Linux, China, HP, Apple and Other ‘Outside the Box’ Stories

Last week was looking relatively uneventful until I got a copy of SCO CEO Darl McBride’s “Open Letter” in which he argues that the Linux GPL is unconstitutional. Now, for some of you, you red-lined the letter and spent the next several hours posting your pronounced disagreement with this position to online bulletin boards. I have to admit that my first response to the letter was that McBride’s brain had taken a trip and left his body behind. But if you throw out the assumption that McBride has completely lost his mind and read between the letter’s lines, another story comes out.

Much of the foundation on which SCO is building its case is the rights the company acquired to Unix, and much of the company’s exposure involves its own participation in distributing Linux, which might kill those rights. If SCO can break or invalidate the GPL, the company’s chances go up sharply. It is clear that, going forward, much of the company’s effort will be placed on this task.

While McBride’s arguments focus on the GPL, the not-so-subtle message is that the entire Linux effort is anti-American. His use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is both creative and — given that this act is incredibly broad — might actually get some traction. My personal hope is that the traction it gets results in the repeal of the DMCA, but it was an interesting card to play nevertheless.

While McBride doesn’t come right out and call Red Hat and the international group of open-source software supporters communists, he comes very close, and, as you would expect, he positions SCO on the side of god and country. With the major news services beginning to become aware of the relatively violent threats against SCO, the environment is ripe for what is looking very much like a mud-slinging political campaign that could favor SCO.

McBride appears to be targeting the general populace and doing what I think is a reasonable job of branding open source as a group of thugs out to attack capitalism and the American way.

China Goes After All the Cookies

Speaking of the American way: If you were watching, China just passed a wireless security standard and is requiring all vendors that sell in that country to support it. The country’s public position is that the standards bodies didn’t step up to this problem quickly enough — which I have to agree with. However, the new standard has a back door to which only the Chinese government has a key.

This is part of a larger effort on China’s part to seize the standards initiatives surrounding the technology market so that they will favor China. China appears to believe that the Western world can’t get its act together, and the country has watched how Japan played this phenomenon to its advantage in the consumer-electronics market. China seems to have concluded that it can play this game as well as, if not better than, its Asian neighbor.

It is hard to believe the other governments won’t see this coming and throw their collective bodies at the effort to fight the China threat. It will be interesting to see whether others copy China to both improve their access to otherwise-secure communications and to favor their own domestic technology providers. The end result could be a disaster for multinational companies and anyone who regularly travels internationally.

HP Wins on Indemnification

Thinking about multinational companies, a major CIO survey was recently released to the financial analyst community by Citibank. In this survey, they measured the CIOs’ intentions to buy from the major multinational OEMs, including IBM, Dell and HP.

What is interesting is that HP now is clearly favored for Linux. In my read of the results — given that IBM’s investment in Linux is well over HP’s, and Dell’s relative investment is comparatively insignificant — IBM is off between 25 and 50 percent from where the company should be.

I believe the difference is indemnification. HP has it. IBM not only doesn’t have it, but the cloud over the company from the litigation is pushing buyers to Dell. Because HP clearly appears to be favored by the industry, expect HP to gain the undisputed lead in the Linux market next year unless something happens.

CIOs remain an incredibly conservative group, and most are vendor agnostic, which means they favor the path with the least risk. This is not surprising if you’ve ever seen the turnover stats that surround the CIO job. Both Dell and HP are solidly on this path, which is fascinating because IBM traditionally has been synonymous with low risk. The company is the original “no one ever lost their job from choosing it” company.

Apple: Good Products, Bad Company

Speaking of losing one’s job as a result of a vendor choice, some of you might recall that the only IT department I’ve ever seen fired was fired as a result of choosing Apple. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from Apple supporters, and many seem to agree with my position that you can love the products but hate the company. This attitude seems to permeate experienced IT buyers, who seem to have a good memory of how they were abandoned by Apple a few short years ago without so much as an apology.

Currently, folks seem particularly upset that they are buying brand-new machines and then still have to pay for an upgrade to the latest version of the Apple operating system. Apple’s closed nature isn’t being missed by many: More and more seem to realize that iTunes only works with the iPod, making it likely they might have to, at some future point, repurchase all of the music they have already purchased online through iTunes should they ever want to use that music on something else.

This impression that Apple is out to lunch from an open-systems perspective is enhanced by Steve Jobs publicly saying that the Tablet PC is a niche product. This is sadly ironic, given that Apple gave up the PDA market to Palm and Microsoft as a result of one of his decisions. Like a lot of CEOs, Jobs seems to think it is more important not to admit he was wrong than to correct a mistake. If Bill Gates had done the same thing with the Internet, we likely would be looking at a much smaller and weaker Microsoft today.

Right now, Apple has nothing like the Media Center PC and nothing like the Tablet PC. The iPod is terrible as a PDA, the company has no smartphone, and you’ll find more cool stuff in a Gateway store than in an Apple store today — although I still think Apple does a better job of presenting what it does manufacture. I’m thinking that maybe it’s time, given the failed switcher campaign and the mass move of PC vendors into the consumer electronics segment, that Jobs stopped sitting around milking his installed base and started thinking outside the box.

Of course, when thinking of swinging for the fence, I come back to McBride and the Chinese government — and I have to admit that I admire their willingness to think out of the box. Then again, there is often a thin line between thinking outside of the box and going completely bonkers.

Rob Enderle, a TechNewsWorld columnist, is the Principal Analyst for the Enderle Group, a company founded on the concept of providing a unique perspective on personal technology products and trends.


  • You can be more wrong about Apple.
    When you buy music from iTMS, you can share it with 2 or 3 other Mac’s, put the music into the iPod or burn as many CD’s you want, and listen to it in your car, stereo in the livingroom, or whatever you want with it.
    Please no more stupid comments on Apple’s company. Steve Jobs is the best CEO ever. After Steve came back to Apple in the mid 90’s and intruduced the first iMac, the stocks skyrocked.

    • Hmmm…
      I stumbled upon Enderle’s article and thought it was an interesting if not coherent perspective. Then I read speedracerx’s response and found speedracerx to be far more coherent and persuasive. Makes you wonder what it takes to be a "tech writer" if you are outdone by somebody called speedracerx.

      • A slight correction to my previous post:
        I equated open source with open standards which was a mistake. Sorry. Microsoft is vehemently opposed to open source software. In contrast, Microsoft insists it supports open standards.
        However, I still maintain that Apple does a much better job of supporting open standards than does Microsoft. Examples:
        1) Java, Microsoft promoted their own incompatible version of Java and it took a court order for them to stop it. In contrast, Apple distributes a fully compatible version of Java with OS X.
        2) PNG files:
        Not fully supported in MS Internet Explorer:;en-us;294714
        Fully supported in Safari, QuickTime, and OS X:
        see for example
        3) Music files
        Microsoft’s WMA is based on it’s own proprietary Windows Media format which because use requires a royality fee, it cannot be considered a open standard
        Apple’s audio DRM is added to ACC which in turn is based on open standards
        Both companies DRM’s are proprietary

  • I’m thinking that maybe it’s time, given the failed Trustworthy computing campaign and the mass operating disruptions for Windows owners, and billions of dollars spent on reparing Windows computers, that Microsoft stopped sitting around milking their installed base and started thinking outside the box
    Dear Windows customers – it’s Me again
    The time is 03:27 and everything is as it should be (at least here in our HQ, but we also have a lot of money in the Bank)
    o There have been discovered new fatal security failures in Microsoft Internet Explorer
    o No new security updates for Microsoft Windows have been released since 16:00 yesterday
    o Update your MS Windows with the updates from 16:00 yesterday
    o There have only been found 9 new MS Windows security failures the last 22 days
    o There are only discovered 22 new viruses for Microsoft Windows the last 18 days
    -o-01 – WMS VULNERABILITY – Aug. 21
    -o-02 – WORM_SLANPER.A – Aug. 21
    -o-03 – WORM_AGOBOT.P – Aug. 20
    -o-04 – PE_DUMARU.A – Aug. 19
    -o-05 – WORM_SOBIG.F – Aug. 19
    -o-06 – WORM_MSBLAST.E – Aug. 18
    -o-07 – WORM_MSBLAST.D- Aug. 18
    -o-08 – WORM_MSBLAST.B – Aug. 16
    -o-09 – WORM_MSBLAST.A – Aug. 16
    -o-10 – WORM_MSBLAST.GEN – Aug. 15
    -o-11 – WORM_MSBLAST.C – Aug. 15
    -o-12 – WORM_THRAX.A – Aug. 15
    -o-14 – HKTL_DCOM.Y – Aug. 14
    -o-15 – BKDR_LITH.103.A – Aug. 13
    -o-16 – TROJ_MSBLAST.DRP – Aug. 13
    -o-17 – WORM_WUKILL.A – Aug. 12
    -o-18 – WORM_RPCSDBOT.A – Aug. 11
    -o-19 – WORM_FRANRIV.A – Aug. 8
    -o-20 – BKDR_CIREBOT.B – Aug. 6
    -o-21 – BKDR_CIREBOT.A – Aug. 5
    o Update your virus-definitions
    o There have not been discovered new viruses for MS Windows since yesterday
    o There are no new worms for Microsoft Windows the last 36 hours
    o Delete your viruses from the InBox
    o Set your Firewall to the highest possible alertness
    o There are found over-flooded mail boxes with over 1gb of virus mails
    Thank you for choosing a Microworm Product
    Trustworthy Computing
    Sorry to interrupt you again
    The time is 16:43 and everything is still as it should be (at least here in our HQ, but we also have even more money in the Bank)
    There has just arrived this new virus alert
    o – O97M_TORAJA3.C – Aug. 21
    This is then virus no. 22 since 5. august (still 2003)
    This is a destructive, multi-platform macro virus that works on Microsoft Office 97 and Office 2000 applications, specifically Word and Excel. It uses Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) codes to infect Word documents, Excel sheets ands templates. It also has the ability to infect across these documents.
    The virus deletes 11250 characters from the start of the infected document and all data found in Excel sheet cell A1 to J17. It also disables macro virus protection on Word and Excel 97.
    When the Tools->Macro->Security menu is clicked in MS Word 2000 the following message is displayed:
    Thank you for choosing a Microworm Product
    Trustworthy Computing
    Nothing to report
    The time is 11:30 and everything is well (at least here in our HQ, but we also have even more money in the Bank)
    o – Regrettably there is nothing to report this time. We are closed, due to counting our inventory. A part of the Windows source code seems to be missing. The code is reported as MISSING, and our systems run therefore on level: eRUN – with status: AIR. We are searching in customers InBoxes around the Internet as there are found over-flooded mail boxes with over 1gb of virus mails. Do not expect more.
    Thank you for choosing a Microworm Product
    Trustworty Computing
    60.345 records in this file
    Ref# – Most people are already comfortable with an IBM compatible PC with Windows OS – according to this:

  • I was refered to this site by the fine folks at appleturns. What is wrong with people like you?
    1. Drugs are bad mmm’kay?
    Your musings should be labeled filed under humor. All of the points have been made by other posters so all I can add to this is that people like you are just bound and determined to find fault with anything that is not part of the Microsoft hegenomy as a result of a phobia against all things that do not conform to your view of what is the "majority" consensus and that apparently means it has to be Microsoft. I suppose this also means McDonald’s makes the best hamburgers.
    While your work is terribly funny, it is also an indicator of an underlying problem related to mental health. Unfortunately, the "cure" is more often than not the "cause" of the problem.
    I’ve worked with Microsoft, Apple, Linux, Irix and Sun products and so far, Apple is my favorite and while I don’t consider them perfect, your assertions are laughable.
    Maybe you should lay off the happy pills.

  • Just a couple things about Apple.
    1) Apple killed the Newton because it was a non-performing segmet for Apple. Either kill the Newton or let the company die. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made at one point in time to better the whole. Note: Newton itself is dead, BUT Newton’s technologies have continued to be refined
    2) Fire and IT department for buying Apple? Did the company NOT have any internal controls or SLA’s or something to control this? Were there not standards in place? What was the reason for this?
    3) Media Center PC’s. Completely worthless machinery. Ooo… Volume controls on the tower, a remote control, "Volume" appearing on the screen as your raise/lower the volume, making it look like a TV screen. It’s worthless. The Media Center PC’s came about because the Windows world needed something to compete with Apple’s Digital Hub. If you work with Media Center PC’s, you realize how thin the facade is.
    4) The iPod. It’s was NEVER designed to be a PDA. It’s designed to play music. The PDA features came about because it was one of the most requested features for the iPod. These features are a matter of convenience for the user. i have my complete addressbook and calendar sync’d to my iPod. But I NEVER once use my iPod to search for a phone number. That’s what my Tungsten is for. But as many people know… it’s ALWAYS good to have a backup.
    5) Tablet PC. It is a niche market. Caught somewhere between a PDA and a laptop. Computer manufacturers haven’t sold many, but Windows is updating the Tablet OS. But no one is buying it.
    A few interesting arguments made here, but generall the author is very weak and flawed in his arguments. Why would Apple want to create a tablet, if the ENTIRE industry barely sells what is produced? It is a waste of resources.
    Why would Apple want a smartphone, if Nokia, and Motorola and SonyEriccson make great ones? Apple spends their resources to make sure that these phones SEAMLESSLY work with the Macintosh. Ever see someone try to hook up a phone to a Windows PC?? It can take hours or days to finally get things working. On a Mac… it was.. Plug in cord to USB port, plug in phone… Open iSync… DONE.
    Gateway stores are more cool?? How many people — GenX or GenY — would even say "Gateway is Cool?" ‘Nuff said.

  • "More and more seem to realize that iTunes only works with the iPod, making it likely they might have to, at some future point, repurchase all of the music they have already purchased online through iTunes should they ever want to use that music on something else."
    What’s being repurchased again? An emphatic nothing is the answer. Every other music service bought into by the general public affords no ownership rights to the music you have so-called "purchased". These companies have successfully snowed music "renters" if you think that you ever owned any of the songs you downloaded from, or pressplay. Read it in the fineprint.
    More accurately you could say that you have to pay again for you were expecting the first time, only to have it stolen from you when your subscription ran out. Proving once again that you should’ve done it right the first time. It’s the consumers poor retail descision on trial not the companies providing the services.
    Also the iPod is not a PDA.
    Regarding SCO:
    "The term ‘financial gain’ includes receipt, or expectation of receipt, of anything of value, including the receipt of other copyrighted works."
    This is from U.S. Code Collection, Title 17 (copyrights), Chapter 1, Section 101: "Definitions." In short, this is from the very first section in copyright law — the section that defines terms even before those terms are used. This is some pretty fundamental stuff when it comes to copyrights in the U.S.
    Pertinent, if you will.
    And note how copyright law expressly includes "the expectation of receipt" of anything of value, and expressly mentions "receipt of other copyrighted works" as such a thing of value. And that’s the very definition of "financial gain," as far as U.S. copyright law is concerned.
    Now guess what the GPL is all about?
    Maybe someone can explain to Darl that the GPL is designed so that people receive the value of other peoples copyrighted works in return for having made their own contributions. That is the fundamental idea of the whole license — everything else is just legal fluff.
    So not only is Darl wrong when he attacks the GPL as being somehow against "financial gain;" the notion that the GPL has, of "exchange of receipt of copyrighted works," is actually explicitly encoded in U.S. copyright law.
    So if Darl calls that notion unconstitutional, he is actually attacking the U.S. code as it stands today.
    The legal code itself:

  • Absolutely AMAZING rebuttals to what has to be the most heinous raping of journalistic integrity I’ve seen this year. But, maybe I overstate the skill of the readers replying, as Rob made it too damned easy!
    The only person who should be fired is not the guys who went Apple IT, but Rob himself.

  • Do you even read over your article before you send it off? You are so full of misinformation and straight out falsehoods it comical. A little research, and a less biased agenda would go a long way. I can’t believe you had the nerve to accuse the company that is the epitome of "Think Different" of not thinking outside the box. I don’t know what you would call the flat panel iMac if not innovative. As for having to pay for upgrades to the OS, so Microsoft gives theirs away do they?
    I’m sorry to say that you embarrassed yourself with this article.

  • "…The only IT department I’ve ever seen fired was fired as a result of choosing Apple. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from Apple supporters, and many seem to agree with my position that you can love the products but hate the company. This attitude seems to permeate experienced IT buyers, who seem to have a good memory of how they were abandoned by Apple a few short years ago without so much as an apology,"
    The only IT Department to ever be fired was using Macs, and no one else has ever been fired in the industry? Did you do your own research and did you check your facts? Does your performance make you a Journalist or a Story Teller?

  • C’mon Rob, let’s be honest here.
    Media Center PC is a joke. Regardless of what M$ would like the world to believe, devices such as TiVO, separate, standalone DVD-Recorders, and Digital On-Demand cable systems provide a much more appropriate solution to the digital needs of the masses than complicated, crash-prone, office-centric devices like a traditional computer. M$ seems to think that throwing Freestyle/MCXP on top of the traditional PC with a big HD makes it the best thing to happen to digital media since the VCR. Yet the only thing that they have in common is that they are both devices which no one (other than the tech-geeks) can figure out!
    The MC PC is nice CONCEPT but if fails b/c it does not begin from the place where people experience digital media NOW – in the living room. Using the MC concept to watch my videos/pictures/audio/etc I AM forced to either a) sit in front of my computer’s 15" LCD in my office chair b) plop an ugly PC box next to by 52" projection TV in the living room, or c) run a jungle of S-Video and audio cables from my office upstairs down to my living room 1/2 house away.
    How does this make any sense for the average consumer?
    And why should I dedicate a $2500 PC just to the purpose of recording/storing my digital media when I could be using that for other purposes OR buy a $200 TiVO Series 2 that automatically detects and plays back any of my media files from any of my existing PC’s in my house AUTOMATICALLY?
    You’re mistaken about Apple.
    Apple’s Media Center PC is the TiVO.
    Why? Because TiVO understands that to create the best product for the market you cater you need only ENHANCE the existing way that consumers interact, not completely turn it on it’s head. $200 for a TiVO series 2 that pulls my digital media from anywhere versus $2500 for a HP MCPC.
    Tough choice.
    PS: TabletPC is clearly still in it’s infancy as a market. Jobs stating that it is a niche market is absolutely accurate. It does not mean they will not compete, perhaps it just means that they want to wait till the market matures before attempting to provide a mature product for it, yes? Handwriting recognition is already built into the OS last I checked.
    PPS: PDA’s. Yet another market that Apple is missing out on? So let’s see, Palm’s stock is where? M$ has gone through how many different incarnations of "the OS formerly known as WinCE?"
    The only thing saving the PDA market at all is the integration of cell phones and PDA’s. Yet even these are only just starting to mature into decent products. Yet another market in its infancy. And why reinvent the wheel? Macs (and Windows) sync just fine with Palm-based devices. Current models of Macs with Bluetooth support AM azing integration between BT-equipped PDA’s. Why create a new "Apple PDA" with another proprietary "Apple OS" that looks great and lures all the AppleHeads and costs 2x as much as the competition and whose functionality is 70% covered by your existing iPod and ultimately nobody develops for anyway?
    Apple has created some great products.
    M$ may just have a winnner with the TPC concept.
    And Palm may just be in for a revival now that they’ve got back Handspring and Hawkins. But there’s one lesson I think Apple’s learned:
    Innovation does not always have to = reinventing the wheel.

  • PLEASE MR. ENDERLE! Get a brain will you! I AM the IT Manager for the Bend Bulletin, a local newspaper that reaches over 35,000 subscribers. Our paper is layed out using QuarkXPress 6.0 for OS X, and until recently, all our servers were Dell Xeon 1U’s, running 30 of them. We bought them brand new, and 6 came faulty out of the box! We returned them all to Dell, and bought an equal AM ount of Apple xServe’s with a 1.42 Dual G4 Processor. These machines worked without a hitch, and management was even more pleased at my recent year-end budget reporting, it being $7829.59 less with the Apple servers rather than Dell’s. I have yet to be fired, and my life is SO much easier now that I can depend on OS X’s ultimate stablility.

  • talk about shooting for the moon! In one piece Rob shows the old saying that those that can, do. those that can’t, teach (or opine).
    Not only does Rob misrepresent what Apple’s products do (or can’t do) he has the audacity to "read between the lines" and laud McBride’s claim of being a Patriot, looking out for the common man, god, country and apple pie?
    As an opinion writer he is obviously not bound by any of the journalistic tenets (like doing the leg work to research first hand or at least verify facts), but he should at least pick up a paper now and then.
    IBM just won a major ruling and the following Monday he puts Mcbride out front as a shining example of thinking outside the box. The judge ruled that Mcbride must show the disputed code — something that he would not or more likely can not do — within 30 days. We will see very shortly whether he is a Patriot or another Carpetbagger, trying to take from others rewards that he could not win for himself in the marketplace.
    As far as his hack attempts with Apple, he simply shows that he is working with dated stereotypes and regurgitating the FUD that MS, Dell and others are espousing regarding iTunes and the iPod.
    All Apple has done this year is erase the distance between the Mac and the PC, introduce the first 64 bit mass produced systems, deploy a significant new OS, introduce the first 17" laptop (and still the only one that isn’t a "brick"), introduce the first Media Software Suite that encompasses and integrates all of ones digital media (songs, pictures, movies, documents, etc). Had their systems used to create the 3rd fastest supercomputer (ahead of the supposed supperior Wintel boxes and processors). Oh yeah and they did a little thing like revolutionize the Music Industry (Rolling Stone’s quote not mine). Not a bad year and one deserving of the significant bump in market share, revenue and stock price that they have had in 2003 — especially when one considers the economic conditions of the past year.
    Jobs has always been an innovator (not just in the tech field, see Pixar). In Business thats like being told you have potential. Potential hasn’t done anything and innovators generally lose the market place once others ape and mass manufacture their innovation. For the first time Apple/Jobs seems to be using their innovation to drive the direction of the market and win market share. We’ll see how successful they will be but i would wager it will be far more successful than Rob hopes they will be.
    There’s a reason Rob that you are writing about and not running a major IT shop. Regardless of what you tell yourself in the mirror it has nothing to do with your chosen direction.

  • Tablet PC? Junk. Both the OS (WinXP Tablet) and the hardware (My corporation has top of the line Toshiba’s) are beta quality at best. In fact, we are attempting to get our money back as we have clearly been made the subjects of some beta testing program. Apple waits until a product is high quality and mature before releasing it, unlike these other companies. Paying for too many upgrades? All of the OS X upgrades (education discount) combined cost less than XP. Brilliant tech guru you are. PDA’s? Umm I can only think of one person I know, in either my work or personal life, who uses a PDA. And they only bought it because it integrated so well with their Mac. Windows Media Center? Why do you think this aberration was invented? To compete with macs that can almost ALL do virtually everything a Windows Media Center PC can do. They just don’t have to slap a big "Media Center Edition" lable on their machines because Mac users have become quite accustomed to having a useful, smoothly functioning, digital hub for all of their media needs. You are so out of touch with reality you should be a politician. You should switch to badmouthing Windows because: 1) You won’t have to lie anymore 2) Its much easier as they provide you with years of material with their 3rd rate products. I must say I AM surprised you have a column of your own that is supposedly "tech" as you seem to know as much about tech as you do about journalism. (hint, that was not a compliment). Keep up the good work.

  • NPR recently mentioned a study where the authors qualified 70-80% of employees as ‘incompetent’. That is, they just weren’t good at their jobs. More frightening was the 20% who went even further and were classified as ‘confident incompetents’. Those are the people the ones who are incompetent but either believe they know what they are talking about, or they at least pull it off well enough that other people believe them.
    I think the vast number of people who have responded so far know where to place you.
    A technical writer who is so out of touch with technology that he refuses to accept that the Tablet isn’t a run-away success. Someone who thinks that everyone is still using their palms (I’ve got two in MY office.. want one? we don’t use either).. It’s a wonder you have a job.
    And as for your Apple recommending IT shop, maybe you should do an article on the reasoning behind CIOs that DON’T fire MS IT shops who bring their corporation to its knees during every major virus/trojan outbreak?… How about the MS using shops that are forced to submit to MS audits?,.. or the ones that have their entire infrastructures brought down by the latest global MS security exploit?

  • So Apple has not been thinking outside the box? Just read that to yourself a few times.
    Operating system upgrades. Windows users need to do that too. Also note there are no annoying registration codes that lock you out of your computer when you upgrade your video card.
    Jobs won’t admit he’s wrong? Yes he will, after Apple got horribly behind in CD burning he admitted the mistake and made sure Apple didn’t get behind — thus Apple puts DVD burners now in most of their products, way ahead of the adoption rate on PCs.
    Apple’s closed nature? iTunes, due to DRM issues can’t share music with other devices — aside from the fact that they don’t support AAC in most cases anyway. It’s not like people will need to repurchase music though — just burn and import.
    And your beloved Microsoft is not closed too? Where is the access to the core OS source code? Here’s Apple’s:
    MS doesn’t even release the format of Word docs publically since they don’t want other apps reading them. Am I "locked into MS" and I’ll have to retype them if I want them back? No, but this is the same type of argument you made about the iTMS.
    As both a Mac and PC owner I’m appalled at your seeming vendetta against Apple. How about you try some fair and balanced articles. Thinking outside the box is one of Apple’s hallmarks.
    Also… face it, the tablet PC has been flopping — it sucks.

  • "Apple’s closed nature isn’t being missed by many: More and more seem to realize that iTunes only works with the iPod, making it likely they might have to, at some future point, repurchase all of the music they have already purchased online through iTunes should they ever want to use that music on something else."
    First of all, iTunes works fine with my pre-iPod MP3 player.
    It is true that the older, pre-AAC player won’t play the AAC files I purchase via the iTunes music store, but there is a migration path back to MP3 or other formats if the need ever arises; I AM not locked in to anything.
    OK, so maybe we can fault Apple for moving to AAC ahead of anyone else in the space, just as they were criticized for depending on USB before the rest of the world. Well, those of us who adopted USB early via Apple have had our investment validated, and AAC is available and a viable option for manufacturers of current and future music players.
    Don’t confuse innovation and value leadership for artificial vendor lock-in.

  • I think Rob is all over the map here.
    Having read Apple’s web-based positioning statements it’s apparent they aren’t looking to cozy up to Fortune 500 IT departments. Not sure of the relevance of his comment here. Apple seems to be targeting home users, graphical and artistic professionals, video and photo professionals and education/universities. Perhaps some day they will focus on corporations but from what I read that’s not on their short list today.
    All said, over the past several years I’ve paid a fair and reasonable price for OS X and its upgrades. Compare that to the Windows space where home users need to have decided between 3.11, 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP many of which have different drive format and, worse, peripheral incompatibility. Let’s see, I’ve paid for 3.11, 95, 98, NT, 2000 before switching (back) to Mac and the price of Windows OS’s are not cheap when you buy them stand alone. If you buy PC (Mac or Wintel), the OS comes with it and the price is reasonable. If you wish to run the latest and greatest OS, you pay. Simple.
    This is flat out false. Rob obviously had a deadline to hit on this article and didn’t research his facts clearly. iTunes (windows or mac) allows you to BURN to MP3, AAC or AIFF. There is absolutely NO NEED to repurchase music.
    It is. Industry sales prove this statement. Less than 100,000 units have shipped to date. Moreover, Rob seems to equate Palm computing with Tablet computing. BIG difference. Sure Apple "lost" the market in the PDA space, however partnering with Palm is a wise move and I’m not convinced this segment needs another competitor today.
    On what grounds has this "failed"? These adds are more market awareness based than trying to drive direct sales. Why does Coke and McDonald’s advertise so much? They’re already number one? Because they never want you to forget who they are or that they are there. Market Awareness. Given the infrequency with which home users (a large apple target market) update their hardware, isn’t it reasonable to see these advertisements as market awareness? Apple are building their prospect base today to ensure future sales. Add to that the hot iPod market, hot iTunes market, the fact Apple’s laptop market is nearly doubling and the fact that 14% of respondents when asked said they’d consider Apple hardware, Apple is on track with this advertising campaign.

  • "ipod makes a teriible PDA" and the iMac makes a terrible notebook. Problem is, that ia not what they were intended to be. Looks like you’re scrapping the bottom of the barrel…

  • Rob:
    In regards to Apple – basically, you could not be more wrong. I’ll bet you don’t use a tablet PC, why should anyone else? Until you use one 24/7 and tell us it’s much faster, better and makes more sense than typing – why are you telling us to? Sure, there are occupations and situations where it is better and more useful but it’s exactly the same size market as people who need ruggedized PC’s – a couple hundred thousand people – hence the word NICHE. Tablet PC’s will sell exactly the same number of sofware copies of BOB – just because MS sells it doesn’t make it worthwhile.
    As for "missing" out on the PDA market – a) Apple invented the PDA but their time has already come and gone already so after you minus the massive R&D and the cost of materials & distribution, it’s now a ZERO SUM game. MS only jumped in the market because Palm was in it – unlike other coampnies that have to factor in costs to jump into a market, for MS, as long as it doesn’t cost $40 billion, they’ll do it just to see if there’s anything there – just like MS Auto OS and their Phone OS. We have pretty much seen the last of any major PC CE OS for the PDA market. It’s the digital watch market. There’s still play in it but only if it’s $9.99 to $39.99 – the PDA market is at a slightly higher price point but other than gadget freaks, it’s being replaced as we speak by multi-function phones and 12" ibooks & powerbooks. You might want to wake up and look around a little more.
    As for Apple products, you really need to meet a few more people – I can find 5 people who think we should move the Earth further away from the Sun also but that doesn’t mean they’re not idiots. Sure, there are disgruntled customers – I defy you to find one company where there aren’t disgruntled customers who don’t want to buy their products … for whatever reason – real or imagined.
    As for having to pay for an OS, again, you can find cheapskates for anything – if they don’t want or can’t afford it – don’t buy it – unlike MS OS’, you don’t need to upgrade because they’ll stop functioning. (In fact, I know someone who upgraded to XP and it wiped their drive clean but again, you can’t really use 2 people as your divining rod).
    In regards to the itunes thing, your friends and people you rely for info (as you apparently cannot figure out to test it out yourself) are idiots. read carefully, you can convert the songs to the CD format by highlighting and selected and selecting CONVERT TO … Now, I know that’s pretty difficult because unlike most PC software, you don’t need to download plug-ins or call up MS for verification. Now, after that – if you lose it on your hard drive, that’s just because XP’s filing system is still bad and frankly, your friends are idiots (perhaps they should go back to PDA’s and leave computers to the semi-literate).
    And the ipod is not a PDA. It’s an Mp3 player that has additional functions. Hell, you can even boot off of it – does a PDA let you do that or a Pocket PC PDA – no – but you obviously only judge harshly one way.
    As for the media center, sure – that’s nice but unlike PC users, on the mac. you can assemble one in 2 minutes (add eyeTv & remote – $250) – unlike a stock Pc where it may or may not work.
    And if your idea of "cool stuff" is at the Gateway – dude, you gotta get out of South Dakota – hell, even Gateway is out of South Dakota. Their big thing is a plasma screen but it’s not even HD – you might be impressed by that but those who don’t rely on press releases or our idiot friends to tell us all our info know that.
    Is Apple perfect – no. But for an analyst, your points are all factually incorrect info and based on information from a few people. Have you even used a Mac for more than 3 minutes? – your itunes/ipod info is just plainly wrong – it’s embarassing. You make several other points in your column but I’m not going to comment on those but I don’t go around epousing opinions on things I’m clearly not familiar with.
    You might hate Steve Jobs or Apple – hey, that’s your choice but you should have the courtesy to actually try out the products before declaring judgment – you shouldn’t just rely on a few other opinions and use that as your judgement – how about actually using some of the "tech" FOR YOURSELF and forming factual-based opinions?
    As for the the other matters related to the marketplace, you’re just wrong – but hey, congrats on hanging on to a 21st century column using facts from the mid to late 20th century – good for you!
    Sorry to blow your cover.

  • Rob,
    Why are you so obsessed with dissing Apple? Hardly an article of yours goes by without you taking a bunch of cheap potshots at a company that is doing it’s best to stay in business and allow Apple employees to keep their jobs in this difficult environment.
    You also seem to have some kind of lunatic obsession with the whole SCO case. Do you ever write an article without mentioning this lawsuit? I honestly don’t think so.

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