Yesterday, I helped proofread my friend Jason’s essay, The Case Against Apple—In Five Parts, which is currently top of Techmeme. It’s an interesting take on the state of Apple that you should all read and that I sincerely hope that someone at Apple reads and listens to.
However, since the essay went live, I’ve been thinking about how Apple would reply to this case, were it actually a trial, or were Apple and Steve Jobs the type of company and CEO that ever listened and responded to users (Apple is not and Jobs is most certainly not. If you disagree with my assessment of you, Steve, I invite you to leave a comment below).
Note: these are not my thoughts on the subject, but rather how I think Apple would respond (but remember: Apple won’t).
- In rebuttal to Destroying MP3 player innovation through anti-competitive practices—Apple doesn’t prevent any manufacturer from making its own MP3 players and our more open DRM free iTunes Plus songs play fine on many devices and can easily be burned to CD and then ripped back to a more compatible MP3 format for other, less functional players. For a while, we did allow 3rd party MP3 players to apply to work directly with iTunes via an API, but we ended that program after finding that too many hardware manufacturers were disinterested in building drivers to support integration between iTunes and their proprietary platforms and expected Apple—a hardware manufacturer that only ever builds software to support the experience offered on our hardware—to spend our resources developing support for every player out there into a piece of our software that we built specifically for Apple computer consumers and owners of our iPods and iPhones. Also, although we think Apple offers the best solution for purchasing and managing music through iTunes, there are plenty of other music management apps and other virtual music stores available in the marketplace for use by customers.
- In rebuttal to Draconian App Store policies that are, frankly, insulting—We have never gone on record blaming AT&T for any of our App Store policies. We ask that this entire section be dismissed as it is based on gossip amongst overly-inquisitive technology reporters who know that writing outrageous stories about us will drive up the traffic on their own pages. Also, again, we are a hardware manufacturer primarily, and we must ensure that the hardware experience of people who choose to use an Apple iPhone is absolutely the best experience we can offer. We reserve the right, as we have noted since day one of opening up development on the iPhone to 3rd party developers, to deny any application that we think could negatively affect the experience of iPhone owners. Note that we do not take any such measures with any of our computers, only with our iPhone and iPod touch:
- For the iPhone, if you look comparatively at the entire smartphone market, the vast majority do not even allow 3rd party applications to be installed and often the applications allowed on the device are controlled by the carrier. Note that T-Mobile and the T-Mobile Sidekick have in the past remotely removed applications. We don’t take things that far. We simply at times determine that offering certain applications is no longer in our, or our customer’s, best interests.
- For the iPod touch, the comparison should really be made to other portable media players and portable video game consoles. Again, the vast majority of our competitors in the portable media arena do not allow any 3rd party software to be installed on their single-purpose devices. As for the various video game consoles out there, none of them have as open a development platform as we offer with the iPhone and iPod touch, as most of them require licensing fees and/or specific development-only hardware that must be purchased from them in order to develop titles for their platforms.
We allow any developer to use any Macintosh computer (which they can also use for other purposes besides development) to submit applications for possible inclusion on our platform, and in that light, we believe we are far more open than any other company in this competitive market.
- In rebuttal to: Being a horrible hypocrite by banning other browsers on the iPhone—We’ll ignore the ad hominem attack for the moment and focus on the browser. Again, in our competitive marketplace, the vast majority of cellular phones and portable media devices do not allow installation of any third party applications, let alone a third party web browsing application that free from our tight control could serve as a security risk to the entire device. While we understand that the powerful experience we’ve made of the iPhone causes many people to confuse it with a full-on computing platform, it is still a mobile telecommunications device, should be compared to the large marketplace of mobile telecommunication devices, and we, as manufacturers of this device, owe it to our consumers to keep the overall experience as safe and secure as can be found on any other mobile telecommunications device. Unfortunately, that means a somewhat more controlled environment than one normally finds in our line of computers.
- In rebuttal to blocking the Google Voice application from the iPhone—as you most likely know, the FCC is currently investigating this so we cannot make any comment. However, one might note that there has been a rise in anti-trust interest in Google, one of our clear competitors who offer both an operating system for cell phones to our competitors in the cell phone hardware space and will soon be offering, by all reports, an operating system for our competitors in the computer hardware space. As you all know, we recently had to ask one of our Board Members to step down specifically due to these conflicts of interest and the rising tide of anti-trust investigations surrounding his company.
In conclusion, while Apple can appreciate Mr. Calacanis’s opinions, we also would suggest that Mr. Calacanis for all his expertise in online ventures lacks the experience that we have running a profitable hardware manufacturer that continues to be the largest minority in a space that is dominated by products running Microsoft operating systems. To take any actions other than those we have taken would not only be actions that we think would lessen the performance and value of our hardware for our consumers, but would also be a miscalculation in the current broader market of our competitors that would amount to a betrayal of the trust our investors have put in us.
The defense rests, your honor.”