Apple, more “evil” than Microsoft?

A tad emotive title so I will quickly admit the following :-
– I have been a Windows user.
– I have used OS X intermittently, mostly when trying to get the Macbook for a friend.
– I have experienced “Apple support” when helping a friend who has a Macbook
– I now primarily use Linux and BSD software.
– I am not a Microsoft apologist, most people who meet me think I hate Microsoft, I don’t, I do not agree with their business practices and I think that most of their products are useless.
– I have used MacOS beyond a home user level.
– I have used OS X from a techy level.
– I just want to get stuff done with as little fuss as possible.

There we go, you know a little about me 🙂

This is something I have been wrestling with for a while now, if you go over to typical geek sites like Slashdot or OS News frequently you get idiotic statements like “I hate Microsoft so I use OS X” or “If you hate Microsoft buy a Mac”.

Why do I think these statements are idiotic? well basically because when you actually look at it the only difference between Apple and Microsoft is market share.

Apple insist that you only run OS X on Apple hardware, Microsoft insist that you only run Windows applications on Windows, see it is a tie. Microsoft bundle IE7 and set it as a standard with Windows, Apple does the same with Safari, admittedly most Linux distros do this with Firefox. The reason most people attack Microsoft here is purely historical, if I did a default install of a modern operating system arrived now without a web browser then I would be annoyed. There is the argument that IE is forced upon you for certain tasks in Windows (Windows update for example) and it cannot be removed but I would appreciate it if someone could confirm if the same applies to OS X.

Then the DRM issues, now if I wanted to be emotive then I would say that the latest version of Vista in this aspect amounts to theft. The amount of processing power wasted and features disabled because of DRM on Vista in my eyes amounts to theft, you have taken my computer and made it work for industry groups in America and not me. My toaster does not tell me I can only use Hovis bread in it, I bought the bread, I bought the toaster, both are mine, make me toast damnit! 🙂 Apple are no better, they constantly push their own formats complete with DRM payloads for iTunes and iPods and for the OS itself. Apple are one of the biggest DRM pushers out there.

Abuses of monopoly, again both guilty, Microsoft for virtually every anti-trust issue known to legal systems worldwide, now Apple don’t have the market share to do this to the same extent so they frequently turn on the people who actually buy their products. DCMA takedown notices issued to Mac news sites, new products like the iPhone (possibly the most overhyped thing since the segway) is a closed shop, you can’t develop for it unless Apple say you can. You want something, you buy it from Apple. Apple is also not squeaky clean on the financial front either, they have done their own dodgy dealings like the whole issue of backdated share options, it is just they have a better PR spinner for the legal team 😉

Marketing, marketing, marketing, that is what it boils down to, I do believe that Apple would be far more “evil” than Microsoft if they had the market share to do it with, they seem to prove it with what they do to their customers. I am equally sure that Microsoft would be far more “evil” if everyone wasn’t watching them like a hawk.

Realistically the key difference between the two is that you have to buy your hardware from Apple if you want to run OS X and you buy your hardware from any number of companies if you are running Windows.

Oh the linux thing, I almost forgot to put the boot in… Stop trying to put Linux on Apple kit. It is not helping, you are not motivating Apple to release hardware specifications you are just giving them more money, this also applies to efforts to “free” the Microsoft Zune, if people want to support open standards then buy products that actually support them! Don’t by a Zune, don’t buy an iPod, buy something that will work with everything. Don’t buy an iPhone, get a Neo from FIC, work with the people that believe in the same beliefs as you. Support hardware from people that want to support you, besides reverse engineering is a pain in the arse and can always have hidden bugs. This does not stop at phones, you want a PVR? Get a Neuros device it is everything the Apple TV box is and more and they want you to work with them, they will give you everything you need if you are a developer and if you are a consumer they listen to what you want, this is (also it is in a nice box so don’t tell me it is the aesthetics either…)

These companies are businesses, they have to make a profit, this profit comes from you. Spend wisely 🙂

I am sure I will get flamed for this…