Is Apple’s Rep Rottening?
By Tom Ryan
With its string of successes, some restrictive policies, and perhaps
a newfound arrogance, Apple’s hip reputation is taking a hit in the techie
Two articles, "Has Apple Lost Its Cool?" in the New
York Times and "5 Things Apple Must Do to Look Less Evil" in Wired,
brought many of these PR issues to the forefront — some self-inflicted; others
at least calculated.
The laundry list of complaints is large and growing.
For one, Apple is continuously
second-guessed on why it approves some applications for its Apps Store as well
as why it doesn’t approve others. It has also been getting some flack recently
for revising terms to forbid application developers from using software tools
other than Apple’s to build their programs. A big issue is its steadfast refusal
to enable Adobe’s Flash to work on its mobile devices, meaning popular website
such as hulu.com can’t play on iPods or iPads Earlier
this month, Apple also stunned techies by suing HTC, the mobile manufacturer
that makes Google’s popular Nexus One and Android phones, for patent
But one highly-publicized brouhaha some are citing as evidence
of Apple’s "arrogance" occurred
after Jason Chen, the editor at tech blog Gizmodo, got his hands on the next
generation iPhone after an Apple employee left it in a bar. Upon Apple’s urging,
police smashed down Mr. Chen’s front door, ransacked his house and carted off
computers and files. The incident became comedy fodder on the April 28 Daily
Show in which host John Stewart also lamented Apple’s quick reversal from its
"Remember back in 1984, you had those awesome ads about overthrowing
Big Brother?" crowed Mr. Stewart. "Well, look in the mirror, man!
… It wasn’t supposed to be this way! Microsoft was supposed to
be the evil one. But now you guys are busting down doors in Palo Alto while
Commandant Gates is ridding the world of mosquitoes!"
To some, Apple’s
moves are the reason Google’s Android phones just jumped ahead of the iPhone
to grab a leading share of the smartphone market.
But writing in the New
York Times, Nick Bilton said some of the current
anti-Apple sentiment can be tied to its success.
"Many consumers — in
opinions expressed on blogs and Web sites — see
Apple as a haughty and bullying company," he wrote. "In part, this
may be because Apple is no longer an underdog in the industry. The company’s
market cap fluctuates between $230 and $240 billion, not far behind its big
He added that while the negative press hasn’t stopped
fanaticism over new iPads and iPhones, "as more options for competing
products appear in the marketplace, if the company doesn’t get its image back
on track, that tide could change."
Discussion questions: To what degree is Apple’s success at risk due to
anti-Apple fervor? To what extent does Apple need to work on improving
Apple Lost Its Cool? – The New York Times
- 5 Things Apple Must Do to Look Less Evil – Wired
- Apple’s Arrogance Stokes Android Gains – Information Week
- Apple vs. Everybody – Newsweek