Some equilibrium, please

First, I guess you need to check the description of equilibrium in the dictionary. Done? Great, let's go to my rant.
I get tired when people criticize the hell out of Microsoft all the time, just for the sake of it. I'm not a Microsoft lover, and I do think they definitely deserve some of the bashing they get. But take a look at these examples:
Microsoft bundles their own web browser, IE, in Windows
While Microsoft are in courts, trying to not get the company split up, Apple bundles their own web browser, Safari, in Mac OS X. No one says anything.
Microsoft includes Windows Media Player in Windows
Microsoft has to battle in the European Union Court to find a compromise. Concurrently, Apple includes iTunes in Mac OS X, and I don't see anyone raving about that either.
How long will it take before someone sues Microsoft for having the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer in Windows XP (and the same time no one will even mention iPhoto)? Also, to me as a Windows user, it's enormously annying that Apple forces me to download iTunes if I only want to download QuickTime to watch a movie clip. I know Microsoft are huge, I know some of the things they do stifle competition. But to me, either something's good business practice or bad business practice, no matter who does it. So please, give me a break; be consistent (and have some self-distance) when it comes to your criticism. Some equilibrium, please.

 

PS. A funny sidenote is that Apple's headquarter is nowhere to be found in MSN's Virtual Earth. DS.
Posted in Apple/Mac,General |

17 Comments

  • The difference between Apple and Microsoft in those examples is that Apple's products aren't the cause of unbelievable amounts of agony, frustration, irritation and hatred.

    Their behaviour is the same, yes, but it's quite obvious (to me) why people don't complain about Apple's behaviour in said examples.

  • Also worthwhile to note is that Apple is a niche market at this point, whereas Windows is dominating. Their enforcements apply to a LOT more people than Apple's, and beyond that, most people who use Apple are doing so by choice, something that can't be said about Windows. At least not until hardware vendors start offering the choice between Windows and Mac OS X (x86) as the default OS.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Faruk,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I can understand why Apple end users don't complain, and I know that their choice of OS has usually been a more active one.

    But what I'm saying here is that they should both be judged the same way, if it's good or bad business practice to bundle certain software inj the OS etc.

    What happens if Apple get 80% of the market? Is it time then for Windows fanactics to encourage lawsuits against Apple for the programs (above mentioned and others) that they include by default in Mac OS X?

  • Kalle Wibeck says:

    Ooh, an OS war coming up ;)

    The only reason Microsoft has been brought to court is that they've been sued, right!? And the onces suing them are of course manufacturers of none-MS alternatives to IE and MediaPlayer.

    It's true that the size of MS plays a big role here, everybody sane software company want a piece of that cake, right!?

    But the question is; Is it fair to treat companies completely different for the same behaviour? No, of course not.

    The same day that everybody wants "a piece of the Mac cake", i believe Mr Jobs can look forward to a court sitting too…

    Faruk: I use MS by choice, it was the first platform I learned and tend to stick to it since my knowledge gives me more advantages in the windows environment… but I was forced to use a Mac while I was working as a webdesigner in a small advertising bureau a few years ago, hmmm I can see a glitch in your arguments here ;)

    // Kalle

  • The impact on bundling software on the Mac might be much less significant than on Windows. And even though the software Microsoft produces is considered 'crappy', it still doesn't justify unfair competition. Bundling is unfair competition, in my opinion.

    Microsoft and Apple have every right to bundle software though. It's their platform, but if we're going to shoot down Microsoft for doing so, at least be consistent and apply the same to everyone else, including Apple. I bet Konfabulator's marketshare on the Mac has dropped significantly with the introduction of Dashboard. Can't believe it has done them any good :-)

    I don't think Robert's entry is as much an attack on Apple, as it really is a wake-up call to people that continiously bitch at Microsoft (or Apple or anyone else for that matter) for being a commercial company.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Kalle,

    Is it fair to treat companies completely different for the same behaviour? No, of course not.

    Jeroen,

    I don’t think Robert’s entry is as much an attack on Apple, as it really is a wake-up call to people that continiously bitch at Microsoft…

    Thank you guys for getting my point! It's not about Microsoft vs. Apple, it's about principles and being consistent in judging.

  • Lars Kasper says:

    Well, there is no problem if a company ships its software with its operating system. And today, an operating system without a browser or a media player is unimaginable. In my opinion, every software company should ship its <abbr title="Operating System">OS</abbr> with elementary, basic software, like a Web browser, mail reader, news reader (one for NNTP, one for RSS/Atom), media player, …

    There is a problem if a company forces the hardware vendors (like Dell, HP, …) to ship the <abbr title="Operating System">OS</abbr> without any addional software. As far as I remember, Microsoft forbade hardware vendors to install additional software like Netscape Navigator, Sun‘s Java, etc. on their products.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Lars,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Regarding your second paragraph: yes, that's when it becomes a problem, as well as bad business practice. But up to that point, it should be up to the company do ship what they want.

  • Henrik says:

    Is equilibrium the correct word for this?

    The swedish word is "jämvikt". Doesn't quite fit… Fairness or objectivity are words I'd opt for perhaps :)

    Anyway, I agree totally with you. Commented something along the same lines at IDG yesterday.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Henrik,

    Is equilibrium the correct word for this? The swedish word is “jämvikt”. Doesn’t quite fit…
    Fairness or objectivity are words I’d opt for perhaps

    I have three replies to that. :-)

    1) This blog is in English, so it doesn’t relly matter what it translates to in Swedish, does it? ;-)

    2) What I was looking for was a word in style with the description linked to above:

    In general, a system is said to be in a state of equilibrium if all influences on the system are cancelled by the effects of others.

    3) Of course, “fairness”and “objectivity” would be good words for it too, but I wanted to use a title for it that would make it stand out a little more. :-)

    Apparently I’m just rambling here! :-)
    Anyway…

    I’m glad that you share my opinions about this. :-)

  • shannon says:

    A side note- wanted to inform anyone interested that there is an installer for QuickTime without iTunes (although it's been hidden well) http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/standalon

  • Robert Nyman says:

    shannon,

    Thanks for the tip!

  • Gustaf says:

    Bundeled softare is nice — it reduces the time it takes to get a working system up and running. Diskspace is cheap and harddrives are large today, so I generally don't see a problem.

    What I do not like is not having the option of selecting what software should be installed (it's also nice to have a range of software to select from, but it's understandable that MS does not want to ship netscape or firefox bundeled or preinstalled with windows). I don't like that interoperability becomes dependency either, but that's besides the point. :)

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Gustaf,

    I guess bundling of software is ok, if the end user gets to choose what's bundled. Mostly what I'm after, though, is just the constant attitude that if Microsoft does it, it's evil, and if Apple does it, it's cool.

  • [...] Mac OS X and Apple products in general, which is overall a good thing, I think; as long as we get some equilibrium, please. Just as with web browsers, what would be really good if we got two or three major players having [...]

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer and its icons appear on my system nio matter what I do, start without my permission, and perform actions I didn't authorize. There's a word for this and it's called VIRUS.

    I really do hate it. Windows should be able to bundle Internet Explorer. It really hurts me to say it as I'd prefer it if they bundled a web browser instead, but they should be able to do it. But I should be able to get rid of it if I want.

    I don't like installing Apple software on Windows. The Safari installer nags me to install iTunes. The QuickTime installer nags me to install iTunes. Why? I don't want iTunes. I also don't want my music to be locked into a proprietary application (iTunes). I don't like iTunes.

    iTunes gives us even bigger problems, as ultimately it comes bundled with all Apple hardware (so I hear) – desktop and laptop PCs, iPhones and iPods…. Try circumventing that horrible iTunes functionality on your handheld, Hell will freeze over.

    Both companies want to tell me what I can and can't do with my personal posessions. Both companies (vista drm) would like to disable my computer indefinitely and without warning if I download an MP3 which might be illegal (read the Vista EULA). This is especially scary from an Operating System which can't even remember which country I'm in or keep track of its daylight saving rules, let alone its intellectual property laws.

    So yes,… Both companies are evil ;) — and both have their place in our world. Each is as bad as the other really BUT I would like it if there were proportionally fewer Windows computers around. Competition fosters innovation! Furthermore I'm unable to run Windows so what I crave is a higher level of software interoperability – ultimately I think this requires a decrease in the Windows market share. Fortunately this is slowly happening according to most statistics sites in a manner similar to how Firefox initially eroded Internet Explorer's browser share (and continues to do so).

  • Max says:

    I understand the standpoint that companies should be treated equally and completely agrees. I also understand that Apples bundling of Quicktime and Safari isn't that much different from Microsofts bundling of Media Player and Internet Explorer.

    There is one thing that differs though. Microsoft was sued because it used its weight as a company in a position of monopoly to "coax" the users into adopting their software at the expense of other solutions. Thus creating an unfair market which directly clashes with the spirit of free competition.

    If Apple ever is in the same position (size) I can almost guarantee that they will be sued in a similar fashion. I can only hope that they take action well before that and implement themselves what Microsoft now is forced to do to prevent public backlash and save face.

    Another, albeit small in this context, difference is that you can delete Safari.app at any time on the Mac, whereas Microsoft insisted that Internet Explorer was so integrated with Windows that it was impossible to separate (which of course not only turned out to be outright BS, it would be extremely poor software engineering too but that is another topic).

    Having said that, I do dislike the fan-boy mentality that you describes. Alas, it exists everywhere. Ranting about it doesn't help, it only feeds the flames. Suffocate them instead.

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