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Apple more closed than Microsoft

Choice cut from Reg Barometer Survey

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The last few comments shown here highlight another objection that came across strongly, that of Apple’s culture and attitude, which many regard as controlling and dictatorial:

"Policies and attitude - their way or the highway."

"It wants ultimate control over everything done by or with its products."

“Not only closed but also most arrogant.”

And, of course, the perception of restrictive business practices goes hand in hand with this:

"It operates 'brand control' on its developer network - bizarre."

"Microsoft doesn't ban competing products from running under Windows."

"They legally dictate the hardware too."

“No virtualisation allowed.”

Yet despite Apple’s culture and business practices that so many clearly think leave a lot to be desired, why does it still generally receive less criticism and be subject to less scrutiny than Microsoft? Some say it’s because the regulator hasn’t targeted it yet and forced it to open up, which in turn is probably a function of scale:

"They have not been *forced* to start opening"

"It’s not yet big enough for the authorities to prize it open"

Another observation, however, is that Apple has built such a powerful brand, image and following that any supposed faults pale into insignificance in comparison – i.e. it has reached the stage of being impervious to criticism:

"It is now bordering on a religion."

"They can afford [to be closed] and don't suffer image problems for that."

Meanwhile, just like in the fairytale of the emperor’s new clothes, the Apple marketing machine continues to maintain its illusion for the audience – an illusion that has so many believing that Apple is truly different to everything that has gone before. Against this background, perhaps one of the most perceptive reader quotes was:

"Microsoft never pretended to be anything else, Apple sells a lie."

Whether you agree with all of these comments or not, it is clear that many IT professionals out there see Apple as nothing more than a commercial IT vendor that has come up with some pretty neat products but still has a lot of maturing to do with regard to how they are delivered and supported. With this in mind, some of the things we have heard will be particularly interesting for those considering Apple solutions such as Macs as part of their IT and business infrastructure. The evidence suggests that Apple still has a lot to learn in terms of IT pro support and catering for the needs of business customers who are generally wary of anything that restricts choice and interoperability.

In the meantime, is it a case of Apple looking more like the ‘M$’ persona than the modern day Microsoft? Some obviously think so at the moment, but with passions running high on both sides, the debate is clearly set to continue.®

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