apple’s little monopoly?

June 22, 2008 at 3:11 pm | Posted in Technology Trends | 12 Comments
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I know, MSFT is the evil empire. Apple is the loose-hangin’, freedom lovin’, artistic genius company that will save us from the Orwellian future that MSFT will lead us to. So, to be a non-conformist, I bought a Mac last week. An iMac to be specific. Seriously, the real reason is that I was tired of fighting my video editing programs. After a week of being on my iMac… now I’m tired of fighting my NEW video editing programs.

There are things I like about the Mac over the PC. No doubt. But as my friend put it, there is a bit of “the Emperor’s New Clothes” going on in Mac world, let me tell ya. Bad on me for not doing my homework better, but turns out that Apple is using a bit of its proprietary leverage on its customers to wrench them into upgrades. Do a search on “iMovie 08” and “chapters” as an example. Or “Final Cut Express 4” and “soundtrack”. Mac has evidently taken to REMOVING lots of key functionality from “upgrade” releases, but fear not, they are still available in the higher-end packages, which cost significantly more.

So right now I’m left with a really lame movie making package (iMovie) that omits even some of the most basic functionality like creating chapters. I know I can do it in Garage Band, but c’mon… seriously. I mean, CHAPTERS! We’re not talking about making Star Wars here, just some home videos that allow easy navigation. Used to be in the old iMovie, but not in the new version.

I could go site some other examples, but the bottom line is this: Mac users are so loyal to the goodness in their products that they really put up with a lot of stuff that I’m not sure Apple could get away with if there were more competition in terms of software on the Mac. But because most everything is so proprietary, it seems they can get away with it. It seems to me, a newcomer, that they are definitely exercising their “monopoly” over their base. Not saying this is a bad thing, but coming into it with a fresh set of eyes, it looks that way from here.

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  1. […] You can read the rest of this blog post by going to the original source, here […]

  2. I am a recent convert to the Mac, but I am yet to be brainwashed. In fact all it will take to get me back over to the Evil PC Land is a decent operating system, a good integrated webcam, and a shut down and reboot function that doesn’t take an eternity. I am betting that there is a good number among the ‘new Apple converts’ that would make the jump back fairly easily.
    Microsoft – COME ON!!!! You blew it big time with Vista, and yet you can get me back EASILY!!!!
    Apple – COME ON!!!!! You got me kicking and screaming, but you can keep me fairly easily by not holding me hostage to your proprietary programs. Maybe my wife and I want to watch Netflix on our Mac on a Saturday night. Does that make us bad people that we don’t want to download everything from iTunes?

  3. Here here! I couldn’t have said it better myself Billy. Booooooo to the Mac monopoly… although I will continue to plow through and figure my MacBook out, slowly but (hopefully) surely.

  4. Video editing was the final straw that convinced me to switch. I should have done it years ago. The difference is whatever the app and included features…it works as advertised. I spent half my time in the Windows world fighting the machine and the OS. I finally had enough…and I’m in IT!

    What’s especially proprietary about software that comes from Apple? You can buy and load anything you want just like on a PC. Is Windows MovieMaker any less closed? iMovie is intended to be a very simplistic drag and drop app that produces very good results. I’ve used Microsoft’s MovieMaker…it’s a joke and yet another “me too” MS creation at best. If you want more than what comes standard on the OS, buy it…same as the PC.

    Chasker….If you want to watch a DVD from Netflix on your Mac…watch it. I’ve been doing that for years and without Windows nagware and cartoon-like pop-ups getting in the way.

    Both are man-made machines produced by companies in it to make money and most of us are going to give some of it to one or the other. From an end user perspective there is no comparison to the “it just works” experience of the Mac. And if you’re waiting for Microsoft to come up with “a decent operating system, a good integrated webcam, and a shut down and reboot function that doesn’t take an eternity” good luck. It would be the first time in their corporate history they managed to create even one of those things.

  5. Hi Russ,

    Sorry I should have been clearer – I understand I can watch a Netflix DVD on my Macbook. I was referring to our ‘watch it now’ ability in Netflix. We have 30 hours of online Netflix to watch, and alas that is not compatible with Mac. When we went to that feature we got a Netflix page pop up that said words to the effect of ‘due to Apple’s proprietary software, they have not given us access to stream video. We are working on a work around. Sorry.’

    Hope that clears it up. If anyone has a workaround for that I will be interested.

  6. Russ, if you’re still out there watching… I think what happened with me is that I was oversold and had unrealistic expectations of my Mac. You have to admit, though, there are some Mac zealots out there who do quite the hype job. (I think about how they talk about “push email” like it’s a brand new innovation, when in reality, they are late to the game.) So I expected more than was delivered.

    As one other example. I love the Ken Burns effect. Super easy to do a slideshow. Because of all the talk of Mac integration, I expected slideshows to drag and drop into iMovie. No luck. You either have to create it in iMovie, or export it to a .mov file first, then bring it into iDVD. Again, from the hype of integration being key, I just expected to D&D a slideshow, add some chapters, and burn my DVD. No dice on any of those fronts. Final Cut Express has more of what I need, so I thought, well, if I can’t D&D slideshows, then I’ll bet it’s super easy to do in FCE. No dice. You can do keyframes for the Ken Burns effect, but not randomize them. You have to jump through hoops to get what you want.

    So again, from all I’ve heard about Mac’s over the years, my expectation bar was pretty high. To encounter issues right off the bat with the very things I was most excited to use, well, it was a bit of a letdown. And believe me, I have no ax to grind here! I just dropped $2K on this thing so trust me, I want it to be a great experience!

  7. Hi guys…I know what you mean. I think I had a lot lower expectations when I switched. I actually expected to have to give up a bunch of stuff by going Mac but I was so tired of microsoft’s buggy stuff I was willing to do it. I was very surprised to find I didn’t have to give up anything but I did struggle a bit with how to do things on the Mac that was instinctive on Windows. But then about a week after I got the Mac my wife received an email on her Windows laptop with a Word document attached . She couldn’t get the document to open and kept getting some cryptic message about an error. I asked her to forward the email to me and the document opened fine in Word for Mac, Apple’s Pages app, NeoOffice and using Apple’s quicklook feature. This same type of scenario’s played out with PowerPoint and all three of my Windows machines seem to struggle with printers. Both my Macs have been as reliable as a toaster. I bought a brand new HP printer for my son that never worked. I went through all the normal hoops installing software and drivers but no luck. Even after reformatting his hard drive (unrelated issue), it wouldn’t work. After two years, it had yet to print a single page. One morning I was in a tight and my regular printer was out of ink. I went upstairs, grabbed his printer and without loading drivers, rebooting my Mac, or even closing the Excel spreadsheet, I plugged the printer in and printed everything perfectly. I’ve got a thousand stories like that so I became sold a little more everyday. I use a Vista machine at work so I’m reminded daily what I actually gave up. Billy, I’ve learned a lot of the integration between Apple’s apps has to happen from within the app itself. I’ve also learned the integration works better when you let the apps manage your media within their respective libraries instead of the old MS Explorer paradigm of files and folders in a directory tree. It took a while for me to “let go” and trust the library but boy does that make things easier. I’ve got friends that went through that same thing. I did what you’re describing once but I think I did it all from within iDVD. I remember having access to my iPhoto and iTunes libraries from within iDVD, picking some pictures and music, chosing a theme and then I let her rip. After burning the DVD, I fully expected it not to work but it did and looked awesome. Chasker…from what I read, the Netflix problem you’re having is because Netflix uses Microsoft’s anti-piracy DRM (digital rights management). As you would expect, Microsoft requires that you use a Windows machine to watch movies or listen to music encoded with their DRM. Apple does the same thing with it’s FairPlay DRM when the studios require it. Apple’s pushing the industry to dump DRM of any kind and has a couple million DRM-free songs on it’s iTunes store. Ironically, there is no system in the world as closed and proprietary as Windows but its large market share masks that fact. I think those days are numbered due to the large open-source movement and companies like Sun, IBM, Apple and others embracing it. The success of the Firefox browser is an example of things to come. Hang in there and don’t give up too fast. Speaking as someone that’s been through what you’re experiencing, it is WELL worth it. If I can help with anything, let me know!!

  8. Interesting discussion here, particularly since poster Russ is my life-long-best bud. He knows about what he speaks and I am very glad he convinced me to give the Mac platform a try. Because of him making the switch to the Mac a few years ago, I was intrigued. But, because I operate an engineering consulting business and 100% of my clients operate on the Windows platform, I didn’t think it was feasible for me.

    After 25 years of working exclusively with Microsoft’s OS & apps, and an ever increasing frustration with them, one year ago I finally decided to give Apple a try. I bought a MacBook Pro as a “test platform.” That test platform quickly became my preferred production platform. Well, after a year, the test has concluded. I have experienced no compatibility problems with my Windows-based clients, as I feared might be the case. The Mac platform has exceeded my expectations in usability and stability, and has performed every task that I require. I am now in the process of converting my business to entirely Mac based.

    My post is a little off topic, but I guess the point I’m trying to make is that if you are new to the Mac OS and maybe having second thoughts – hang in there for a while. It took me a while to get accustom to and appreciate the power of the Mac hardware, OS and apps. To me, computers are just one of the important tools I use to make a living. I demand the best tools; I am now totally convinced the Mac platform is the best computer technology available.

    Unlike Chasker, I won’t be looking back at Microsoft. I am done.

  9. […] Little Monopoly – Part Deux Over on CoachBoz’s blog there’s a good conversation going about Apple and how for us newbies they might not be everything that their loyal users have […]

  10. […] the back end you’ve got regret.  Sigh.  Maybe at a subconscious level, that’s why I bought a […]

  11. […] take something I’m not experienced at like my Mac. Which thanks to a free iPod Touch, also led to the chaotic, satanic, underworld of darkness known […]

  12. […] last post on my Mac generated a lot of conversation and I’ve even made a few new cyber friends, whom I […]


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