Hostile to customers and in thrall to China, Apple doesn’t deserve a pass

Apple Fifth Avenue
Apple Fifth Avenue

Writing for Slate, Cory Doctorow sounds as if he should renounce electronic gadgets, hook up a horse or two to his buggy, and roll slowly into the wilderness to live off the land, free forevermore.

The techlash has arrived, and I am here for it. While the Big Tech companies have truly earned their reputations as bullies, tax cheats, bad employers, and havens for men credibly accused of sexual harassment and abuse, many of my compatriots in the pitchfork-and-torch crowd are curiously forgiving of one of the most egregious offenders: Apple, purveyor of beautiful crystal prisons…

There’s a touchstone of the techlash: “If you’re not paying for the product, you’re the product.” But the reality is that monopolists are endlessly inventing ways of extracting rents from their customers and suppliers. In fact, the saying works even outside the free-for-data model of Facebook and Google. When it comes to Apple, even if you’re paying for the product, you’re still the product: sold to app programmers as a captive market, or gouged on parts and service by official Apple depots.

None of this is to let Google, Facebook, Oracle, or Microsoft off the hook. These companies are all monopolists that have spent the young century engaged in abusive and anti-competitive conduct… Google isn’t your friend, and neither is Facebook, nor Twitter, nor Airbnb. And neither is Apple.

MacDailyNews Take: Charming. Doctorow has pecked out a goofy essay. It’s perfect for Slate.

Now, excuse us while we blaspheme: No company is perfect, not even Apple.

That said, Apple, for all of its hypocritical failings (politically-not-legally-motivated app banning in Hong Kong) and sporadic sanctimonious claptrap (squirt gun emojis) is leagues better than Facebook, Google, etc. Tim Cook is miles above the likes of soulless Mark Zuckerberg. The Apple ecosystem is a different universe entirely. Yes, Apple can improve in myriad ways, but if this is a “crystal prison,” lock us up and throw away the key!


    1. By “good” you mean, agreeable to you…it appears.

      Great deduction method, if so. With a few solid votes for your comment, it appears others revel is echo-chambers as well. Unfortunately, I think our culture is increasingly gravitating to their own echo.

        1. Assumption…MDN had a wild Holiday and decided to leave their 2019 senselessness behind and reader noticed.
          Implication: MDN has been irrational, or unreasonable before now. MDN is now “good again.” How does that sound?

          Let’s just say a news site’s noticeable paradigm shift is at least unusual…if true. In addition, to make such a conclusion when we’re 15 days into the year means the shift was profound, or the reader was quite prescient.

          And yes, warming oneself by an echo chamber is worthy of criticism because it’s almost guaranteed the consumer of the echo is sacrificing truth for the comfort of the echo. If that isn’t worth a call-out, I’ll guess you like bathing in echos yourself.

          Hmm, questioning a statement is smearing? Taking it a little personally, maybe…or just not fitting to your echo?

  1. Apples consistently ignores Australian legislated statutory warranty laws and offshores profits to avoid paying tax in this country. They deceive customers about devices not being repairable when in fact they are in an effort to sell products to the unwary and foolishly trusting. I have experienced this with my 2015 MacBook with a faulty USBC charge port. They told me the port was part of the mainboard when in fact it’s a separate component easily replaced. A quote from Apple for a “replacement logic board” was almost $1000. Another repair shop did the job for $150. They told me a lot of their customers are people who were given similar deceptive repair quotes by Apple.
    So yes, I have a problem with they anti-consumer greed.

    1. Blah, blah, blah.

      I owned MacBook Pro that ran flawlessly for 10 years with $200 additional cost of ownership (SSD and RAM upgrades at 6 years in). I then sold it ~33% if it’s initial sell price.

      I replaced it last year with a decked out used 2014 Retina MacBook Pro that cost me a net of $500 in like new condition. That machine is running flawlessly and I expect to keep it for at least 5 years.

      What other consumer electronics company can boast such long term value?

        1. Ok, then would you please take a few moments of your time to give an example of what you would consider “real” virtue.

          Are you saying that to have compassion is not virtuous?

          Are you saying that to care about the homeless, for example, is just a fashion?

          Is compassion for others bad in your view?

          When is compassion a good thing in your view?

          My sense is that Trump has demonstrated no compassion toward anyone…ever.

          What virtues do you think he has?

          I want you to explain why compassion is a fake virtue.

          Thanks for your time.

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