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Steve's a Bad Bad Boy (Again)

Time for another inconsequential knuckle rap?

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CUPERTINO/WASHINGTON (Rixstep) — Nothing new here, folks. Steve Jobs and Apple are pissing people off again. Move along!

This time it was a pretty bold move.


CUPERTINO California February 15, 2011 — Apple® today announced a new subscription service available to all publishers of content-based apps on the App Store™, including magazines, newspapers, video, music, etc. This is the same innovative digital subscription billing service that Apple recently launched with News Corp's 'The Daily' app.

Unfortunately Rupie's the only one signed up for it so far. The other publishers are as one up in arms and the DOJ and the FTC are currently investigating antitrust violations.

As they should. Apple's 'iPee' devices and their 'app stores' are closed ecosystems. No one gets in without Apple's approval. Publishers have to render unto Caesar Jobs 10% 30% of the revenues they used to keep for themselves.

This is the same thing Jobs/Apple did with software first on the iPees and now on a limited basis (for now) on their computer OS. But the switch is in place even there and independent vendors can be locked out with a few lines of code and an OS point update at any time.

Johnny Evans wrote about it in Computerworld just over a week ago.


'Support for signed binaries isn't new. It has existed within Mac OS X since the introduction of v.10.5. In use you might have seen an application request Keychain access following an upgrade; if you have then that piece of software is not using a signed binary. All your other applications which don't request such access are.'

Johnny also refers to another (prophetic) article from November last year.


Amongst other amazing things, Apple tried to ban publications that discussed the competitive Android platform.

Johnny went on to quote this site.

'Once Apple activate their iP*-type kernel then no one can put anything on their computers Apple won't approve of. Just look at the ridiculous rules for their App Store now.'

And all this is possible because Apple moved their 'iPee' devices towards a security model parallel with Microsoft Windows and then locked application launches in their kernel - something that can (and most likely will) be done at any time in OS X. Give it time.

Taking 30% - or as Jobs so coyly puts it: letting vendors keep 70% - is unparalleled in the industry. Online merchants normally take about 10% plus an insignificant administration fee - roughly 10-15% all told. Online merchants don't control content. They seem to believe we're all living in free countries with free ecosystems. As we should.

Apple and Jobs are easing the fanboys into it all. Coaxing them into the walled garden. Now the app store is built into OS X - no need to go through iTunes anymore. Apple will take care of everything - and also rewrite the rules of software licensing. No room for enterprise client discounts anymore for example. But Apple and Jobs hate the enterprise anyway.

So far most of the major news organisations have written about the backlash and the DOJ/FTC investigation - links below.

Keep looking for the exit signs. Check the hinges aren't rusty.

You have to jump out of the system, tear down the safety gates, peel away the layers of abstraction that the computer provides for the vast majority of people who don't want to know how it all works. It's about using the Copy ][+ sector editor to learn how the disk operating system boots, then modifying it so the computer makes a sound every time it reads a sector from the disk. Or displaying a graphical splash screen on startup before it lists the disk catalog and takes you to that BASIC prompt. Or copying a myriad of wondrous commands from the Beagle Bros. Peeks & Pokes Chart and trying to figure out what the fuck I had just done. Just for the hell of it. Because it was fun. Because it scared my parents. Because I absolutely had to know how it all worked.
 - Mark Pilgrim Tinkerer's Sunset

See Also
WSJ Online: Regulators Eye Apple Anew
Reuters: US regulators probe Apple subscription plan
Businessweek: US Said to Examine New Apple Service for Violations
Telegraph: Apple's new subscription service catches anti-trust regulator's eye

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