I stopped reading Robert Scoble's blog a long time ago but I couldn't help but notice that he caused a bit of a stir over the past few days by posting a couple of Apple-related rants.
The first post, published sometime Friday, details some issues he's been having with his MacBook after installing Apple's latest update.
I just loaded the latest Apple Macintosh updates.
Now my machine won’t boot. Well, that’s not really true. When I power it up the Apple comes on. Then the screen gets dark and a little message comes up:
“You need to restart your computer. Hold down the Power button for several seconds or press the Restart button.”
So I restart. And get the same message. I do it five times just to make sure.
And so, now I’m back on my Windows machine.
But then his post simply descends into what comes across as a crazed rant against Apple:
Screw you Apple and your ads saying you’re better than Microsoft. Screw you. Screw you. Screw you.
Screw you and your controlling PR machine.
Yesterday, Scoble posted a more restrained post that's actually quite interesting:
So, last night I was out to dinner with a bunch of smart people. Folks who run their own companies. Folks who have helped many companies get started. Tech companies.
Of course people started talking about my Apple problems. Everyone at the table is a Macintosh user. What was fun is that at one point people started telling me about the problems they have had with their Macs. Many with far more serious problems than I have had.
I tried to turn on my video camera. They all instantly shut up and said “no video.”
I dug a little more. It was because they all blamed themselves for the problems of their Macs and I think they also bought into the “Apple cult” which says that if you use a Mac you must be cool. Heck, look at that ad again. Who is cool? Not the PC user.
Now THAT is “brand promise.”
We believe Apple’s marketing so deeply that we aren’t willing to question it.
But the post then descends into paranoia:
And then there’s something else. Apple has an ARMY of people who are anonymous who will come and call you every name in the book. I know. They hit yesterday here. I deleted them all, but, dozens, if not hundreds, of comments calling me every name in the book.
OK, I assume that Scoble's been around a lot of technology in his time, and knowing what I know about technology, I'm assuming that some of that technology has proved to be unreliable. Given this, why the huge explosive rant? What I'm guessing is that the problem here has more to do with the fact that Scoble bought into and believed the Apple advertising that he's come across and is no feeling disappointed that the product doesn't live up to the hype. This quote shows just how much Scoble's fallen for Apple:
Over the past year I’ve spent more than $10,000 on Apple products of MY OWN MONEY and if you include the machines I’ve bought for PodTech, I’ve spent more than $20,000. Not to mention my son and I spent two days in line waiting for our iPhones.
When you get to the point where you're happy to spend two days waiting in line for something that isn't vital to your survival, disappointment can't be far.
Well, I'm afraid I have bad news for Scoble and anyone else that believes marketing hype - it's a distorted reality where nothing is as it appears. Anyone who really believes those Apple ads about a Mac being so much better than and superior to a PC just because two actors on a screen tell you that they are is a fool. Technology is technology. Most of the time it works and it's invisible, but when it doesn't it's very in your face and a major pain in the rear because it interrupts us when we're trying to get something done.
Also, let's clear up something else. People do complain about Apple products. Just take a look through the support forums and you'll come across thousands of people all stamping their feet because their product isn't living up to the illusion that they've created in their heads. Sure, that illusion is backed up by advertising, but that's an illusion too.
Finally, I feel I should clear up another point that Scoble makes:
The point isn’t that I want free (er loaned) hardware. It’s that Apple uses that free hardware to MANUFACTURE the “myth” of Apple as being great, and good, and “cool.” Also, if these guys want to get more free or loaner Apple hardware before the rest of us they need to make sure not to point out too many flaws in it. Yeah, they can point out a few, but they know they got picked because they generally write pro-Apple stuff. It’s a reason why I don’t want free stuff and why I waited in line to be among the first in the Valley to have my own iPhone.
I've had stuff sent to me by Apple (on loan) and at no point have I ever felt that review products would dry up if I wrote something negative about any product. Same is true of almost every other company I've dealt with. The truth is that a story about a PR company hired by a big form putting the squeeze on a journalist would make a much better story than a review of a new product. This is the kind of mistake that a cocky startup would try to make, not a large established company.
And finally, about those Apple fans:
If you dare complain about the brand promise you’ll get pounced on by hoardes of annonymous astroturfing Apple FanBois.
You know, I've been in this position many times, but so what. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, and even though I don't agree with everyone, I defend everyone's right to have their say ... no matter how crazy or ill-informed it is.
Remember, no matter what the brand or the logo, entropy rules and things prefer to be in an broken state.