October 10th, 2011 | Apple | Technology
[ Check out my latest post on the HP Security Blog: “HP Security and the Internet of Things” ]
From Stallman to Raymond, the favorite counter-tone in recent days has been that jobs was a great marketer and a shrewd businessman, but that he was ultimately a force for evil due to his restriction of freedom of computing. This argument is not even wrong: it’s outright silly.
Consider why it is that BMW is not criticized in the same way. How about Rolex? People who buy BMWs are forced to choose from freedom-restricting “BMW” options instead of pure “car” options, yet we don’t accuse them of hating our freedom. Same with Rolex: they keep making “Rolexy” watches with a blatant disregard for what options consumers may want instead. They allow precisely the type of customization that Apple does — “Here are the options, pick one.”
Yet when Apple does precisely the same thing they’re accused of restricting freedom in computing.
To me this screams one thing very loudly: they have no belief or confidence whatsoever in the alternatives to Apple. Imagine if someone came out in the car industry and said that BMW was restricting freedom by only allowing certain options on their cars. What would the counter-argument be?
Simple: Audi exists. Lexus exists. Mercedes exists. And people know they have the option (an important word) to simply use one of those instead. In order to be angry at BMW for restricting not BMW’s options but all of the car industry’s options, you have to simultaneously make the claim that BMW is the only realistically selectable product on the market.
So is that seriously the argument — that people don’t have options they can go to? Why can’t people use Windows on whatever hardware they want? Or Linux? Are those options so horrible that Apple being better constitutes the restriction of our computing freedom?
This is abject foolishness. Apple is a brand. It’s an option. They are not the Ministry of Technology. They don’t make you buy from them. If you choose them from an open field of competitors then that’s on you. If you don’t like the product options or the ability to customize them with Apple, use something else and hold your tongue.
The fact that you’re claiming Apple is somehow restrictive when there are so many competitors available says nothing about Apple and freedom and instead speaks only to the alternatives and their lack of quality. ::
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