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Archived entry | Matt Wilcox .net

The trouble I have with Apple

Goes beyond my iTunes rant. The problem is that Apple are every bit as bad as Microsoft in terms of attitude and business practice. They always have been.

The latest bit of under-hand tactics by Apple is to, by default, include Safari 3.1 on the iTunes update. The trouble is that it will download and install Safari even if you’ve never had it on your Windows box. And there is a fundamental problem: it’s unethical. iTunes update is supposed to update iTunes, it is not supposed to install completely separate software, and an ‘opt-out’ is not good enough - new software is opt-in, not opt-out. What Apple are doing with their update software turns it dangerously close to being Malware. And, were this Microsoft bundling a totally separate program on the back of an ‘update’ for another program, you can be sure that Apple would be crying foul and shouting about anti-competitive practices. And they’d be right to do so; which is why it is galling that Apple choose to walk this path.

Another example of Apple saying one thing but doing another is evident in the UI of its Windows applications. Apple insist that developers for the OSX platform stick with the OSX UI guidelines, the reason being that to deviate from the Apple UI would be detrimental to the user experience. I agree. Which is why it is galling that Apple choose to ignore the Windows UI in their applications, in order to try and emulate the OSX chrome on a Windows system. Achieving a satisfactory experience for neither the Windows user nor the OSX user. AS an example of problems posed by not sticking to the normal Windows chrome: The nod to the Windows style ‘minimize maximize close’ buttons are not in keeping with the Windows UI elements, being the wrong size and position. It means that if you try minimising a bunch of windows you invariably get stuck at iTunes because it’s minimise button isn’t in quite the right place (for example).

In short, my experience of Apple is that their products are not especially well designed (see the iTunes rant), their attitude to their users is unacceptable, and they are hypocrites. So I don’t trust Apple as a company any more than I trust Microsoft, and it’ll take a lot for that to change.


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  1. Ben posted 46min, 16sec after the entry and said:

    Im not getting this angle your taking here, I got a messege when itunes updated, asking would I like to install Safari?, No thanks, end of, done,whats the problem? There offering the user a choice ? Its such a vague issue and so not worth getting so upset about, of course software developers will try to offer other products they have made, its bussiness, end of. Iv never seen a product of any kind in any sales where they dont try and offer you something else, whats the difference here? Is every other thing ever sold also an unethical bussiness practice as a shop or online store or whatever try and offer you something all the time ? Maybe even things you didnt want ? Things you didnt even think you needed? is that also unethical? Or bussiness ?, people try and ram whatever they can make money out of down your throats, of course thats life, the amount of sales pitch I get and annoying messeges on amazon sayin 'look at this, look at that' is alot less than itunes saying 'do you want safari' ? I pressed no and thats end of, no pop up hell. So im sure you can see what im saying, this unethical bussiness I just dont get, there a bussiness not a charity.

  2. Matt Wilcox posted 18hrs, 43min, 42sec after the entry and said:

    A program updater is a program updater. It is not a gateway for sneaking other products onto the users computer. By abusing the nature of a program updater you lose the trust of the user. I do not want to have to double check every time a program has an update to ensure that some crap I have not requested isn't also going to make its way onto my machine.

    By all means notify the user of a new product, but do not have that product auto-download and install by default. It's wrong, wrong, wrong. It's an abuse of the updater, and an abuse of the trust of the user. If you don't get why that is unethical, then perhaps you're too used to bending over backwards to corporate interests instead of understanding that software houses exist to serve the user, not the other way around.
    More eloquently put here

  3. Neal G posted 2 days, 2hrs, 26mins after the entry and said:

    I absolutely hate how they bundle itunes+quicktime+safari together. Quicktime is probably the 1# program I hate of all programs ever. Itunes is an ok program and I have no use for Safari other than testing. It appears that adobe has become just as evil since acrobat has become very bloated and they bundle the google toolbar with that as well now. I always first look for a portable alternative to everything so I don't need to fill up my registry with unnecessary entries.

    One has to wonder if Apple was in Microsoft's position (or really any company for that matter) how different would they act? I mean at the end of the day, every company needs and wants to make money.

  4. Matt Wilcox posted 2 days, 2hrs, 51mins after the entry and said:

    Oh don't start me on Adobe. Their programs are getting very bloated (well, they are on the tenth generation building atop of each older program now), with the exception of Lightroom and AIR. But their installers. Oh my word, I have such a hatred of their 'home-brew' installers. Almost everything Adobe do right now annoy me, including requiring me to download and install some stupid 'download manager' to get their latest demos.

    And once eventually aquired, why is it REQUIRED that I close Firefox even if UNinstalling an Adobe product? Hey Adobe, I'm multi-tasking. I need my FF, I'm using it, I'm downloading stuff. Why do you feel the need to rob my very expensive multi-task orientated PC of it's ability to multi-task?

    And Adobe installers are so incredibly slow no matter what they are doing. Painfully, incomprehensibly slow.

    I am really hating Adobe products right now, with the exception of Lightroom (PS CS3 won't even load, just crashes out). You can tell Lightroom it's a totally new product, it's small, fast, and not crashy. Unlike, oh I don't know, Photoshop? *massive frown at Photoshop*

    They need a re-think on their download procedure, their installers, and their products. They all suck as 'experiences' right now.

  5. Chris K. posted 6 days, 8hrs, 48mins after the entry and said:

    My 2 cents:

    Personally, I don't take much issue with Apple's 'installation practices.' I'm actually quite impressed with the entry level applications that are bundled with the new OS.

    But I can't argue the point about Adobe and their ongoing tendency to bloat their software to the point where I HATE to even start up any CS3 applications. My god, it's ridiculous.

    I haven't tried Lightroom, but in defense of the Adobe Photoshop team, from my experience its probably the most stable piece of software I own.

  6. Matt Wilcox posted 8 days, 15hrs, 17mins after the entry and said:

    I'm not the only person that thinks Apple is every bit as bad as Microsoft from an ethical/business practice standpoint. Here's the developer of the popular Scrivener application (which I wish I wish I wish had a windows or Linux port…)

    "I don't why I'm so surprised - I guess it's just years of Macheads telling me that Microsoft were evil and Apple were Good. When you finally switch to a Mac and develop for the platform for a few years, you soon realise that Apple are just as bad as MS - they just happen to be much smaller and less popular."


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