A Bite Of A Rotten Apple
by Alex Bennet
from HUSTLER Magazine November 2010
HOW STEVE JOBS RUINED A COMPANY WHILE MAKING IT SUCCESSFUL
When it came to computers, I was a PC guy. Apple was some kind of off-brand that women and touchy-feely “new age” guys seemed to love. Nor did I change my mind when Apple, aware of my on-the-air criticism, gave me one of its computers in an effort to win me over. It was the worst computer I’d ever used.
I steadfastly remained a PC guy until, having lost my radio gig, I took a job as a video editor. Now I had to use an Apple Macintosh with an Apple editing program called Final Cut Pro. Spending hundreds of hours editing, I soon fell in love with my Mac. So I bought an iMac, then a Mac Pro, another iMac and of course iPhones for both the girlfriend and myself. I am saying all this to let you know I no longer hate Apple products. I just hate the manufacturer.
Two Steves, Jobs and Wozniak, started Apple in a garage. What came out of that garage was the first practical personal computer. Recognizing true visionary entrepreneurs, a cult sprang up to root for the underdogs.
However, in spite of Apple’s innovations—a graphical user interface and the mouse—it was still an also-ran. Microsoft and the PC had become huge, largely by stealing from Apple. But through it all, the company’s legion of acolytes and dealerships hung tough.
By 1987 the two Steves were out. Although profits increased under CEO John Scullery,Apple lost whatever charm it had left. And that charm did not return when Jobs was brought back as CEO in 1997 due to declining profits.
Jobs turned the company around by improving its computers with a new and better operating system, but his real success wasn’t in computers at all. In 2001 Apple produced a music player called the iPod. Within six years it had sold over 100 million of them. Then came the iPhone, another great product. However, what had started out as a pretty hip and humane company turned into just another ugly corporate bully.
In the beginning there was the good Steve and the bad Steve. Wozniak was the lovable computer nerd who envisioned a fuzzy computerized future. Jobs saw only money—and lots of it. In combination they were amazing, but now that Woz is out and Jobs is in, Apple has become one mean motherfucker.
If there was ever a company asking for antitrust action, it’s the newly minted Apple Inc. Apple’s operating system can only be installed in machines it manufactures. No clones allowed. Because the Apple system uses an Intel processor, common to all PCs as well, Microsoft Windows can be used on a Mac, but the Mac system can’t be used on a PC because Apple put in a code making that impossible.
Apple’s owned and operated stores are another problem. Gorgeous temples to their leader, Steve Jobs, they are forcing out of business the loyal dealers who stuck with Apple when times were tough. I talked to one dealer, who said he still gets products to sell, but only weeks after the Apple stores get them.
A flagrant example was decades-long Apple dealer MACadam in San Francisco. Apple rewarded the dealer’s loyalty by opening a store just down the street. MACadam went out of business. Granted, MACadam had a crappy reputation, but even assholes should be protected from unfair competition by the very entity that supplies them with products.
A few months back an Apple employee accidentally left a prototype of the next iPhone in a Redwood City, California, bar. It wound up in the hands of a blogger, but not before the guy who found it supposedly tried returning the device to Apple. (The company refused, for who knows what ego-driven reason, to even admit having made it.)
The blogger, Jason Chen of Gizmodo.com, published photos of the misplaced iPhone before returning it to Apple. Next thing you know officers from California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team knocked down Chen’s door while he was out to dinner, confiscating everything electronic the blogger owned.
I must also mention Adobe, a company that makes Flash, the program you use when watching YouTube and such. Apple refuses to allow Flash to work on any of its products, thereby stifling Adobe’s business. Thanks to a suit filed by Adobe, the government is looking into the matter.
Jon Stewart recently said, “Microsoft was supposed to be the evil one. But now you guys [Apple] are busting down doors in Palo Alto while Commandant Gates is ridding the world of mosquitoes. What the fuck is going on?”
Yes, Apple has become the asshole of the world. Now excuse me please. I’m off to the Apple Store to buy an iPad.
Alex Bennett is a longtime HUSTLER contributor. The two-time Emmy winner, who broke into broadcasting as a teenager, can be heard on Sirius Left. 146 (9 a.m. to noon ET) and XM America Left 167 (midnight to 3 a.m. ET).