A response to Jason Calacanis

Just a few days ago, Jason Calacanis wrote an article called The Case Against Apple-in Five Parts, in which he laid out his reasons for disliking Apple. Now, I don’t begrudge anyone hating any company just because, but when you start making up bull-shit to support your feelings, I get a little perturbed. However, many other have responded already, so he has written another missive, Apple’s Master Plan (and why even fanboys should be scared) which raises the bar on bullshit.

First, I want to say from the bottom of my heart, Fuck You Jason Calacanis! I am not saying this because of your bullshit reasons, but for your god damned use of non-black for your text color. And not only that, but hexadecimal 999, which is somewhere around middle gray. Oh fuck you! Thank damn Opera lets me turn off Author-mode style sheets.

The Case Against Apple in Five Parts

Jason, let’s talk. I think you have taken your love affair with Microsoft and turned it into a piss on Apple contest. Let’s look over the problems in your “case against Apple.”

First, you make the statement that “everything on the Mac platform costs twice as much,” but later you state that “Windows-based hardware is 30-50% less.” Are you trying to say that software for the Mac costs twice as much, which the hardware can cost up to twice as much? If so, then you really need to check who you are buying your software from, because they are either jacking up the price of the Mac software, or they are quoting you name-brand software for the Mac, and the shareware version for Windows. Also, the only time the hardware for the Mac costs up to 50% more is when you are comparing Apple equipment to low-end, or cheap, Windows-based systems. About the only thing that I have found that Apple honestly overcharges for is memory. However, most Apple vendors can install non-Apple memory and not void your warranty. You may want to check with your local store.

However, before you buy anything else, you may want to talk to someone about your technology addiction. Replacing all of your hardware every two years is a bit extreme. I can understand if you need to replace your external drive if it starts getting crowded, or if you have bought one of those $500 desktops that barely run, but all of your tech? Really, you need to talk to someone about this. Look at yourself. Over a period of 6 years you state that you have purchased 4 laptops, 2 Mac Pros, 2 iMacs, and a Mac Mini. Along with that, over the last 2 years, you have purchased all 3 iPhones. Really, you need to see someone about this.

Now, to the unstated point that this all costs a lot of money. Well, yeah. However, you make it seem like Apple is just bilking their customers. Let’s be clear, I have an Apple laptop here that is about 8 years old. I can take up to OS X 10.4, and it originally came with OS X 10.0 with OS 9 in “Classic Mode.” So, you can see, Apple has made sure to support it’s older hardware with new releases of their systems. Now mine only has 10.3, because it didn’t really need 10.4, and I have not run into any programs that I could reasonably use on it, that required 10.4 or higher. Anything that did, either required the Intel CPU, or were so CPU intensive, that the older CPU in it would really be strained to even run the program, must less make is usable.

So yeah, they come out with new products and updates every year. That is what everyone does. If you went out and bought the latest Sony laptop each time a new one came out, and each of the new Blackberries, then you would be shelling out a fistload of money there instead.

Now to the first really bad point you made, the idea that Apple hardware is 30 to 50% more expensive. I have sat down and done these calculations a couple of times in the past, here where I work. The Apple hardware was, at most, 5% more than equivalent hardware from other vendors. That was even before we started adding in all of the third party applications, which are similar in price for the two platforms. Yes, you can find Windows hardware for 30 to 50% less than Apple hardware, but then you are getting very low end equipment, which is not a good comparison. When people go looking at cars, they don’t complain that the Mercedes is so much more expensive that the Kia; it’s just not the same thing.

Let’s get to the five parts now, shall we?

1. Destroying MP3 player innovation through anti-competitive practices
Wait, are you saying that if you have a Mac you can not connect a competitors MP3 player to it? Oh, wait, you are saying that if you use iTunes to buy your music content, then you can’t put that music onto non-iPod players. I was wondering, when did Microsoft’s PlaysForSure system include iPods in their approved players? How about their Zune store? Your complaint is based on the fact that Apple does not want to provide support for other people’s devices.

I have seen many MP3 players, and many low priced ones. Let me tell you, they are low priced for a reason. They are OK for playing music, but thankfully, many of them are kinda short on storage. Because if I had to use the playback interface on those damn things for my entire music library, I would kill someone. iTunes is not a great interface itself, the iPod has a great interface. iTunes only exists because it allows you to put stuff, music, videos, whatever, onto your iPod. Outside of that, it is mediocre at best, and piss poor at worst.

Now, you want Apple to have to support connecting other companies MP3 player to iTunes. While we are at it, why isn’t the Zune store supporting all of those MP3 players? Simple, they have no way of knowing how many different MP3 players you have. If you went out and bought a box full of $15 MP3 players, brought them home and connected them to iTunes and downloaded a song library to each and every one, then you could go out and sell them for $50 a pop. It’s stuff like that that makes the recording industry executives wake up in a cold sweat, and then they demand ways to make sure the store software doesn’t do that. So Apple is pretty much at the choice of supporting other MP3 players and not selling music through iTunes, or they can lock down iTunes to their devices and be able to sell music.

Also, why is innovation dead? You state in your article that you can go out and see hundreds of other MP3 players out there. Either all of those are the same hardware with different cases, or companies are still trying to create innovative products. The fact that no one has been able to come out with something that truly blows the iPod away is not because they can’t innovate, but because they don’t.

2. Monopolistic practices in telecommunications
Honestly, Apple’s iPhone undid the breaking up of Ma Bell? I think Ma Bell was doing pretty good on getting back together long before the iPhone came out. Yes, the iPhone is locked to AT&T, but there are other phones out there that are locked to their own networks. Don’t like it? Pay the full price and then use the phone wherever you want. There you go.

Now, your idea for slots for 2 SIM cards? So you can pay for service on both Verizon and Sprint? Wow, you must think that everyone is made of money.

3. Draconian App Store policies that are, frankly, insulting
First, I am shocked to hear that the first iPhones can not work anymore. I am shocked that every 13 months the existing iPhones stop working and you are just shit out of luck. Oh wait, no they don’t. Hell, iPhones have been getting the updates that come out with the new ones. So, what the hell are you saying?

Yes, Apple has a store where people can buy software from. And yes, Apple wants to make sure that the applications sold through that store do not sully their reputation. So yes, Apple does have some reasons to control what goes through their store. People were upset that Apple wouldn’t allow adult content, so Apple added parental controls. So now you can have adult content in applications, you just have to say “yes, I know this is adult, I am OK with that.”

As for the comparison of iPhone apps to approving applications for Windows XP, that is a bit crazy. I don’t see where Apple has tried to do that with their desktop. I does make for good rabble-rousing, but not reality.

Now, for the real complaint, not allowing people to install “ad hoc” programs, instead limiting such installation to 100 pre-chosen devices. I think that is the real pain in the ass. Apple should allow ad hoc installation, but let iTunes bitch and whine that it is not a verified application. Yeah, you may end up screwing yourself over, but then again that is your problem. However, Apple’s concern is that if they let someone do it, even with lots of warnings, if something goes wrong, people will blame Apple. Sane people would say “that wouldn’t happen” but then again, stranger things have happened.

4. Being a horrible hypocrite by banning other browsers on the iPhone
There is a simple explanation for this. They don’t want to give people the impression that such programs are supported by Apple. Last thing that Apple needs is people calling for support and it turns out the problem is with Opera, and now people are being told they have to stop using it. Yeah, that would go over nicely. I personally want to see Opera on the iPhone, but it wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me.

5. Blocking the Google Voice Application on the iPhone
Yeah, I can see how this made AT&T pretty much shit their pants.

Conclusion and Apple’s Master Plan

I really love it when people not only try to take Apple’s actions to an asnine conclusion, but start quoting products that do not exist yet. Back when the scuttle-but was the iPhone, then everyone said that Apple was going to lock it down to only their applications. Then it came out, and they released and SDK for it, and setup a application store so developers can sell their software through the “official” apple system. Yes, they have to approve every application that is released, but that information is up front. Now I will agree that some of the restrictions are a bit vague, or a bit too broad, but those restrictions are there before you try to submit your app.

Now, everyone is talking about a tablet computer. Which would make sense, if there was an actual tablet market of more than just a few thousand. Tablets have flopped because there is no really compelling reason for them over having a actual laptop. The Air is about as close as Apple has come to a tablet, and given the problems of user input, a tablet would not be good. All of the input of an iPhone, but way to big to fit in a pocket. So, you would still have to carry around a bag for it, and you don’t get to use a keyboard? Yeah, the best I can see is a reversible air, with a full touch-screen, but that would only be a gimmick, and not as useful as tech pundits like to proclaim.

As for software for it? Wow, going straight for the ‘lock it down and you don’t get to use it’ argument. Hmm, which would Apple put on a tablet, a scaled down version of OS X, or a bloated version of the iPhone OS? Hmm, well, if the tablet was not a phone, and didn’t have to connect to a carrier’s system to be useful, then I don’t see why the iPhone software would be such a great idea. Then again, why would you want to use a desktop OS that already has software out there that is made for computer-like interfaces, as compared to a phone with a small screen? Then, if they made the bad choice of going with the iPhone OS, man, that would suck cause Apple has that monopoly position in the supply chain, and there would be no way to purchase netbooks, low-end laptops, or other tablet pcs.

Yeah, Jason, I think it is about time to pull your head out of your ass. Oh yeah, and FIX YOUR GOD DAMNED STYLESHEET AND MAKE THE DEFAULT TEXT SOMETHING OTHER THAN MIDDLE GRAY!


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