Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Apple Backs Off DMCA Threats Against Wiki

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the red-light-green-light dept.

Censorship 143

netbuzz writes "A wiki operator who was pressured by Apple's legal team into removing anonymous discussions about circumventing the company's music-playback software for iPods and iPhones says he is relieved that Apple has backed off and he'll be able to restore the disputed material. Apple dropped its claims of copyright and DMCA violation against BluWiki only under legal pressure of its own in the form of a lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation."

cancel ×

143 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Without a Care for the Consumer (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28794517)

In November 2008, Apple sent a series of legal threats to the operator of BluWiki, alleging that these hobbyist discussions about interoperability ...

Right because we wouldn't want hobbyists out there devoting their free time to making a hardware device more supported, interoperable, functional, etc. That would be horrible. It's funny how my operating system of choice was created from just that.

You know, I have to ask: what's Apple's motive here? Because if I made a hardware product and someone developed a new novel way to utilize it, my sales would increase. Sure people might not be using my software that goes with the hardware but who cares? Sales of these devices can go nowhere but up. All I can think of relating this to is game consoles. Which--up until the PS3 & Yellow Dog Linux--they have been very wary of people using for alternative purposes for the sole reason that pricing schemes have long involved a loss on the console with massive profits raked in on licensing titles to the console. So you don't want your XBox360 turned into a Linux server never to play a game again or Microsoft just took a loss (not sure if they still take losses on that console, just an example).

So what's up, is Apple selling iPods at a loss with the expected return being iTunes Music Service sales? Or even the monetary value they assign to having iTunes and Quicktime on the consumer's computer?

If a hobbyist or start up company or anyone figures out a way to utilize iPod hardware in new ways, don't consumers have a right to purchase/use this? I don't recall signing a contract when I bought my iPod shuffle. And, as a consumer, I will state that the more functionality the better. This is why I hate that Apple bullies people out of using their iPods with different software and stops hardware makers from integrating with iTunes directly. It's borderline monopolistic in the same way IE was bundled with Windows.

... discussions about circumventing the company's music-playback software for iPods and iPhones ...

After digging through the EFF documents, I'm not sure who to believe here. The story, the EFF and the wiki operator claim it was a discussion about doing this and it was not actually implemented. But from Apple's latest letter [eff.org] :

As you know, Apple's objection about the "iTunesDB Pages" (as referenced in your complaint in this matter), sent to OdioWorks over seven months ago, centered on the publication of certain Apple code on those Pages. Since that time, Apple has stopped utilizing the code in question, rendering the code obsolete for the purposes at issue in this action. Publishing that code is no longer of any harm or benefit to anyone.

So I am to believe that there was a potential exploit in the Apple code that the wiki pages talked about exploiting and Apple has since removed/patched that code to be non-exploitable? I don't think Apple backed down, I think they just stopped discussion until they could render the exploit a non-issue.

Control fetish (1)

siloko (1133863) | more than 5 years ago | (#28794633)

Two things:

First, this is what you get when the lawyers hold sway over the techies and visionaries.

Second, why o why don't modern companies just stfu with their legal hollering and get on with making products? If they make good products customers will come flocking and that in and of itself secures brand loyalty.

Re:Control fetish (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795003)

Third:

Fucking Apple... how can you not hate this self serving, pissing-in-the-face-of-every-consumer company?

Don't get me wrong, I hate all companies. Some more, some less. Not because I'm bitter, but because only idiots are unaware of the fundamental concepts of trade. It's a battle between the seller and buyer, and only an idiot consumer sides with the seller. The consumer, aka buyer, is supposed to pressure the seller to lower prices and increase quality and terms. The whole point of trading is to make profit, and of course not always in monetary means.

Re:Control fetish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28798095)

The whole point of trading is to make profit, and of course not always in monetary means.

No, the point of trading is to exchange things you don't want/need for things you do want/need.

You've just revealed (1)

marcus (1916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28798281)

That you don't know what profit is.

Re:Control fetish (3, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795283)

Chief, this has nothing to do with lawyers taking over a company. Anyone who has ANY knowledge of Apple's history, especially under Steve Jobs, knows the man and the company he drives has a hard on for absolute control over their devices.

If Steve could find a way to make it profitable, he'd officially stop selling hardware and start leasing.

Re:Control fetish (2, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795873)

He's the CEO of a corporation. He makes decisions that he sees as the profitable ones. That's what CEOs are supposed to do. If CEOs didn't have that instinct then none of us would have any sort of cheap hardware to run our choice of OS and software on.

Re:Control fetish (3, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796077)

And he's also a human with a personality, which influences those decisions based on his world view, likes, dislikes, and etc.

He could just as easily make money hand over fist if he loosen his death-like grip over Apple products and allowed others to play. Licensing money is 'easy' money. He doesn't because he has a control fetish.

Re:Control fetish (1, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796379)

He could just as easily make money hand over fist if he loosen his death-like grip over Apple products and allowed others to play.

Plenty of people and companies "play". There are countless products and open source projects that interoperate with Apple products.

The particular niches which Apple tries hard to defend are a tiny proportion, and all have sound business reasons. So yes, it really is about making profit, not character flaws.

Re:Control fetish (2, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795679)

First, this is what you get when the lawyers hold sway over the techies and visionaries.

Sounds to me more like a legal department that is granted too much independence. "Defend our property, I'm assuming because we pay you so much that you know what's reasonable and what should warrant a lawsuit."

I often find that I'm naive when I assume things about companies though.

Second, why o why don't modern companies just stfu with their legal hollering and get on with making products? If they make good products customers will come flocking and that in and of itself secures brand loyalty.

It's more than just lawsuits. DRM is of course another example of companies foolishly wasting more effort trying to maximize profit than they do making things that are actually profitable.

If you're spend X dollars developing a product and then spend 2X dollars making sure you get all the money you can out of selling it, you need to be sure you couldn't have made even more money in the long term by spending that 2X$ on another product. Do companies actually do that ever? I don't work at any of them, but it doesn't seem like they do.

Apple is the new Microsoft (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28794643)

>> Right because we wouldn't want hobbyists out there devoting their free time to making a hardware device more supported, interoperable, functional, etc. That would be horrible. It's funny how my operating system of choice was created from just that.

In other words, Apple is the new Microsoft. I am sure this will be moded down very soon, but since the time Apple has hit jackpot with ipod/iphone, they have shown their true colors.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (4, Insightful)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 5 years ago | (#28794989)

No, they really are. In the past 5-10 years, Apple has risen to a staggering level of popularity, but what has been the end result? More lock-in, more bullying. I think it's important to put this in perspective- Apple eventually dropped their lock-in DRM from the iTMS (but not until more than a year after some of their competitors, like Amazon), and they replaced it with encrypted iPod indexes and legal abuse like this. I understand why they're popular amongst certain groups, but to me they just seem so opposed to the hacker/geek ethos that used to be the rule at places like Slashdot.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (3, Insightful)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795311)

And Apple is getting lambasted sometimes for the wrong reasons just like MS now. Go figure.

I think it's important to put this in perspective- Apple eventually dropped their lock-in DRM from the iTMS (but not until more than a year after some of their competitors, like Amazon)

That is because they were fighting to keep the $1.00 price for all their songs while the record industry wanted tiered pricing. Apparently Apple lost that negotiation in the end...not that you noticed.

For the other Apple related topics...

  • You know Pre did what they did for the publicity. Palm is not stupid.
  • Developers also know that Apple frequently breaks unofficial APIs. Even Palm devs. This hasn't changed for more than a decade.
  • Do you think it's better for the Pre to have it's compatibility broken earlier, or later when there is a huge install base?
  • Fixing a TIFF exploit that let users jailbreak (and maybe alternatively get a virus from a webpage) is a major hole. What did you expect them to do? Try to write around the jailbreak code to make sure it works?

Yes, Apple is overly controlling and I personally don't own anything Apple. They should have an API for syncing with iTunes etc. But at least try to keep your comments in perspective please. It doesn't help anyone. Thank you.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (5, Insightful)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795659)

Huh? I never mentioned the Pre, which 90% of your comment is about. As for jailbreaking... that's the point. You shouldn't HAVE to rely on a security flaw to do what you want with a phone you own. Apple can even keep their draconian marketplace rules if they want, they just need to let people install apps without going through the app store. This is what Windows Mobile does, and you know what? When your platform is significantly less open than Windows Mobile, you're doing something very wrong.

As it stands Apple won't even allow a C64 emulator [slashdot.org] because that could let you run C64 games for the iPhone they haven't approved of you playing. WTF? Seriously, what argument is there for that other than Apple being obsessive control freaks?

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795985)

When your platform is significantly less open than Windows Mobile, you're doing something very wrong.

Sales figures for iPhone are 600% up on the year ago quarter. That seems to indicate they are doing something very right, given that they're a business, not a club for hackers.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (5, Insightful)

tomtomtom (580791) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796965)

Sales figures for iPhone are 600% up on the year ago quarter. That seems to indicate they are doing something very right, given that they're a business, not a club for hackers.

How sustainable is that though? At the moment, Apple have the advantage because people don't realise you can put "apps" on other phone models and noone else has a simple "store" for them.

When (not if) that changes, their stupid approval model for apps will ensure that developers focus their efforts elsewhere [slashdot.org] .

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#28800325)

Remember it's not enough for another company to be as good as Apple's App Store. They'd actually have to be significantly better to change people's loyalties. There's no sign of that. And Apple hasn't stopped improving their platform yet, so that leapfrogging will be hard to do.

Ref: 1001 "iPod killers" that have been heralded in the tech press and slashdot. Not a single one has managed to take significant market share from the iPod, let alone over take it.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (2, Insightful)

babblefrog (1013127) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797019)

By that measure, Microsoft is doing everything even more right, since they own the desktop OS market.

I think we are using differing definitions of 'right', here.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797607)

Microsoft was doing illegal things to ensure, they owned the desktop OS market.

There fixed that for ya!

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#28800547)

Read again. Microsoft is doing *SOMETHING* right is the extension, not everything. And sure, when they were gaining market share they were, it didn't just happen. However now, Microsoft is losing market share in most or all markets.

That's because the old ones all blew up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28797203)

no text

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (2, Insightful)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797499)

>> Sales figures ....

I am sure you believe Briney Spears is one of the best singers ever!

Who is arguing they have the best selling music players and best selling phones? We are not debating popularity here. We are debating behavior of the company.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#28800675)

No, again by logical extension of what I said one can only say that she's doing something right. Not necessarily singing.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 4 years ago | (#28800743)

So, in your opinion, 'right' means making shitload of money. Closed/open/lock-in/lawsuits/suicide/secrecy does not figure at all in that. And that's the reason I mentioned singing, and not making money.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28800695)

Wow, if that trend continues there'll be more iPhones than human beings in less than a decade!

Lies, damn lies, and all that.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797463)

>> For the other Apple related topics...
>> ... Pre ...
>> ... Pre ...
>> ... Pre ...
umm....

>> But at least try to keep your comments in perspective please.

Sure...

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795695)

...but what has been the end result? More lock-in, more bullying.

Just as much lock-in, but spread over a larger population.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (4, Interesting)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795863)

You really thought Apple wasn't all about lock-in? Apple is the last vestige of the old proprietary hardware + software-stack business model that MS "rescued" us from in the 80's. Ever since DOS/PC, we have had Free hardware, a necessary step to Free software. Apple has always been a step backwards in Freedom.

(yeah, I see the gross oversimplifications above, but the message is the same)

I'm thinking of an ad campaign... (5, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796243)

picture this scene; an auditorium full of crazed Apple fanatics, all hailing the speaker - Steve Jobs, up at a podium, and simu-cast on a huge screen.

Suddenly, a pudgy guy in a a rumpled business suit comes running thru the back door, swinging an ugly beige 1980's era PC chassis by its powercord. He runs up the center aisle, and flings it into the big screen, shattering it.

The tag line; I'm free, and I'm a PC.

Re:I'm thinking of an ad campaign... (1)

euxneks (516538) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797135)

picture this scene; an auditorium full of crazed Apple fanatics, all hailing the speaker - Steve Jobs, up at a podium, and simu-cast on a huge screen.

Suddenly, a pudgy guy in a a rumpled business suit comes running thru the back door, swinging an ugly beige 1980's era PC chassis by its powercord. He runs up the center aisle, and flings it into the big screen, shattering it.

The tag line; I'm free, and I'm a PC.

If you're wearing a business suit you are most definitely not free.

Yes, I realise it was a reference to Jon Hodgeman.

Re:I'm thinking of an ad campaign... (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797519)

>> If you're wearing a business suit you are most definitely not free.

Well, isn't that the irony? Even the business suit seems like angel of freedom, in this scenario.

Re:I'm thinking of an ad campaign... (1, Funny)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797199)

You forgot that before the pudgy guy in a rumpled business could throw the ugly beige 1980's era PC chassis he had to stop and click "Allow" on the dialog box that read "You are about to throw an ugly 1980's era PC chassis by its powercord, Allow or Deny?".

Re:I'm thinking of an ad campaign... (0)

IronChef (164482) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797681)

It's interesting times, when I, a long-time Apple fan, choose to use my old Zune* to play MP3s instead of my iPhone.**

If you do things the Apple way, the iPhone works well as an MP3 player. But try to deviate from The Way, and it lashes out with retard strength to punish you. (I clicked no, don't sync, I'M SORRY I CONNECTED YOU TO MY WORK COMPUTER, PLEASE DON'T SYNC, and you delete content from my iPhone anyway?)

The Zune, on the other hand, is eager to please with features like guest mode so you can use it on multiple computers... but sometimes, it craps itself when it's giving you a hug and you have to delete and rebuild the library data.

When the Zune dies, which won't be long as it has started to randomly reboot, I need to find a MP3 player with a large hard disk and a lobotomy, that just works as a USB mass storage device.

* I swear to God, it was a gift.

** Which I only bought because refurbs were available at that time and I could hack it to work with my current ATT plan. At full price? No thanks.

Re:I'm thinking of an ad campaign... (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28798551)

Suddenly, a pudgy guy in a a rumpled business suit comes running thru the back door...

It would only work if it was Calvert DeForest...Or maybe Drew Carey could be dressed up to look like him.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795957)

It's not Apple's decision whether there is DRM on the music files. The record labels decide. The record labels started with the smaller stores because:
a) They wanted to experiment. And it's better to start small when you're experimenting.
b) They wanted to negotiate tiered pricing to go with the DRMless music. Apple resisted this longer than other stores because a single price for all songs is a clearer message for consumer.

Any citation for them REPLACING unencrypted indexes with encrypted ones? And the legal action seems to be dating from old DRM times and has now been dropped. Rather than being a new thing being introduced, it's an old thing that has been dropped.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (0, Troll)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797543)

umm.. then, Amazon must have sold DRM-ed digital music before they came up with free digital music, right?

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

Nossie (753694) | more than 5 years ago | (#28798419)

"Amazon must have been in negotiations for DRM-ed digital music before they came up with a deal to screw apple and free digital music"

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 4 years ago | (#28800179)

Well, so your assumption is a fact now? All I know is that they did not sell DRM-ed music.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 4 years ago | (#28799819)

Apple sold non-DRMed music long before Amazon did.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 4 years ago | (#28800227)

And when did I say they did not?

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (2, Informative)

carou (88501) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797959)

Apple eventually dropped their lock-in DRM from the iTMS (but not until more than a year after some of their competitors, like Amazon),

Not really true.

Apple was the first legal download service to feature major-label music DRM-free. "iTunes +" was introduced with the EMI catalogue in May 2007. Amazon's MP3 store launched in September 2007, and it wasn't until 2008 that they got all the major labels on board.

Perhaps you are referring to April 2009, at which time DRM had been removed from the entire iTMS catalogue. Yes, there was a delay here (maybe it was Apple's fault, maybe the music companies were being awkward? We might never know) but your empasis of this milestone over the introducion of iTunes plus is misleading in the extreme. There is no question that Apple led the way with DRM-free downloads from significant artists. If it were not for their successful experiment with EMI, it is barely conceivable that the major record labels would have licensed DRM-free downloads to anybody else.

The inevitable troll mods (1)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#28800111)

Ah yes, the inevitable -1 Troll moderations arrive.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

Nyxeh (701219) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795065)

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 5 years ago | (#28798967)

My what is not alone? My winkie? I mean, sure, my wife's near by but not that close.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795079)

>>>In other words, Apple is the new Microsoft

No. Apple is just like any other business that seeks to hold onto a monopoly. MS, Comcast, Cox, OPEC... they all act alike because they all share the same fundamental fear of loss. They don't want to lose the market, or the money that comes with it. It's basic human instinct made manifest at the mega-corporate level.

As for the DMCA Notice:

I wouldn't be happy, but I would look at it as an opportunity. First it's a chance to refuse to comply and stand-up for my second basic right of free speech (with the most basic right being ownership of my body and my mouth). Second I've never been inside a courtroom, so it would be a new and exciting experience (life is dull). And third given how long these things typically drag-out (4-5 years), I could earn a law degree. My thesis would be about my self and my case.

Okay I'm just joking on that last bit.

But I'd still look at the notice as an opportunity not a tragedy. Court cases are how you change legal interpretation for the better. Example: The guy who was sued by a local mall because he owned a website that provided mall information *prior* to the mall's existence. The mall called it cybersquatting, but the U.S. Supreme Court called it free speech. The interpretation of the law was changed in the favor of the average citizen.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795791)

Second I've never been inside a courtroom, so it would be a new and exciting experience (life is dull).

I've been in one, and my life is FAR from dull. Here are some of my court experiences from back in 2003-4:

I'm getting a final divorce decree for Christmas! [kuro5hin.org]
At the bar... no, not THAT bar [kuro5hin.org]
Evil always wins [kuro5hin.org]

Stay our of courtrooms unless you absolutely have to be there!

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795867)

...given how long these things typically drag-out (4-5 years)...

They only last that long if you have the money or support to fight that long. Typically a long, drug out court case lasts a few months at the most. Most court cases last a week or two, with maybe a month or two of prep time before going to court.

It's the right to a speedy trial in the constitution, they try to move people through the courts as fast as they can so the world doesn't end when someone requests a speedy trial. It's only when you've got cash to spend and the issue is muddy enough that a decision can't be reached quickly that a trial goes on for years.

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (2, Insightful)

DWIM (547700) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796159)

>>>In other words, Apple is the new Microsoft

No. Apple is just like any other business that seeks to hold onto a monopoly. MS, Comcast, Cox, OPEC... they all act alike because they all share the same fundamental fear of loss. They don't want to lose the market, or the money that comes with it. It's basic human instinct made manifest at the mega-corporate level.

And how does that equate to "No?" What you described is the behavior MS engaged in and have been condemned for.

I've said it for years (3, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795253)

In other words, Apple is the new Microsoft. I am sure this will be moded down very soon, but since the time Apple has hit jackpot with ipod/iphone, they have shown their true colors.

I've said it for years: Steve Jobs/Apple are Bill Gates/Microsoft wannabes. Before their marketshare fell in the 1990s Apple had been very monopolistic in their practices...sueing and putting clone makers out of business, deciding whose software was "good enough" to run on their platform (sometimes disallowing stuff simply because it competed with, and was better, than Apple's offerings), etc. It is because of those behaviors that Microsoft rose to prominance in the early days, on the back of IBM clone makers, because the Intel platform was perceived to be more open (and it was...until Microsoft established its monopoly. That said, it remains more open on the hardware side).

I like Apple's products. I go so far as to recommend Apple to friends and family who are not technically savvy enough or interested in running Linux, but that said, make no mistake: the moment Apple feels it has market dominance, it's behavior is likely to be very reminiscent of the monopolistic practices of Microsoft, and before them IBM. Perhaps that moment has arrived.

As anathema as it is to Apple fanbois, iPhone addicts, and those who like to wear cynicism as a ficade in a futule effort to look worldly and "wise", it has to be said: once again, Richard Stallman has been vindicated. If you really want freedom in the digital age, be it freedom to innovate, freedom to use, freedom to create, or (apparently in this case, for the past several months) freedom to speak and discuss technical details of interoperability without fear of economic or legal reprisal, you'd better be using a free and open platform. Alas, most people aren't too concerned about that...until something like this happens to them (or something a little less draconian, like...oops, your financial data is no longer accessible and the software you need to access it doesn't run on a current os, and is no longer available for purchase. Then suddenly gnu cash looks pretty appealing, and voila! you have another advocate of free software. You'd be surprised how many in the business world, on the business rather than technical side of things, are starting to adopt that attitude.)

Re:I've said it for years (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795481)

I've said it for years: Steve Jobs/Apple are Bill Gates/Microsoft wannabes.

It's closer than that. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are very much cut from the same mould. Both ruthless businessmen, both willing to take any opportunity for success. Bill Gates was more successful because he was in the right place at the right time. I dare say if IBM decided to write their own OS, Gates would have had a hugely successful software company but MS wouldn't have dominated the market in the way it has. If IBM had decided to sell rebranded and slightly modified Apples, and made a similar mistake in allowing clones, Apple would probably have dominated the computer market.

Re:I've said it for years (1, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795501)

I've said it for years: Steve Jobs/Apple are Bill Gates/Microsoft wannabes.

You have it backwards. Microsoft settled for taking over the world because they couldn't be Apple.

Re:I've said it for years (0, Redundant)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796121)

I dislike Microsoft because their technology is awful, and they put the makers of far better technology out of business. They grew by outflanking other businesses, often with dirty tricks or actual illegal methods. Not by having the best products.

I don't feel the same about Apple, because although they behave as you'd expect a successful corporation to do, their technology is good. They make products that are nicer to use than anything else on the market. And that's how they are growing. That couldn't be said about Microsoft.

Re:I've said it for years (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797299)

Well said, sir!

And you know what - Apple has not learnt anything from past mistakes. Android will do the same what PC did to them yeas back. Slowly, but surely.

Re:I've said it for years (3, Insightful)

Nossie (753694) | more than 5 years ago | (#28798507)

I've been waiting on that happening ... .... still waiting.

Re:I've said it for years (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 4 years ago | (#28800203)

Still waiting? Like - for 10 years?

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28796485)

Oh man nothing new... I realized that MS is not being beat up by consumers (and lawsuits)... Hopefully the same (and more severe) will happen to apple. Also I am tired of their i-Fucking-Crap stuff as are so many ppl.

Hardly new (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28798437)

Apple is the new Microsoft

Hardly new. First of all, Apple is one of the only companies (along with Lotus and Xerox) to have been actively boycotted [gnu.org] by the FSF and LPF, back in the nineties. The boycott ended in 1995 [gnu.org] , but still, that proves that Apple has managed to reach a level of dickheadedness that even Microsoft has failed to achieve. So far. :)

(Just to really smear the icing of irony on this cupcake, one of the companies that the LPF/FSF boycott was in defense of was...are you ready for it? That's right...Microsoft!)

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (0, Flamebait)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 4 years ago | (#28799765)

Gee, posting such an obvious Kharmawhore as an AC - hey, if the mods want to waste their points...

Re:Apple is the new Microsoft (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 4 years ago | (#28800117)

No Apple is the old MS. Hell, Microsoft pretty much rescued us from Apple and the others like it.

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#28794687)

After digging through the EFF documents, I'm not sure who to believe here. The story, the EFF and the wiki operator claim it was a discussion about doing this and it was not actually implemented.

IIRC, Apple accused them of discussing how to circumvent the Fairplay system (This can be confirmed easily [bluwiki.com] ). BluWiki claimed they were only discussing software to communicate with the iPod for transferring music, not for circumventing the encryption. The wiki pages haven't been restored yet so we can only take their word for it here. Apple seem to have changed their story and now claim they only objected to decompiled code.

Not sure about the rights and wrongs of it but it looks like Apple have decided to backpedal based on the bad PR from a case that they most likely can't win, and are changing their story to make it look like they haven't lost.

Usability is king (2, Funny)

chipmeister (802507) | more than 5 years ago | (#28794817)

Besides the obvious "protecting revenue" reason, I think there is a very fundamental principle at work here. Apple is obsessed with usability. They spend a lot of time on proprietary designs to achieve this goal. The experience with media/computer/device/store they want to control so that it is all a single, logical, and usbale experience. Interop with things not under their control will introduce usability differences and eventually destroy the overall design - in their minds. Jef Raskin [wikipedia.org] was one of their early champions of usability. He has a great book too. I think if you understand their design culture you can understand their single-mindedness on a closed system. Now. I support interop. But I do have respect for those who take design and usability seriously.

Re:Usability is king (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#28794971)

>>>I think there is a very fundamental principle at work here. Apple is obsessed with usability.

That Apple Kool-Aid is really good isn't it? ;-) Your reason is only a symptom, not the cause. The fundamental cause is that Apple is afraid of clone companies like Gateway or eMachines or Whoever coming-along and stealing their Mac/iPod/iPhone market the same way they took the IBM PC away from IBM.

Re:Usability is king (1)

chipmeister (802507) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795051)

I agree. That is why my starting point was about protecting revenue.

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (4, Insightful)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28794891)

You know, I have to ask: what's Apple's motive here?

Apple's motive is to sell you The Experience, not a piece of software or hardware. Anyone other than Apple who interoperates with Apple products aside from a tightly controlled few avenues (a few open communication standards and their SDKs), is going to be seen as a threat to that.

They want to be able to sell you their vision and their experience, and anyone who deviates from that while piggybacking off their products is going to be seen as a threat. They could be worried about sub-par experiences tarnishing their name, and they could be worried about excellent experiences that they could be making every cent of the money from. But mostly they're worried about people being different, not buying into their vision. Then they can't sell you the next revision of the next product that integrates seamlessly into your digital lifestyle of Apple products.

So they'll bring down every tool they have to fight you, legal and otherwise, because this is the core of their business, and they view it as the thing worth most defending.

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (3, Insightful)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795611)

...and I think that's really shitty. It's like MS could use their strong OS position to force out all other browsers, search-engines and office suites, because they have a "vision" of how we should use the internet and word-processor.

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (0, Troll)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796221)

The difference is that Apple's visions are well designed, seamless experiences. Microsoft's visions have always been piles of excrement.

As to the basic thrust of not interoperating with others, this is not generally true. Apple's products conform to all sorts of official standards for interoperability.

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (2, Insightful)

Serenissima (1210562) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796355)

I think it's even simpler than selling Apple's vision. It's money, plain and simple. The reason they're up in arms about it is because of the iTunes Store. Any way to open up the usability of iPod is a way for them to lose revenue on the sales of movies, tv shows, and music from the iTunes store. Sure, they make money selling iPods; but the real reason to sell iPods, and Video iPods, isn't just to sell more iPods than Zunes. It is so that they can get millions of dollars of residual sales from the iTunes Store. THAT'S why they're against opening up the iPod. They lose all that extra money if there's an easy way for people to jailbreak their iPods so they don't have to come to Apple to buy media to fill the iPods.

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (3, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#28794927)

>>>I have to ask: what's Apple's motive here?

Same motive that leads Apple to lock-up its Macintosh hardware. Apple is afraid they might end-up like IBM, who lost control of their PC invention and was undersold by the clones. IBM was lucky that it had lots of other businesses and didn't need the PC to survive, but Apple without the Mac or iPhone or iPod business would probably go bankrupt. Apple doesn't want to join the ranks of Atari or Commodore.

So they stringently enforce control over their hardware, to prevent potential loss of business to clones.

Tech support costs (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28794929)

Because if I made a hardware product and someone developed a new novel way to utilize it, my sales would increase.

As would the support costs.

All I can think of relating this to is game consoles. Which--up until the PS3 & Yellow Dog Linux--they have been very wary of people using for alternative purposes for the sole reason that pricing schemes have long involved a loss on the console with massive profits raked in on licensing titles to the console.

Worse yet: console makers have historically not given the time of day to developers of what are called "shareware" games on the PC. The "creators club" model as seen on the Xbox 360 and iPod Touch is a big improvement, albeit still not perfect.

Or even the monetary value they assign to having iTunes and Quicktime on the consumer's computer?

Apple knows how to tech-support the iTunes application and the iPod firmware. It does not know how to tech-support a third-party app or Rockbox firmware.

It's borderline monopolistic in the same way IE was bundled with Windows.

Microsoft leveraged its then-monopoly on operating systems to run Win32-compatible business applications[1] to push Windows Internet Explorer. But Apple doesn't have such a monopoly on devices that play MP3 or AAC format recordings, so what's the basis of an alleged restraint of trade?

[1] Since then, Wine has improved.

Re:Tech support costs (1)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795021)

Compare Apple's market share in PMPs and online music distribution to Microsoft's OS market share. Compare their business dealings, and competitor pricing and tell me Apple is not as much a monopoly in the PMP space as Microsoft is in the OS.

Re:Tech support costs (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795315)

Compare Apple's market share in PMPs and online music distribution to Microsoft's OS market share. Compare their business dealings, and competitor pricing and tell me Apple is not as much a monopoly in the PMP space as Microsoft is in the OS.

As a consumer it's easy for me to avoid Apple hardware/software/downloads. I can buy one of many mp3 players and download a full range of mp3 tracks from (say) Amazon. (Or even download the now DRM-free AAC tracks from iTunes and play them on a non-DRM AAC supporting music player).
If I want to avoid Windows it's much more difficult - some important software only runs on Windows, large numbers of devices only function at all or fully on Windows, I can only get full connectivity to an Exchange server with MS software, etc. etc.
So while Apple may well have a similar market share in the PMP area as MS does in the OS market, the effect on the consumer is not nearly as significant. I can (and do) stand entirely apart from the Apple PMP ecosystem and suffer no significant disadvantage.

If Apple had the only online store selling a full range of digital music *then* if would be similar to MS in terms of monopoly abuse.

Re:Tech support costs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795345)

if I made a hardware product and someone developed a new novel way to utilize it, my sales would increase.

As would the support costs.

[citation needed]

To give you an example: There are thousands, if not millions, of aftermarket parts for vehicles. None of them increase the support costs for the vehicle manufacturers.

In short, you're full of shit.

Re:Tech support costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795665)

No. He's right. Sort of. The reason that modding your car doesn't raise support costs is because it voids your warranty.

I know some people in the tuner community. Granted, most are just idiotic rice boys who think that "Type-R" stickers and spoilers will make thrie front wheel drive car go faster. But there ARE, in fact, some serious guys who do know what they're doing when they swap in those aftermarket parts.

And the ones who know what they're doing do so with the knowledge and understanding that they're flying without a warranty.

Either they buy cars that are already past their 3/36 (Old-school Intergras are very popular right now, for example.) Or they just accept the fact that they've voided their coverage. Either way, if you hook a nitrous kit or turbocharger into your Civic's engine, burn it out, and go to a dealer asking for a covered repair; you'll be laughed at and shown the door.

THAT is why aftermarket parts don't raise support costs for car manufacturers. They simply refuse to support them.

Re:Tech support costs (2, Insightful)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795525)

Couldn't let this one go untouched:

As would the support costs.

and:

Apple knows how to tech-support the iTunes application and the iPod firmware. It does not know how to tech-support a third-party app or Rockbox firmware.

I will give you the fact that Apple has the right to provide support on whatever they want too. However by opening a my iPod box I did not sign a contract giving Apple the exclusive right to tell me what I can and can not do with my iPod. If I want to use my iPod to unclog my sink then I can. I am capable of reasoning that if I call Apple and say "my iPod broke and it failed to unclog my drains" they arent going to help me get a warranty replacement, nor help me unclog my drains.
To finish the analogy I want to use XYZ music player to upload music to a portable music player that I own then I certainly hope that I can. At the same time, I am capable of reasoning that I cannot call Apple when XYZ music player stops working properly...

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (2, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28794933)

I am going to go with zealous lawyers. That whole thing about malice vs stupidity. Apple is hardly alone in that boat. There have been quite a few DMCA and GPL type lawsuits that basically came from fanatic lawyers that probably don't know anything more about technology than how to push the power button on their computer. (And then call the tech guy because it didn't boot up and have him come to their office and push the power on the monitor too).

I view the heart of the problem here is asshats like Ted "Internet Tubes" Stevens are being allowed to make the laws regarding technology with absolutely NO working knowledge of the subject they are legislating. To blame the companies for trying to use the laws that these idiots passed isn't exactly fair. Now, that doesn't mean these companies are innocent isn't true either, but now we are back to the malice vs stupidity problem.

Now, Apple does have a pretty nasty history of being very secretive about their stuff and locking people out. However, even this goes beyond sinister. As a company they are VERY focused on the whole "user experience" thing. They have huge design documents and enforce these design rules pretty strictly. Forcing all of your users to play in a well defined sandbox lowers your support costs dramatically. You can have your support staff much smaller, much better trained, and ultimately much more effective because the number of bizarro variables they have to face is drastically reduced. Almost the entire Apple brand is built around that "simply works" image and regardless of whether you agree with their tactics, they defend that "simply works" viciously.

There is also the stupid bits of the American legal system that says they must defend their patents/trademarks/etc or lose them. So it puts these companies in the position of fight everyone or lose their assets. They can't really "look the other way" because it would allow a competitor to come in and eat their lunch and then go to court and say "they didn't defend against this guy, so they can't stop us!"

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795741)

There is also the stupid bits of the American legal system that says they must defend their patents/trademarks/etc or lose them.

This is both wrong and irrelevant. Only trademarks have to be defended or lost, and trademarks are not involved in this case. Patents, copyrights etc. can be defended selectively or not at all without losing them. Also this case appears to entirly a DMCA case, i.e. about circumventing copy protection measures - no patents or (Apple) copyrights involved.

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (3, Informative)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28794955)

what's Apple's motive here? Because if I made a hardware product and someone developed a new novel way to utilize it, my sales would increase. Sure people might not be using my software that goes with the hardware but who cares?

The motive is greed, the objective is monopoly control.

Apple makes money off more than just hardware, they make a killing off software and services as well. It is no secret that many businesses in the United States utilize ethically questionable and often times out right illegal business tactics to establish and maintain monopolies that provide an opportunity for the business to control the market prices of their products rather than the other way around.

None of this is new and Federal legislation was passed to provide the Justice Department with the means to stop this type of activity, note the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 [wikipedia.org] and the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 [wikipedia.org] . Unfortunately there seems to have been a shift in the thinking in the Executive branch and the Department of Justice as one of the most recent and significant cases, the DOJ case against Microsoft [usdoj.gov] , resulted in a slap on the wrist and business as usual to this day.

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (1)

hamburgler007 (1420537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795277)

I basically agree with most of what you said, except for:

Sure people might not be using my software that goes with the hardware but who cares?

Apple makes a ton of money through itunes and the music/software sold there.

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795833)

iTunes the application is distinct from the iTunes media store (although I gather it can be used to access it).

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795789)

The answer seems pretty obvious. Apple was only able to arrange the one-stop music store that is iTunes Music Store by negotiating with record labels and accepting their demand to use DRM. After a few years, and at various times, the record companies relented and allowed iTunes to sell music without DRM.

Whilst DRM was still being used, it made sense and was perfectly reasonable to fight people trying to hack the iPod via the DMCA. The Apple legal department clearly had standing orders to do that.

But once music stopped being sold with DRM, it then became pointless to fight the hackery. The DMCA is not relevant where media files are unprotected by technology.

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (1)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797527)

Whilst DRM was still being used, it made sense and was perfectly reasonable to fight people trying to hack the iPod via the DMCA. The Apple legal department clearly had standing orders to do that.

But once music stopped being sold with DRM, it then became pointless to fight the hackery. The DMCA is not relevant where media files are unprotected by technology.

Really? then why did ipods starting with the iPod touch (which AFAIRecall came out when DRM on the iTunes store was already dying out) use a hash of the database to make it harder for 3rd party software to load music files into the iPod? Notice that this is about ADDING files, not about copying them out, so it has nothing at all to do with piracy.

I would say exactly the opposite: the hash was added so that apple could keep the ipod tied to the itunes store even once DRM was out of the picture, by using a technical measure (the hash itself) and suing people implementing interoperable software based on the DMCA and a bogus claim that said hash was an "effective protection measure". The only thing I can conclude from TFS is that they were hoping not to encounter legal resistance from amateur hackers, and were proven wrong thanks to the EFF.

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#28800755)

Really? then why did ipods starting with the iPod touch (which AFAIRecall came out when DRM on the iTunes store was already dying out) use a hash of the database to make it harder for 3rd party software to load music files into the iPod?

The iPod touch was launched mid 2007. Apple's announcement that standard downloads from the iTunes store would be without DRM didn't happen until January 2009. There was no way this was agreed upon with the record labels when iPod Touch was being developed. It's an entire generation and a half before that time.

Re:Without a Care for the Consumer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28796463)

It seems to me that Apple's business model is a whole lot more complicated than "sell more hardware"... further, I guesstimate that their revenue is almost completely from services, and their hardware profits are becoming so irrelevant that soon the hardware will be free because they make more money by people buying $1 apps then they do by making them buy the hardware first. I spent 10 minutes looking for the source blog of this idea but couldn't find it, I'm pretty sure Seth Godin talked about it though.

pee on dogs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28794527)

pee on dogs

Re:pee on dogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28794867)

In Soviet Russia, dogs pee on you.

if a collusion could be seen (0, Offtopic)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#28794627)

more frequently between marketing and legal, im certain random DMCA lawsuits against high profile social services like wikipedia that stand for the common good would never see the light of day.

its like the legal arm of apple is some sort of Gestapo, a silent and deadly KGB willing to erase anyone who crosses party lines or speak future truths before the mighty apple legion makes them known.

alright, maybe im getting a touch fanatical. but the first rule of the computing system for fun and easy of use cant be modelled after fight club.

Apple's new motto: Do Evil. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28794661)

Actually, this kind of crap always swirls around Steve Jobs. Remember the stinky way they got around the Mac OS licenses? Ethical, it wasn't. Not even slightly.

Re:Apple's new motto: Do Evil. (2, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 5 years ago | (#28796263)

Remember the stinky way they got around the Mac OS licenses?

No. Could you be more specific?

Re:Apple's new motto: Do Evil. (1)

Nossie (753694) | more than 5 years ago | (#28798673)

when jobs came back and took the licenses off the cloners... he did it with a sneaky exception in the license for OS8.2 ?

I dont remember the exact things he did...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maIgu_7oLm0 [youtube.com]

If you are going to be pedantic with my comment... provide some better links... I dont spend the same amount of time in my basement these days :) (it was around 8.2 anyway)

Re:Apple's new motto: Do Evil. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#28800857)

I'm well aware that happened. Just not seeing what is "stinky". Companies terminate contracts all the time. SO long as it's within the terms of the contract to do so, there's nothing wrong.

Hooray EFF! (4, Insightful)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28794953)

I'm as cynical as the next moderately informed /.er, maybe more so, but I've gotta hand it to the folks at EFF. They're one of the few groups making any noticeable impact on corporate and government actions that threaten us little people.

Re:Hooray EFF! (2, Insightful)

vil3nr0b (930195) | more than 5 years ago | (#28795263)

The EFF strikes fear into the Rotten Apple!!! Couldn't get any better. At least someone is looking out for the users.

Re:Hooray EFF! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795699)

I'm as cynical as the next moderately informed /.er, maybe more so, but I've gotta hand it to the folks at EFF. They're one of the few groups making any noticeable impact on corporate and government actions that threaten us little people.

http://www.indirmedenfilmizle.net

EFF good, Apple bad, more at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795019)

please to be going to fuck yourself apple

and all you twits that buy their products.

Re:EFF good, Apple bad, more at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795495)

+10 Amen

Support for non-iTunes programs (e.g. Linux) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795693)

The primary purpose of this project is/was to allow users to transfer music over non-iTunes programs, because Apple iTunes hashes the song database with some proprietary function. Apple was suing because they want everyone to go through iTunes, but as we all know, iTunes is not supported in Linux.

So, this is a great day for Linux iPod users! Thanks EFF!

He's lucky to be alive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28795955)

Apple could have thrown him out of a 22nd floor window.

money talks and money walks (3, Insightful)

ivogan (678639) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797849)

The one thing that we as consumers forget from time to time is that questionable business practices are passively approved by us the consumers when we trade said companies our hard earned money for the product/service in consideration. If interoperability is not included in a product I am considering, I find an alternative product to trade my money for. Do I really need an iPod when a mp3 player will do? Is purchasing mp3 tracks from Amazon a better alternative to iTunes since I can put them on any mp3 capable device? Consumers have the power to be in control... We just need to realize it.

Wikileaks, Of Course (4, Informative)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28797995)

They should have just moved all the existing pages to Wikileaks during the downtime. A legal discussion that Apple was using legal threats to suppress ought to have qualified.

Every buck well deserved. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#28800223)

another $5 is flying to eff from me. my donations may be small, but at least frequent and im doing what i can.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>