Apple: Will corporate miscues bruise its image?

Apple: Will corporate miscues bruise its image?

Summary: Apple may have an iPhone coming, record financial results and Wall Street's good graces, but its corporate flubs of late make the company look arrogant. At some point--and we're not there yet--the Teflon may actually come off that Apple logo.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Apple may have an iPhone coming, record financial results and Wall Street's good graces, but its corporate flubs of late make the company look arrogant. At some point--and we're not there yet--the Teflon may actually come off that Apple logo.

Until now, Apple has been a darling. The story is great. CEO Steve Jobs comes back to Apple, unleashes the iPod and the rest is history. Apple fans love the company and its products. They also treat Jobs like a rock star.

However, since Macworld earlier this month a series of corporate events have unfolded that make Apple look downright arrogant. At the least, Apple could risk alienating its customers--arguably the reason the company is so successful.

To wit, Apple...

--Institutes a Wi-Fi tax by charging $1.99 for a download that enables 802.11n technology. This technology is currently present in almost all MacBooks and MacBook Pros with Intel's Core 2 Duo processor. The kicker: Apple is blaming accounting rules for charging for the Wi-Fi software. At last check, generally accepted accounting practices didn't tell companies how to run their businesses.

--Charges for Boot Camp. MacScoop reports that Apple will charge current users of Mac OS X Tiger for the final version of Boot Camp that will be released at the same time as Mac OS X Leopard, this spring. Now this report may not turn out to be true, but it certainly doesn't foster oodles of goodwill on the heels of its Wi-Fi tax.

--Preannounces products. Apple has preannounced two key products--the iPhone and Apple TV--before the products were ready. This move traditionally has been a Microsoft staple used to freeze the market and control it. Without reading too much into preannouncing products, Apple's latest moves are curious.

--Potentially tramples a trademark. While Cisco's iPhone trademark may be "silly," Apple clearly forged ahead sans any agreement with the networking giant. Apple's legal ground can be debated, but on the surface it appears Jobs would rather forge ahead trademark questions be damned.

--Bullies bloggers. Apple sent out a cease and desist letter to a blogger who merely reported that someone created a skin for Windows Mobile phones that looks like the iPhone user interface.

--Deals with an options backdating issue. Apple has cleared its name in an internal investigation, but the Securities and Exchange Commission will ultimately decide.

--Locks its APIs. Apple is stingy with its APIs and that means developers can't create plug-ins for new products like the iPhone.

--Tries to make iTunes the dominant way to get video and audio. iTunes to Apple is what Windows is to Microsoft. And like Microsoft Apple is being sued for dominating digital music. Apple is undeterred. For instance, Apple TV proclaims that if it's on iTunes it's on your TV. In other words, any non-iTunes content won't make the cut. Meanwhile, Apple uses DRM to handcuff your digital library to its platform.

Perhaps these practices are just capitalism at work. Perhaps we shouldn't hold Apple to higher standards. Perhaps none of this matters to Apple fans. But take the remove "Apple" from this post and replace it with any other company. Then tell me your opinion. What if Microsoft had these flubs in the span of 3 weeks? 

[poll id=45] 

Topic: Apple

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  • Excellent blog

    [i]Perhaps none of this matters to Apple fans.[/i]

    If you want proof of this, check out [url=http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=230] Adrian's Poll [/url] which shows that 24% of Apple zealots think that Apple should charge them [b]more[/b] for things that used to be free and have always been free in the Windows world.

    [i]What if Microsoft had these flubs in the span of 3 weeks?[/i]

    The double standard of Apple zealots is astounding. They rail against future DRM in Vista while Apple is the #1 seller of DRM infested content and puts a DRM chip in every single Mac sold.
    http://www.masternewmedia.org/news/2006/04/05/mac_security_the_evil_drm.htm
    They make fun of Windows blue screens when it is actually the Mac that blue screens.
    http://www.macfixit.com/article.php?story=20070119110611622

    Nice blog. Watch it get "the big thumbs down" from all the Apple zealots.

    PS You have a slight typo in the 3rd last sentence of the blog.
    NonZealot
    • Some things I actually agree with...

      "If you want proof of this, check out Adrian's Poll which shows that 24% of Apple zealots think that Apple should charge them more for things that used to be free and have always been free in the Windows world."

      With some exceptions of course... I don't agree with a 2 dollar WiFi charge. It should of stayed hidden in the cost (like MS does with all it's great features).

      About charging for Bootcamp.. It's their prerogative.. It's only recently that Microsoft made Virtual Machine 2004 free, and even then it doesn't have the same support as the new one. So really.. Are you really getting something good for free?

      Charging for updates? You don't have to get every single update and their "updates" usually include more than Windows service packs. This from someone who doesn't own a Mac and love Windows O/S. :P

      "The double standard of Apple zealots is astounding. They rail against future DRM in Vista while Apple is the #1 seller of DRM infested content and puts a DRM chip in every single Mac sold."

      What's astounding is the double standard and hypocrisy that spews out of you. Personally... Anything DRM sucks plain and simple, but if we want new technologies (both software and hardware) there are some things we'll inevitably have to live with. Otherwise like yourself.. You'll be stuck on Windows XP for the rest of your life. Even then hopefully you aren't using WMP because it's all DRM enabled now (I believe the new one is forced.. I'm not sure. But I use iTunes now so I'm not entirely sure).

      "They make fun of Windows blue screens when it is actually the Mac that blue screens."

      It used to be a long running joke, but they are far and few between nowadays.. Instead they have been replaced with Dialog Boxes.
      ju1ce
      • Actually....

        ...Windows BSoD has been replaced by a reboot that is often unseen by users. There is a default setting on Win XP that simply reboots the system when a Fatal system error happens. As a Windows IT guy and MCSE for over a dozen years, I've never actually seen a BSoD that was actually Microsoft's fault (it's always a hardware failure, software bug or driver issue), but MS has always taken the blame for them. Still, an blatant attempt to mask any BSoD via a default setting is a cheap trick at the least. You can easily turn the setting off if you know how.
        DCMann
      • Wow- I am horrified! What terrible stuff- I must

        dump apple right now and rush straight to M$ and IBM suffy thingies.

        I cant believe it, can you imagine having to pay $2 bucks for something! bugggeeeerrrr, that is simply outrageous, and woe the expense, those apple products are just sooooo expensive!

        hehe no cash registers ringing here for your mates buddy.
        crap article.
        hirez
    • You have zero proof of ....

      That the below are apple customers, you and your cronies probably
      Voted to have Apple charge for boot camp !!!
      if you want proof of this, check out Adrian's Poll which shows that 24% of Apple zealots think that Apple should charge them more for things that used to be free and have always been free in the Windows world.
      mrlinux
    • Nonsense

      I guess the Mac, and Jobs, really has you guys with the dopey operating system
      concerned, because we've been noticing, us apple bigots, a much higher ratio of
      pesky complaints and attempts to make mountains out of molehills even than
      usual. Guess it's a sign of insecurity from the zealots who love the crappy OS. This
      is the usual Dvorak technique: collect a whole bunch of things that insult Mac
      users, float preposterous stories, and then sit back. When people complain,
      they're being "bigots." Sort of like the Obama smears. When CNN showed they
      aren't true, I can hear the Hannity responses: Oh, touchy. Obama supporters must
      be touchy, no?

      You can have the $499 operating system.

      Oh, and by the way, I wish I had a Core 2, because then I could have 802.11n for
      $1.99. You got Windows machines that offer that?
      Swift48
      • 499?

        As compared to what? (and it's nice of you to quote full retail when windows users won't be paying that....that's what you Apple zealots have to pay when you inevitably load Vista. ha<br><br>
        Since a Mac is a long term investment, let's just go five years and compare costs,ok? <br><br>
        Mac User: 6 X 130 = 780.00 total OS cost<br>
        Windows user: Vista installed 299.00 X 1 = 299.00<br><br>
        wow, suddenly the Mac becomes <b>480.00 </b><br><br>

        sucker. ;)
        xuniL_z
        • That's for Vista Ultimate too...

          ...The other versions - Home, Home Premium, and the 3 business versions are a LOT cheaper.
          Wolfie2K3
          • The best part is....

            You don't have to buy every single upgrade. :P

            Most people wouldn't. You'd be stupid too...
            ju1ce
          • No...the BEST part is the lie about 6 upgrades.

            Only 4 have been sold. And you get 1 with the machine. So that's 129.99 x 3. Oh, and you can also buy OSX from Amazon.com for only 100 bucks each.

            Windows Only lovers just can't stand to publish the truth. They always have to stretch it so Microsoft looks better.
            nomorems
          • So true...

            xuniL_z has been called out before on that uninformed "exaggeration".

            >>> Windows Only lovers just can't stand to publish the truth. [b]They always have to stretch it so Microsoft looks better.[/b] >>>

            With "it" being so "micro" and "soft", even Viagra can't help them, thus the lies, hoping for... praying for the Pinocchio-effect to kick in :-)
            MacCanuck
          • Your math is wrong

            I think O$ X that comes on an Apple, cause you have no choice, is figured into the cost of the package(well, that much I know so it is $$$ X 4 ) but the "full" version price that comes with is 599.00. Why do you think a Mac costs so darn much?? On top of that, there is very little you can do in the real world so, yes, YOU will have to pay full price for Vista. Most of us don't.
            xuniL_z
          • Ummm.....Microsoft only loser!

            NO ONE wants Vista. So there!

            Butt wipe!
            nomorems
          • and yet 90% of the market belongs to MS

            and Vista has sold, so the facts say you are incorrect.

            now put down the glass, the kool-aid is interfering with your judgement.
            Badgered
          • ?

            What about double secret ultimate? There pricing structure is a joke.
            SquishyParts
        • Let's redo those calculations...

          Where are you getting 6? Let's go by my G4s and G5s in my house, 3 computers total. I'll even give you that all started at 10.3, which isn't true, at least one started at 10.4

          3 X 199 = 597

          And for Vista, 3 computers (not upgrades, since I currently don't have any computers with something eligible for MS upgrades)

          3 X 399 = 1197, or using their license pack, 399 + 2 x 50 = 499, which doesn't even get me the full Vista for the 3
          rpmyers1
        • Fuzzy Math

          Who says that I had to buy any of those upgrades? If you don't want the upgrade,
          don't buy it simple. Abode upgrades every 18 months...they are also crooks, right?
          this is such a childish argument. I don't buy every upgrade from Adobe...what's
          different here? Did you see what MS is charging for their "Family Pack"
          I guess Vista will install itself on computers that do not have it pre-installed...talk
          about delusional.
          SquishyParts
          • How can you resist?

            The key word here is you don't "have" to upgrade. But most Mac users do.
            <br>
            as for fuzzy math, 1.3 Billion in vista receivables already. That means coupons. The VAST majority of users have already either paid the deeply discounted price, or will be buying an upgrade. You apparently think it's fair to set Vista's price at a user with non-windows machine who wants the Ultimate version. That is the exception, much like someone buying the 3K Mac just before an update....they spend about 1200.00 more than somebody upgrading to Vista home on a 1200 Toshiba. I'm not inclined to think the Mac user is ahead in any sense. My 5 year old toshiba has not failed in anyway and is a great machine. I suppose I'm just one a very few eh? I realize you wish that were true.
            There is no advantage to spending up to 1588 more (conservatively) for a PC yor will most likely need to load windows om anyway. Man, get your head out of Steve Job$ butt for awhile and breathe in reality, Ace.
            xuniL_z
        • Different view of the math

          There are 5 Macs in my family and we qualify for the
          educational discount - $150 for the Family pack, making
          it $30 per Mac, plus sales tax. That is for the full OS X -
          not a stripped down version. How will Vista compare to
          those prices?

          The only reason to take a long term view is that MS takes
          a long time between major updates.
          Ken_z
    • Boy , you really are a hothouse flower.

      Such a pathetic list of non-issues has you this riled? Charging tuppence for updates, pre announcing products? Sending an Email to a blogger, trying to make iTunes the dominant way to get media? Reclaiming the "i" moniker from an obvious squatter, who let everyone else produce a device called iPhone until Apple came along...

      However, I noticed the meat of your comment had little to do with the charges against Apple, and just descended into your daily predictable list of insults you hurl at Apple users.
      I guess even you realize there is little to complain about.
      Tigertank