“This is another case of people acting surprised and/or disappointed that Apple, a for-profit company, is acting like a for-profit company.”
This is plain rubbish. There is, or there ought to be, a limit to what companies should do to generate profits. If not for the sheer ethics of it, then for the simple point that a company that does not consider the long-term interest of their customers in their decision-making process, usually won’t have a bright long-term future too.
I can see 2 examples of this. First the is the simple reaction of Gruber, my self and many others to Google’s hypocritical “don’t be evil” motto, at the same time that they stampede over our privacy, use us as products and just push their monopoly around. Gruber has been a very vocal critic of this several times in the past. Now why not of Apple when they do a similar thing? And here i’m mostly referring to the non-standard output of ibooks author, not the whole EULA debacle that it’s still a mess in progress. Standard output and interoperable data files is something that i have very strong feelings about and i think that is something highly critical for the customer on the long run. Even if on the short run it goes unnoticed.
Second, is the long standing drop in reputation with the consumer and a general “discomfort” that flows around the “masses” regarding this type of situations. It is such a strong force1 that some companies struggle with it for years. Someone recently wrote2 that Google was the new Microsoft, it was impossible to go a day without using their products but it never felt good or comfortable doing so. And the result of this feeling, in Microsoft case, is that 90% or so3 of the consumers have no loyalty or “fondness” for Microsoft at all. And no sign of potential increase in the future. Most people will jump ships as soon as possible, as they have been doing in the last years. And the same feeling is starting to spread with Google and with Facebook. This tarnished image doesn’t easily disappear from the collective mind, no matter what the “renewed company” does.
Apple managed to survive their long past winter by having a small base of fiercely loyal customers. How many of these customers would remain loyal and faithful to Apple in a new winter if Apple gets the habits of pushing them around when they can? People don’t like being pushed around. And they remember it. For a long, long time…
Slightly edited at 17:00 GMT, 24/01/2012
- although unrecognized and unappreciated by most by its discrete nature [↩]
- can’t remember who. [↩]
- completely made up statistic of what i see around me. [↩]