Apple: Shiny Happy People or Big Brother?

 

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As a poker player who owns two Apple computers, I’m always on the lookout for the latest products for my iMac and MacBook Pro.  Not being alone in my passion, MacPoker.com has seen tremendous growth in the last few months and the Mac-related posts on online poker forums continue to be on the rise.  Software like Poker Copilot 2 and the upcoming PokerTracker 3 are putting Mac OS X users on equal footing with poker players on PCs.  There’s even more productivity software on the way, including AutoHotKey tools that are designed for the Mac.

Note that the views expressed in this article reflect those of the author and not of MacPoker.com.

The days of Apple being synonymous with a friendly corporate image might be over.  The company’s growth has unraveled several controversies that Apple will have to work hard to overcome.  Historically, Apple has created solutions to make the user experience better and offer the public a step forward with technology.  With the recent rejection of Google Voice from the iTunes Store, it’s evident that Apple is simply looking out for its own best interests.

Google Voice is an internet-based service that allows free communication on one phone number that can be shared anywhere you have a connection.  Applications like Google Voice (Apple has removed others similar to it recently) would, in theory, allow a user to get around the iPhone phone and use Google Voice instead.  Consumers are not the only ones taking note of Apple’s recent “me-first” attitude when it comes to applications.  The move prompted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to start an inquiry into Apple’s policies and caused the resignation of one of the members of the company’s Board of Directors.

For the PR-friendly attitude the company exudes, Apple has yet to release an official reason as to why Google Voice was rejected from the iTunes Store.  The fact that it was squashed so quickly and without comment signals a new shift in Apple’s image.

We have written stories about rejected software from the iTunes Store.  Not only is Apple looking out for its own interests, but also it’s now acting as public censor.  There are reports that Apple even rejected a medical application because it included drawings of nude bodies.  Since when did Apple turn into Big Brother looking out for my best interests and censor what I can do with my phone?

It’s hard to condemn Apple completely because the company has opened up the market.  They’ve brilliantly designed the iTunes Store and have made mobile software applications commonplace with consumers.  Before the iPhone, getting a custom application was more voodoo than exact science.

The problem that a lot of people have is the monopolistic power that Apple wields over its own devices.  Some say that it’s their hardware and software and they can allow whatever they want.  Others say that Apple has overstepped its boundaries in a free market.

The vague iTunes Store application acceptance policy is one of the alarming problems with Apple.  Who is making these decisions and why will they not open up their own system to a free market?  The answer is simple: money.  Fear of getting sued over an application dictates the bizarre and inconsistent application procedure.  Fear of losing revenue on music and videos to a cheaper provider dictates Apple’s stance of allowing people to buy media through the iTunes store.

A company that dictates its actions based solely on the bottom line?  Sounds like the monster that Apple’s been trying to point you away from, doesn’t it?  Maybe that kid in the Apple commercials should start wearing some glasses.

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