Hatin’ on Apple hate

Published by • November 29th, 2007 RSS News Feed

Where did all of the Apple haters come from?

This gem below will allow me to get started on my quest to squash the angry mob that is constantly looking for a reason to bash Apple’s latest gadget.

Lately, it seems that everyone and their mother is suing Apple. “iTunes is a monopoly”, they chant. “iTunes is unfairly tied to the iPod”, they scream. “My iPod is too shiny and it’s hurting my eyes”,they yell. Recently, a lawsuit has emerged from the depths of Florida alleging that Apple unfairly ties its iPod music player to iTunes. Among the allegations is that content purchased via iTunes cannot be played on any other media player and that Apple disabled support for rival media formats. In short, the suit claims that Apple has attained (drum roll please….) MONOPOLY POWER. Big words for such a frivolous lawsuit. In any event, it has become en vogue to accuse Jobs and co. of having monopolistic power and some even go so far as to compare Apple to the Microsoft of old.

In the 1990′s, Microsoft bundled Internet Explorer with Windows in such as way as to unfairly influence (some might say force) users to make and keep IE as their default browser. Moreover, Microsoft nefariously tied IE to the operating system itself, thereby making attempts to toss IE into the recycle bin an effort in futility, or worse, disaster. In effect, with over 95% of the computer market, Microsoft was essentially able to force consumers to use Internet Explorer, or at the very worst, not allow them to throw it away. Recently, critics and Plaintiffs alike have asserted that Apple similarly and unfairly ties and bundles the iTunes store to its iPod media players.

One particularly ridiculous tech analyst recently wrote the following: ” Want to buy music from Apple? Guess what? You must install iTunes. Want an Apple cell phone from AT&T? Yes! ITunes is required if you want only to make phone calls. Want to buy ring tones for your Apple phone? iTunes. Apple not only “bundles” iTunes with multiple products, it forces you to use it. At least with Internet Explorer, you could always just download a competitor and ignore IE.”

Lawsuits alleging monopolistic practices against apple are absurd!

Please don’t confuse me with an apple “fan boy” who can’t stand to hear Apple criticism. I just get really tired of seeing blog spam filled with animosity that seems misguided or forced.

Anyone with an iPod is familiar with the iTunes software. If you want to buy music from Apple, you’re forced to go through iTunes. So what, where’s the scandal? Every person has the right to their opinion, but the best way to talk to the company is through your wallet! If you don’t want to download music from Apple or use iTunes, then just don’t! It’s that simple.

Apple created the iPod for a reason, it’s called business and making a profit for its investors. The company makes money off of sales of its hardware and software, sounds simple enough! Is it so wrong for Apple to take a sound business position on iTunes that will compliment it’s products and company business strategy?

The reason the iPod has been successful is because Apple controls the user experience. If that doesn’t float your boat, don’t use iTunes. Heck, if it really bothers you, don’t purchase apple products in the future. When people clamor about Apple being monopolistic, they seemingly forget that there are a number of other avenues out there whereby consumers can purchase music. Buy a Zune. Buy a SanDisk player. Hit up some sleek looking Samsung devices.

Visit any Best Buy store or your gadget vendor of choice and you’ll see that the iPod is just one of many options out there for consumers. And when it comes to music management software, itunes is hardly the only game in town. Go to the Zune marketplace or Amazon, for example. Hell, why not take it old school and

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go out and buy a CD?

You don’t have to use iTunes or the iPod, it’s not like Microsoft Windows in the early 90′s. Calling Apple’s attempt to monopolize and engage in anticompetitive practices is reaching a bit. The apple attack squad, aka “fan boy haters” ignore the vast competition that exists in the digital marketplace. Apple is successful because they’ve created the best overall user experience, bar none. They’ve created a gated community, sure, but you’re not bound to it if you don’t want to be.

Why can’t I use other music management software and sync it to my iPod?

Allowing the iPod to sync up to other music software would cause a bevy of technological and usability hurdles that would turn the iPod into a subpar device. More importantly, the iPod is an Apple product and Apple thinks iTunes is the best way for the ipod to interact with digital media. It is not Apples job, responsibility, or obligation to ensure that third party software runs smoothly on its iPod players. Should people be suing Microsoft because PS3 games won’t run on their 360? The iPod/iTunes experience has not changed since day one. If anything, it has become more open with advent of the drm-free section of iTunes.

The iPod is just one of many mp3 players, yet it attracts the most attention because it has been the most successful — largely due to the fact that it is the easiest to use and provides the best user experience. Again, it is important to remember that Apple has been able to provide that experience because it controls all facets of the ipod ecosystem. If you don’t like iTunes, then don’t use an iPod. If you love your iPod so much that you can’t live without it, then recognize that iPods are so great precisely because it’s

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tied so closely to iTunes. If you love iTunes but have another music player, then buy some DRM-free music. There really is no need to go to court over this.

Monopolistic allegations against Apple are, (no pun intended), fruitless. The iPod is not the only media player in town nor is the iTunes the only way to attain digital media. A slew of other companies exist that provide a number of different ways to organize and access media content on portable devices. A cursory glance at what a Monopoly truly is, legally speaking, and it makes you wonder what kind of lawyers are actually taking on this ridiculous and overtly frivolous case. Apple is ahead of the pack because it has the best product on the market. It doesn’t stifle innovation, and if anything, it has encouraged it by continuously churning out amazing and groundbreaking products that leave competitors scratching their heads and heading back to the drawing board.

Unfortunately, people are stuck in the Microsoft mindset that if a company has a huge lead in market share, it must be the result of a monopolistic wielding of power. A few minutes with an iPod and it’s easy to see that Apples market share is the result of impressive innovation and nothing more.

Itola Author

is a business / tax attorney from the windy city. Yoni is also a gadget enthusiast who enjoys writing in the third person.
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