It’s Not Anti-Competitive if Apple Does It

There’s a company out there that aggressively bundles its products to ensure lock-in. They have an end-to-end chain of devices and software crafted to create an impenetrable, closed ecosystem. They aggressively squash competition, even refusing to let competing products exist on their platform. Yeah, it’s *Apple*.

I’m getting tired of the geek world being Apple apologists. We don’t hold them to the same standards we hold other companies, especially Microsoft. They make cool stuff and that seems to give them a pass to do whatever they want. I say its time to stop being complacent.

I love Apple’s stuff. It’s pretty, and the operating system lets me do my work better. In fact, I don’t really think I could do my job if I didn’t run OS X. Windows is a terrible environment for developing Ruby, and Linux doesn’t have the Adobe suite of products for the design work I do. That’s exactly where the problem lies: I *must* use Apple software to perform my job, which means that I *must* buy Apple hardware to perform my job. Apple has a monopoly over my computer purchases and that doesn’t sit well with me.

The reason that Apple hasn’t gotten in trouble for their blatant product bundling and other anti-competitive tendencies is simple: they’ve never had the broad install base to warrant that kind of consideration. But with Apple’s meteoric success in the consumer notebook market and an ever-increasing market share, how long can that really stay true? If Apple ever tips the scales at Microsoft-level popularity (or even a substantially smaller but still significant percentage of the market) they should be called to task just as Microsoft was.

OS X is an operating system. It “can be run on other machines”: and would be except that Apple says no. I’m sick of being told what hardware I have to use to use their software, and I’m surprised that everyone else seems to not only be complacent with this fact but revels in the “awesomeness” of Apple. I use Apple because their software is the best (and only) tool for my particular job, not because I feel some bizarre affinity to a consumer products manufacturer.

Maybe some day anti-trust hearings will force Apple to open up and allow any hardware to run OS X. Maybe not. One thing’s for sure though, they aren’t going to do it unless their hand is forced. Maybe that makes them a successful business, but it doesn’t earn them my respect.