20 May 2010

Apple – Rotten To The Core ?

I’ve got an iPhone. It’s great. It’s saved me a fortune in newspapers. I got a sat nav application last week for an unbelievable €3.99 and I can wander around all day with Talksport radio blasting into my ears whilst I carry out my daily chores. I can now buy, buy, buy or sell, sell, sell in the bar at lunchtime. It’s probably paid for itself already despite the fact that I’m only 7 months into a two year contract.

But I don’t really like Apple as a company. I don’t like the fact that they refuse to use Flash Player so I can’t play videos on my iPhone. I don’t like their protectionist attitude towards other software and hardware manufacturers. I don’t like their patronizing attitude to the market place. I just don’t like them and I’m struggling with my principles because we must have 5 or 6 iPods in the house along with 2 iTouches and of course my iPhone.

The recent problem about a ‘lost’ iPhone 4G (or whatever they’ll call it) epitomizes the company’s ‘big brother’ attitudes.

A few weeks ago, an Apple software developer dropped or left a prototype iPhone 4G in a bar. It was picked up by a guy (a blogger - Brian Hogan) who realized what it was, despite the fact that the device had been heavily disguised to look like a 3G iPhone, and he offered it to some techie websites. Eventually, he found a buyer (a Mr Chen) in Gizmodo.com who paid him $5,000 to get hold of the hottest new device to be launched this year – and that includes the iPad.

Of course, Gizmodo ran a few articles on the 4G and within nano-seconds, Apple was on the phone demanding its property back which Gizmodo was happy to do – if Steve Jobs, who personally contacted the website, would confirm that it was indeed, a 4G iPhone. He refused, despite the fact that the 4G is due to be announced on June 7th and have already released details of its 4G operating system - and that’s when the trouble started.

Apple contacted the police saying that the device had been stolen which, in turn led to Mr Chen’s house being controversially raided by members of California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team.

Police seized four computers and two servers along with cameras and an iPhone, using a warrant issued by a Superior Court judge on suspicion the property was "used as the means of committing a felony".

The case has raised concerns about the close ties between the technology industry and the little-known task force that was created to fight crimes against technology companies. Apple is a member of the technology crime task force's board but the company said it didn't use its influence to pressure it to investigate, however documents detail a meeting just days before the raid on Chen’s home, between police and Apple executives.

An Apple spokeswoman said: “We reported what we believe was a crime, and the D.A. of San Mateo County is taking it from there.”

No charges have yet been laid in the case but Apple have had such a lot of bad publicity that their June 7th announcement has already been overshadowed by events.

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