Cult News

My hostility towards Apple (the company and its poxy little products) is a well-known fact of this blog. It dates back to when I first used an Apple IIe — I was the very first person at the Great Big Research Company to own a personal computer, back in the early 1980s — and discovered that while the Apple was a fun toy, it clearly lacked the serious horsepower to perform any complex or large data management/manipulation. And that situation never changed.

Along the way, though, Apple developed into a cult: first of personality, through its founder/tinpot dictator Steve Jobs, and then its ethos, through its “cool” design and cutesy, “user-friendly” operation.

The writing was on the wall, though. For such a cool company, Apple was always remarkably totalitarian — closed operating systems, inflexible programs, antagonistic towards non-corporate developers and hostility to DIY improvement and maintenance by its users — witness the “unlocking” commotion when the iPhone originally mandated AT&T phone service with its product. Without the logo and corporate blessing, it seemed, everything was pretty much streng verboten — but implicit with all this, as with so many totalitarian systems, was the promise of “Trust Apple”.

So much for trust. It appears that Apple has been caught with its grubby little fingers in some pretty shameful corporate skulduggery, slowing down the operating system of its older iPhones to “persuade” users to upgrade to newer (and, of course, more expensive and more profitable) models:

Apple has long inspired an almost religious devotion among customers and tech aficionados — but it just seriously undermined its fans’ faith and loyalty.
The company on Wednesday acknowledged what some people have long suspected: that it has been secretly stifling the performance of older iPhones.
Critics have accused the company in the past, based on anecdotal evidence, of purposely slowing phones to compel users to upgrade to the latest model.
While Apple admitted to the practice on Wednesday, it sought to underscore that it had done so for a purely altruistic reason: to prevent older phones from shutting down unexpectedly.

Yeah, of course you only had good intentions, you bastards. That’s like telling the judge you raped the woman not for your own benefit, but so that she could have an orgasm.

And this is not the usual weasel “some rogue employees done it” bullshit: this was corporate policy. Management had a meeting, and decided on this action.

There are two lessons to be learned from this little bit of malfeasance. The first is for Apple users: your little idol has not only feet of clay, but claws under the velvet glove. (Non-Apple users like me have known this for some time, but all we got was abuse from Apple acolytes and groupies.) Enjoy your pain and disillusionment.

The second lesson is a broader one for all of us: Never trust a corporation, no matter how altruistic they may sound, even when — and maybe especially when — their corporate mantra is “Don’t be evil”. Your benefit is not their primary concern; their primary concern is either market share or profit, or both.

I’m not saying that this is a Bad Thing, necessarily; profit is the sole purpose of a corporation, after all. Just don’t let them fool you into thinking that your benefit won’t get compromised if it interferes with their ultimate goal (see: Microsoft, elimination of Outlook Express, MS Paint, etc., to name just one other example).

And cultists are always easiest to fool because all religious adherents are easier to fool, by whatever deity they follow, be it companies like Apple, charities like the United Way, or Big Government.

Don’t be gullible, don’t be fooled by the marketing and the PR, don’t follow the herd, don’t be loyal. Trust no one, and  especially do not trust institutions created by men for motives of profit or power, because ultimately, you too will get “throttled”.


  1. Great post!

    I too have had an aversion to Apple since buying, trying to use, then getting rid of a IIe.

    Back in the day I was a programmer for a Big American OIl company and loved the computer biz and everything about it. Except Apple, which was shite. Well, management at BigAmOilCo was shite too, but that seems to be mandatory in every large company.

  2. I’m an Apple fan, but the company has been going downhill for a while…and accelerated when Tim Cook and his homosexual agenda took over.

    The ugly truth is that the Silicon Valley magnates want to behave like villians out of a James Bond movie. Bad idea.

    1. Cook’s sausage enthusiasm has little to do with why their standards have slipped. He’s a marginal CEO and as a result, has put some pretty marginal people in key roles. As such standards have slipped in a few relatively trivial but un-Apple-y ways.

      Jobs’ results were massively better because he was the gold standard of asshole who would accept nothing but the best from people. He was a leader and a perfectionist. Cook is neither.

      1. This.

        While there was a cost to using apple products, you could get decent value out of them. For example, the amount of time I spend dealing with MacOSX problems compared to Windows problems – well, there is no comparison. My time is precious.

        The phone? Just works – except for the obvious slowing down that apple does.

        The unfortunate thing is, with Jobs gone, there is no one out there with the vision to demand good software and hardware and make it stick. That’s something Jobs, for all his assholish ways, got right.

        So yeah, Apple is in decline – but with the money they have in the bank, it’ll be a long time before they hit rock bottom again.

        A shame.

        1. I very much doubt Apple’s shareholders will let Cook turn the company into anything resembling what it was in the mid-90s. I expect someone like Johnny Ive to replace Cook within the next 24 months.

  3. There are plenty of ways to critique Apple without resorting to the old cliches of twenty years ago. All of which were largely false even then. Closed operating systems? Well, aside from the whole based-on-BSD-UNIX thing, I guess. Inflexible programs? Their prosumer stuff has been an industry standard for as long as Adobe’s stuff, for the same reason: It works better than everything else. By a lot. Antagonistic towards smaller developers? Have you talked to anyone who has written something for iOS or MacOS in the last 20-odd years? I do it pretty frequently, and, very much no. Laughably much no when compared with any other (e.g. Microsoft) OS vendor. The fact that they enforce some degree of design standards does not mean they are unfriendly towards developers– it means they don’t want crap developers putting crap software on their platform and making it look and work like trash.

    As to the original iPhone being AT&T-only– there was a very good reason for that. AT&T was the only network that would allow Jobs full control of the device and OS, without requiring they load it up with random pay to play nonsense and spyware. Jobs wanted a total widget solution, yet had very little bargaining power in the cellular space at the time. While they run a garbage network and always have, that was probably the best decision AT&T ever made, and was largely responsible for saving the company. Personally, I didn’t get an iPhone until after they released a CDMA version as I hate AT&T (and GSM) with the white hot passion of a thousand suns– but that doesn’t change the reality of why they released there to start with.

    Does Apple to entirely idiotic things? Sure. So does every large consumer products and/or software company. I use their products because for me, computers are a tool box, and I use the right tool for the job. At times Apple’s products are anything but the right solution– their various entries into the server world, for example, have been elegantly laughable. In the desktop and mobile world, though, everything else wastes more of my time with shoddy UX and garbage hardware.

  4. So THAT’S why my iPhone 4 sux ass!
    Well, fuck Apple. If /when I upgrade it’s Android for me.
    Apple’s not the only game in town.
    BTW, fuck iTunes, too.

    1. My wife an I got 4 years of good service from our 4S Iphones, which is pretty decent. Mine still worked great in 2015 but hers had taken too much physical damage, so we both got 6S models, and both of those are still going strong. I have noticed a slowdown with the newest IOS, and have complained to Apple about it.

      But I’ve used borrowed android phones, and while they have some nice capabilities, just on daily basic use they feel rough and not quite finished (Samsung though, not a ‘pure android’ experience so maybe that is better).

  5. Its funny because we (wife and I) have been Apple users since the Apple ][+ system. But for me that is only because the absolute gold standard of both operating systems and hardware (Digital Equipment Corp VMS and VAX, later VMS on Alpha) were just too expensive to use at home. But my object of disdain and disgust is Microsoft, and Windows.

    That attitude was gained through decades of having to support that most picayune of operating systems, all flash built on an infrastructure of wattle and brittle balloon sticks. Watching (and often cleaning up after) the multitude of times where data loss and money loss events that would have resulted in the removal and replacement of other OS’s and systems as completely unsuitable instead lead to the firing of hapless IT people while the managers responsible for mandating ‘Windows uber alles’ being promoted. Seriously, saw it happen. Disasters and losses that would have been utterly intolerable prior to windows moving into an environment became just a cost of being on computers. A failure of any other platform or program in an environment became a mandate to replace that platform with windows. But never the other way.

    Early one things were even more fun. Need to run a multi-platform site with windows present? Well Windows only works if Windows DNS service is used. But DNS is a standard, you say? Hah! So you put one of your critical infrastructure services on a shit platform and it can start f*cking the other platforms over too by being just a bit nonstandard. Better yet, put in a microsoft mail server (we support SMTP! Really) and laugh your ass off when standards compliant SMTP servers keep getting cut off sending long messages because one of those platforms is just a bit non-compliant. Guess which one. Solution! Change all the platforms to Windows! Woohoo!

    Hey there’s this awesome new program called a wiki! It makes it easier to put together knowledge bases and do collaborative things! We set one up on a Linux box so people can get a feel for it (IT person). We put the company manuals and guidelines in it for you to use! Crickets. Ho hum. No traction. Months later Manager comes in after reading a magazine: Hey! Microsoft has a product called Sharepoint and it includes this awesome feature called a wiki! We’re going to put in multiple new servers and buy thousands of dollars worth of licenses and mandate that all our manuals, guidelines, and docs are put into Sharepoint by Microsoft! OBTW what is that non-microsoft wiki-thing there. Get rid of it, and fire whoever wasted company time on it (saw this happen too). Needless to say that manager was a microsoft cultist.

    And don’t forget the windows tax. IN order to get the best prices for windows licenses, manufacturers were forced to pay for a license on any system that could run windows. If someone wanted to buy a Dell to run Linux on, microsoft still got paid for a windows license. IF you didn’t agree to that you got to pay a fair amount more per windows license. Just a cost of doing business. Quite a racket.

    You speak of cultists (fanboys). Well there really are those for Apple (and now for Samsung/Google, and others). But there are none like the cult of Microsoft. They are the equivalent of the modern leftist/SJW crowd. They are the muslim 90% majority in Egypt. For them the thought of alternatives is simply not conceivable. Got a big project? Going to do any preplanning and platform evals? Why no, of course not! Windows is the only acceptable answer! Apple? Unix? IBM? Bah, those are the dead past.

    There is no OS but windows, there is no computer but one that runs windows. There is no god but Microsoft! And the marching management drones of generic close-minded business are their Prophets (and their profit).

    As much as I disagree with a lot of Apple’s methods and policies, I’ll take them over microsoft any day (and yes, I do have to use, and support, microsoft products every day so I know whereof I speak).

  6. I have not and will never own an Apple product for one reason. The company was started by a class AAAsshole and thief. Not with competitors, but ripping off his own business partner (and the real technical brains behind Apple), Steve Wozniak.

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