I’m Kicking the Apple Habit

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I just sent this letter to Apple via their feedback form. Those of you that know me know that this is a big deal for me.

I am the owner of many generations of Apple products. From iBooks to Macbook Pros, Macbooks to multiple iMacs, multiple Airport Extremes, Airport Express, AppleTV, every generation of iPhone, three iPods, iWork, iLife, OS X and much more, we’ve owned and paid for it all. I also rely heavily on the incredibly applications that run on OS X, gorgeous and useful as ever.

I have personally convinced at least 10 people to switch to AT&T to the iPhone. I’ve convinced dozens to switch from PC to Mac. I can provide names if prompted.

However, given the treatment of iPhone app developers recently, from Darkslide[1] to Google[2] to the recent Google Voice fiasco[3][4], and the unnecessary lockdown of all of your platforms, I was forced not only to advocate for the increasing wave of jailbreakers, but also to make a startling decision: I’m kicking the Apple habit.

Your treatment of developers sucks. Your treatment of your users sucks. Your treatment of the general public sucks. I’m over it. I’m not buying any more of your products until I see a change. You don’t deserve your customers respect anymore. You still make the best products, but I’m not spending, or encouraging anyone else to spend, another dime with your company until you respect your ecosystem.

OS X only exists because quality developers wrote XNU, Darwin, and BSD. You benefit from that. If those people were treated the way you treat your developers, you’d have no core platform.

I’m anxiously awaiting your next move.

[1] http://speirs.org/2008/09/12/app-store-im-out/
[2] http://www.osnews.com/story/21903/Apple_Rejects_Official_Google_Voice_iPhone_App
[3] http://www.seankovacs.com/index.php/2009/07/gv-mobile-is-getting-pulled-from-app-store/
[4] http://www.riverturn.com/blog/?p=455

10 comments

  1. Apple needs to get a clue that it’s quickly becoming the next Microsoft of the late ’90s (they are behaving fine these days).

    Between their crude app authorization process, the no-background processes allowed, to selling only locked phones, doesn’t sound good to me.

    And I am telling you, in a lot of that shit, there’s AT&T behind it. Think about it: ONLY Google Voice-related apps were removed from the App Store, while previously personally admitted by Schiller himself. Obviously AT&T is afraid of Google, fears the progress of the communication age and what that would mean in their old and arcane business model (just like with RIAA+MPAA). Apple has nothing to lose with Google Voice (if anything, if they add support for it officially they have everything to GAIN from it), but AT&T *has* a lot to lose.

    And then there’s the other thing: AT&T *blocks* EDGE/GPRS support for iphone users with firmware 3.0 (iPhones that were not bought with a contract that is, but from third party stores just like so many other cellphones). This is a complete and utter disrespect of their customers, since the iPhone is just a freaking phone, and yet, they don’t block other phones! I mean, my iPhone is NOT unlocked (it’s still locked to AT&T’s network), and it is NOT jailbroken. And yet, just because I use “pay as you go” instead of their overpriced contract plans (that I simply don’t need), I am now disallowed from using EDGE (since last June)!!!!

    AT&T and Apple both need a class action lawsuit, and I will be sure to contacting EFF about it. I wasn’t going to, but after the latest Google Voice fiasco (where AT&T is _obviously_ behind it), I can’t take anymore their business practices.

    1. Yes, there is NOW a petition on all aspects of the Apple iPhone, AT&T, Google Voice controversy. Please take a few secoonds vote on this Apple iPhone, AT&T, Google Voice Petition at http://bit.ly/UYvkD. You can even make AT&T pay for this by clicking their foolish Google ad beneath the Petition.

  2. I’m curious… In “Shame on Apple”, while angry with Apple, you’re quick to dump on Windows and made it clear that you’re still sticking with Apple (Stockholm Syndrome, or what?) – now you’re saying “I’m Kicking the Apple Habit” by which you mean you’re not actually giving up using Apple products, but just not buying any more (kind of like giving up booze by only drinking light beer, I guess).

    Here’s the thing. Apple – while bewildering in their approach – is doing EXACTLY what they said they’d do. They’ve made it clear, no apps that circumvent the phone carrier, or uses VoIP – both of which Google Voice does. It allows for long distance phone calls routed on the backend over a VoIP system initiated through your voice phone. So yes, it doesn’t do VoIP directly ON the phone, it uses VoIP to provide low cost (free, at the moment) long distance, and a mechanism to redirect your calls away from the cellco.

    Apple also made it very clear: they will determine which apps can and cannot be sold through them, and that they can change the rules pretty much at whim and without explanation.

    So my obvious question is: were none of you actually *listening* when Apple was setting out the rules for the App Store? More importantly, why weren’t you bothered right from day one? Or was this a case of ‘well, it’ll never affect me so who cares?’

    Finally, I enjoyed your snarky “How’s your Windows and IE working out?” Well, that’s a good comeback: it’s ok for my company to be evil as long as it’s not as evil as some other company. Let me guess – it’s ok to jaywalk because some people run red lights? As a long time Mac developer AND a long time Windows developer, I can tell you one thing: Microsoft treats its 3rd party developers with kid gloves compared to how Apple treats theirs.

    And while Windows may not be perfect, at least I’m free to do whatever the hell *I* want to with it. I don’t need a subscription to write apps for Windows Mobile – I don’t need to get my apps approved by anyone – I don’t need a special certificate to distribute my apps – and I get some of the best, most advanced tools on the market. Yes, better than XCode.

    So how it working out?

    A lot better than iPhone OS is for me, that’s for sure.

    1. Jeff, a few things.

      1. Google Voice is not a VoIP app, it uses your AT&T minutes. And the apps WERE approved and in the App Store for months. Only suddenly did Apple pull them, and Apple keeps the part of the app sale they received, so the developer got 70% of the sale, but must refund 100% of the price when granting refunds. So Apple changed the rules mid-game, which is what sparked this.

      2. Apple can make any rules they want, but selectively enforcing them is the cause for “badwill” here. Sometimes they allow certain things, sometimes they don’t, and they refuse to provide any guidelines. So development, right now, is 100% a gamble, even for Google.

      3. As much as I bitch about Apple, I’m much more productive with my Apple stuff than in Windows. So while I intend to continue to use my Apple stuff, I’m not giving them any more money until they get their act together. Your comment, which seems like an all-too-happy prove-me-wrong moment is lost on me, I’m afraid, because my blog is an honest reflection of how I feel at any moment in time.

      I still think IE is a piece of garbage and Safari is based on the best rendering engine in existence.
      I still think OS X has a much more solid foundation (in the form of userland) than NT.
      And furthermore, I still think the tools provided to devs are better quality and therefore, the app landscape is so much nicer on the Mac side.

      You may be free to do whatever the hell *you* want on Windows, but 99% of what’s out there is ugly, useless, poorly written shite. So I hope Apple pulls it together and keeps me a customer, because the grass is not greener.

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