Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Steve Jobs - Revenge of the Fallen

When I read about the crazy antics involved in getting applications into the App Store, or how the end-user license was literally re-written for iOS 4 to keep Adobe CS5 off the platform, or lately, how Apple is removing any mention of Consumer Reports "can't recommend" recommendation of the iPhone 4, because of the fundamental flaw in the iPhone 4's antenna... I have to wonder how much longer we'll have to put up with the little Jobs monster. Whatever respect and admiration I had for Steve Jobs and Apple is now completely gone, burned away by his vengeful antics against the system that forced him out of Apple in the later 1980's.

Hailed as the savior of Apple when he returned to, and took over Apple again in 1998, Jobs was going to return Apple back to greatness and give us all cool new digital toys to play with. This was back when the anti-Microsoft sentiment (the trial started on May 18, 1998) was peaking. Jobs wasn't just seen as the savior of Apple, but of personal computing in some quarters. And I admit I was one of those fervent boosters. If only I'd known then what I know now.

What a difference twelve years makes. Jobs did indeed return Apple to former glory, and then well beyond that historical mark. But he did it with typical Jobsian iron-fisted rule; among many of the his first acts, which included killing the Newton, were his changes to the licensing of Apple firmware and software, making it impossible for third-party computer makers to make clones of the Mac. Some apologize for Jobs, saying he had to do that to make Apple more tightly focused, to avoid having to compete against the cloners who were supposedly riding on the coat-tails of Apple's development efforts. No, Jobs did all this to the cloners because Jobs has never cared about open systems and open standards unless it was highly controlled in Apple's favor. After all, the Mac Classic was completely closed to the point where I had to buy expensive Torx screwdrivers at the time to fatten my Mac with more memory.

Over the years since Jobs returned, I have promoted and purchased Apple products for my personal use as well as for the use of my family. But after watching the App Store debacle unfold over the past two years, and especially the changes wrought in the iOS 4 terms of agreement, I have decided to take my money and my business elsewhere. I helped put Jobs and his ego where it is today by willingly spending thousands of dollars with Apple, along with millions of others who've spent multiple billions with Apple over the years. I have no delusion that my refusal to buy from Apple will halt what Jobs and Co. are doing, which is removing the basic freedom to do with the device as I wish. And I don't mean logging into the besotted App Store with its "curated computing" so I can download mostly useless applications. I mean the ability to create whatever I wish without permission of any kind from Apple Central.

Like I said, if I'd only known then what I know now. We have traded the tyranny of Microsoft for the shinier, prettier, but no less destructive tyranny of Apple. We have learned nothing.

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