I want to admire Apple. I want to like them. In the last year I've bought - with my own money - three of its computers and two iPods, and enjoy them greatly.
But its business practices do not stand up to scrutiny, and when it comes to music downloads it is just as bad as Microsoft on servers, putting its time and energy into creating barriers to competition instead of letting its developers and designers concentrate on doing great stuff.
If Apple was serious about building a music industry around downloads and digital devices then it would open up its devices and interfaces to allow greater innovation and greater competition.
It would have faith in its own products to compete in this larger ecosystem instead of trying to lock everyone in with tactics that resemble those of IBM in the days of the mainframe.
I wrote a presentation this morning using Microsoft's PowerPoint, but displayed it using Apple's Keynote. Apple can sell Keynote because it took PowerPoint apart and figured out how the files work.
Had Apple been unable to do so, or found that every time it figured out what was happening Microsoft changed the format, it would have complained loudly.
Yet this is exactly the technique it is using against third party jukeboxes. And it is time it stopped.
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