Is It Me, Or Has Karma Finally Decided To Settle Up With Apple?

by James R. Stoup Oct 08, 2007

So, I’ve been reading a lot of criticisms of Apple lately (many of which I agree with) and I was struck my the sheer volume of the complaints. Can anyone remember the last time Apple made this many people scream, this loud for this long? Call me crazy, but it seems like people are more pissed about this than when their laptops were exploding. Yeah, remember that whole laptop-burst-into-flames thing? Apple longs for times when things were that simple. And that right there should tell you something about today’s little misadventure in public relations. When you can look back at a time when your product was bursting into flames and causing massive property damage and think “ah, those were the days” then maybe you have a problem.

Yes, even when Apple was in the midst of people finding out their iPods weren’t made of adimantium (if you don’t know what adimantium is then a) you should read more X-Men comics and b) Wolverine should stab you in the eye) things never looked so bleak. Granted, Apple had more liability in that first case than in the current predicament, but I almost think that is worse. Because as bad as the whole laptop thing was, that wasn’t really their fault. Now, the teflon iPods, that was kinda on them. But even then there were plenty of people rising up to defend Apple with arguments like “I never used my iPod as a flak-jacket” and the like. So all in all, it wasn’t too bad.

However, this latest little incident (I say incident because “dumb-ass decision to freaking waste of 10 years worth of goodwill over a damn phone” doesn’t roll of the tongue quite the same way) is entirely of Apple’s creation. And it is all the more ridiculous because this is the kind of crap you would expect Microsoft to try and pull. I refuse to believe that the same people who were smart enough to create something as brilliant as the iPhone at no point asked themselves what they should do if anyone ever hacked it. How did that not come up at a staff meeting?

I do recognize that Apple had every legal right to do what they did. And I understand that to not update their phone would be a disservice to their users. Furthermore, I get that they are under no obligation to work around the illegal hacks that were made in support of 3rd party hackery, I get all that. I really do. Legally speaking they are in the clear. Hell, you even had to agree to the update even though they publicly said it would probably mess up your phone. So you can’t say they didn’t warn you.

But do you know what? It was still a stupid move.

Especially coming from a company that, otherwise, has always made great publicity moves. How could they not see that this was eventually going to blow up in their faces?

Now, some have suggested that a development kit would suddenly make this all better. I have my doubts personally, but lets all assume for a moment that it will indeed fix their problems. It may bring 3rd party apps back to the iPhone, but it won’t magically erase all the bad mojo generated this past month. But as I said in the title, maybe this is karma’s way of finally getting back at Apple for being so damn smug and perfect. Maybe the universe won’t let you make things as cool as the iPod and iMac indefinitely, maybe one day the piper has to be paid. Yeah, you can buy some time for a while I guess with products like the Mighty Mouse (bonus points for being both a crappy product and having a really silly name) but eventually you will cross an awesome-ness threshold with a product like the iPhone and karma will finally put down its beer, put on its boots and come stomp you in the face.

Or I could just be full of it, you never know. Damn it Jim, I’m a programmer not a philosopher!


  • What bad PR moves? 

    Except for the 0.1% of iPhone customers (who think they make up 99.9% of that market), nobody cares that the iPhone is a closed system and that hacked iPhones got bricked.

    tundraboy had this to say on Oct 08, 2007 Posts: 132
  • The gist of the article seems to be that Apple has sufferred a large PR lapse due to these “problems”.

    The reality is that outside of the geek blogosphere, people haven’t heard or really don’t care that someone paid $200 more for their iPhone or that they then modified it and it didn’t work later.

    This is not a huge PR gaff as the article implies. There are a few geeks whining loudly and getting some air in the technical press, but beyond them, nobody really cares and it hasn’t hurt Apple’s consumer opinion at all.

    vb_baysider had this to say on Oct 08, 2007 Posts: 243
  • And now, Microsoft is the GOOD guy with the new Zune, giving old Zune users full upgrade to the new Zune’s software.

    Whereas, with each generation of the iPod, Nothing was backward compatible.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Oct 08, 2007 Posts: 1209
  • “Why is it, for example, that Radiohead is offering DRM free, name your own price MP3s and Apple is not?”

    Because Radiohead has better control over their own content than Apple does over theirs - in fact, Apple doesn’t “own” ANY of the music/videos it sells at ITMS. Apple has narrow, limiting contractual agreements with content producers. Perhaps Apple would LOVE to sell mp3’s without DRM…but their clients, the labels, will not allow that at this time.

    tao51nyc had this to say on Oct 09, 2007 Posts: 45
  • Microsoft has no choice but to be “the good guy” because Zune’s aren’t selling worth a damn.

    tao51nyc had this to say on Oct 09, 2007 Posts: 45
  • The juvenile/ignorant use of “gay” to denounce the Mighty Mouse pretty much sums up the credibility of this article.

    And I write that as someone who is leaving his iPhone at 1.0.2 until works with the newer firmware.

    MarkSF had this to say on Oct 09, 2007 Posts: 14
  • You can please some of the people all of the time…

    If Microsoft did the same thing, no one would bat an eyelid.  Apple do one thing (which in my opinion was totally the right thing to do) and instantly they are getting a comeuppance for being too reliable, too nice, too perfect?  Can’t help but think if karma existed, Bill Gates’d being getting the brunt of the bad stuff.

    Also, let’s be fair, do we really expect legitimate software to go out of its way, spend a massive chunk of its research and design budget and triple the time it takes to make it purely to support people’s perversions of it’s previous version? I think not….And let’s give Apple some credit here, I’d hate to think how much it costs to update software.  And how much does it cost us to update our Apple software? Bugger all.

    Seriously though, don’t use “gay” like that.  It offends us lesbians and one would assume gay men too.

    ElectricLove had this to say on Oct 09, 2007 Posts: 2
  • I have a 14 y.o. nephew who is mature enough not to use the term “gay” as a pejorative.  It’s offensive.  Time to grow up, James.

    rayqueen had this to say on Oct 10, 2007 Posts: 1
  • Who owns your iPhone? When you plunk down your $600 you expect that you have purchased the hardware and the software. But, software developers believe that for your hard earned cash you only purchased a license to use their software based on the agreement they and their attorneys have drawn up. Then you agreed to comply with those terms when you first start using the software.

    So, the bottom line is that you don’t own the software in the iPhone, you only own the hardware. Apple was within their rights to kill their software, which was only licensed for your use, on your phone. When Apple discovered that you modified it, they withdrew their license and turned your phone into a brick. It may be legal but it’s incredibly stupid for their customer relations.

    flyboy had this to say on Oct 11, 2007 Posts: 30
  • You know what I think is “gay”... people telling others what words they can and cannot use, because they are offended by everything. That is so lame. Even more lame than Apple creating iBricks.

    You co-opt a perfectly good word, then make others feel guilty because you are somehow offended by what the rest of us know is a perfectly good use of the word.  Well TOUGH!

    heres2u had this to say on Oct 11, 2007 Posts: 6
  • My point is that what they did was stupid from a PR perspective, regardless of whether or not it was legal.

    I agree.  At&t recently altered their TOS* so that anyone who used their internet service “for conduct that…tends to damage the name of at&t” could have their service canceled without notice.

    Their legal right to do so?  Yes.  A stupid move?  You betcha.  The legal right to do something does not make it a good business move.  At&t is also warning you ahead of time, which is how the fanboys are justifying Apple’s bricking of iPhones.  But would you defend at&t in the same way if they canceled someone’s service after blogging negatively about at&t?  God, I hope not.  It seems only Apple ever gets such enthusiastic apologist support.

    Likewise, Microsoft warns you ahead of time what will happen if your Vista license fails to update WGA.  It will render your machine inoperable until you get online and re-update.  They WARNED you.  That makes it perfectly okay, right?

    Leo Laporte has opined that the backlash is coming from the fanboys, but looking at the comments above, that cannot be the case.  I think the backlash is coming from NON-fanboy consumers and geeks who advocate open systems.  The fanboys, as usual, have no problems at all with anything Apple has done.  As Macglee says, this doesn’t change his opinion of Apple one iota.  Of course not.  Because nothing Apple could ever do would change a fanboy’s blind loyalty to Apple.  Nothing.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 13, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • Beeblebrox,

    Do we actually agree on this topic?

    James R. Stoup had this to say on Oct 13, 2007 Posts: 122
  • You co-opt a perfectly good word, then make others feel guilty because you are somehow offended by what the rest of us know is a perfectly good use of the word.  Well TOUGH!

    Well historically clearly the word was adapted by the nascent gay movt from the original archaic meaning; lighthearted and carefree; characterized by cheerfulness or pleasure; brightly colored; showy; brilliant, and that the modern pejorative usage ‘co-opts’ the usage meaning homosexual. So I think the gays finding its pejorative use offensive are well within reason to ask for an apology.

    Personally I just think it’s deeply un-classy.

    Beeblebrox, aren’t you basically admitting that Apple fundamentally hasn’t done anything wrong here and yet hating on “mac fanboys” for making the same admission?

    Benji had this to say on Oct 13, 2007 Posts: 927
  • Hey Stoup.

    Here’s a heart felt message you ignorant bigot.


    foofa had this to say on Oct 14, 2007 Posts: 7
  • Is that a pejorative use of the word?

    Benji had this to say on Oct 16, 2007 Posts: 927
  • Page 2 of 3 pages  <  1 2 3 >
You need log in, or register, in order to comment