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Apple: Drunk With Power


How recent policies and indiscretions managed to sway a loyal Apple fan.

Editors Note: Welcome to Love It or Hate It, a regular dual-column feature that will capture the love-hate relationship America has with some of its biggest, most controversial companies. For past columns, click here. For the opposing view on Apple, see Apple: What's Not to Love?

Two and a half years ago, I became a staunch Apple (AAPL) convert.

For most of my life -- once the family Commodore 64 wore out its welcome -- I was a PC guy. Almost every bedroom and dimly lit computer den came equipped with some form of IBM (IBM) or Pentium (INTC) -- many built from the motherboard up.

Sure, outside the house, I was familiar with nearly every stage of Apple computers -- via elementary school lessons, researching essays in a high school library, editing a sketch comedy show in college, and working an eight-month stint as a web manager in Little Falls, New Jersey. But I couldn't be influenced. During the times that I was hunched in front of an Apple computer, I gritted my teeth and grumbled, "Why can't this be more like a PC?"

However, upon Apple's release of Mac OS X -- and its subsequent array of feline-themed versions -- things began to change. While the absence of a right-button mouse was always a source of frustration, using a Mac slowly became more tolerable. And after having to set up a network printer or coach a new employee to set up an office email account, it became downright preferable. I was convinced. I was swayed.

Apple Inc.
I had grown sick of Windows (MSFT). The incessant crashes, the bugs, the endless virus and adware scans, the component upgrades. And I definitely wanted to avoid Vista. Plus, since Macs "just worked," why should I subject myself to such grief?

So with a purchase of a shiny black MacBook in April 2007, I made an informal vow to only have Macs for at-home computing. With my Windows days behind me, I was very pleased to be welcomed into the Apple Club and enjoyed the ease and user-friendliness of my new laptop.

But, like the release of OS X, things have begun to change -- this time for the worse.

In the last 10 months or so, Apple has been engaged in some of the most excessively heavy-handed indiscretions I've ever witnessed since Microsoft in its heyday. To say that the bloom is off the rose would be putting it lightly. For every step forward the company makes in the field of computing or mobile devices, the thrill of innovation is severely undercut by a new report detailing Apple's latest blunder.

At the start of 2009, consumers were just starting to see the Draconian measures in which the iTunes App Store was run. Legitimately useful apps -- like local movie showtimes and classic book retriever -- were stricken from the list while bizarre and useless programs passed on through. Sure, you may not be able to watch streaming South Park episodes because they're "potentially offensive," but fart apps and sniper-target calibrators? We got 'em!

Small-time app developers aren't the only "little guys" at the mercy of Apple's whims. The tech bully continues to threaten smaller companies and organizations with lawsuits for barely similar logos -- despite getting heavy influence from The Beatles' Apple Records brand. Indie bands are left out of iTunes' new LP feature because of the exorbitant fees required in production. And -- although they're hardly "little" -- Palm (PALM) and Abobe (ADBE) are still being jerked around by mercurial Apple execs who intermittently allow the Palm Pre smartphone to sync with iTunes and constantly delay an Adobe Flash adoption for the iPhone.
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