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Apple's Mistake

Apple as evil? One thing leads to another.


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It takes a lot of moxie to position oneself alongside IBM. But Steve Jobs did it. Jobs painted himself and his fledgling company as the archenemies of Snow White.

That wasn't what the copywriter for the 1984 Macintosh ad had in mind but that's what Steve Jobs spun it off as. Even though Apple were never in IBM's league and even though Apple's archenemy was actually the open Z80 CP/M platform.

Today the roles are reversed and Apple are more and more perceived as the enemy they so pretentiously pretended to oppose 25 years ago. Paul Graham cites the Steve Hayden text of the original ad as evidence of a karma boomerang.

Today we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created for the first time in all history a garden of pure ideology where each worker may bloom secure from the pests purveying contradictory and confusing truths. Our unification of thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people with one will, one resolve, one cause! Our enemies shall talk themselves to death and we will bury them with their own confusion.

We shall prevail.


The Apple reputation is in more danger than ever, says Graham. The App Store harmed them more than anything they've ever done. 'Now a lot of programmers have started to see Apple as evil.'

Indeed. But is it just the App Store?

'They get away with maltreating developers in the short term because they make such great hardware', says Graham. 'I just bought a new 27 inch iMac a couple days ago. It's fabulous. The screen's too shiny and the disk is surprisingly loud but it's so beautiful that you can't make yourself care.'

'So I bought it, but I bought it for the first time with misgivings. I felt the way I'd feel buying something made in a country with a bad human rights record. That was new. In the past when I bought things from Apple it was an unalloyed pleasure. Oh boy! They make such great stuff. This time it felt like a Faustian bargain. They make such great stuff but they're such assholes. Do I really want to support this company?'

Indeed. But why do people care if Apple are indeed - as Steve Jobs himself has suggested - a bunch of arseholes?

'Why are programmers so fussy about their employers' morals?' wonders Graham. 'Partly because they can afford to be. The best programmers can work wherever they want. They don't have to work for a company they have qualms about.'

Indeed. But is it just the App Store? And wouldn't you know - today Spotify released a new mobile client for no less than 28 (twenty eight) platforms. On the same day. They themselves count 25 but others have found the software runs on even more - Nokia, Ericsson, and Samsung devices. The complete list is currently:

Nokia 5230, Nokia 5320 XpressMusic, Nokia 5530 XpressMusic, Nokia 5630 XpressMusic, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia 6120 Classic, Nokia 6210 Navigator, Nokia 6220 Classic, Nokia 6710 Navigator, Nokia 6720 Classic, Nokia 6730 Classic, Nokia E51, Nokia E52, Nokia E63, Nokia E66, Nokia E71, Nokia E75, Nokia N78, Nokia N82, Nokia N85, Nokia N86 8MP, Nokia N95, Nokia N95 8GB, Nokia N96, Nokia N97, Nokia N97 Mini, Samsung GT-I7110, Samsung i8910 Omnia HD, Sony Ericsson Satio.



The software is downloaded directly from the Spotify website. No App Store, no approval process. There's code signing gunk in there but it's not Apple's.

Signature-Version: 1.0
Created-By: 1.0 (Android)
SHA1-Digest-Manifest: UHpurjwe0FBLgfcK8nYZmMOFb/U=

Manifest-Version: 1.0
Created-By: 1.0 (Android)

At the same time the world's first malicious iPhone worm is spotted in the Netherlands. This one works the same way the others do - by exploiting the clueless who jailbreak their devices, put in SSH, and then brilliantly opt to keep their default authentication in place.

And sure, it's their fault if they get clobbered - this variant is looking for banking credentials so it's not just a Rickroll - but seriously: how good is a device if once the code sign mechanism is broken there's no security left at all?

And yet that's what those geniuses at Apple have done: they're selling a mobile device with no innate security whatsoever - and this with a system based on one of the most secure in the world.

The jailbroken iPhone runs essentially with the security of Microsoft Windows.

Not that Apple have much of an alternative anymore - they've sealed their fate. They have to seal all applications with their own root certificate or their whole house of cards comes tumbling down.

This isn't about jailbroken devices with well known passwords. This is about what will most certainly go down in history as the dumbest design move of the first ten years of the new millennium.


But Apple like to play nanny. And it's not just the App Store as Paul Graham believes. Such is the entire history of Apple computer. A company where Steve Jobs likes to concentrate on the 'whole banana'. Time for a walk down memory lane.

√ NeXTSTEP was an open system and OPENSTEP was an even more open system. Both ran on FreeBSD which is an extremely open system. And yet once Apple purchased NeXT they began systematically closing things off. The 'open Darwin' project, run by an Apple employee, was closed by an Apple employee as it became obvious Apple didn't want to cooperate. Apple can boast all they want how their WebKit is open but their operating system kernel isn't because they don't want it to be. Even though it's based on a kernel that's completely open and competes with the most famous open kernel of them all - Linux.

√ Apple police their own forums mercilessly. They take away posts that can be embarrassing for the company rather than address the issues at hand and ensure customer satisfaction. They take away posts protesting the fact they take away posts. And so on.

√ They run what Anandtech call a 'hodgepodge system' - a system that's really two systems in one. This to please those followers who believe in adhering to the Information Purification Directives.

√ They hire on Guy Kawasaki to create a cult out of a household device. This is the ultimate irony when put up against the 1984 ad - they're deliberately engendering the type of mindset they so hypocritically proclaim they're fighting.

√ To a one they're defensive. They're defensive in almost everything they do. And the reason is probably that they don't collaborate much with the rest of the industry. They get defensive because they're never sure they're right. They got knocked out of the enterprise market because they kept tripping up over their own feet. Today their enterprise strategy is - get ready - to 'hope' things pick up again. Great strategy. Developers new to their platforms are invariably enthusiastic; those who've been around a while and built up vested interests quickly turn snarky and unpleasant - perhaps the most unpleasant in the industry.

Jobstown is no nicer a place than Jonestown was. The one thing Jobs has over Jones is that Jones never released an iPhone.

Today we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created for the first time in all history a garden of pure ideology where each worker may bloom secure from the pests purveying contradictory and confusing truths. Our unification of thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people with one will, one resolve, one cause! Our enemies shall talk themselves to death and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail.
 - Steve Hayden
It is now 1984. It appears IBM wants it all. Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money. Dealers initially welcoming IBM with open arms now fear an IBM dominated and controlled future. They are increasingly turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom. IBM wants it all and is aiming its guns on its last obstacle to industry control: Apple. Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry? The entire information age? Was George Orwell right about 1984?
 - Steve Jobs

See Also
Spotify: Spotify for Nokia and More
Spotify: Spotify for Symbian Phones
Electric Pig: Spotify on Symbian Arrives
Paul Graham: Apple's Mistake (November 2009)
NPR: A Look Back at Apple's Super Ad (2004-02-01)
BBC: New Iphone Worm Can Act Like Botnet Say Experts
Electric Pig: Spotify on Symbian: Everything You Need to Know
Mashable: A New iPhone Worm is Here And This Time It's Malicious [WARNING]

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