Feb 172011

Despite the fact that competitive individualism is a founding principle of this country, many people have come to equate making money with being evil. Granted, from Madoff to Microsoft, there are a number of examples of “evil” moneymaking, but this derision of success coincides more closely with human nature’s schadenfreude: that innate satisfaction many of us feel seeing successful people and endeavors fail. Apple has all the makings of a company that people want to depict as evil. Apple is incredibly successful; the most headline-dominating brand in technology. They make buttloads of money. They have a CEO who speaks a little too straightforwardly for some sensitive souls. In a sector filled with dweebs that like to tinker, Apple builds its products for everyday people and separates its user experiences from the neckbeards who want to hack them. Apple is a company that some people love dearly and some hate passionately, which provides a whole shadow economy for jackasses to profit from by pitting one group against the other.

So TMA was not at all shocked when the Engadget hordes got wind of Apple’s new subscription model policy. Negative comments (yes, I know I’m an idiot for reading them, let alone responding to them) boil down to:

-30%?! Don’t they make enough money?!
Does anyone know how much it costs Apple to maintain a subscription through iTunes? Apple’s iTunes/App Store infrastructure cost billions to set up – do you think hosting and maintaining subscriptions should be free? And anyway: if the service stays in the AppStore, why the fuck do people care how much Apple takes? Do you think Netflix would pass the savings onto you? As an aside, I don’t agree with all of Apple’s “30% across-the-board” policy. It strikes me as fairer when Apple is doing the hosting and subscription management, as will be the case with periodicals, but Netflix? Notsomuch. If there’s any part of the policy that will end up segregating itself for renegotiation, it’ll be for that portion of content for which Apple is responsible for only managing the customer information.

-If Apple loses Netflix/Amazon/Sirius/insert your possibly-effected-but-still-too-early-to-tell app here, I am so never buying an Apple product again
First of all, do you think Apple just dropped this policy bomb on companies without at least notifying them first? I’m not saying they agreed with it, but you can’t think Apple didn’t approach a cornerstone app like Netflix and say “Listen, we’re starting this subscription model for periodicals and we have to apply it across the board – including you”. And if they didn’t give them a heads-up, shame on them. If individual apps start disappearing from the app store, you can bet your ass Apple will renegotiate the terms. People who think Apple is in some throne-sitting position where it can dictate unreasonable terms without repercussions need to schedule their head-from-ass-ectomies ASAP. Remember Apple’s insistence on the $.99 song, despite the labels’ whining? Well, now there’s variable pricing for music on iTunes, so you can pay for the full value of that Lady Gaga song.

-Apple’s anti-competitive practices are going to land it in anti-trust land
Probably not. I know I’m going against the wisdom of several dozen TechCrunch commenters, but you have to have a controlling interest in a market before you can abuse that market. Last I checked, there’s not a specific market called “good tablet computers”; even the sub-category of devices that Apple’s iPad dominates is populated by a few other knock-offs like the Galaxy Tab. Now that Apple has shown the entire tech sector that there is a huge market for these devices as well as what size the device should be, 2011 is going to be flooded with iPad wannabes.

-Google’s devices and One Pass system is getting my business now
Leave it to Google to take advantage of a sucking wound, or in this case the howling maws of publishers and pundits complaining about Apple’s 30% cut. Google recently announced a subscription maintenance plan that would charge publishers a low, low 10% fee. If you act now, Google will even give subscriber information for free. Apple, on the other hand, makes people opt-into allowing publishers access to customers’ information, something that protects the customer, but pisses off publishers. Google, obviously, has no such qualms about whoring out having users’ information parsed in exchange for a better deal and a knock-off product. It’s a big part of their current business model.

As usual, this whole brouhaha boils down to a small number of irate freetards and pundits that are paid to pit fanboys and freetards against each other talking down a policy by Apple that makes businesses pay to use Apple’s infrastructure and doesn’t let them have their way with your data unless you choose. Same ‘ol, same ‘ol.

Leave a Reply

  • RSS
  • Twitter
%d bloggers like this: