Yet more evidence came to light this week in my EFF newsletter about Apple's lack of will to compete. In fact, make that Apple's determination to stymie competition in any shape or form. They have never been an open systems company, and it appears now that they don't see any advantage in helping others to expand the market for iPhones. No sirree, that's Apple's territory, and Apple's alone. If you believe Apple, that is. But if Henry Ford had taken the same attitude to free market innovation that Steve Jobs does we would probably still be riding round on horses.
There was a major battle around the ability to have your iPhone load ringtones that you didn't pay Apple 99 cents for. The ModifyMyiPhone site detailed how to download "unauthorized" ringtones using two different pieces of software, iFuntastic and iRingtoner. Just before Apple's recent announcement of additional products including the iPod Touch a company called Ambrosia announced a product called iToner that also allowed the download of ringtones.
Apple's response? Version 7.4 of iTunes automatically deleted any non-approved (i.e. not purchased from Apple) ring tones. Ambrosia figured a workaround for this update, which iTunes version 7.4.1 again defeated, and so on.
Another battle is over video output. Presumably because they can, Apple has locked the video output on recent versions of the iPod classic and iPod nano. Vendors who want to provide compatible accessories are required to buy licensed chips from Apple and pay a fee of 10% of their wholesale price. Apple are charging $49 for a kit containing a video cable that has the activation chip along wiht a power supply. That sounds suspiciously like gouging to me.
The next laptop suddenly looks less and less like an Apple. How can we be for open source and yet condone this kind of behavior in the marketplace?