Mar 052010

Has apple gone too far?
Let me make this clear: I think Apple makes some of the slickest technology around. Despite my (generally) being a PC/Linux user, I have had loads of respect for Apple from the early days, and particularly since the Return of Jobs, heralding the original iMac, the shift to mach-based OSX, the iPod, and the iEverything. This stuff’s always cool.

That being said, they’ve always delivered in a closed ecosystem. Fair enough. They were niche players. I’ve owned macs at all levels– from 8″ black and white jobs right through G4 iMacs. I’ve always had slight niggles with them– having to load a command line for development from a dozen floppies, often and ongoing issues with build quality, and Apple’s poor response to these problems has made them some enemies– people seem to fall through the cracks of Apple customer service from time to time.

On the flip side, they’ve been building a litany of awesome stuff. I think even the much-maligned iPad has some legs in it, though no one’s quite sure why they want one– it’s made me reconsider the iPod Touch as an interesting platform– a pocketable iPad.

Signs of distress
The last three months, though, has seen an accellerating litany of un-Apple-like behaviour. Here’s the thing: Apple is an underdog. Apple is an innovator. Apple positions themselves outside the mainstream, but they’ve been using dominant market position, patent law, and arbitrary bullying techniques to get ahead.

This isn’t what Apple is good at. I say stick to the knitting. Stop alienating your developers. That $40 billion could be spent on far cooler things like innovative music distribution models that don’t annoy customers instead of legal fees.

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