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View Full Version : Could Apple become the next ‘evil empire’?


MacBytes
Dec 26, 2007, 09:51 AM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: Could Apple become the next ‘evil empire’? (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20071226105130)
Description:: Is Apple in danger of becoming Microsoft?

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

Stubbs84
Dec 26, 2007, 10:20 AM
Here is why not: macs have always been on the creative side, about individuality, not necessity. Windows has always been about you need it to do anything in business, computing, etc. Although Apple's market share will grow steadily each year, it's hard to believe they will stray from this more human experience they've been giving us for the last thirty years. Keep in mind that as a successful computing/electronics/software company, they've only been for a decade. Even if Apple were to become a superpower such as Microsoft, they would need to revolutionize the business world the way that Microsoft did. We must remember that Microsoft, although infamous by Windows, is not only Windows it self. There are thousands of programs and custom builds created for companies all over the world, that's why they have dominated. Apple has OSX, they are still in their infancy. This is a good thing since as they grow they will learn how to keep their stability while this obviously has been a predicament that even an evil superpower couldn't throw enough money at to fix the problem. The bottom line: Macs are never going to use a mentality of 'you need us to survive.' They will always take the creative genius approach which will drive them to create hardware and software that help people customize their lives and their businesses through a different computing experience. There was never a better marketing tagline for mac than "Think Different" because they certainly always will.

As always: chew it, like it, or spit it back at me if you disagree.

Popeye206
Dec 26, 2007, 10:38 AM
I don't think Apple will be the next MS.... or at least I hope that does not come true... Although I think Apple needs to be careful not to develop to fast. We've always enjoyed great designs and stable products, but I hope Apples success does not cause them to develop too fast or get too sloppy. Also, I think they need to slow down on the Apple stores. They are great, but too many will take away the excitement and mystic of going to an Apple store.

I love Apple and hope the day they are the evil empire never comes!

Eraserhead
Dec 26, 2007, 11:24 AM
The company is a “control freak,” suing web sites such as Think Secret, AppleInsider and Power Page for reporting on upcoming products that are supposed to be top secret.


This is bad, but has only happened once.


Steve Jobs and company have enjoyed unrivaled success with the iPod, and its integration with iTunes has created an end-to-end solution that some have called unfair (unfair as in “monopoly”).


95432


The company is only concerned with profit.


Um, which companies aren't? Isn't that the point?

I think even MS has a way to go before they are as "evil" as BT (with regards to their customer service, the only way to get decent service out of them is via the chairman's office) for example.

zombitronic
Dec 26, 2007, 11:44 AM
"Empire;" in a sense, yes. They have an influence which extends worldwide.

"Evil;" I suppose it depends on what you consider evil. The examples given by the article suggest that having expensive, closed-system, well-integrated products might look evil in some over-entitled eyes. I guess this is in comparison to expensive Windows systems that run on cheaper PCs with a plethora of software titles that may or may not play kindly with each other, or free, yet flaky open source systems that run into the same problems.

If these other options didn't exist, I could see a shred of credibility in this claim. Since that is not the case, I see this article as another attention grabbing headline with a lot of fluff beneath it.

luminosity
Dec 26, 2007, 11:52 AM
It's not like you can't have a computer that has absolutely nothing to do with Apple in any way. If that weren't the case, then you could say Apple might be an Evil Empire. But it isn't, so they aren't.

IJ Reilly
Dec 26, 2007, 12:20 PM
I never would have believed anyone would have asked it when I begin my Mac journalism career a decade-plus ago doing reviews for the late, lamented MacSense site.

Ouch. :eek:

BenRoethig
Dec 26, 2007, 12:34 PM
Yes. The necessity of survival has kept the ego of Jobs mostly in check. Now that Apple is in a very good position financially, we're seeing a company that is starting to try to impose its will on the customers. Combine that with a core userbase that has become so radicalized that not only does it rarely question Apple, it actively seeks to discredit any internal difference of opinion and we have the makings of a real mess if we don't watch ourselves. The iBook/Macbook and the iPod/Iphone got the universal appeal they did because they coincide with what the buying public wants. With other decisions such as the delivery choices of iTunes videos and movies and the insistence of a completely all in one core of desktop lineup Apple has had some showings of trying to force their will on the user base. That's when Apple gets in trouble.

clevin
Dec 26, 2007, 12:46 PM
which part of "control freak" do people not get about apple?

Evil? sure, consider its propaganda skills, pretty much deliver most lies in tv ads than any other companies I have ever seen.

Empire? well, depends on where you are, for people who are happily live in apple's world, yes, its a empire. But consider this is a tiny fraction of computer users, I would have to say apple isn't a empire yet. and It would be very hard to make an empire with apple's close ecosystem. OSS world would resist such tendency and refuse to provide apple any more support upon which apple so far built vast successful products like OSX and safari.

numlock
Dec 26, 2007, 01:11 PM
“After making a deal with AT&T—one of the most hated companies in the world—for its iPhone

What a hyperbole. The majority of the world dosent even know what at&t is.

The company is a “control freak,” suing web sites such as Think Secret, AppleInsider and Power Page for reporting on upcoming products that are supposed to be top secret

control freak they may be but is suing websites for reporting unreleased products the based example?
What course of action should be taken by a company in a competitive environment that dosent want to be considered an "evil empire"?

Apple “charges too much for a device that can barely be configured and features most of the same components as a Windows-based machine.

They charge you after you have made your mind up to purchase the item as opposed to something else. I dont recall being forced to buy my mini 2 years ago or my imac a year ago


That being said it dosent mean that apple cant become an "evil empire" whatever that means and be generally disliked.

Jetson
Dec 26, 2007, 01:22 PM
I don't see Apple becoming an "evil empire", at least not yet.

However there IS one troubling aspect of Apple which I have noted frequently, and that is their customer service policies.

Apple does a fantastic job of providing products and improvements to those products based on customer feedback - kudos to Apple for that. There is still room for improvement but nonetheless Apple really shines in this area.

However while certain other successful companies such as Amazon.com or the FedEx of the past (no longer) consistently communicate with their customers and exercise reasonable efforts to satisfy their customers, Apple seems to ignore their customers.

The problem I'm referring to shows itself when you try to interact with Apple:
They don't answer email
They don't respond to requests for assistance on their website
Telephone response seems unduly bureaucratic and ineffective
When problems are their fault (such as a bad download) their response is tepid and miserly
If a product is defective, they will palm off a used item (they call it refurbished) instead of replacing it with a brand new one. If I paid $400+ I want a brand new replacement, not a used one.
If you have to take a product into the store, you might wait at the "genius bar" for an hour or more before being served

Certainly there might be legitimate business reasons for some of this apparent aloofness. They don't want to spend the money on staff to answer every silly little question that could be answered by searching their discussion board - that's understandable.

You just don't get warm and fuzzy trying to get problems fixed with Apple, and I'm not the only one who has mentioned this.

jackc
Dec 26, 2007, 01:39 PM
I for one find it just as silly to call Microsoft an "evil empire." (Whether the government or courts finds some business practice illegal does not mean it's evil. Antitrust law is a joke.)

IJ Reilly
Dec 26, 2007, 01:42 PM
I for one find it just as silly to call Microsoft an "evil empire." (Whether the government or courts finds some business practice illegal does not mean it's evil. Antitrust law is a joke.)

Evil is just a word -- but why do you think antitrust law is a joke?

jackc
Dec 26, 2007, 01:57 PM
Evil is just a word -- but why do you think antitrust law is a joke?

Because just like Apple is not forcing anyone to pay a premium for its products or is unfairly leveraging iTunes or whatever else, I don't consider bundling some crap with Windows to be a concern for the law. As Apple users we should be the first to realize this instead of complaining about Microsoft.

Sal Collaziano
Dec 26, 2007, 01:58 PM
Now that Apple is in a very good position financially, we're seeing a company that is starting to try to impose its will on the customers. Combine that with a core userbase that has become so radicalized that not only does it rarely question Apple, it actively seeks to discredit any internal difference of opinion and we have the makings of a real mess if we don't watch ourselves.

This IS a danger. Very much so. And Apple is going to start getting VERY popular VERY soon. When people like me switch to Mac from Windows (Everybody I know comes to me with computer questions and problems), people take notice.. It's only a matter of time but the tides are going to turn very soon. Apple/Mac is not going to be as exclusive as it is in another year or two. It's going to be something like 60% Microsoft, 30% Macintosh and 10% whatever else...

IJ Reilly
Dec 26, 2007, 02:04 PM
Because just like Apple is not forcing anyone to pay a premium for its products or is unfairly leveraging iTunes or whatever else, I don't consider bundling some crap with Windows to be a concern for the law. As Apple users we should be the first to realize this instead of complaining about Microsoft.

Antitrust law is a complicated animal, but far more than bundling is required for antitrust laws to be invoked. The complaints against Microsoft were a litany of anticompetitive practices. Bundling only really mattered in Microsoft's case because their market power gave them the ability to force competitors out, and only really mattered because they used their market power to do this very thing.

Eraserhead
Dec 26, 2007, 02:21 PM
Combine that with a core userbase that has become so radicalized that not only does it rarely question Apple, it actively seeks to discredit any internal difference of opinion and we have the makings of a real mess if we don't watch ourselves.

But what about all the complaining about Stacks and the transparent menus in Leopard?


The problem I'm referring to shows itself when you try to interact with Apple:
They don't answer email
They don't respond to requests for assistance on their website
Telephone response seems unduly bureaucratic and ineffective
When problems are their fault (such as a bad download) their response is tepid and miserly
If a product is defective, they will palm off a used item (they call it refurbished) instead of replacing it with a brand new one. If I paid $400+ I want a brand new replacement, not a used one.
If you have to take a product into the store, you might wait at the "genius bar" for an hour or more before being served
y trying to get problems fixed with Apple, and I'm not the only one who has mentioned this.
Aside from business PC support, which is apparently better. Who actually offers this amazing service? Apple actually seems to handle complaints/comments fairly well. Email support is the only thing they should probably add to level the playing field. Offering a refurbished product is legal (certainly in the UK), and you can book a genius bar appointment in advance.

ProstheticHead
Dec 26, 2007, 02:37 PM
I understand where the opinions surrounding Apple's refusal to allow customization as a bad thing come from, however, I believe it is that control that has aided in Apple's advancement. It is much easier to control how software works if it is designed for a particular set of hardware, no need to worry about the various driver incompatibilities that plague Vista and other Windows versions.

Jetson
Dec 26, 2007, 03:44 PM
Aside from business PC support, which is apparently better. Who actually offers this amazing service? Apple actually seems to handle complaints/comments fairly well. Email support is the only thing they should probably add to level the playing field. Offering a refurbished product is legal (certainly in the UK), and you can book a genius bar appointment in advance.
I mentioned at the beginning of my post (which you did not quote) Amazon.com and FedEx as examples of companies that provide superior customer service. There is a world of difference between them and Apple in this regard.

I don't care whether a policy happens to be "legal", it's not right to replace a defective expensive item with a used item unless the customer is given the choice and selects that. The fact that it's legal (as opposed to illegal) is fine but that's just not good enough to qualify as great customer service.

Also, Apple simply does not respond to comments or requests from their website. Have you actually gotten a response to your inquiries?

Bob Knob
Dec 26, 2007, 04:30 PM
I mentioned at the beginning of my post (which you did not quote) Amazon.com and FedEx as examples of companies that provide superior customer service. There is a world of difference between them and Apple in this regard.

I don't care whether a policy happens to be "legal", it's not right to replace a defective expensive item with a used item unless the customer is given the choice and selects that. The fact that it's legal (as opposed to illegal) is fine but that's just not good enough to qualify as great customer service.

Also, Apple simply does not respond to comments or requests from their website. Have you actually gotten a response to your inquiries?

If you think FedEx is in anyway shape or form a positive company then you have never had a package go missing or get damaged by FedEx. If you think the same about Amazon then you have never had to deal with them when they quadruple charge your credit card.

Do you understand how a warranty works? Have you ever read one? Do you think Apple should do it differently from the rest of the world???

Did you actually read the email/submission info for Apple's website? It says right there that you will not get a reply. They have lots of links for support issues and numbers to call. Surprise, if you follow the steps you will get contacted back.

BTW, I'm not a fanboy or apologist.

Jetson
Dec 26, 2007, 05:33 PM
BTW, I'm not a fanboy or apologist.

You sure could have fooled me :D

I've never had Amazon "quadruple charge" my card. However whenever I have had a question or a problem to be resolved, they respond to my email, usually in the same day. Amazon also has a feature where a customer service representative will call you immediately and help you over the phone.

Amazon makes it easy for customers to reach them. Apple makes it hard for customers to reach them.

Also as I stated previously, FedEx is not the company it used to be, but in it's heyday FedEx was the model for excellent customer service.

That's my opinion and I have a right to it. Why do you feel the need to argue with me over it? Could it be that you are a... fanboy?

You should at least read what I actually wrote before making inaccurate comments on it.

bmb012
Dec 26, 2007, 08:44 PM
Jeez, the most evil thing I've ever seen Apple do is only let me use the speakers on my Airport Express after I updated my OS, even though I could use Virtual PC to boot XP and use them from there (yeah this was a while ago...).

Other than that all they've done is bring breakthrough products that were considered to be crappy and less usable than their ancient counterparts into the mainstream. And yes, there's a huge amount of control necessary for doing that.

solvs
Dec 27, 2007, 12:06 AM
People expect more out of Apple for some reason. Of course they're a greedy company that only wants your money. They're all greedy companies that only want your money. Apple just has cooler stuff you actually want to buy. We also think they're evil when there are problems with their products, and despite them still having the highest ratings in every review I've read, somehow anything more than perfect is not good enough.

MS (and some PC makers) on the other hand have set the bar so low, they could run over your dog and your Grandma and we wouldn't be surprised.