Anti-Mac Rant #2

I addressed something the other day about Mac users. In the last few days, I’ve come across some anti-Microsoft stuff from Mac users.

I’ve never understood why Mac fanboys would give love to Apple in the same breath with which they excoriate Microsoft in general and Bill Gates in particular. The two companies are two sides of the same coin. Consider these points.

1. Both companies are in the same industry. This goes without saying. The only significant difference in this respect is that Apple is much more hardware-centered than Microsoft, but Apple is no less software- or content-centered than Microsoft. Indeed, Apple’s ass has been saved from the dustbin of history by iTunes and the iPod.

2. Both companies are very profitable. I have no problem with this for either of them. Neither company would be as large as it is without being innovative or having the foresight to be leaders in a very competitive field. Why is it okay to lampoon Bill Gates for making his wealth from a legitimate enterprise? Why does Steve Jobs get a pass for making his wealth similarly — nevermind the ongoing SEC investigation into Apple’s backdating of options? I think the backdating of options is at least as serious as, and certainly sleazier than, the anti-competitive charges leveled against Microsoft (I wish the bureaucrats who charge Microsoft with that would look at their own little fiefdoms). And I don’t trust any company’s internal investigation — corpulent former VP Al Gore, Junior, sits on Apple’s board so he’s hardly a disinterested, objective party — to clear itself.

3. Both companies lock up their code from users. Both companies are even in this measure until you consider one major difference: Microsoft’s EULA doesn’t restrict you from running it on whatever hardware you own, and Apple forbids you from running OSX on anything but their proprietary (crappy) hardware. Given that Apple finally switched to the same Intel chips other OEMs use, I wonder where the fanboys get off on paying premium prices for it. It’s even funnier when you look and see what they’re actually running on OSX: KDE, GNUStep/WindowMaker, etc.

4. Both companies have embraced DRM. Microsoft has caught holy hell from nearly every quarter for Vista’s default policy requiring signed drivers. How dare they embrace DRM like that. So where are the Mac fanboys when it comes to Apple’s DRM profits from sales of songs on iTunes? Yeah, they have their iPods turned up too loud to hear the echoes of their Microsoft-bashing coming back to them.

5. Both operating systems have problems. Macs don’t always “just work.” I had a couple that got sad, pouty faces in the 80s and 90s. People still have issues with OSX (see my other entry linked above). One big difference goes back to why I find Apple’s EULA more objectionable than Microsoft’s: Microsoft would “just work” like Macs do if Microsoft controlled the base hardware their users choose to use. So Microsoft wins on that “freedom” count, even if it means a little more effort at setting certain things up. Apple’s control over requiring people who want to use OSX to use Apple hardware ensures full compliance and true plug and play. I know there are other systemic differences — Microsoft’s registry, for example — but Apple’s operating systems are no less glitchy overall. The popularity (or prevalence) of Windows has made it a target. Does anyone believe Apple would be this relatively unscathed if they’d ever achieved the market share — or anything approaching any sense of parity — of the i386 platform? And would Apple have more issues if OSX had retained the kind of legacy support Windows users have come to expect with every new release of Windows?

Mac fans aren’t any better or smarter or different. They’re just hypocrites who think they are.

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