Technologizer

Babson Professor: Apple’s Crazy, Bing-like Attempt to Force People Everywhere to Act like American Teenagers Will Fail

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Marty Anderson is a senior lecturer at Babson College, the noted business school in Wellesley, Mass. He’s a self-professed Apple fan. But he’s not impressed by Mountain Lion, the OS X upgrade that hit the Mac App Store yesterday.

Actually, it’s not just that he isn’t impressed. He says Apple is using mandatory upgrades to force frivolous social networking on users in a way that shows its lack of understanding of the global market and the needs of entrepreneurs. It’s doing things that no company in its right mind would do, is repeating Microsoft and AOL’s mistakes from the 1990s and seems to think that it’s AT&T. And while Mountain Lion won’t drive the company out of business – whew! – it could hurt Apple terribly.

Basically, he thinks that iCloud and Facebook integration are dreadful, self-destructive ideas. (I don’t think I’m misrepresenting his stance here.)

Anderson’s whole blog post is worth a read. But here are selected, um, highlights:

Apple today proudly announces that if you buy their Mountain Lion OS, it will connect you to many unprotected sites, beyond your control, without your even knowing that you are so connected.

You log in, and you are linked to iCloud, three social-networking sites, calendars that float through space to datebooks of others, many file-sharing sites and photo sharing that takes some effort to control.

We Have Seen This Failing Strategy Before

Watch this space. Apple is emulating Microsoft’s integration of Internet Explorer and the Windows operating system of the 1990s. This kind of monopoly, barrier-to-entry thinking is precisely what slowed Microsoft’s growth rate, killed Bing with a $6 billion write-off, and is taking Nokia out at the knees in a global mobile OS market they dominated for years.

[snip]

If you track Apple’s migration from a clean, bombproof operating system, to the 3-platform (PC, Mobile, TV) serpent it is now pushing through mandatory upgrades, you will see a textbook case of increasing complexity and of management moving toward dangerous attempts to control closed networks in an open network world.

This is exactly what killed AOL in the late 1990s. Apple will survive, but at what cost?

[snip]

Apple penetrated the global Microsoft and cellular monopolies with personal devices that were much easier for users to control than those from Microsoft and Nokia. Apple has been on its way to being a preferred provider for the entrepreneurial companies in the developing world, who now dominate growth in the global economy.

But today they are telling the world that business users from all cultures will have to behave like American teenagers if they want to use Apple products.

[snip]

American teens don’t seem to mind revealing all on Facebook. Most of the commercial world feels otherwise.

I have to sign non-disclosure agreements for my work, like many people. I am not allowed to have “live” apps (we used to call them TSRs) on my PCs used with confidential company information. When I go behind a company firewall, I need to make sure my PC is not searching for my cousin’s dog on Facebook.

Why would anyone in their right mind build this kind of public access into the core operating system in a multicultural world?

Even if you accept the notion that Facebook is the province of wacky American teens and won’t help Apple sell products to serious-minded people elsewhere, I’m not sure what Anderson is talking about. He’s certainly correct that making iCloud work well isn’t a cakewalk for Apple, and that some businesses won’t be excited about Facebook and other social networking being baked into OS X. (They might even prefer that these features weren’t there.) It’s also always reasonable to consider the implications of your data being stored on somebody else’s servers.

But he hides these reasonable points in a thousand agitated words that don’t have much to do with Mountain Lion’s real features or the strategy Apple is actually pursuing.

Anderson doesn’t mention whether he’s actually used Mountain Lion. (If he downloaded and installed it yesterday, he didn’t get the Facebook stuff — that will arrive as an update in the fall.) If he has, he seems to have been working with a different version than I’ve tried.

In the Mountain Lion I’ve been using, none of the cloud and social-networking features are mandatory. iCloud only works if you choose to create an account and associate it with your Mac and other Apple devices. Facebook only gets integrated into the operating system if you proactively add your account in the system preferences. Same thing with Twitter. Even a mundane feature like iCloud’s Photo Stream only works after you turn it on.

Let’s review the first paragraph of Anderson’s post:

Apple today proudly announces that if you buy their Mountain Lion OS, it will connect you to many unprotected sites, beyond your control, without your even knowing that you are so connected.

This simply isn’t true.

And the “mandatory upgrades” he mentions? Apple isn’t forcing anyone to give up Lion. When the Facebook update comes along, you can refuse to install it too. You can choose not to update your iPhone. There’s nothing mandatory about any of the things that displease Anderson.

As for his charge that Apple is engaging in overreaching, monopolistic behavior akin to Microsoft in the bad old days? Well, I guess you could make the case that it should have opened up the OS’s plumbing to Dropbox, SugarSync and other companies rather than building iCloud. (He doesn’t, however, make that case.)

But Apple clearly isn’t trying to use its success in operating systems to lay claim to social networking. Instead, it’s doing the opposite. In the post-Ping era, it seems content to collaborate with Facebook, Twitter and others that already know how to do social networking and already have millions of users. It’s opening up doors in its walled garden in a way that’s a departure from past Apple strategy.

Anderson says he’s speaking on behalf of the concerns of billions of people around the planet, but I get the sense that he, too, would prefer the stand-alone, non-social-networked operating systems that he argues Apple should be building. Parts of his post have a distinct you-kids-stay-off-my-operating-system vibe. (At one point, he makes reference to Terminate and Stay Resident programs – a DOS-era concept I last thought about circa 1993.)

I suspect he won’t like Windows 8 any more than Mountain Lion: it uses SkyDrive much like Mountain Lion uses iCloud, has new social-networking features and generally commits the same sins as Mountain Lion. Neither of the major operating-system companies is buying into Anderson’s contention that operating systems shouldn’t get too mixed up with cloud services and social networking.

That doesn’t mean he’s not entitled to his opinion. Nobody’s required to like the direction that software is going. Some perfectly intelligent people won’t.

But we won’t have to wonder forever whether Anderson is correct that Mountain Lion is a piece of hubristic, misguided folly. All we have to do is wait and see. If he’s on to something, it should be obvious a year from now — if not sooner — that Apple has made an epic mistake. Right?

20 comments
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ashok gane
ashok gane

apple is no more cool, trendy or hippie.. it lost its hippie sometime back.. now its an arogant giant.. without vision just tries to use control... note this day the fall of Apple has begun!

ashok gane
ashok gane

you guys know onething.. with big data mechanics, the moment you post about a company or brand in any part of the web, they collect and see the information and make an analysis... so much policing is done behind, most dont know that.. working in Apple I know it

Steven
Steven

Of course , this piece is satire or a parody, but the publisher should more clearly label it as such to avoid embarrassing the author and misleading naive readers!

jamesdbailey
jamesdbailey

"This kind of monopoly, barrier-to-entry thinking is precisely what slowed Microsoft’s growth rate, killed Bing with a $6 billion write-off"

When did Microsoft kill Bing? This guy is certifiably nuts.

RaziHassan
RaziHassan

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RaziHassan
RaziHassan

iScanner (Scan, Fax, Print and Create Multi-page PDF Documents)

Description

Scan, Print, Fax, Download and Store Microsoft Office, PDF and Text Documents and images. 

This app turns your iPhone or iPad into a Handy Scanner, Fax, File Storage or an Air Printer in your pocket. It lets you scan high quality multi-page documents, print it to any AirPrint capable printer in your wifi network, email it or save it to a document folder on your device, post it to Google Docs or fax it to any fax number, directly from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. 

A highly useful app designed for individual or businesses use. 

Download Link : http://itunes.apple.com/us/app...

RaziHassan
RaziHassan

SoundNote - Notepad, Voice Recorder and Drawing Pad

Description

*** With this amazing app you can take notes by recording sound, handwriting or typing text, drawing sketches or taking camera pictures. You can convert your notes to PDF or image format, store your notes on your iPhone/iPad or share it with others through email or Facebook.**** 

By combining notes and voice, SoundNote easily captures your meetings, lectures, or study sessions.Need to review the discussion about your next project or conversation with a client ? Trying to remember what the teacher said about a key point during lecture ? 

With the convenience of the iPad or iPhone, you can use SoundNote anywhere: class lectures, meetings, interviews, conferences, study sessions. Even use it to record memos to yourself as you think new ideas! 

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Daner Doodle
Daner Doodle

Does anyone remember when Apple tried legal maneuvers to stop consumers from jailbreaking their phone?

yummyyummyfly
yummyyummyfly

My iPad and iPhone have that "share to Twitter" link everywhere. Next there's going to be a "share to Facebook" link too?

You say, "But it's not mandatory! Don't sign in!"

I say, "But I don't even have any social media accounts! can I please not have these ghastly buttons cluttering my UI?"

Cthulhu Shrugged
Cthulhu Shrugged

As with the AdBlock I install on my Chrome, I do believe if you look hard enough there just may be an app for that.

But whether or not that's the case... an easily ignorable button - however "ghastly" one might hyperbolically think it is - hardly constitutes anything other than just what it is: a button,an option, an easily ignorable choice.  Much like that "I make eight kajillion dollars by working at home" epilepsy-inducing flash adds every website has.

Classy? No. Ignorable? Yes.

Lucia Matias
Lucia Matias

Apple  is the next Big Brother, the monopolist empire, the black hole of health competition.

Apple is evil, is the Reverend Jim Jones of the XXI Century,  and the Apple fanatics are lining up, very happily, for his/her kool-aid cup....

I will never purchase anything they make....

jamesdbailey
jamesdbailey

"I will never purchase anything they make...."

Good to know. Thanks for sharing.

Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar

Apple sucks .. anybody trying to tell me what I should do, sucks.

10 years from now Linux is the real winner... thank you stupid american corporate MBA graduates

take your bonus.. I move on to the freedom of Linux

user1user2user3 lastuser
user1user2user3 lastuser

 Didn't you die in 15 March 44 BC ?  If so, I can see why people killed you with STUPID comments like the one you posted on this site ! :-))

VonMagnum
VonMagnum

 I tried OpenSuse 12.x recently and Ubuntu 12.x as well (both virtualized

which is pretty slick) and I hate to say it, but it's more or less the

same Linux I used several years ago and then several years ago before

that all the way back to 2001 when I first tried it.  It's always been a

bear, it's still a bear and all indications are it always will be a

bear.  It's fine if you just want to surf the web and do e-mail, but you

can already do that on a freaking phone even. 

There's still squat for commercial or popular software beyond the basics

and if you do something advanced and screw it up and don't know Linux

inside out, you'll probably need to reinstall because most new users

have no idea how a simple script error can keep the GUI from loading at

all (and several years ago, it was mandatory to know how to set some

things from the scripts because there weren't reliable GUIs for

everything and MOST "power" users LIKED it that way because they love

feeling superior to 'ordinary' computer users while they are forced to

use the Gimp instead of Photoshop and god knows what instead of Logic

Pro.

I don't like Apple or Microsoft, but both have products that are

supported and can do the things I need them to do.  Linux developers

spend more time fighting each other than getting something useful done,

it seems as the interfaces I've tried (and I've used the latest KDE,

Gnome 3 and Unity) STILL feel half-baked and sloppy and make me wish I

still could remember my way around the shell like I used to several

years ago because they're just a royal PITA.  OSX has its flaws (poor

multiple monitor support with the menu bar being only on one screen, for

example), but in MOST respects, it's a joy to use by comparison even

for someone that used to use the shell on Linux and the Amiga before

that (and I still can on OSX if I want to seeing it is certified UNIX).

Sam Trutna
Sam Trutna

I get where he's coming from on the monopoly point. If MS just got busted for making IE the only native option for browsers on the Windows OS. What's to stop Apple from getting in trouble for doing the same thing with iCloud? We'll see. I have my own set of paranoid fears about Apple's walled garden control over personal content - trying to make it illegal to alter the coding on *MY* phone that *I* paid for with *MY* money, trying to regulate how I could use the songs I bought (remember how it was when iTunes first came out?), outright refusal to support file types and software in common use and instead force the use of their proprietary file types (seriously, I can play avi, mkv, and flac in WMP but not in iTunes. Why Apple? WHY?!?) - but Anderson manages to avoid echoing any of them. What I'm saying is that there are plenty of reasons to think Apple has its own agenda when it comes to controlling users rather than supporting them, but I don't think any of the reasons he came up with have any real merit.

Ahit
Ahit

Connecting to the Facebook is not mandate. If you wish you may not login.