China and Apple Lead the Charge Against Free Speech, Free Expression, and a Free Market
June 26, 2009 10:50 AM
comment(s) - last by
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
, pesky Tibet websites, religious materials, and other subversive content. Apple's App Store
, pesky third party browsers, religious materials (like the
) 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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Stop the pills!
6/26/2009 12:58:53 PM
Are you serious or delirious? I'm used to your nonsensical and completely biaised articles when it comes to Apple, but here you really surpassed yourself.
Comparing Apple to China and their use of censorship. As the first commenter said, Apple is a business and has no way to force people to use its product other than making it appealing to customers. Unlike Microsoft in the past it also has no monopoly to help it either; what marketshare they have, they have to earn it. That said, let's also consider a few things:
Apple has to provide security on its product because it is something capital today and something that did much harm to its competitor Microsoft in the past years. A closed system they can control to a certain extent is a good way to have that.
Now, to be fair you have a point about the fact Apple should publish adult apps and let people decide if they want it or not. I'm guessing it will come sooner than later, but it will require a lot of work for them as it will mean they will be flooded by these kind of apps like the internet is crowded with porn and also all kind of rather bad things (manual to make your own bombs, racism, religious fundamentalism, etc) and they will have to check all these apps for security reasons as I said before. Imagine the work. Also it would require a mean to probably organize a special site for such content and dedicate some serious infrastructure to it. All of this make me think it will probably come one day on the App Store and until then, we should not cease to ask Apple to do its best to find a way to implement it.
However, that doesn't make a comparison with a repressive government like China a valid one, simply because Apple has NO WAY to force you or anyone else to use their products. They are competing in a free market and doing rather well thank you. Just for the record since you seem so fond of free market, your beloved Microsoft on the other hand doesn't fare so well in a competitive market. Apart from Windows and Office which have so much leverage that people aren't really presented a choice, all the other projects have been hemorraging money and may finally pay only after Microsoft injected billions (yes, with a "B") in them from their cash cows Windows and Office (Xbox, Zune, Search engine, WinMo, and epic failure like spotwatch, mira, etc). Very few companies can do that in a free market (I wonder what the share holders are thinking).
Anyway, once you have stopped smoking the carpets in your house, take a break to put just a bit more thoughts into what you post, if only for yourself.
RE: Stop the pills!
6/27/2009 9:33:56 AM
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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