Why I fell out of love with Apple

Apple is soon to join the elite club of Companies To Which Casey Will Not Give Money. It’s quite the prestigious club and includes ExxonMobile, Microsoft, and Whataburger among others — all of them for different reasons.1

Apple’s primary sin is their active efforts to restrict interoperability and force everyone to play in their sandbox — a tactic they’ve picked up from Microsoft — and I don’t like their sandbox.

iMessage, for instance, works seamlessly if you use Apple’s products (iOS or their OS X app) but is a mass of confusion if you’re not using it (like the oddball text messages I receive from friends who all have iMessage). They could have used an open standard like XMPP to develop it so others could integrate with it, but they didn’t.

I’m sure the tight integration of iCloud with iOS and OS X is great if you want to use Apple’s cloud, but they sure don’t make it easy to use someone else’s. And the push to distribute programs via the OS X App Store is nothing but a blatant money grab and offers nothing to developers except less money in their pockets. And all app stores offer are the illusion of security but give only censorship — and there’s no other way to install iOS apps except through Apple’s gates. I expect it’s only a matter of time before they make it more and more challenging to install apps on OS X outside of the App Store.

Their efforts to move OS X closer to iOS (something Microsoft is copying) is a move in exactly the wrong direction for me. I don’t want my desktop to be a mobile device or vice versa. They have different purposes and usage patterns and their interfaces should reflect that. I don’t want my address book to look like a book (hello Microsoft Bob) or my email client to resemble the iPad’s client.

Few of these things are new – Apple has been trucking down this road for years – but I don’t have to give them more money in encouragement. The 3GS was my first iPhone purchase2 and it’ll probably be my last. Ditto my MacBook Pro.

So I’ll stay on my 3GS for as long as it holds out with hopes that Google will come out with a well-integrated Android phone thanks to their purchase of Motorola. And I’ll be staying with Snow Leopard on my MacBook Pro, probably indefinitely. And if that gets too long in the tooth, at least the hardware will support Linux.

1 ExxonMobile because Mobile offered domestic partner benefits and Exxon rescinded them after the acquisition. Never buy ExxonMobile gas. Microsoft because of their Embrace, extend, and extinguish operation against open source, standards, and interoperability. And for unleashing Microsoft Bob upon the world. Whataburger has its very own blog post.

2 Technically I’ve only purchased an iPhone 3G for me. The 3GS was Benjamin’s phone that I got as a hand-me-down. It’s a long story involving multiple screen replacements and 2 phone upgrades. Don’t ask.