on the weaknesses of its competitors and it appeals to the ignorance of the general public.

    Most of the time when I show people my own desktop, people are surprised that I can do the things I do with an aging Windows XP, and they want to know how. They become interested and they learn about Windows again because someone is willing to teach them the right things. I just want to cut through all the crappy market speak and give people a chance to make up their own minds based on why they own a computer in the first place.

    Kenwooi: Of course it’s unique, it’s supposed to be different. Then again from where I’m standing Windows and Linux can be as different as you want it to be. No one just told people how. The thing that irks me is when people buy hardware not because they need the functions on it, but “because they can”. It’s like they have too much money on their hands and they just want to show off that they do. It’s one of the main things that I said about the general Apple buyers. They choose style over substance and that grinds hard against my practical geek soul.

  • August 9, 2009 - 10:35 | Permalink

    bla bla bla…. hatred like this is just wasting one’s life. If you don’t like it.. don’t bother bout it…. why are you so itchy-fied? haha

    anyways… the blog post is well said….

  • August 9, 2009 - 22:16 | Permalink

    Daniel Goh: Because it matters how the system works. As I explained, I don’t like it when people I know spend more money on something they can get for a whole lot cheaper. Or something that they already have and need not buy in the first place. It needs to be stopped or at least made aware to people that there are better choices out there.

  • Big B
    October 5, 2009 - 01:23 | Permalink

    So much more goes into purchasing the right product from the right company.
    If you support the bully, rights compromising,relieve the consumers of their earnings repeatedly with the *NEW* (ever so slightly) improved generation of products company (apple) then others will follow the marketing model (Nintendo {DS, DSi notice the i}) if profitable the followers are profitable, well, then we have a bandwagon. Support is given where none is due. The check doesn’t balance. The firm that does everything to the books and right by the consumers (R.I.M./Linux) ends up loosing profits, as well as RAD funds to the bully. This process works exponentially and should be regarded as it is; an extremely dangerous, slippery, ever-steepening slope.
    Apple is a very large and extremely prominent entity. No one can argue their capabilities of drawing a following. I only hope that natural causes induces the need for some new, world class staff at Apple HQ.
    I cant help to imagine what a firm who cares about its customers would do with the profits apple realizes. Maby an iPhone equivalent capable of running programs in the background…. or multi-touch, piezo-tech, extended removable battery, 3g, with wifi, and Bluetooth, and standard mini usb port and an accelerometer and an indicator light and a flash with security and freedom of applications with developer support for 3rd party apps, and no malicious code embedded into the OS (apple has left a “backdoor” opened on their iPhone device to add/remove applications they see fit) yeah.. i know DREAM ON>>>

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