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back to article Apple more closed than Microsoft

Bashing Microsoft for being closed and proprietary has been a popular pastime in the media and the IT industry for many years, and there is no doubt that much of this has been well deserved. After having its wings clipped on several occasions by regulators, however, the Microsoft of today, while not totally reformed, is a lot …

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Pirate

*Settles back with the popcorn*

This is going to be one hell of a ride. Familiar and often repeated, but fun nonetheless

Cutlasses at dawn and all that...

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Anonymous Coward

How about...

...Appl€?

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Anonymous Coward

In before

In before the Apple-ocalypse.

Also, BRING ON WEBSTER!

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Not ready for prime-time.

From a business PoV Apple has several major failings.

1] They refuse to release credible product roadmaps for either software or hardware. You can't sell rumours of future Apple product-releases to a company's finance officer.

2] They discontinue support on what they view as 'old' versions of products far too soon.

3] No business-strength on-site maintenance/support cover is offered. "Take it to a genius bar" doesn't fly - we expect a field-circus rep on-site to fix the problem within three hours of placing a call.

4] Apple don't understand business: they need resellers that have sales teams who can talk leasing/financing options and tax-efficiency rather than just showing flashy software.

5] Apple won't customise OS installs for you. Dell/IBM/HP will. This makes a big difference when you're rolling out 250 machines over a weekend.

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Bronze badge

The Cake is a Lie

For the most Part I Have always been a M$ fan

Mainly due to the fact that I was introduced to mas in 1999 on a network that ran UNIX and windows on various machines. Detested the way Mac did things and haven’t bothered going back!

I detest the fact that people don’t even realize that you can very easily add songs to ipods from just for example Winamp,

I refuse to let anybody install Itunes on my machine at home (sorry darling sister) As it will fill my computer with junk that I do not and will not need.

Now I understand the entire comments thread will be M$ and A$ bashing, but I want to take my hat off to M$ for making an os that is unbelievably flexible, albeit with the occasional hiccup.

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bah

The real problem in comparing MS to Apple is that Apple just haven't done enough wrong to see that storm of disquiet flood over the IT media.

MS blunders range from stifling costs, prohibitive anti-competitive practices, lousy buggy code, ineffectual responses to serious, significant problems, to blatant lies through their humourous PR department. Plus more besides.

Apples blunders, while significant (I'm not a big fan of the company, but a few of their products are great) just don't weigh the same on the scales of shame & disgust - yet.

Apples day will come....

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Stop lying

"Meanwhile, those of us making a more objective assessment of what’s going on..."

No, you can spend a lot of time slating Microsoft *because they deserve it*. This doesn't mean you aren't making a less objective assessment. Take my case. You KNOW how often I call MS to shit over their criminal acts.

I have also slated Apple for

a) Patenting their Look and Feel

b) Killing the clone market (though the market did a good job of that too)

c) Breaking their agreement with Apple records

d) Most recently, Pystar

And on Groklaw, PJ is defending Apple like there's no tomorrow. But she uses Apple Macs and likes them and, just like her blindness with the parlous state of the US court system (because she knows people and therefore cannot see any justification for pointing out the systemic problems), she doesn't see anything wrong with what Apple are doing.

But I have, do and will continue to slate Apple on their idiocies.

Yet you seem to think that only you, who withheld bad comments about MS, can see objectively that Apple are being arseholes.

Uh, no.

Stop bigging yourself up. Anyone can. Not slating MS isn't the only way.

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Marketing

It's marketing on the verge of brain-washng. For example, smartphones have been around for years. They were a bit tricky to use but pretty flexible and very powerful and a few of us have been making great use of them.

Apple releases a (at first) not particularly smart smartphone and suddenly it's like the iPod all over again. Yesterday I trained two non-IT people. One in the morning, one in the afternoon. During the course of both training sessions I had cause to take out my Windows Mobile smartphone. Both asked if that was "one of those iPhone thingies".

I don't know how they do it but they seem to be able to occupy a consumer market, wrap it up completely to the point where their brand-name becomes generic (MP3 player = iPod, touch-screen smartphone = iPhone, online music store = iTunes etc.) and the general public don't care.

Even more frustrating are comments like "oh, I tried <other MP3 player> but it was crap. I couldn't get my music onto it from iTunes". In other words, lack of interoperability with other products and services is perceived by the public to be a problem with everyone else, NOT a problem caused by Apple.

I have this weird mix of wilting admiration, trembling fear and barely suppressed rage for them.

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Jobs Horns

@ How about - how about...

Appletard?

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Bronze badge

hmmm, A$ dosent sit right with me.......

how about....

i$

Pretty much sums them up

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Anonymous Coward

@ Tanuki

Apple understands the Enterprise perfectly well. Do anything for the Enterprise and you will suffer from having to cripplle your software for decades to come. In other words they don't give a shit about the Enterprise market because all it would mean is having to hobble themselves and constantly stall improving their software. Just like MS is still stuck with a 1990s OS with Vista and XP when Apple is already moving into the 2010s.

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Jobs Horns

Re: How about... Appl€?

Nah, try 'App£€'.

Or '¢unt$'.

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Oh dear

Back in the late 80's/early 90's I predicted that it would not be long before everyone had a Mac on their desk rather than a PC. How wrong I was!

I still believe that if Apple had been more 'open' back then probably the percentage of PC's and Mac's would now be reversed. I even loved my Newton but where did that go?

Now the world is dominated by the PC with Windows and I somehow doubt that will change. Apple computers will, unfortunately I think, remain a relatively niche market, no matter how good their kit is. I believe they shot themselves in the foot all those years ago and rather than learn from it they have continued to blast away at their feet, slowly taking out their toes one at a time!

Just imagine the sales of the iPhone if it had been available on ANY network from day one! Just imagine the sales of the iPhone if developers could sell, or even give away, their applications free from the strict rules that Apple see fit to impose.

And don't even get me started on iTunes.......

Some great kit but some seriously dumb management decisions over the years!

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Anonymous Coward

@ Lionel Baden

If the OS is so fixable, whyafter nearly thirty years is Windows still so fundamentally broken?

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Linux

f them all

hell get rid of them both and go to Linux

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You realize Mac OS X doesn't even require a CD-Key?

I own several legal copies of Windows XP. They've been installed on machines before, but those machines have been wiped. However, I can no longer use these installers as MS claims they have been used before. Unbelievable. I can't even fathom how MS's "register in 30 days or else" OS lock down is legal.

Apple on the other hand, doesn't even use a serial number or CD key for OS installs. I don't have to worry about finding a new key every time I update or reformat a system.

That's a pretty amazing difference when you think about it.

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Gates Halo

hasta la VISTA . . . steve

All these hippies on their macs have simply no fucking clue or need to do business like real men. Being surrounded by developers with their funny custom linux's installed I never had a single problem which cost me hours of lost time or a software not running on it.

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attitude

Apple may be more closed, but they also don't push their products on others quite so hard. Closed, but polite about it? MS can be fairly pushy about using their products and nobody else's.

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Flame

El Reg as Troll?

I'm soooo going to enjoy reading the comments to this one. Especially in the week when we saw Intego hype up an 'Apple says buy AV' and then once the band waggon had started rolling - "OOoops, sorry, turns out it, err, no, actually..."

Apple is closed and proprietary. Always has been. It's their model. That's how they do what they do - tight integration between hardware and software means everyone pays an 'proprietary tax'. But to say that Apple are less 'open' than Microsoft...

As someone who's developed on them since OS 4.2 I've found that the changes since the second coming, i.e. OS X, have been very refreshing. E.g. Darwin. And shipping free developers tools with every OS. And running X, Java, apache, mysql, sqlite, php, python and the entire BSD toolset out of the box. Feels quite open to me. What's the complaint really? OS X's not Unix? OS X's not Vista?

Is this about the iPhone API? Do end users really want an open system? Do they care? We can easily check - see if Android takes off. Are developers really suffering because of the 'closed' nature of iPhone APIs? Not judging by the App store take up, and earning. Yes, there's the % Apple take, but it's a damn site cheaper than self-marketing, and nothing like the markup that say digital river take.

What's more interesting, is that the breakdown in your responses doesn't match the market-share of Win vs Mac. We're not all fanboys, but even so I would have expected, despite the nature of El Reg's readership, there to be far fewer people au fait enough with the Mac OS development environment(s) to comment. Perhaps that a question worth an interpretation.

So apart from the admittedly (i.e. you admitted it) loaded question, was there any other useful tidbits in the survey? OR are we just stuck with this "who's coolaid is the best" competition? :-)

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Anonymous Coward

ORLY?

"Apple more closed than Microsoft"

In other news, bear craps in woods and discovers that the Pope is secretly a Catholic.

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Linux

Stifle Competetion

The reason Apple don't get to so much stick is because they haven't yet obtained any kind of meaningful monopoly that allows their more closed nature to stifle competition. I have no doubt that they would try if they attained the kind of monopoly position Microsoft had. Corporations are anti-democratic authoritarian dictatorships by nature.

That they are adding some competition to the market is a good thing, regardless of whether they are 'more closed' or not.

Of course, I will continue to mostly use Linux for anything other than film editing...

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Flame

I know I'm stupid, but I just don't get it...

Microsoft got savaged under antitrust laws on both sides of the Atlantic for daring to integrate a browser with the OS, which was seen as anti-competitive.

Apple, however, has a partly vertically-integrated sales structure, refuses to let its OS be used on other hardware, and makes it hellishly hard to write software for its hardware and OS in every way it can - yet somehow that's not anticompetitive?

I just don't understand how giving the consumer something for nothing abuses a monopoly position, whereas effectively preventing anyone else from getting into a market doesn't...

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My reason for using Apple products is fading away

I was a big fan of the clean and easy way doing work on OS X, being a Solaris/Linux person which was always annoyed by working thirteen years on DOS, then Windows. But the last iterations of Apple products make me sad, there are pop-ups popping in my view, hardware (especially laptops) failed on me, it seriously seems to loose quality for a release early, release often product strategy. I would love to have at lease lenovo and hp offer high quality workstations and laptops bundled with OS X. This would seriously bring Apple under pressure, to bring a laptop which isn't total crap in quality. Things as better keyboard feel, better display resolution, rugged laptop design would start to appear.

But by violating the own interface guidelines, disappearing functionality to make the iPhone look better e.g. bluetooth modem support partly broken in 10.5, they make me seriously considering going back to a horror named X11. At least there I can stop complaining and burn time in improving things that should be done ten years ago.

The documentation of Apples Software is good when the software was done in the years of 10.2, because there was a competition to Windows and Linux. Now, in the iPhone and Vista World, Mac OS X just have to be slightly better than the competition because everybody has become used to "upgrade" phones or OS every three years. But people can switch back, and my 2nd laptop (IBM Thinkpad T40) already runs opensuse 11 with a minimal XFCE interface. I don't mind doing things in the command line, when it would be 15 clicks away anyway. And the most used stuff is a shell script in the "Dock". So it looks tempting.

If I switch to Linux, I probably would switch the company I work also in the long run. For now, it is a Mac-Desktop-only company.

Please Apple Inc, do something for the "Power User", and a minimum of documentation, where can I set the bluetooth connection parameters in 10.5 would be a start.

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Dead Vulture

So....

The majority of people think that Apple are nice, and in your survey the majority of people think they're not nice, so the first majority are wrong...

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Anonymous Coward

Apple peaked with the PowerBook G4

Since then it's been downhill from a tech point of view. The share price will follow in a year or two unless they do something.

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No point commenting

There's no point commenting on this sort of diatribe. If you object against it then you are obviously a fan boy and taken in by the Cult of Jobs.

I have Macs and would recommend them because as a tool they do what they say they do with minimal headaches for the user. Now I'm sure that The Register can come up with an heap of anecdotal quotes that try to disprove that but I really don't care.

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Yes Microsoft is Open...

So open you can run a mack truck through... a freight train...and a 747 Jumbo Jet...

Yes...very open.... come infect us! We don't mind one bit!

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Jobs Horns

@Lionel

"I detest the fact that people don’t even realize that you can very easily add songs to ipods from just for example Winamp,"

Not with new ipods and iphones you cant. Apple changed itunes db format (again). New firmware broke iphone, new itouch has it built in. Apple have then started legal action against anyone who tries to reverse engineer.

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Boffin

Apple ain't so bad, but could be better

I've been using Macs since there was exactly one kind to choose from. In the meanwhile I've used just about every flavour of Windows as well as Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris and AIX.

My machine right now? A Mac Mini, with a Samsung 24" LCD, a Logitech gaming mouse and Altec Lansing speakers, generic network and an HP LaserJet. (My only Apple hardware besides the CPU is the keyboard, since my reflexes expect the splat key at the THIRD from the left.) I do almost everything using open source and free software: Firefox, MacMegaPOV, XCode, TextWrangler, MAMP, MacPython with Numpy and Scipy, QCAD, Qucs........... The only exception is my occasional use of Illustrator and Photoshop (I used to be a graphic designer; they're familiar, and no software has a better Bézier curve tool.)

Who says Apple's closed? You're a power user? Go ahead and power-use. (Boffin because, well, RTFM.)

Now I won't hesitate to lambaste Apple's business practices. Since I agree the appreviation A$ is MFG, why not A$$?

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@Mad Hacker

"Apple on the other hand, doesn't even use a serial number or CD key for OS installs. I don't have to worry about finding a new key every time I update or reformat a system."

-er- perhaps that's because no one would bother trying to pirate it? I'm not trying to apple bash here but since the discussion relates to how locked in it is, surely you're just helping the case against apple?

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Anonymous Coward

@ Mad Hacker

Perhaps you didn't need a CD key because, since every Apple computer comes with MacOS and a license for it there's no point in checking to see if you're a legit user?

Whereas on a Windows platform there is a much greater chance of hardware changes.

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Closed?

The difference here is that Apple's package is so good and so reliable. I have never had a reason to read any technical documentation, for example. I like the way it all just works 'out of the box'. Then again, I'm not a nerd, just a user. I would also point out that you can run Windows on a Mac, but NOT vice versa. Is that monopolistic practice?

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Gates Horns

Not a monopoly

Apple have far less power in enforcing their oh so great products on everyone, that's why people are more relaxed about them being closed. And that lack of a monopoly position also makes it distinctly harder to enforce any openness with the might of the law. It's a simple take it or leave it. I quite like that and choose not to have any kind of inedible Apple (in fact I currently and temporarily do just to see what I'm missing).

Choosing not to have Microsoft Windows on a ready-made laptop with my fave hardware spec when shopping around proves to be much, much harder. Even today, despite improvements. Yes, I can purchase that Dell Mini Netbook with Ubuntu, but only if I'm happy with half the storage and no webcam. If I do want it with the webcam and the full storage, I've got to pay the M$ tax. Similar issues with other netbooks.

Honi soit qui mal y pense.

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open, with a lower-case "o"

The term "open" has been co-opted by the open-source community, but having access to source code is often fairly useless. Most serious software is too complex for businesses and customers to spend time trying to understand it, and nobody wants to actually modify the code and begin maintaining their own private variant.

The most important form of openness is the ability for me (as a programmer) to write a program and distribute it or sell it on that platform. In that sense, Windows and Apple are open, and in fact encourage me to add to the diversity of software that runs on their platforms. Playstations and Xboxes are closed. Server-based applications and systems, owned by google or IBM and such folks are closed.

Licensing is an issue, and there I fault Linux/GNU more than Microsoft. Most fans of OSS seem to be professors, students, journalists. They are not in the position of making a living by programming, and for those who do, the GNU Public License is like a sexually transmitted disease. This is why many people do not port their games and applications ot Linux, because unless you are very careful, you can lose ownership of your code. People get sued because they didn't notice a license on a perl script somewhere. It's such a mess that companies have to buy software to analyze the licenses on the scripts and libraries.

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Coat

Gonna take my own advice

And not feed the trolls.. Well not much anyway. Because in reality this article is nothing more than an open invitation for a flame war and frankly I'm tired of them. Wintards will never admit to or realize how fundamentally flawed windows is and will conveniently ignore just how despicable MS is as a whole. Extreme Apple fanbois will never admit to Apple's gaffes or short comings, so really the whole thing is pointless. As I've said before I've got one computer with the top three on 'em and each serves a different purpose and shortly my aging linux server will get replaced with a used G5 running OS X server. So if that makes me an Apple fanboi then so be it cos frankly I don't give a fuck anymore.

I have been in several all OS X houses and we never had any issues getting support or help from Apple with any of our kit. One small example, one place we had two X serve's come in DOA and the Apple rep bent over backwards getting us replacements ASAP. Our devs never had issues getting their hands on APIs when needed or information on what may be at issue when certain software would collide and cause issues. So where this Apple is more closed tripe comes from, I have no idea. And before any of you smart asses pop off, these were not mom and pop operations, these were large multinational advertising/marketing agencies (read multiple thousands of users). So yes some of us DO have a clue and first hand experience using Apple kit in an enterprise environment and YES is does work just fine. Is it ideal for every enterprise solution? Of course not and anyone that would suggest otherwise is blind to corporate and computing realities. But this nonsense especially here in the comments just proves that such blindness and OS bigotry is rampant across the whole of the computing world.

And with that I return you to your normally scheduled flame fest.

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Anonymous Coward

I've forgotten..

Who do we hate this week? Apple? Microsoft? Google?

I can never keep up..

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Dead Vulture

What's wrong with Apple as told by non-Apple users...

With the Mac's market share just under 10% and climbing, I'm not sure how objective a poll like this can be considering 90% of the respondents don't own or use a Mac.

"The food is terrible... and the portions are too small." - Woody Allen?

Hilarious.

> iPod tied to the iTunes store?

I've had one for years and I've never been to the iTunes store. Put a CD in your computer and it get's ripped into iTunes where you can put it on your iPod if you want or don't.

> Apple's secretive product plans?

You'd be secretive too if you spent big bucks on design and development and the moment your products hit the streets, the Asian copying machine goes into overdrive getting crap knockoffs to try and steal your market.

I've personally never understood why most PC users can't seem to fathom that there could be a better alternative to what they're using. Why is it that you've closed yourselves off from learning anything new? Sure the knowledge you've gained was hard fought but what... you're done learning? Nothing new for you then? We might as well just pour dirt over you right now.

I'm a Mac user, a Linux user and occasionally a Windows user but the Mac is what I use to earn my daily keep. I write software everyday.

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Apple turned to the dark side

As a former Mac user (Mac Plus, 1986) I just weep when I see the monster which Apple has been turned into. Of course, it might be because of blunders during the early 90's; but I'd say that it was the Return of Steve Jobs that brought upon this evil incarnation of Apple.

Apple had been opening up, in fact our Performa was actually as user-serviceable as a PC, and there were Mac clones out there already. Yes, they may have been late in the show, but at least they were there! With a good enough price drop, Macs might've won the war, especially during the Win9x days when Macs still fared better than PCs. In fact, I think that if Clone Macs had come before Win95, Windows wouldn't dominate the personal computer market. But no, they didn't, they acted too late; then Jobs came, and *closed up everything*, so Apple lost the small openness it had got.

Jobs should really tone down his ego, and open up Apple. Otherwise, they'll end up being the next "M$". Oh wait, they already are, but they're able to brainwash their consumer market into believing they *aren't*.

And isn't tying an OS to specific hardware the same thing IBM's fighting? In fact, I do remember that software/hardware lock-in was already shot down in court with IBM; so that's enough legal precedent to give both PSI and Psystar the upper hand against IBM and Apple, respectively.

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Joke

Apple abbrevs?

You might use A¶ if you could just figure out how to type that nifty paragraph character ... :-)

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Amateurs and hobbyists buy Apple, pure and simple.

Amateurs and hobbyists buy Apple, pure and simple.

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It Just Works!

After more than 25 years in the DOS/Wintel business I changed to Mac and it really does just work - no hassle, few reboots and very elegant - I still use Windows when I have to, but I prefer the Mac. Simple, we all use what we prefer! Get over it!

P.S. Can we have a gay equivalent to Paris Hilton (Keanu Reeves, maybe?) ;-)

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Go

doug39a@yahoo.com

I've always preferred A$$ or a$$ ... take your pick. No real reason, just seems for fit for me.

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yes, yes, no

My only raised point to the perceived message of Apple of being 'more' closed is the apparent better way to go about it by Apple. I have 'Apple' friends and I have (slightly more.... base?) PC friends. This will never change and it is a great things, but to remain to point, let us look look at an example of open (and it needs to be, Safari) and closed (IE).

IE 8 is at our door and it is going to course a stink, as IE has always done at some level, except this time it is not with the W3C purists, but rather with the commoners who loaded up Studio Express and composed their pages in the eternal mantra of "follow the mass". This was a load that had to be relived sooner or later, alas it is coming at the MS crew (I am shedding buckets).

My point is yes, Apple are a LOT more proprietary than MS have ever been, but they do it with a certain intelligence and forethought that MS have seemed to lack. Am I a fool for 'branding' myself an Apple follower? Possibly, but having looked at the situation from a consumer perspective (and admittedly not so much a developer one) I am happy to invest a few years worth of computer usage capital in a platform that, if evil, is better at being evil than the rest.

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Flame

Polarised fanboism

Like most comment-a-reg pages this one also descends into extreme jihadist fanboism!

Now, we who visit El Reg tend to be the more technical members of society, but I unfortunately find that the people who I know that get Macs are the ones who are not so into IT, not all of them, but most... I also think a major reason in the attitude change to devoted zealot is that they also experience Windows XP in corporate images which are the ultimate example of bloat and slowness, and compare that with a nice new shiny home laptop that "Just Works"(tm)... and then they proceed to tell me all about it too!

That is what drives a lot of the "STFU-ness" I have with Mac users. They seem to want to point out how superior their choice of machine is to any of mine running whatever OS's because the marketing told them how superior their hard earned cash siphon is! I especially like it when they try to get technical about it knowing that my career is in IT and I know a lot more about it than they do... I really wouldn't like to tell a heart surgeon he is doing his job wrong because Dr Sloan never did it like that, so why do they feel the need to lecture me in _my_ chosen field?!?

Rant over... back to SQL scripts for me. My work really is very OS independent... all I need is a database client!

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Jobs Horns

yes but..

Apple makes good looking hardware. But, there is an always "yes but"

iphone is very good interface-wise and hardware. it made the winmob snobs to emulate it, however broken their attempts were/are. i'd go so far as saying it's as good as it gets so far, interface-wise.

but no, it doesn't cut it. It does have a unix-like system running, and it does have wifi, but I can't copy a single file. it does have bluetooth, but I can't transfer a single ringtone, or even a brace of phone numbers - i thought BT was for what?. I can't even watch a simple mpeg that hasn't been transmorgified through itunes to whatever, and this is supposed to be a multimedia oriented device. wtf?!!?

Similar story pervades more or less to the personal computer offerings. OSX is wonderful. Good friendly and very slick interface (albeit with minor nagging shortcomings). Good interaction among apps too. But why can't I have a decent tablet computer to run Photoshop/Painter/whatever on OSX? Make one, or at least deputize somebody (Lenovo? Acer?) to do it for you.. I side with Psystar or whatever on this issue, sharks out for a quick buck that they may turn out to be..

Rant rant rant, I know..

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You get what you pay for

Apple is an old-style company that sells vertically integrated systems (like old IBM, DEC, etc.).

Every company wants to "farm" its customers like a bunch of cattle, taking them for milking twice a day. Companies that sell a hardware-software system usually link everything to the hardware.

And it used to be that companies made or lost their reputation on the hardware.

Microsoft has no effective control over PC hardware, so it's important for their business model that there are no effective competitors in the software space... which is why they are so forceful in seeking a monopoly position.

With Xbox you can see that Microsoft employs a vertically integration model when it can - and it would be a lot more representative to compare Mac vs XBox in terms of openness.

The big difference between the two is that while Apple makes overpriced toys, Microsoft makes over-hyped buggy bloatware AND over the years has employed an astonishing number of illegal or at least highly unethical stunts to exclude competitors from the marketplace.

Microsoft tries to prevent other firms from making a business from selling the same kind of thing that they do... Apple tries to prevent others from entering their ecosystem. There's a world of difference.

No, I don't have a Mac (and probably never will) but I regularly recommend them to people who are incapable of being their own system administrator.

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Silver badge

When are you lot going to realize that ...

... tools are tools.

Learn them all, and pick the best one for the job at hand.

How hard is it, anyway?

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@Gareth Gouldstone

>> After more than 25 years in the DOS/Wintel business I changed to Mac and it really does just >> work - no hassle, few reboots and very elegant

Really? I have Vista on an HP laptop and a custom-built PC, both running games, MS Visual Studio, SQL server and Oracle server, without antivirus or anti-spyware.

No reboots - EVER. It really REALLY does just work.

Funny that.

But the gay Keanu icon is a good idea.

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Topic? What topic?

> A$

FPA 'A-string'. Six years of BASIC coming back to bite me...

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