Apple – The New Comics Censors

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Dusty Ayres, May 31, 2010.

  1. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Apple – The New Comics Censors

    That much is certain.
     
  2. Arrqh

    Arrqh Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Flash (coming soon)? Installing apps from a source other then the official store? Being able to customize the OS and swap out built in apps? Use it on another network from AT&T? Be able to unlock your phone without being accused of breaking the law? Have a choice of multiple devices to better suit your specific needs and cost requirements? Being able to buy apps that Apple hasn't rejected for arbitrary reasons?

    There's nothing wrong with having an iPhone, but to suggest that it is the end all be all of phones and that no other choice might be better suited to any specific person is silly.

    Just because they're not a monopoly they're beyond reproach? Should we only hold companies to ethical and legal standards once they cross the threshold of controlling 51% of whatever market you decide to look at?

    It doesn't matter if Apple is a monopoly or not. Their choices are affecting content across all platforms. That may not even be what their intent is, but it's still happening (and in the case of App developer restrictions, you can be damn sure that that's the intent). And when any company is in a position to unfairly control its competitors or any other company besides themselves, monopoly or not, then it's bad.

    As it turns out, the FTC is currently running an investigation on Apple as a precursor to a possible antitrust suit. So... yeah.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Apple – The New Comics Censors

    I hope you're right, but it seems to me that it's not for want of trying on Apple's part. And "there always will be" will only be true so long as we maintain strong antitrust protections.
     
  4. Small White Car

    Small White Car Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What's "ethical" about deciding what to run on the device you manufacture?

    Nintendo gives the ok to 100% of the material released for the Wii. That's unethical to you?

    I disagree.

    And online music sales IS an area where Apple is closer to a monopoly.

    So, yeah, I'd say it does matter. Even your own example proves how it becomes much more serious once you pass that 50% mark.

    No, trust me. Having the smaller market-share (of hardware) is Apple's business plan.

    It'd be stupid of them to mess that up. It's working VERY well for them. Why change plans now?
     
  5. Arrqh

    Arrqh Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You believe that restricting developers from deploying cross platform applications on your platform to hurt other platforms is ethical?

    I disagree. And so does the justice department, Microsoft got beaned for the same thing (settled out of court, but used as evidence in the antitrust suit). Nintendo's policies, of course, aren't designed to discourage people from developing on the PS3 or the 360 so it really is an entirely different matter.

    Perhaps you missed the bit that referenced the other investigation triggered by a complain by Adobe? Because that has nothing to do with iTunes.

    Antitrust laws apply to all companies regardless of their market position... it's just easier for a smaller company to fly under the radar. Doesn't make it legal and it doesn't make it ethical. And just because a company does not have a monopoly does not mean they are not in a position to unfairly harm their competitors or control other companies.
     
  6. Small White Car

    Small White Car Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ok, but you're asking to give Adobe the right to hurt Apple.

    It's not ok for Apple to hurt Adobe, so we should just reverse it and that makes everything ok?

    At a certain point you just have to realize that everything can't be fair and that someone has to come out ahead. Why shouldn't the market get to make that decision?

    Why let the government arbitrarily pick one company to win out over the other? Who gets to make that choice?
     
  7. Arrqh

    Arrqh Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How does letting Adobe release a software package that lets developers create iPhone apps hurt Apple? How does letting Adobe release a version of Flash for the iPhone and iPad hurt Apple? :confused:

    Letting the free market decide would be great! Unfortunately, Apple doesn't seem to agree because their current restrictions on developers are designed to unfairly influence the market. Further, by your logic Microsoft should still be in a position to force the OEMs to do their bidding and your phone company should be Ma Bell. The free market put those companies there so why should the government interfere! A pure free market has never worked and that's why we have antitrust legislation in the first place. And forcing Apple to play by the rules is most certainly not equivalent to picking a different company to win over them.

    The law applies to everyone, not just companies we don't like. Microsoft, Google, Apple, IBM, Nintendo, Sony... they all have to play by the same rules.
     
  8. Small White Car

    Small White Car Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Apple's competitive advantage is their ability to come out with unique devices that (they hope) work better than their competitors and offer neat new features before anyone else has them.

    Adobe's goal is to get their software involved in all hardware platforms. Having hardware be more similar is an advantage for them. Thus, wherever Apple has the ability to pull out ahead of the pack, Adobe has no vested interest in helping them do that.

    So, given that, let's look at a 'what if?' world. What if Adobe Flash ran on the iPhone and its compiler made apps for the app store? In that world, any new feature that Apple adds to their phone will only be a "real" feature once Adobe adds support for it. And we've already established that speed doesn't really matter to Adobe in such matters.

    So Apple adds a compass to the 3GS model? Great. People will care once Adobe adds support for it to their software. Which is...when...exactly? Oh, probably a month or two after all the other phones finally get around to adding it to their devices.

    Or what about bugs? Right now if there's a bug in the Apple software, Apple can fix it. If there's a bug in 3rd party software...well, it's not like everyone uses that program.

    But a bug in Adobe's software? That will pretty much affect everyone and Apple can't do anything about it. Remember, Adobe is a company that let Flash for Mac lag far, far behind Flash for Windows for years. They've made it quite clear that fixing their software for Apple is not a priority for them. What makes us think the iPhone will be any different? Huge flaws could last for weeks...months. iPhone sales are slipping? Whatever...they're just jumping over to a different phone with Adobe software. No reason to hurry.

    Right now, Apple controls when and how their phone gets updated. Allowing Adobe Flash or the compiler in will transfer that control from Apple to Adobe. (To Adobe, mind you, not to the consumer, as many people think.) So what possible reason can we say to Apple "We're taking control of your product away from you to give to another company" and not have that be an egregious abuse of government power?

    That's like telling McDonald's "You're selling too many Big Macs so we're gonna let Burger King design what'll be in them from now on."
    Or telling Sony that the X-Box isn't doing so well so Playstations must run X-Box games from now on.

    I just can't see the justification for any of that.

    And this, I just don't get. How are Apple's policies stopping anyone from buying a Droid or a Pre? You want to buy a Pre? Explain to me how Apple's policy on Flash is stopping you. I don't see it.
     
  9. Arrqh

    Arrqh Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Such a scenario would be correct if having Flash on the iPhone would suddenly mean that the App Store was not available. But of course, it still would be. As a result you've gotten this entirely backwards. Apple still retains total control over both the hardware and the OS and if they add a feature that Flash doesn't support then they can promote apps on their app store that do support it, thus differentiating them from the rest of the market in the way that you describe. Removing the unfair and potentially illegal restrictions that Apple has placed on Adobe does not hurt them in the way that you describe; it does, however, mean that they have to compete on equal footing... and then let the free market decide.

    Isn't that what you wanted, the free market? Or is the free market only a valid selector if the choice is pre-weighted in someone's favor? You say you want the free market to decide, but you also don't even want to give them the option of playing a Flash game instead of buying one from the App store. How is that anything even resembling a free market?

    And it's worth pointing out again, just like your Nintendo comment earlier this is not the same at all and most certainly is not what I'm suggesting. What this is like is telling Microsoft that they can't restrict Java on their platform in an attempt to poison the market or telling Microsoft that they can't force the OEM's to not install Netscape... and both of those things have already happened. Were you opposed to the antitrust investigation on Microsoft in the 90s? Were you opposed to the EU's investigation, fines and eventual enforcement on browsers and media players in Windows? If so, then I guess I can see why you would be opposed to any investigation on Apple or any company in general, but if not then isn't it hypocritical to give Apple a pass when they're doing the same sorts of things Microsoft got in trouble for?

    On the topic of Flash on Macs, I feel that pain everytime I go to YouTube on my Macbook Pro. The situation isn't exactly as clear cut as you make it seem however; the issue is that Flash does not do any hardware accelerated H.264 decoding on Macs. It isn't entirely clear exactly who's fault this is, and a case can be made for both Apple and Adobe as to why this hasn't been addressed. But a month ago, Apple added the Video Decode Acceleration Framework API to OSX 10.6.3. Adobe has long said that they lack the proper API's to optimize Flash for the Mac and shortly after this API was released Adobe announced that they will be implementing it in Flash. You can read about it here.
     
  10. Small White Car

    Small White Car Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You seem very sure of that. The idea here is that the Adobe programs would be IN the app-store, remember. Since they're cross-platform, what do you want to bet that many developers will use them?

    I'm betting that most of the app store would BE Flash-made apps.

    I do not believe the consumer would have a choice at that point. They would go from having to buy Apple-software-made apps to having to buy Adobe-software-made apps. Not because the Adobe-made ones are better, but because they were easier to make. The developers would have an easier job. The consumer would get no greater choice, however. They'd just switch from one thing to another thing.

    Clearly it's impossible to know for sure, so we're stuck here at a difference of opinions. I am firmly convinced that the consumer would not gain any choice through any of this. You disagree, but we have no way of knowing, either way.



    Like I said, I don't think that'll happen. I think the 'free market' will never get a chance to choose. Right now I can choose between a phone without Flash (iPhone) or a phone with (eventual) Flash (Android.) I consider THAT to be the free market deciding. I have a choice of which kind of phone to buy. Forcing Flash onto the iPhone means that I then must buy a phone with Flash. If I want one without it, I would no longer have that choice.

    Basically, we're arguing about 2 different kinds of choice:

    1) I think giving consumers the choice over what kind of platform to buy is paramount.

    2) You think that giving developers the choice over what kind of software to design with is paramount.


    Those are contradictory goals in this case. Are you a software writer? Then it would make sense why you'd pick #2 over #1. Me? I'd rather give the freedom to the public than the software writers. Sorry, but I think the people spending the money have the greater rights. That sucks for the developers, I know, but SOMEONE has to win there. I choose consumers.



    The difference here is that I can easily buy an Android phone instead. What was my alternative to Windows in the 90's? Macs? Linux? Please. Those were not real choices then.

    When you have no alternatives then you're held to a higher standard. The existence of both Blackberries and all those Android phones make this a totally different scenario.

    If iPhones become 90% of the market I will totally agree with you. But that's never going to happen.




    That's what Adobe wants you to think. That they WOULD fix things, if only Apple would let them. But it's just a red herring. If that were true then non-video Flash programs would work fine on a Mac. You'd see a clear-cut difference between video Flash running poorly and other kinds of Flash running well.

    This isn't the case, however. Run 'Farmville' on your Mac and check the processor. Compare that to a Windows machine and you'll see the difference. Video acceleration has nothing to do with that, so why does it run so poorly? Adobe hopes you'll just think "hardware acceleration" is the answer to everything, when it really isn't. The real answer is that they just didn't care about the Mac.

    It really is as clear cut as what I said: Adobe's Flash team didn't care about the Mac until very, very recently.
     
  11. Hermiod

    Hermiod Admiral Admiral

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    Unfortunately, unlike Symbian which is designed for mobile devices, the iPhone OS isn't. Notorious battery killers like Flash aren't going to happen any time soon.

    This is a ticking time bomb for any OS that supports letting apps do whatever they like on a device that can make phone calls.

    It's a phone, not a PC.

    iPhones are available on at least four different networks here.

    All Apple have said is that if you break it in the attempt, it's your fault. That's all.

    You have that choice. Nokia will sell you a phone to suit any need, as will many other handset manufacturers.

    Ultimately, it's their store, they are responsible for what is sold on it and they have to ensure that their device plays nice on other people's networks - they have to make sure that their phone doesn't drive down the street with its snow tyres on in the middle of July.
     
  12. Dusty Ayres

    Dusty Ayres Commodore

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    We, the people, do. When said company is engaging in monopolistic business practices, said company has to be brought to heel and made to behave. This was the same situation as Standard Oil, Paramount Pictures and all of the other Hollywood movie studios, and Microsoft. And as I said before, there needs to be a big, nasty new set of antitrust proceedings/laws, with razor sharp teeth, to make the current media behemoths behave and stop the bullshit they're all on, because it's fucking up movies, music, television, radio & publishing, and making everything crap in the process (in case you haven't noticed, people aren't pleased with movies & TV these days.) That's all there is to it, and that's about the size of it.
     
  13. Arrqh

    Arrqh Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And considering there's already +200k apps on the App Store that aren't made using Adobe's tools, you'd lose that bet. Developers aren't going to drop their existing pipeline and codebase to switch over to Adobe... that would be pointless and expensive. Additionally, if Apple wants to ensure that there are apps that use whatever features they want to promote, they can either make those apps themselves or hire a developer to do it for them. This is, by the way, how Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft operate on their game platforms and why comparing game platforms to Apple is incorrect. Cross platform games are common; no platform owner tries to discourage this, instead they each make sure that they have games that are exclusive to promote both their libraries and their technical abilities.

    Like I said, I don't think that'll happen. I think the 'free market' will never get a chance to choose. Right now I can choose between a phone without Flash (iPhone) or a phone with (eventual) Flash (Android.) I consider THAT to be the free market deciding. I have a choice of which kind of phone to buy. Forcing Flash onto the iPhone means that I then must buy a phone with Flash. If I want one without it, I would no longer have that choice.

    The solution to your first point here is fairly obvious: have an option to disable Flash. This is what Android will have: the current preview release of 2.2 with Flash 10.1 beta has an in-browser option to disable Flash. If you don't want it, you turn it off, done. This is similar to the requirements put on Microsoft in the EU but in reverse: give consumers all the available options (in Microsoft's case, browsers) and let them choose. No need to force anything on anyone.

    As to consumers vs. developers... well that's all well and good, but it ignores one of the fundamental driving forces of any platform ever made, which is developers. Without developers a platform is nothing (see: WebOS). The success of the iPhone hinges on the App Store, which is only a draw because of the developers that develop for it. Without them, there are no apps and one of the big reasons to chose the iPhone over any of its competitors is gone. And if Apple can keep some developers from making cross platform apps, then it means their competitors will have a smaller number of apps in their app stores, thus making Apple's platform more insisting to consumers. And that's the linchpin of the whole affair: by controlling the developers, they're robbing the free market the choice between platforms.

    Basically it goes like this: lets say I start a small business to develop mobile apps. I don't have a lot of starting capital, certainly not enough to write and maintain multiple copies of my app. So I look at the market and see that I have two choices. I can either write a cross platform application using some 3rd party development platform (and there are many others besides Adobe here... Monotouch, Unity3D, etc) which can be easily ported to Android/WebOS/Maemo/etc but NOT the iPhone... or I can just code an iPhone version and skip all the others. In the consumer app store space, there are way more sales in the Apple store so my best choice to make a profit as soon as possible is to create just the iPhone version and ignore the rest. If my app sells well then great, in 6 months or a year I can now code a second version which can then be ported to whatever other platforms I want to deploy on.

    The net effect? Small developers will target the iPhone first. There will be more new apps on the iPhone then on other platforms and the growth of other platforms will be hampered. Because of this, consumers looking to purchase a phone will see that there are more apps available for the iPhone and based on that make the best choice for them... go with the iPhone. By unfairly restricting developers, consumers are intrinsically hurt. And by hampering the growth of their competitors, Apple has less incentive to innovate... which results in things like multitasking being a big deal now instead of two years ago.

    So casting this as consumer freedom vs. developer freedom is wrong. Developer freedom is consumer freedom.

    And as it turns out... if you look at just the phone platform app sales (so, sales directly from developers to consumers), in 2009 99% of app sales were through Apple. If that doesn't demonstrate control over both the direct to consumer app market and over developers, I don't know what does!

    And in the end, all Apple has to do is revert their developer license to what it was a few months ago, before the offending restrictions were added. It worked out great for nearly two years and resulted in plenty of quality apps developed with 3rd party libraries. If it ain't broke...
     
  14. Arrqh

    Arrqh Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So give people an option to turn Flash off; that's what Android does. It's certainly what I'm planning to do when 2.2 finally gets pushed out.

    Hasn't been a problem for Android. To install apps not from the market, you need to go through the menu and turn the option on. A warning pops up telling you the potential hazards and you hit okay. Done.


    On my Android phone, I'm currently using a Home app replacement (LauncherPro) which handles the home screens instead of the build in app. There are several choices available. I'm currently using a keyboard replacement (Swype), though I've also used Smart Keyboard in the past. There are a few others available. There are even 3rd party dialers to choose from, though all the ones I've seen so far are pretty ugly. There are also a myriad of choices for music players available (which is good, because the stock Android player is pretty naff). All on my phone, which isn't a PC.

    That's great; it doesn't help US users. At the moment, the only major US carrier that's lagging behind in Android devices is AT&T... three guesses as to why.


    Actually, no. To unlock an iPhone, you have to jailbreak it. Apple has stated that they believe that jailbreaking an iPhone is a violation of the DMCA and have issued takedown notices to sites that have instructions on how to jailbreak. They have not yet tried to go after individual users. They probably won't, because it isn't worth their time... but this is certainly more then just dropping support. See here.

    Yes, you have that choice if you don't go with the iPhone. That was my point.

    Again, that was my point. The original question I was responding to was "why would you want an Android phone instead of an iPhone." Everything I said in response where things that you can do with an Android device that you cannot with an iPhone. Certainly not everyone will care about these things and I don't expect them too; I do and that's why I went with a Nexus One. If someone prefers the experience and walled garden of the iPhone, then they can go for it. My fundamental point here is that for some people, Android phones represent a better choice for their needs then the iPhone. That's all.
     
  15. Hermiod

    Hermiod Admiral Admiral

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    Let me get this straight, you want Apple to add Flash to the iPhone just so you can turn it off as soon as you get it out of the box ?

    The Internet is supposed to be about open standards. There's nothing open about Flash. One company has made the Internet all about them and it's not Apple.

    As I said, that's a ticking time bomb. I can't wait for the pained expressions on the faces of people in the tabloid newspapers whose phones dialled premium rate numbers in the middle of the night.

    You are an edge case. Apple make a phone with a specific user interface and a specific user experience. Your choice is to buy that phone or not.

    Because AT&T's network sucks and they don't want any more data heavy devices on their network than they already have ?

    I have not seen an actual instance of Apple pressing any kind of charges or taking any kind of legal action against a user for jailbreaking an iPhone.

    I don't see how it's that much of a criticism against Apple. As I said, they have created a specific device with a specific user experience. It is up to you to buy that device or not.

    In general the main arguments against the iPhone seem to be from people who see some feature, often one that's an edge case that only they are interested in, that is missing and turn it in to a moral crusade.

    If people want a moral crusade, how about going after the proprietary plug-in that has cornered off a huge chunk of the Internet for itself ?

    Who here actually likes Flash ? Wouldn't it be better if your browser supported the things Flash does without having to install a buggy, battery draining plug-in that isn't responsible for a significant portion of all browser crashes ?
     
  16. Neeka Keet

    Neeka Keet Admiral Admiral

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    Flash is the devil, 9 times out of 10 the things that have made my browser crash are flash related. 100% of the time intrusive flash ads annoy me and take up my time by making my browser lag. To be perfectly honest I could live in a world without flash and I do whenever I use Safari on my iPod touch.
     
  17. Cutter John

    Cutter John Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    But I though having a big company deciding what you see and how you use their product was one of Apples selling points? ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
  18. Small White Car

    Small White Car Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Why will they do that?

    Android is growing and will be out-selling the iPhone and that's not going to reverse. RIM is doing very well for themselves, too.

    I totally believe your story, but if there are more Android+BB+Palm phones than iPhones (and more app sales for them then for iPhones) then why wouldn't it be backwards from what you described? Developers will write the cross-platform version first since that will see the most sales there and THEN write the iPhone version.

    Right? Why do you think they'll go after the smaller number of sales first? Because that was how it worked in the past? It won't be that way in the future. The iPhone will never be a majority-product. It had a head-start in all this, but it won't last.

    So the question becomes, if developers are writing-once-and-running-everywhere BUT the iPhone and then getting to the iPhone second...how is Apple harming anyone with that?
     
  19. TheBrew

    TheBrew Vice Admiral Admiral

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    RAWR!!! APPLE!!! RAWR!!! :mad: :klingon:
     
  20. Arrqh

    Arrqh Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, what I want is for no one company to be able to dictate what direction the web evolves in... especially one that has the potential of making financial gain if they can force something else out of the market. Apple's crusade against Flash has absolutely nothing to do with open standards; is has to do with Apple's stake in the H.264 patent fiasco and the threat of people running web applications instead of purchasing them from the store.

    There is absolutely nothing altruistic about Apple's feud with Adobe: it's about money. Apple is a business. People seem to forget this frequently. Unlucky for Microsoft that in the mid-90's no one did the same to them.

    The post of mine that you responded to is not an argument against the iPhone. It was instead me responding to a question someone asked as to why someone would choose an Android device over an iPhone. I've never understood why some people seem to think that picking a non-Apple product is equivalent to attacking Apple.

    I don't care that you can't do any of the things I mentioned in said post with an iPhone because, well, I don't own one! For people who like the way Apple does things, they can keep buying iPhones and keep enjoying them. And for people who don't like them, they can buy other devices. You talking about how I'm an "edge case" entirely misses the point. Apple's products attempt to be one size fits all, which is great for some people and not so great for other people and so those other people are going to look elsewhere. Why is it so offensive to some that people buy non-Apple products? :confused:

    Flash does suck. I rather hate it myself. But it should not be up to Apple or Google or Microsoft or any other company what standards the web uses. We've been down this road before and everytime a company tries to impose web standards because it helps their corporate interests, they get smacked down. But if Apple does it, it's okay? I'd prefer a non-hypocritical approach, thanks.

    This is why: http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/01/apple-responsible-for-994-of-mobile-app-sales-in-2009.ars. Apple has a commanding lead in direct to consumer app sales. As of now, Apple's store is worth more then all their competitors combined. This is the reason why people would target the iPhone first rather then everything else... it's still the market leader in app sales and is the more lucrative space to be in. And that's why what policies Apple puts on its developers needs to be under scrutiny. This isn't some anti-Apple crusade on my part; if the situation was reversed and Google was trying to do the same thing you'd see me ranting just the same.

    You're right that Apple's head start won't last... and I have no doubt that the reason Apple is behaving this way is because they know that and they're trying to fight it. Well great, let them fight it, but not if it means engaging in anti-competitive practices.
     

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