Print 23 comment(s) - last by FaaR.. on Jul 7 at 3:58 AM

Apple's Steve Jobs and Chinese President Hu Jintao share a penchant for censorship and a thirst to enforce morality upon their subjects. Both also share a fear of a truly free market, one which might escape their control.  (Source: BusinessWeek and SkyParliament, respectively)
Apple has Macs, iPods, iPhones, and your daily censorship fix

Apple has the perfect opportunity to transcend the bounds of a niche small-market-share company and become a market leader in the hot smart phone industry that threatens to replace the MP3 player market -- the only market which Apple currently dominates.  However, Apple is pulling a China and ruining this golden opportunity.

Looking at Apple's iPhone App Store and China's internet, the comparisons are eerie --a massive user base, an exploding economy, egocentric leadership, and a governing body that thinks it can legislate morality for its users.  China's Green Dam firewall software and the nation's central firewall ban porn, pesky Tibet websites, religious materials, and other subversive content.  Apple's App Store bans porn, pesky third party browsers, religious materials (like the Me-So-Holy-App) and other subversive content (like South Park applications).  One would almost think Apple's iconic logo had turned from gray to red.

Ironically both Apple and China claim no religious stance, yet they could moralize with the best fundamentalists.  And both do so with a warped idealistic naiveté that is comical and tragic all at once.  Do Apple and China really think they can block their users from adult content?  Do they really think that they can block their users from taking religious stands?  And ultimately, do they think they can block millions of educated people from having freedoms of speech and expression?

The answer is obviously, no.  And yet neither seem to get that. 

These are not isolated incidents, either.  Both have been repeat offenders for the past few decades.  China runs over protesters.  Apple sues Mac cloners out of house and home.  China fights to jail bloggers.  And Apple fights to brick iPhone unlockers.  Mysterious attacks which down Tibet liberation websites originate from China.  Not-so-mysterious legal takedowns of Apple fan sites originate from Apple's legal counsel.  And both have long fought the good fight against a market that might escape their control and fall into (gasp!) capitalism.  Heavens no!

As a result both will suffer, as will their users.  For China it means a slower route to its eventual position as the world's wealthiest and most productive industrial nation.  For Apple it means that its potential to become a serious player in the computer industry will be minimized, and while it will dominate the smart phone industry, it will be a weary reign as it will never dominate as fully as it could and be forced to constantly fight off threats.

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By therealnickdanger on 6/26/2009 11:42:35 AM , Rating: 5
Until Apple actually has hundreds of thousands, if not millions, murdered to meet its goals of controlled ascension, let's try to keep the comparisons to a minimum, shall we? There's also the matter of Apple being a business with no control over anyone but customers that choose to accept the cost of being an Apple user - versus a international superpower forcing its doctrine upon its people. Y'know, just the little details...

RE: Death
By TomZ on 6/26/09, Rating: 0
RE: Death
By kattanna on 6/26/2009 1:42:55 PM , Rating: 3
It's a tongue-in-cheek comparison; don't be so serious.

i see none of that anywhere in the article, he seems quite serious on the matter

in fact, it reminds me of those "reporters" and politicians who equate someone smoking a joint in their own home with child molesters.

RE: Death
By JasonMick on 6/26/2009 1:58:59 PM , Rating: 4
It is tongue and cheek, I wrote it so I should know. :)

Maybe I need to include some humor/sarcasm tags?

Obviously Apple isn't killing anybody, but it does have a history of bad behavior. The two are very different. China is a country that behaves inappropriately in an era where industrialized nations are supposed to grant their populace freedoms. And it has killed many who have opposed its policies.

Apple is obviously much more harmless. If anything its actions boil down to stupidity and mainly hurt itself. meanwhile From a business perspective it has been very foolish in trying to stifle potential business and revenue sources such as third party OS X boxes and "mature" iPhone apps. As such it has failed to hold the market share it could have.

Obviously very different... Don't take it too seriously! :)

RE: Death
By kattanna on 6/26/2009 2:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe I need to include some humor/sarcasm tags?

while the obvious tags wouldnt hurt, the thing, to me at least even re-reading it, im simply left thinking you honestly think the comparison works and is a valid one.

anyways, i will grant you that humor and sarcasm can at times be difficult to impossible to convey on the sly on the internet.

RE: Death
By JasonMick on 6/26/2009 3:00:10 PM , Rating: 3
I figured lines like...

One would almost think Apple's iconic logo had turned from gray to red.

And both have long fought the good fight against a market that might escape their control and fall into (gasp!) capitalism. Heavens no!

China runs over protesters. Apple sues Mac cloners out of house and home

would help convey that it is a bit tongue at cheek... but you're right maybe it can be lost on the internet...

But while it may be a bit of comedy, like most lampoonings there's some truth amid the humor.

RE: Death
By FaaR on 7/7/2009 3:58:50 AM , Rating: 2
The reason Apple bans porn apps and whatnot isn't censorship (although that IS the ultimate end-result), nor is it trying to 'legislate morality' for its users. Perhaps that was tongue-in-cheek too, but in that case I'll pretend I didn't notice. :)

No, the real reason they do this is because the U.S. is such a morally constipated society where it's more acceptable (or at least not as controversial) to watch people getting killed by shooting them in the head with a handgun, than it is to watch porn. Violent movie gets PG13 rating. Pornographic movie gets R rating. The pen is not the mightier weapon than the sword; apparantly the penis is...

Apple simply doesn't want to deal with the unavoidable headaches of dozens/hundreds of morally uptight picketers starting campaigns in every media available to them to fight Apple's alledged promotion of porn - which is what NOT banning porn will be construed as by these insane people.

Accuse Apple of taking the easy way out in a society where it's perfectly legal to call black people sub-human, and jews the spawn of satan if you will, that they're guilty of, but trying to legislate morals for you... No. They're just covering their asses, that's all. Blame those who scream the sky is falling and the end of society is nigh just because some people like to watch naked men and women enjoying each other. :P

RE: Death
By Regs on 7/2/2009 9:43:26 PM , Rating: 2
Oh but there are people who take the message serious even if it's no literal. Even so, it seems like our country is headed for more censorship and people are buying into it. Hell, who knows, we might revisit the 60's again with riots, protests, and wacky tobacco running rampant.

RE: Death
By pixelslave on 6/26/2009 11:49:33 PM , Rating: 4
Sorry, I disagree. Other companies can do that, but not Apple. Why? Apple has been selling the image of freedom of choices, freedom of thoughts for years. It's 1984 commercial illustrated PC users as soulless people controlled by a Big-Brother like figure. It's "Think Different" campaign encouraged people to ... well, think differently. But even Microsoft in its peak power never had the power to control an user's desktop. On the other hand, the iPhone platform today is a total controlled environment. If Apple doesn't approve your app, you can't sell it even if there are millions users who want to buy it. Now, because it's a cell-phone, people tend not to complain so much. But your cell-phone today could well be your personal computer in the future.

RE: Death
By TomZ on 6/29/2009 1:16:48 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like maybe they didn't have a meglomaniac at the helm when some of those advertising themes were first developed. Now that Jobs is back, they've gone into "lock-down" mode.

Really, Apple thinks they are maximizing profit by controlling their platforms, but in the end, it opens an opportunity for other vendors to win out over them by providing a more open, customer-friendly environment. The Draconian approach to technology only works for a short period of time.

RE: Death
By Regs on 7/2/2009 10:00:12 PM , Rating: 2
They're trying to keep apple, apple. They know how to distribute and segregate their products from everyone else’s even if it does the same thing. They make their products with the "elitist" in mind. The Apple products are always in one place in the store, on in one store in a mall. You know where to find them and you know what they do.

If I would like a phone made my LG or a PC made by HP, I would have to look in a section with 30 varieties from several brand names.

When you think about it, what's the real difference between a Dell and a HP? They both use the same hardware, offer a variety of configurations, 3-7 day delivery, promo offers, customer service, support...etc..etc.. Now take a Mac? What's the real difference between a Mac and a Dell,HP, Acer, Gateway, Sony, Toshiba.

I'm not supporting Mac in anyway. Like you said, they like to control their product as much as possible to keep them diversified enough from the other brand names. This includes a hefty price tag with the same performing hardware. Though as you notice, their software is highly protected and proprietary. They'll never be Windows licensing OS's and software to every brand name, and they'll never be cross platform. If they lose that competitive edge, that might as well be bought by HP.

RE: Death
By Hieyeck on 6/30/2009 9:14:52 AM , Rating: 2
It is why it's posted under "Blog". I agree it's a little over the top, more than even I would accuse Apple of, but it's an opinion (not to mention in keeping with Jason's style).

Kudos to Jason for finally putting postings where they belong.

RE: Death
By Sazar on 6/30/2009 12:45:54 PM , Rating: 2
Why so serious?

China, free market
By Ringold on 6/27/2009 1:49:47 PM , Rating: 2
And both have long fought the good fight against a market that might escape their control and fall into (gasp!) capitalism. Heavens no!

Sort of.

After Mao, and China went from a fairly decent share of global wealth to almost nothing, they figured out the West had it right. Deng Xiaoping initiated reforms in 1978, and reforms bringing China step by step closer to a free market haven't stopped since. The wiki entry leaves a lot of fun details out, but its got the basic story.

Not saying it's a free market paradise, not even close. I'm just saying instead of China fighting capitalism, it's been moving closer to it year by year for the last 31 years. But where they have to choose between political goals (survival of the one-party system) and free market ones, the market does seem to lose. A lot.

RE: China, free market
By dsx724 on 6/30/2009 3:50:33 PM , Rating: 2
Where did you learn Chinese history from? Last time I recall, fleeing KMT took most of the gold with them. How do you think Taiwan was able to stablize their currency in its infancy when it had absolutely nothing? I'd like to see any Western country tackle double digit inflation without a sizable gold reserve or industry.

Please quit with your quasi-glorification of market economy because it obviously doesn't work. Power is contagious and self-defeating. Free market is just another word for slavery.

self inflicted
By invidious on 6/27/2009 9:32:33 AM , Rating: 1
I believe Apple's censorship is really only a result of their proprietary paranoia. If they didn't take so much pride in every app being stamped off as "Apple approved" they could let the porn apps and the religious apps fly by. And ultimately I doubt their stance is so much anti-porn or anti-religion, they just don't want to appear to condone any specific beliefs.

If they let in topless photo apps what happens when the next guy wants to post his beastiality app. Then Apple has to draw a line somewhere and no matter where they do it the line is going to anger someone, so instead of making a choice in the grey region they make one in the black and white region and stick the cutoff line right at the begining, no porn.

So I don't really think its about imposing morality or passing judgement, its just about saving face. But they insist on being 100% propreitary and this is one of the byproducts.

RE: self inflicted
By sxr7171 on 6/29/2009 3:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
It has parental control pal. So basically they can hide apps from people who aren't old enough. There's no excuse here.

Is Freedom required?
By dailytechwreck on 6/28/2009 11:43:03 AM , Rating: 3
The larger comparison is accurate, but the aims of the institutions are different.

I still have a choice to NOT BUY Apple products, if I don't like their policies. So, instead of a Mac + iTunes, I can get Linux + some other music player and do what I want with my music library.

Join FSF at if you want to preserve your choices

By kattanna on 6/26/2009 10:58:56 AM , Rating: 2
there jason.. fixed it for you

By astralsolace on 6/29/2009 5:26:32 PM , Rating: 2

By icanhascpu on 6/30/2009 6:38:44 PM , Rating: 2
Mick, show us on the Apple where Steve touched you.

Stop the pills!
By Rabelais on 6/26/09, Rating: -1
RE: Stop the pills!
By invidious on 6/27/2009 9:33:56 AM , Rating: 2

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