The Beeb’s Thompson: EU should look at Apple, they’re ‘just as bad as Microsoft’

“Microsoft was humiliated by the European Union’s Court of First Instance on Monday when it rejected almost all elements of the software giant’s appeal against the 2004 rulings made by the competition commissioner,” Bill Thompson writes for BBC News.

“The court found that Microsoft had abused its monopoly power in pushing an embedded Windows Media Player out with Windows XP and Vista, and that the lack of detailed technical information about the programming interfaces and data formats for Windows Server products was an illegal barrier to competition,” Thompson writes.

“Some of [Microsoft’s] competitors seem to get a very easy ride,” writes Thompson. “The best example of this is Apple…”

Thompson bemoans the fact that unsupported iPhone ringtones have become – gasp! – unsupported with Apple’s new iTunes Store now selling ringtones. Shocking.

Thompson also whines that the latest iPods will not output video through cables or docks that aren’t Apple authorized and claims that Apple “charges a hefty cut” for the privilege. Rather unsurprisingly, Thompson offers no proof about the “heftiness” of Apple’s “Made for iPod” licensing program. In fact, Belkin, one of the leading makers of accessories, said in March 2005 that they were “taking part in the program and strongly supports it as a way to help identify quality products.” The program is designed to keep iPod accessory standards up to Apple’s levels. Apple reportedly takes the 10% of wholesale pricing the program costs “Made for iPod” participants and rolls it right back into iPod advertising, thereby helping the iPod accessory makers. The alternative would be a situation you see all the time on the WIndows platform with crapola peripherals that break, don’t work correctly or at all, etc. (But, hey, at least they’re consistent with the OS experience offered by Microsoft.)

Next Thompson worries that all twelve Linux users with iPods will have to recode their unsupported hacks if they want to use their iPods on Linux boxes. Once again, Thompson blames Apple for not supporting unsupported apps on unsupported operating systems.

Supposedly, these three piffles make Apple “just as bad as Microsoft” in Thompson’s not-too-bright eyes.

Full article, Think Before You Click™, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jon” for the heads up.]

Thompson, a sort of hairier, but at least as dense, UK version of John Dvorak, shows utter lack of perspective. He must be abjectly unfamiliar with the Microsoft case to have dashed off such a piece of twaddle.

Just like Mike Elgan’s recent foolish Computerworld piece, “Apple is the new Microsoft,” Thompson ignores a multitude of facts and history, not to mention copious legal testimony and verdicts. Bottom line: Thompson’s piece is simply a quest for hits from a Microsoft apologist working for The BBC, an outfit that’s plainly in bed with Microsoft.

Let us know when Apple threatens some other company that they’ll need the “knife the baby” in order to continue receiving a critical product or support from Apple, okay, Bill? Even then, they’ll have only scratched the surface of Microsoftian strongarm tactics and illegal monopoly abuse.

The fact is that Microsoft is getting just a tiny bit of what they’ve long deserved. Deal with it. Stop trying to drag Apple into it just because they want to ensure that iPods and iPhones work correctly on supported systems.

There is simply no sane way to equate Microsoft’s illegal monopoly abuse with anything Apple has done or is doing.


  1. Talk about embedding unremovable technologies. About a year and a half ago, just for fun, I called Mafia$oft support to ask how I could remove/uninstall IE on my work PeeCee. The conversation was hilarious with the tech person on the other end incredulous that I wanted to remove IE and use Firefox only. The end result was that you can’t. You can change your default browser but not uninstall IE or else Winblows Explorer becomes unstable. This is exactly what I had thought, but I was bored and needed a good laugh.

    If I don’t like an app on my Mac (even Safari), I drag it to the trash. Winblows users??? Is it that simple in Windoze? Didn’t think so.

  2. Could you imagine if Apple paid bloggers to write against the competition? Or implemented changes of code in the OS just to slow down performance of competing software? Or paid small companies to use only mac products, and threatened other companies not to compete against them?

    That is what Apple would be like if they were like Microsoft.

  3. You know what, I hate Microsuck as much as anyone, but the guy does have some basis to his point here. Apple has proven lately that they can be almost just as ruthless and customer un-friendly as Microsoft can be when it comes to their business practices.

    The only major difference anymore between Microsoft and Apple is that their products at least work well, whereas Microsoft’s have always been utter garbage.

  4. I’ve always liked Apple. But they are starting to act a bit big for their britches. The whole ‘iPod video only goes out through Apple cables’ and ‘if you bought an iPod game and you bought a new iPod, you need to buy it again’ and ‘we’re making a phone and you need to change the rules of the industry for us’ recent instances show a company that is starting to gain a bit too much power. I still like Apple, and yes, if the leading PC company gets to be monopolistic, I’d rather it were Apple than Microsoft (better taste, less megolomaniacal), but Apple is drifting a bit into arrogance territory.

  5. Talk about diverting bad press from Microsoft hey?!

    Apple uses open source whenever it can. It would only use MP3 on iTunes if the recording co’s allowed it.

    BBC Bill Thompson is a moron. He knows nothing of what he writes about. In short just another Microsoft SHILL.

  6. Apple/Microsoft to all things European: If you can make a better operating system, DO IT! If you can conceive of a better online music store and player, MAKE IT! And for the love of Gawd, please stop grousing and peeing your pants about things you can’t make for yourselves.

  7. @Cubert
    I ran into the same issue. In testing websites I needed to install IE 6 back onto a recent install of Window XP which came with IE7. Can you install IE6 and 7 together? No, you have uninstall IE7 first, but IE 7 doesn’t really uninstall. Really weird. I was able eventually install IE 6 to do my testing (web stats show that a full 80% of visitors to this industrial products web site still use IE 6!). Now everytime Windows Update runs it wants to reinstall IE 7. I let that happen once thinking that it would give me both browsers to use, but it killed my IE 6 install. Maddening.

  8. Great job, Bill Thompson and BBC News for exposing the TRUTH! Once you go Apple you are locked into their hellish proprietary, no-choice world. I can’t believe the EU just stands by while Apple destroys free choice and capitalism across the continent. Furthermore, shame on the EU for bullying Microsoft, the only technology company with the courage to innovate and deliver solutions based on industry standards like .WMV, .DOC and other magnificent creations from Redmond.

    Your potential. Our passion.™

  9. Tergenev & Macromancer – you guys are right.

    I too believe Apple is acting up a bit lately, but at least their products are great. Why is it so many people don’t see their bad attitude?

    The question is – are these recent events a sign of things to come or mere slip ups in marketing from people simply being too busy?

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