Apple's feeling pretty good about itself lately and why shouldn't it? It sold a million iPads in the first month. That means iPad sales reached a million units twice as fast as the original iPhone. The revenue spigot remains wide open and I'm sure investors are happy, but Apple has shown a few signs lately it may be getting a little too big for its britches.
Consider these recent news stories:Just last week, it announced it was shuttering the Lala music service just months after purchasing it.
Steve Jobs got even crankier about Flash posting a public letter on the Apple web site, which prompted some observers to wonder if it was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Apple recently prevented developers from using any third party development tools to develop iPad and iPhone apps, which has anti-trust regulators sniffing around.
It got me thinking that Jobs and company are beginning to resemble the 1990s Microsoft throwing around its considerable weight and generally pissing people (and governments) off. Maybe it's time to take Apple down a notch.
First, There was Lala
Lala was an interesting experiment that started to make some headway when Google began including Lala in music search results. If copyright allowed, you could play a whole song one time. After that, you got a 30 second snippet. Lala technology could have given Apple the ability to create a subscription service for iTunes, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Instead, we have another case of a predatory corporation buying and then killing off a good service.
Oh That Flash Thing Again
Steve Jobs can't leave Flash alone. Just last week he published a now-famous memo outlining six reasons he hates Flash. It's especially laughable when you consider that some, such as Ben Michael Ward , have called Jobs on his claim that Flash replacement, the H.264 video codec is in any way open. Ward writes:
"The H.264 video codec is not open. It is patent encumbered, and there is a financial obstacle to license those patents."
Jobs wants us to believe his approach is the best, but it's not clear that it's any better or just a case of 'meet the new boss, same as the old one.'Federal Government Meet Mr. Jobs
Meanwhile, the federal government is taking an interest in Apple after the company refused to allow developers to use third-party development tools. In a NY Post article , Josh Kosman explains:
According to a person familiar with the matter, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are locked in negotiations over which of the watchdogs will begin an antitrust inquiry into Apple's new policy of requiring software developers who devise applications for devices such as the iPhone and iPad to use only Apple's programming tools.
As Apple sales increase, so does its desire to control the process as much as it possibly can. I have made no secret how much I like Apple products and the iPad is no exception (as I wrote in my DaniWeb review ), but Apple's arrogance seems to grow with its sales and it may be time to cut them down to size.
1. Lala's owners realized that their business was going to FAIL. They contacted Apple and got Apple to buy their engineers and their company. Their business had to close anyway since the license to streaming music DOES NOT TRANSFER TO APPLE. Thus it isn't Apple's fault that Lala is closing. Lala would have closed anyway without Apple's intervention. And Apple doesn't have a license to stream the music.
2. Steve Job's letter about Flash was NOT in anger. It was calm, collected, and well written. And it made a lot of sense. Flash is dead. Move on.
3. Apple has very bright people and extremely good lawyers that are well-paid out of Apple's 40 Billion Dollar Cash Pile. Any antitrust allegation is just BALONEY. Move on.
Apple deserves to be on the top of the mountain. It worked really hard to get there. There have been so many death notice stories about Apple a decade ago. It fully deserves all the accolades it gets. It deserves them.
Apple is well poised to stay on the mountain top for a very very long time. Consumers vote with their pocketbooks. And in hard recession times, they voted for Apple. Even the poor bought Apple. Period.
If you want Flash, go get it on Android. Enjoy it there. No one is forcing you to buy Apple.
I own an iPad and an iPhone, but as a developer I oppose Apples edict that I can only develop using thier tools. Not even Apples "evil" competitor Microsoft forces me to use thier tools, I do by choice not by edict...
I agree, cperez57. This is a short-sighted and unnecessary approach to development and it's all about command and control of the devices. This move in particular could come back to bite Apple (pun intended).
"3. Apple has very bright people and extremely good lawyers that are well-paid out of Apple's 40 Billion Dollar Cash Pile. Any antitrust allegation is just BALONEY. Move on."
That doesn't seem to be what the Department of Justice or the FTC think. Why would I give your opinion more weight than either of those organizations? I also don't think this is a "who has more money" contest because I doubt either of those organizations are hurting for money. What does how good Apple's lawyers are have to do with whether or not an anti-trust allegation is well founded? (Nothing)
Exactly right. Good lawyers and piles of cash will help you snuff out a less well financed rival, but won't help in the case of a government investigation. If Apple is in violation of the anti-trust laws, chances are their money won't help them. It didn't help Microsoft in the 90s, did it?
You're totally wrong. I don't hate Apple at all. I'm writing this on a Mac Book Pro. Read my review of the iPad in this space. If you read my body of work, you would know I'm actually an Apple fan, but just because I think they make good stuff, doesn't mean they they always act in a responsible way as an organization. It's my job to point out when they don't.
Thanks for your comment, but please try to keep it civil.