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!