China and Apple Lead the Charge Against Free Speech, Free Expression, and a Free Market
June 26, 2009 10:50 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
, 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.
"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
Update: Apple's Baffling Seduction -- Apple Accepts Then Whacks Adult App
June 26, 2009, 8:30 AM
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June 25, 2009, 5:25 PM
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June 8, 2009, 5:16 PM
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May 12, 2009, 10:39 AM
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July 16, 2008, 9:47 AM
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