Mac Scope

Apple Is Not Your Friend

Stephen Van Esch - July 5, 2000

The Register (among other news outlets) recently ran an article on how Apple has been strong-arming the AdCritic web site into removing Apple ads. It seems that the Apple legal department has a problem with the ads running on the AdCritic site.

This strikes me as a bit heavy-handed. Of course, no one can accuse Apple of going easy on people who use their trademarks and infringe on their material. The list is long - and bound to get longer. As The Register article indicated, MacCards was shut down recently. There was also the issue of the Canadian teenager who registered and used the domain appleimac.com. Oh, and don't forget the Skinz debacle.

Clear message here: stay off Apple's turf or face the consequences.

The backlash was fairly quick, and pretty much everybody condemned Apple's move. I, personally, agree with this. Apple should have left AdCritic alone and enjoyed a bit of free publicity for some great ads.

On the other side of the coin, this is one of the few times that the Mac community gets a good look at the reality of Apple. Often, I find, we love the Mac so much that we ignore the basic fact that Apple is a business. No ifs, ands, or buts about it, making money is a huge priority. Protecting trademarks is important to their business, and protecting them helps the Mac community in a very roundabout way.

The Macintosh is an operating system that people become attached to for one reason or another. The community that comes with the Mac is, if you choose to participate, open, friendly, and inviting. This reflects well on Apple and the Macintosh. It should be clear, however, that Apple did not create this community. The Mac community is a product of Macintosh users.

It's understandable that, because the Mac community is so great, we expect Apple to be great as well. This is not the case. Apple supports us by producing a product we like. Various other minor promotions (like Demo Days) also help Apple connect with its customers.

The brunt of community work, however, falls on the people that choose to support the platform in one way or another. Apple is not our friend. Apple is not a person. Apple is a company that creates great products.

We are the ones who breathe love into the product, no one else.

It's normal for us to think of Apple as something more. Its products mean more to us. But let's not lose sight of the corporation that has to make money.

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