Cupertino's Charming Charmer

Friday, February 29, 2008

Some folks just walk on water as far as their fans and followers are concerned. When Jim Jones told his 900 or so swooning followers to drink the poisoned Kool-Aid, they drank. You betcha. While a young and rather foolish John F. Kennedy pulled the country to the brink of nuclear destruction, his swooning followers in the press called it "Camelot" (pronounced with a lilt in the voice and a wistful sigh). They still do, come to think of it. When the second-rate actor Ronald Reagan took the reins of government in hand and gave some good speeches, his swooning followers called him the "teflon president".

Much as such behavior is anathema to a rationalist-idealist like myself, realism dictates that it is an inescapable part of reality which we must account for if we are to be halfway serious in our understanding of the nature of the world.

Thus it should come as no surprise that, though many lesser mortals have been forced into jail for robbing the public through options backdating, Steve Jobs's flagrant dips into the till have gone unremarked by his legions of swooning followers. After all, he is the head of "the world's only publically-traded religion".

Sadly, as we have come to learn with the Clintons and others, power corrupts, and the longer one is able to get away with it the more shameless one becomes with one's predations. And so today's news that Apple has secretly set up its operating system to cripple rival software, and the lack of any discernible response to such news among the swooning fans. Microsoft was caught trying the same nefarious trick two decades ago and was punished, as it should have been, for this ethical lapse. It is continuing to pay the price for its misdeeds today. Don't hold your breath waiting for the anguished cries of outrage from the Apple acolytes consumers.

(Full disclosure: the author is an employee of Microsoft Corporation.)


Seneca the Younger said...

Um, MHA, if you follow the link back to the original article about "crippling other applications" and read it, you'll find that (1) the author found out about the issue and how to fix is by reading the Apple documentation, and (2) that he has this update:

Slashdot seems to have picked up on this, and in typical style, has completely misunderstood the post. To be clear, I do not think that Apple is in any way trying to purposely "cripple" non-Apple software. I also do not think that undocumented APIs give Safari any kind of "significant performance advantage" (as Firefox 3 should show!).

I think he's got a point about opening the sources. Just this week I've been reading Solaris sources to figure out some weird behavior (answer: it was a hack). Annoying, but easier than finding a tech note about a behavior that didn't make it into formal tech docs.