Two Different Apples (of the past and present)

Normally Microsoft is on my radar but lately I've been seeing events regarding Apple and some of them bug me. Two very recent stories came out:Apple caught in a price fixing scheme for e-booksApple threatens to sue bankrupt KodakThese moves are very Microsoft-like.
Written by Chris Clay Clay, Contributor

Normally Microsoft is on my radar but lately I've been seeing events regarding Apple and some of them bug me. Two very recent stories came out:

Apple caught in a price fixing scheme for e-books

Apple threatens to sue bankrupt Kodak

These moves are very Microsoft-like. They bug me. Does Apple feel that it needs to start crushing and/or undermining the competition now? They are gaining market share in many areas from desktop to mobile computing, which I think is a good thing. I would love for Apple to pull more market share away from Microsoft to even out the playing field. I do like Apple's products despite their high price tags, but as a company some of their moves are not so easy to digest. The two examples above are just a couple. There have been other patent infringement suits filed by Apple against other companies and other tactics that I do not agree with.

Many years ago (even before I was solely a Windows user), I was a true Apple fan, both of the company and its products. This was back when the Apple II line of computers was common. We were fortunate enough to have an Apple IIGS in our home, which we all loved. I remember hooking it up for the first time and we all sat around to run the "Tour of the Apple IIGS" disk. It was a lot of fun and at that moment, I was hooked on Apple. At school we had several Apple IIe computers which provided hours of education and fun. We enjoyed our IIGs through the years. It was an excellently designed machine, offering both backwards compatibility with the Apple II software yet running IIGS specific software all on the same machine. Aside from its state of the art graphics and sound capabilities, it had expansion slots, offering extreme flexibility and 100% hardware compatibility with the Apple II line as well. Even today, devices can be used with a IIGS, such as ethernet capability, flash media, and various SCSI devices. I was an Apple fan, until Apple abruptly ended support for the IIGS in the early 1990s. I was fairly discouraged because we had invested years and a lot of money on software that was now worthless for future computers. Eventually, technology creeped ahead of the IIGS leaving it behind in the dust. At the time, Apple didn't try to keep the IIGS active at all. Only afterward did 3rd parties develop modern hardware for the IIGS that expanded and caught up its capabilities. Apple started pushing the Macintosh line and the Apple II line was thrown from the train. Looking back now I understand the two are completely different architectures, but some sort of backwards compatibility should have been worked out for Apple II customers so that they would not have to throw out old software and re-buy it for a new PC. I'm sure Apple could have engineered an add-in card (or emulation) for the Macintosh to run Apple II software, but they did not. Nope, Apple turned the other way and completely forgot about the Apple II line. At that point, I had a fairly sour taste in my mouth (a sour Apple if you will), and Windows was becoming popular so I made the switch to Microsoft for many years thereafter. I knew that the x86 line of PCs was hot and that old software would run for many years to come. Even today, you can still run some DOS software and some old Windows titles on modern versions of Windows, and there is also Compatibility Mode which doesn't always work but at least Microsoft made an attempt at providing backwards compatibility.

The Apple of today is different, but I do know of those that are forever devoted to Apple and its products. That's fine, but for me I am not going to purchase products from a company that is a bully on the market, despite the fact that Apple still releases innovative products as it has in the past. I will probably always use GNU/Linux due to this reason and more. Not only because GNU/Linux is open and free, but it's still fun to use. You can crack it open and take a look if you are curious, where Windows and Mac OS X are still sealed shut. Back in the day of the Apple II line, GNU/Linux did not exist and open source was just being thought about by Mr. Stallman himself. So, proprietary products were the way of the times, which back then I was OK with as that was the only option available and I didn't know better.

Even today with Mac OS X, products will work fine with some versions but when upgrading the operating system some products still break and customers are left with re-buying software to make it work on the newer operating system. GNU/Linux is much better at providing backwards compatibility, not only because software is updated for the Linux kernel as it is developed with each new version of the kernel, but also because old libraries for legacy applications are usually kept around for just that purpose, to run older software.

I am curious to see where Apple heads. I have a feeling they will continue their antics if not increase them to stay competitive. It seems that Apple, Microsoft and others are much too focused on undermining the competition, rather than just focusing on releasing better products on the market to beat the competition by winning customers like they used to. I give much credit to Apple for their market shaking products like iPhone and iPad, but it would be nice if Apple continued down that path without getting sidetracked with lawsuits.

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