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10.08.10

Apple Distorts the Media

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The sweeter the apple, the blacker the core. Scratch a lover and find a foe!” ~Dorothy Parker

Summary: A closer look at how Apple is fooling a lot of people and how it impedes sharing amongst its very own customers

TECHRIGHTS oppose non-Free software, but it particularly antagonises Apple and Microsoft because they actively suppress use of Free software. They even sue those who make Free software available. Apple — like Microsoft — is a marketing company. It’s in a business of taking commodity PCs (produced in the far east), putting on them an operating system that Apple hardly developed (Apple likes to exploit Free software and it hardly produces any of its own), and then selling it for a high price using perception management, currently the illusion that Mac users are somehow better than their fellow men/women. Apple sells arrogance and it spends an enormous amount of money brainwashing the public in the same way that large fashion brands do (and the cost of brainwash passes to the customer, who pays for these false perceptions to persist). Apple can only ever reach a tiny niche on the desktop because prices are kept artificially high. Without a high price, the whole “I’m rich cause I have a Mac” rhetoric would evaporate.

“There is nothing particularly advanced about hypePad and it lacks some basic functionality which goes almost a decade back.”hypePad is a good example of how fake hype gets generated (sometimes with help from unethical marketing firms [1, 2]). There is nothing particularly advanced about hypePad and it lacks some basic functionality which goes almost a decade back. But anyway, that’s not the purpose of hypePad, it’s not about functionality; it’s more of a fashion item, it’s also a status symbol. Its perceived value is what’s supposed to elevate the perceived value of its user (not owner, as it is not possible to truly own such restrictive gadgets).

Gawker has just published some recent examples where Apple is suspected of manipulating media coverage:

For a man who assiduously avoids the news media, Steve Jobs is incredibly skilled at exploiting his leverage with the press. So skilled, it’s alleged, he turned a top newspaper into a key tool of Apple’s public relations.

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler this morning published a fascinating compilation of stories that Apple may have planted in the Wall Street Journal to distract people from bad Apple news or, in one case, to bolster the company’s buzz and profits. Former Apple marketing manager John Martellaro has written about how and why the company conducts “controlled leaks” to news outlets like the Journal, and there’s reason to think the articles cited by Siegler fall into that category; each served a key role in helping Apple move beyond bad news or sharpen the impact of its good news.

[...]

Making the cheap iPad sound expensive, January 2010, WSJ: Citing analysts, who themselves cite anonymous sources, the Journal reports that the iPad might cost $1,000. This number makes the iPad look all the more incredible when it debuts at $500, which seems like a bargain in comparison to the earlier figure. Siegler suspects Apple leaked the $1,000 figure, presumably either to the analysts or by indicating the Journal that it would safe to cite that number.

[...]

Fair enough; the idea that Apple fed these stories to the WSJ is speculative and backed by circumstantial evidence. Siegler, unlike Swisher, was never part of the traditional journalism establishment; the writer rose up out of the ranks of indy bloggers, algorithimically boosted by Techmeme, plucked out of obscurity by VentureBeat, then artfully poached by TechCrunch. He speaks, in many instances, for the paranoid rank-and-file engineer who knows nothing about how the sausage of journalism is made, but is deeply suspicious of it, and sees conspiracies everywhere.

And who is to say said engineers are wrong, or even misguided? You don’t get too far into the God’s honest truth with an operation as tight-lipped as Apple without a little conjecture and dot-connecting.

Some of the above is too obvious and here is news about Apple rejecting the sharing of files (be it legal or not):

Just a few days ago we broke the news that the first BitTorrent app had been allowed into Apple’s App Store. The developer managed to get it approved despite Apple’s hatred towards BitTorrent. Unfortunately, the fun was soon over as Apple has already kicked the App from the store. The developer is not giving up that easily and hopes to convince Apple they’re wrong.

Given Apple's proximity to the entertainment giants (with financial investments too, via staff), this is not surprising and it’s also why it’s dangerous to let Apple gain power. Apple managers were never too sympathetic towards sharing, let alone software freedom. To them, “freedom” means censorship (as in “freedom from porn” as Steve Jobs put it) and "open source" means code/developers that can be exploited. Contrary to common belief, Apple also abuses (some of) its staff.

Do not allow Apple to manage perception more than it already does. It’s not Disneyland.


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