Apple is now evil, and here’s why!

Today was one of those days where Steve Jobs gets on a stage and unleashes new Apple products. Being the gadget freak that I am, I usually follow the new announcements through tech blogs or Twitter. Years ago, I used to marvel at some of the stuff they’d put out. But the last couple of years, nights like this leave me with a very uneasy feeling. The hair in the back of my neck are on end. My moral compass tells me something’s wrong. I get that feeling I get when I see someone treated unfairly. Apple has been slowly but steadily turning into an evil company. And people are being misled.

Ever since iTunes was introduced, it’s been very clear that Apple aims to become a media company. It’s been working hard to get a percentage of whatever you pay for the music you listen to (iTunes), the magazines you read (iPad) and the software you use (MacOS Software Store). But more recently, I’ve been spotting a trend where every new introduction seems to be aimed at something far worse. The Apple ecosystem, with all it’s shiny toys, is becoming a honey trap.

Let’s take a look at some of today’s new things.

ProductDescriptionBlatant rip-off ofUlterior motive
iCloudSyncs docs and data between Apple devicesDropbox, Google AppsDesigned to discourage you from buying non-Apple products, as they won’t have this
iMessageSend messages to other iPhone users for freeWhatsApp, BlackBerry MessengerLike FaceTime, this does something already possible, but limits it to iOS
iTunes Cloud/MatchPut your music in the cloud, limited to iTunesVastly inferior alternative to SpotifyMake sure your music stays tied to Apple’s iTunes
RemindersKeep a list of things to doRemember The Milk, countless othersGo ahead, put your life into this Apple-only to do list manager

The pattern I’m detecting is that Apple will, instead of embracing new innovations, copy them, and make them native to their platform. And to their platform alone. They usually enhance them in terms of the user interface, but they also make sure they control all protocols and standards. Have you ever user UPnP media sharing? It’s great. Does most of what AirPlay does, and has been around for ages. The same can be said for Dropbox, Remember The Milk, and all the other truly great 3rd party tools and standards that Apple squashed today.

Apple fans will often say “It’s all about the user, Apple cares about user experience”. Well, I fear that’s only partially true. It’s all about the user alright. About boxing them in. About making them invest time, effort an money into an ecosystem that will not let them escape. Apple doesn’t embrace open standards, it’s quite happy with you keeping everything from music to work documents inside their walled garden. Precisely that will keep you from leaving. Because the gate is firmly closed.

(Fellow WordPress enthusiast Coen Jacobs has posted an insteresting response to this post over on his blog)

Roy | June 6, 2011 | English,Gadgets | Comments (33)
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33 Comments

  1. Actually, iWork saved in Office 2003 file formats before Microsoft’s own Mac Office 2008 did. iWork has had a “cloud” option for three years now and I use it all the time to share docs with others in Microsoft Office and PDF formats.

    iDisk predated Dropbox by YEARS…

    iCal uses the CalDAV standard.

    Address Book uses vCard and Mail has used MBOX forever. Microsoft on the other hand, has kept Exchange WALLED off in the corporate world for 15 years before giving Mac users a “somewhat” equivalent.

    Google ripped of the iOS and called it Android, by the way.

    Is Apple interested in keeping people in their “walled garden”? Absolutely. So does Microsoft / Google / Adobe / Facebook / Amazon / Nintendo / Sony etc…

    Does Apple’s control of the both hardware and software (cloudware) also happen to result in the cleanest, easiest, “it just works” user experience. IMHO – YES

    Comment by Kent — June 7, 2011 @ 2:25 am

  2. Seems like you are really reaching on a lot of your complaints.

    Comment by Michael — June 7, 2011 @ 7:17 am

  3. Hi Kent. Android predates iOS, but that’s not really the point. I was talking about new things Apple announces, and I’m not saying there’s no honey. Apple has to be applauded for maintaining a very high standard in UI design. But why not put that on top of existing standards? Why invent something new every time, and why make import/export the best way of interoperating with other platforms (for most products, and if at all). LibreOffice saves as to MS Office too, but that doesn’t mean it’s usable.

    The only reason I can find is that it allows them to restrict access. Yesterday’s announcements have made it very clear that the existence of a very good, mature service won’t keep Apple from creating an alternative that they have more control over. I’m convinced they didn’t simply buy Remember The Milk because it’s available on too many platforms.

    As for Microsoft, I feel their karma is on the rise, but that’s another story. Let’s see if there will be a Windows version of Reminders, or if it’ll sync to Google Calendar. Or if hell will freeze over.

    Comment by Roy — June 7, 2011 @ 7:21 am

  4. “Designed to discourage you from buying non-Apple products” = “Encourage you to buy other Apple products”. Sounds like common business sense to me. Same goes for the other “ulterior motives”.

    IMO, Apple is further increasing the Stockholm Syndrome effect they already had going. It prevented me from even thinking about switching to Android; I have already invested too much $ in iOS apps…

    In the end it all depends on how you look at it. Is it evil to develop products and services that make your users want to stick to your stuff? I think it is pretty smart from a business POV, so I can’t really blame them.

    Comment by Rene — June 7, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

    • @Rene – Common Business Strategies = Businesses trying to obtain all of your money while appearing “friendly”

      Comment by Iain — June 26, 2012 @ 12:45 am

  5. Amen! Someone else sees it, while others (like Kent) bow down before Mr. Jobs and hand over their money. iSheep. The iCloud seems to be the final brick in your walled iShit prison and many (like Kent) seems to be accepting his life sentence with his brain off and his wallet open.
    Taking the money of the ignorant – it just works.

    Comment by snorky — June 7, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

  6. @Rene – All it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to say ‘It’s just business.’

    Comment by snorky — June 7, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

  7. @snorky Dude… Relax… Why the hatred?

    Just be thankful for the fact that you are not one of the ignorant iSheep you refer to. And be thankful that you have never bought or owned anything made by a company that was in it for the money…

    Comment by Rene — June 7, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

  8. It is not about being in it for the money, it is about being in it for ALL your money. Everyone in this world is forced to sell out to some degree at some point, but not to this easily and to the extent the iSheep are… drinking the KoolAid and begging for another glass.

    Comment by snorky — June 7, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  9. I’ll gently point out that of the technologies listed in the “Blatant rip-off of” column, not one is an open standard.

    Comment by Christophe — June 7, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

  10. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

    You are free to use a Blackberry with BBM and dropbox and box.net and amazon music and google docs and gmail and wunderlist and an Acer Laptop and Carbonite and Windows or Chrome OS or whatever.

    I love when people comment on the evilness of a company that creates such great products that everybody wants and is willing to pay a lot of money for.

    The Apple experience is awesome. I got an iPhone 2 years ago and then got my first iMac and then my first MBP and then a TimeMachine and then and AppleTV and then iPad and I love it. And I love the announcement of these products.

    And as far as a monopoly goes you can get a three hundred dollar Chromebook and a Cricket Smartphone do everything Apple offers for way cheaper. People are willing to pay for a high quality, well-designed experience.

    If you don’t want it or don’t like it, don’t pay for it.

    Comment by Clark Taylor — June 7, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

  11. @snorky I would like to know why you think the “iSheep” sell out this easily. They must have a reason for this, don’t you agree? – “ignorance” is not a motive.

    Also, I hate to break it to you, but… EVERY company wants ALL your money.

    Comment by Rene — June 8, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  12. No, ignorance it motive. Laziness is.
    The same reason people eat fast food, shop at Walmart, drink Budwieser, watch Adam Sandler movies. Just because it is easier for you, it does not mean it is right for you and definitely does not mean it is the best.

    Ignorance is also not an excuse when the negative effects of this monopoly are felt and the backlash begins.

    Comment by snorky — June 9, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  13. Link: iCloud is Apple's best move ever | Coen Jacobs
  14. Link: Five things the PC industry can learn from Apple - Roy Tanck's weblog
  15. I do not speak English very well but I understand that the day that put us an i-chip in the head to enhance the experience we lost and to top the bite block attached to the front :)

    Comment by alex — June 14, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

  16. block *apple* jeje

    Comment by alex — June 14, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  17. For me I like ”Apple” Products and how they are trying to make you feel like you at the comfort of your home, Specially when I’m at work.

    I use almost every single thing of their product at (home, work, road and my car) I don’t think that I need something else and when I do need something I find it with them, Apple I mean.

    They aren’t evil as you say they are “GENIUSES = Apple”

    Comment by aSarraj — June 29, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

    • Whoa, you just made Apple sound a LOT like buy ‘n’ large from Wall-e

      Comment by Iain — June 26, 2012 @ 12:49 am

  18. What really disturbs me is that people are openly warning about the risks Apple consumers are walking into. Whether you knowingly walk into the walled garden or are ignorant… you are still being entrapped.

    People who don’t see problems with their products and have no criticism are frankly victims of Apple group-think. I work as a technician in a University and I can tell you Apple products ‘just-work’ when ‘just-alone’ in a mono-culture. I want to produce (or consume) content I go to Apple. If I want to do something really clever I step out of that garden. Apple users need to stay on the ball or they are really going to self limit and get locked in.

    Please appreciate Apple users that these are cautionary calls that you need to heed… for all our sake…

    Comment by Fergus — June 30, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

    • Mr. Fergus I love what you just said specially the part and I quote “.. Apple products ‘just-work’ when ‘just-alone’ in a mono-culture.”
      I agree with you.

      Comment by aSarraj — June 30, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

  19. Nothing in the life is free, but apple is the best, i don´t use the iTunes, iCall, iMessage, iShit, i use the OS X, the best operative system, with the best combination of power computers.

    Comment by ASH3RTHINK — July 9, 2011 @ 8:52 am

    • OS X is a nice OS, and you know it was built on FREE software right? They took the BSD kernel and built their proprietary software on top of it. So when I see people using OS X I always ask if they know they’re using free software. Usually they say no, they had to pay apple for it…

      Comment by Mark — February 16, 2012 @ 2:37 am

      • True, but I have yet to see any useful application of Darwin outside of OSX. So the fact that OSX’s core is free is a bit of a paper tiger imho.

        Comment by Roy — February 16, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  20. History has taught us not to be a slave to big greedy corporations. Initially it may seems that apple is creating a perfect convenient world for users but in reality they are trying to enslave us…to control our lives bit by bit. I learned my lesson from being loyal to $ony. What apple is doing now is the same as to what $ony has been doing for the past 10 years. Right now if you bought $ony product it doesn’t mean you own it….according to sony you just ‘rent’ it. If you dont agree with their new pricing or terms, they can terminate the service rendering you just bought device pretty much useless.

    Comment by Tom B. — July 14, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

  21. And this is different from Microsoft how? Nothing about what Apple is doing to keep people slave to their products is news. Can you say electric companies, software companies, or any other organization looking to maximize profits and market share.

    Comment by T.Campbell — July 18, 2011 @ 2:38 am

    • Well, Microsoft is a major player on the desktop only. They don’t do content (music, video) and don’t do well in mobile (yet?). Most of what you create with MS products are things you have only a small emotional investment in. Having a couple of office documents “locked in” is quite different from having the same happen with your personal photos. Plus, everybody realizes that MS does this. Apple fans it seems however don’t want to hear that “their company” does it too, and better.

      Comment by Roy — July 18, 2011 @ 8:17 am

    • OK…. BIG difference between Microsoft and Apple. Microsoft do software but you are free to choose your hardware from an open eco system of manufacturers. Apple on the other hand control the horizontal and they control the vertical :)

      However you are right that any large company will try and achieve market lock-in (just look at Sony… a real pernicious company if you ask me). But Apple are succeeding where many have failed…and there are consequences.

      Comment by Fergus — July 22, 2011 @ 10:44 am

  22. It seems like all the big name companies are doing this type of branding where it only works on their system for a time. Isn’t this what Microsoft started out doing trying to dominate the PC world until they got taken down a notch. I guess it is Apple’s turn… Do you think anyone will take them on?

    Comment by Matt Gaines — July 30, 2011 @ 6:16 am

  23. What I find odd is that the same people who flocked to Apple under the banner of opposing Microsoft’s “monopolist” activities in the area of desktop OS are now the ones defending Apple as it seeks to do the same with in other areas.

    Well, folks, which is it – is the growing, all encompassing Apple environment simply a matter of a business being smart and trying to hold onto it’s customers, in which case what’s the issue with MS including IE with the various iterations of Windows?

    What Apple is doing is entirely legal, and basically can be seen as good business. But the lack of thought on the part of those drinking the Apple kool-aid is what’s disturbing. I like many of their products, but I also like to have the freedom to use my electronics as I wished, without the Apple equivalent of the nanny state – or worse, as seems to be the case – spying on me and correcting me should I attempt to exercise free thought in a manner which displeases the mighty Jobs.

    Comment by James Phieffer — September 4, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

  24. Try copying a folder from your one USB stick to another on Mac hardware. Tough luck. Try the same in Ubuntu Linux – piece of cake! Ask yourself WHY SO?

    And, frankly, apple products are less capable to do what you want to do naturally as user. You have to understand the mind of those who invented them. I find most of them so yesterday.

    Comment by Avetik — October 1, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

  25. The problem with big players like Apple is, that they can dominate whole markets. And there are several problems linked to that.

    Here is just one aspect:

    My uncle is a buisness man (from sweden) who travels a lot. Last time we met, he told me that a partner in Hong Kong invited him to his flat. The furnishing looked excactly like in sweden. IKEA chairs, table, sofa.
    Making a joke I said: “Sounds a bit like communism. The same standard for everyone.” His answer was: “You are absolutely right.”

    What I want to say: The free market economy is spoiled, if just a few (or even a single company) controls the lion’s share. Creating a closed universe (e.g. content can only be consumed on a specific device under the terms of the manufacturer) is definitely a way to lock out competitors. In such an environment, small businesses have just no other choice, but to follow the rules made by the dominator. And then we get a situation in which private companies almost write the laws of trade. So that is why I think that there is some analogy to communism.

    Who wants that?

    Comment by Andreas — October 31, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

  26. Is Apple Evil. Absolutely. I dont say this from a large scale but a more focused one. Lets look at the way Apple treats employees. There are benefits to the job I have to say that right off of the bat but it is really not worth the psychological damage. I worked for Applecare for 6 years. It was actually a good job when I first started. However as time passed the management started pulling little things like pitting people against each other. They would disguise it as a friendly competition. Who could do the work faster, and so on. That wouldnt have been so bad but as soon as the guy who beat everyone else did so they would expect everyone to meet that new time. They did this again and again and again so after a while no one could keep up if you werent 20 years old and were naturally the metabolism of the common meth user. They would smile at you and start with the “meet the standard or lose your job” in the most passive aggressive way possible. Every year they would hold you accountable for more things, some of which were completely beyond your control. More, more, faster, faster until your brain just couldn’t take it anymore. One day you would just miraculously dissapear from your desk and all of your stuff would be gone. I was dropped at year 6 for telling customers how they could get their computers repaired cheaply. I have worked in the IT industry for many years and know alot of ways to get parts on the cheap. I only suggested this if the customer had no other way to get the computer repaired as Apples out of waranty repair costs were ridiculous. I was just trying to help the customer. My stats reflected this as I had just pulled off 7 straight months of 100% customer satisfaction. Apple may have been a cool company at one point but now they are just another multi-national mega-corp. Oh, and I am not the only one who recieved this treatment. I know many ex-employees who had the same experience. They don’t want techs that can fix problems or satisfy customers. They want a person who can get a customer off the phone in 10 minutes or less. I brought this up a number of times with management in fact while I was still there. I proposed that we give the calls more time on the initial call to prevent further repeat calls due to the technician not having the time to truly deal with the issue. They dismissed me completely. Don’t let Apples pretty face fool you, they are just another empire.

    Comment by Neil Rodrigues — March 12, 2012 @ 7:56 am