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I declare independence from Apple

Since December 1998, when on impulse I bought the original iMac from CompUSA, I've used Apple gear. No longer. Late yesterday, I replaced the last fruit-logo with another, fulfilling my pledge near a month ago to boycott Apple. I wanted to declare independence sooner, however with so much news to write about in June and Google I/O last week, researching and replacing the AirPort base station was too much trouble. Yet it's offline now -- and, along with Apple TV, going on Craigslist today.

The more adamant

Circumstances since choosing to boycott make me all the more adamant. Last week, US District Judge Lucy Koh issued two preliminary injunctions against Samsung devices -- Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Nexus. Yesterday she denied Samsung's request to stay the ban pending appeal. Anticipating Nexus' similar fate, Google swiftly responded by pulling the phone from its online store and dispatching an update to existing phones. I chose to boycott being so angry by Apple's aggressive patent bullying that thwarts competition and takes away consumer choice. Today, I celebrate America's independence anniversary by gaining freedom from Apple.

Sadly, in 2012, Apple is the company I always worried it would be. A decade ago, some of us journalists occasionally debated question: What if Apple was as big and powerful as Microsoft? Wouldn't we all be better off? I normally heard that question answered "Yes" -- that Apple would never be as aggressive or anticompetitive as Microsoft was while its PC supremacy in the late 1980s throughout the 1990s. I always answered "No".

The problem

The problem: As a corporate culture, Apple seeks to control everything in its supply chain and is secretive about everything else. I saw Apple as being a harsh dictator if ever growing to dominate any part of the tech industry. That's proved to be the case, however much, much more severely than I ever expected, now that Apple is the giant. Apple exercises tremendous sway over component supply chains and uses vague software process patents to block competing -- and better -- products from distribution.

The image of do-gooding, trendy Apple is inconsistent with its gruff bullying alter-ego. Apple is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and more and more monster than inventor.

I'm an American, child of capitalism and believer in free markets being free and competitive. Apple wants to limit competition to terms it applies and choose the features in other company's products. Apple demanded the California court find Samsung in violation of 11 patents, later reduced to two nevertheless only one applied to the injunction. What irony, too. Google is master of search, yet application of Apple's patent limits it -- dictates core functionality. Google's Galaxy Nexus update removes universal search from Ice Cream Sandwich, which as well is gone from Jellybean. Yeah, I'm living that future now, and cursing Apple because of it.

Necessary utility

Search is a necessary utility. No patent should be able to limit it on anything. That Apple can shows what's wrong with the US patent system and how far the company will go to check competitors -- not with innovation however litigation.

This morning, I sold my ASUS Transformer Pad 300, since Google's Nexus 7 is good enough for my needs. The buyer and I discussed Apple's patent litigation against Android licensees. He says Apple lawsuits forced Android changes that have "lowered the IQ by 30 points". A phone without universal search isn't a smartphone. It's a dumb phone, he says.

I can't express the amount of delight experienced over the years using Apple products, in short many: original iMac; PowerBook G3; Power Mac G4 Cube; Titanium PowerBook; iPod; PowerBook G4; iMac G4; iMac G5; MacBook Pro; iPhone; MacBook Air; among others. Nevertheless I've lost respect for the company producing them.

Apple did, and all in all does, create a good user experience, and community around it. Nevertheless I've never actually regarded Apple as being the great innovator so many of the apologists do. Everyone copies. Everybody imitates. It's innate human nature. Youngsters learn to walk and talk by imitating adults. In the same fashion people learn social mores and fit into larger groups through imitation. So on when all is said and done on. Apple copies, as all companies do. There's nothing wrong with this process. It's natural. It's in our DNA. But the fanboys cling to some fantasy that only Apple innovates and must protect its so-called innovations by any means. Funny: Apple targets competitors.

"Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry should have a serious talk with Apple cofounder Steve Jobs in the afterlife about who came up with concepts like utilitarian slates or computers that respond with feminine voices, among others. Who's copying whom?

What is innovative about search

Exactly what is innovative about search, which use on computing devices long predates Apple's patent, or slide to lock. The latter mechanism has been used to secure doors for centuries. Apple didn't invent the concept, just applied it differently. Clearly, the company deserves credit for the new application however not the concept or process. That applies to other companies, not just Apple.

Microsoft has the better way, intentionally. The company prefers to cross-license patents or rather than sue. Microsoft uses patents to spread and share technology -- to empower it by removing the threat of litigation for all parties. Apple is the clubber on the ice pack, beating down product conceptions like baby seals. Neither reaches maturity.

In nature, crops or animals that overwhelm an ecosystem destroy competition and endanger all life there. Why do we allow Apple to behave similarly. Both are unnatural.

Strangely, Apple abdication sends me to Google. If asked in early 2011 if such a circumstance was possible, I'd laugh. However since starting my personal boycott I:

More information: Betanews
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    I Declare Independence From Apple

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    "independence From Apple"