Social Question

jerv's avatar

Are Apple's business practices a good thing?

Asked by jerv (31046points) May 14th, 2011

Apple insists on total control over it’s hardware and software. Some calm that that is one of their strengths and what makes their products superior to everything else.

But their App Store’s policies are forcing companies out of business and may lead to other problems that may wind up hurting consumers, and possibly even Apple in the long run.

So what I want to know is this; how long can Apple keep operating like this? I’ve seen them do some odd things over the years, but I have also seen them change direction a few times. How long can they go in their current direction without either killing the market, alienating developers, or just cutting their own throats?

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11 Answers

marinelife's avatar

A long time with the popularity of their ipads and ipods and iphones.

dabbler's avatar

I agree it’s a mixed bag.
The control of hardware and software makes it a lot more possible to provide the “it just works” experience (although anyone who spent much time with any computer knows it’s not that simple).
On the other end of the spectrum Apple are suing Samsung because their tablet is black and has rounded corners too. Egad, c’mon folks!!
I think they can go on a long long time in this fashion as most of their fan base aren’t paying attention to things like that and especially because nobody else offers them “it just works” as effectively. ...and they have a Lot of cash on hand.
They seem to be making new markets that other companies are helping to expand rather than killing them. Developers put up with capricious app policies because for most of them it’s just hoops to jump through on the way to a good market.
At the end of the day Apple are behaving as any other corporation out there, making a buck in any and every way they can.

mrrich724's avatar

I think it’s why every time I buy Apple, I LOVE it. I don’t think it will hurt them any time soon. And even with alienating developers as a concern, that’s not enough.

Look at Nintendo . . . They are still thriving, and they are not developer friendly.

jerv's avatar

@mrrich724 What about the possibility of not having any e-books or other electronic publications? Isn’t part of the charm of an iPad that you can use it as an e-reader?

jrpowell's avatar

@dabbler :: “On the other end of the spectrum Apple are suing Samsung because their tablet is black and has rounded corners too. Egad, c’mon folks!!”

It isn’t about hardware. It is about software.

dabbler's avatar

Part of their suit is “that Samsung’s tablet, like Apple’s, uses a similar rectangular design with rounded corners, similar black border and array of icons”
link
Besides some software patents the suit(s) are about design and “trade dress” (copyrighted).

jerv's avatar

I was under the impression that the Samsung suit was a proxy battle since Apple can’t get at Google directly or otherwise kill Android™ in one fell swoop. Why else would they sue someone who supplies rather important parts for some of their biggest products? Maybe they don’t want to take on Motorola?

Maybe I just find it ironic that they tried similar moves against Microsoft when Windows was starting to make a splash only to be shot down when Xerox stepped in and pointed out where the Mac OS came from.

dabbler's avatar

@jerv good question what are they up to ! Apple depend on Samsung for their high-falluttin A4/A5 processors for the IPad among other things (the A5 is the new dual-core ARM processor in the iPad2). I’m wondering if they are hoping for a patent/license swap.

rawrgrr's avatar

Designing “the whole widget” usually leads to a higher quality product and better user experience. And it’s not like Apple’s the only one! (Hello XBox, PS3, Nintendo, Kindle and Zune)

“When hardware and software makers were focused on winning business clients, price and interoperability were more important than the user experience. But now that consumers make up the most profitable market segment, usability and design have become priorities. Customers expect a reliable and intuitive experience — just like they do with any other consumer product.” -Wired

Also Apple has created waaaayy more market for developers than it’s destroyed, that’s for sure (and the way the question is worded makes it seem the opposite). It’s very sad to see that happen to a business (but I don’t get why they would rather go out of business instead of at least changing the app from free to $0.99 or something).

Do you think that your anger towards Apple is more towards what you believe is morally ‘wrong’ instead of what is best for the average consumer?

rawrgrr's avatar

Edit: I shouldnt have worded the last phrase like that, going out of business isnt good for anyone

jerv's avatar

@rawrgrr Just out of curiosity, how much does Microsoft make from every Xbox game sold? I would wager that it’s less than 30%. But there are a whole host of other issues as well.

For your second point, the app wasn’t the money maker. Look at the cost of a PS3; pretty low for what you get, and not exactly profitable for Sony. Now look at the price of games; that is where the money is for them. Your suggestion would not work in this case. Now, if it were a game instead of a gateway then you would have a valid point, but it would also be a whole other ballgame.

“Best for the average consumer” is subjective at best. I personally believe that freedom of choice is a good thing whereas Apple seems to want to do the choosing for you. I believe that while making things intuitive is good, making them so simple that your brain atrophies is bad (I believe I touched on that in a recent PM to you), especially if done in a way that restricts choice. To make matters worse, they really aren’t any simpler or more intuitive than others; they just get the credit for being so due to PR and the coattails of their innovations twenty years ago.

Lastly, it may surprise you, but I don’t actually hate Apple. I respect them for much of what that have done. However, I do hate the way they operate. I am not a fan of megalomaniac bullies no matter how cool their products are. I want them to just STFU, take some of the money they are spending on lawyers, and dump it into more R&D. I want their next generation of products to actually be an improvement instead of a facelift. Basically, I want them to either live up to their reputation or stop acting like they own the world. I really don’t think they want what is best for the world; I think they want what is best for their shareholders and Steve’s ego. If it were otherwise then they would listen to their critics a bit more, and stop acting like they are the 800 pound gorillas of electronics.

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