They Give No Fuck

This ugly object is the ESPN phone that Steve Jobs called the “dumbest fucking idea I have ever heard”. There’s been a lot said about Apple and Jobs the last few days, but the one thing that sticks out in my mind is that Apple was never a “brand” in the sense that ESPN is a brand. That is, Apple didn’t try to whore out their good name in every conceivable circumstance where money could be screwed out of a trusting consumer. A big part of the reason is Jobs. To call him the best marketer of the last 30 years is a bit of an insult only because the practice of marketing products has become such a low, debased, bottom-feeding craft. It’s too bad that he’s scaling back, because he runs one of the few companies who would never produce garbage like this.






137 replies
  1. 1
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    As a developer, I’m not fond of Apple’s version of evil, but they at least produced useful stuff.

  2. 2
    Butch says:

    I guess it’s partly our relentless march to the past and partly where we live, but our cell would sit for literally months unused so we finally canceled the service, and don’t miss it.

  3. 3
    scav says:

    There are certainly upsides to being a control freak.

  4. 4
    Ben Cisco says:

    Geez, I even like ESPN somewhat, and I think this is stupid.

  5. 5
    handy says:

    I had that phone once. Okay not THAT phone, but the Samsung model on which it’s based. It was atrocious.

  6. 6
    Zifnab says:

    Android is very open-sourced and accessible. They don’t fight you in their app store. They don’t sign exclusive deals with cell phone carriers. And they don’t make you buy a special widget cord just to interface with USB.

    Maybe that means someone working with Android will drop a big steaming turd. But then you’re always free to not buy it. No sweat.

    Apple – like a prize stallion – may look beautiful and run strong and never sully itself by consorting with unsuitable mares. But it’s also inbred as fuck.

  7. 7
    catclub says:

    “few companies who would never produce”

    never is a long time.

    Are you insinuating they would not sell their grandmother for a tidy profit because of some
    innate scruples? I am not seeing those scruples.

  8. 8
    The Other Chuck says:

    That’s one thing I like about the iPhone: they don’t feel the need to plaster brands all over the face of the thing. My Galaxy S may beat the iPhone for elegance and practicality in a lot of ways (stronger glass, bigger and more colorful screen, removable battery, and thinner), but it still has bloody Verizon and Samsung logos bracketing the top and bottom of the face (and I can’t scrape them off, they’re on the underside of the glass).

  9. 9
    Violet says:

    What sort of benefit is there to owning the phone? Better access to ESPN’s mobile site or something? WTF?

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    Are you saying that I won’t be able to upgrade a Balloon Juice phone next year when my contract is up for renewal? I’m devastated. :(

  11. 11
    gene108 says:

    About 7-8 years ago ESPN wanted to get into the wireless business. They thought the appeal of people getting sports info instantly would be a selling point.

    They killed the idea and never brought it to market.

    I heard they were thinking about getting back into the mobile market, but I figured it’d be more along the lines of apps or software for existing smart phones, so you could stream games broadcast on ESPN to your phone or some such thing that would be useful.

    I don’t see the point of a flip phone, without a QWERTY keyboard for texting and web surfing.

  12. 12
    henry says:

    Disney whores its name out because Walt died. When the founder or an owner of a company makes decisions, he places human values on product quality. A corporation sees product as being good if it sells and makes money, even if it’s junk. Now that Steve Jobs has left, get ready for the bean counters to sell out the Apple name and reputation.

  13. 13
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    Anyone remember when there was an 800 number to call to get scores?

  14. 14
  15. 15
    Baud says:

    @henry: I think it’s the difference between making decisions based on a vision and making decisions based upon market research and analysts reports.

  16. 16
    jheartney says:

    @Butch:

    I need a cell, but many days there’s no traffic on it, so we switched to a GoPhone plan – you only pay for the days when you use it. Your first call of any day is $2, but for the rest of the day it’s all you can eat with no extra charge. You have to pay ahead of time, but that’s a minor inconvenience.

  17. 17
    PeakVT says:

    @henry: I don’t think Apple is going to be selling out the brand anytime soon (3-5 years). Before that happens you’ll see the company lose its focus on core products and start trying to fill more niches.

  18. 18
    catclub says:

    @Baud: The two visions are:
    1. I want my brand of phone fucking everywhere and I want everyone to know it is my phone by the brand logo.

    and
    2. I want my brand of phone fucking everywhere and I want everyone to know it is my phone by the design.

    I think they have much more in common than apart.

  19. 19
    MattF says:

    Apple’s a ‘brand’ in the sense of ‘a name on the package that gives you a clue about what’s inside’. I can think of a couple of others off the top of my head– ‘OXO’, ‘Leatherman’, etc… but they’re all small successful companies that make only a small number of rather specialized items. Apple, weirdly, is a huge company that has these characteristics.

    Added: I’ll just note, in comparison, that LG is a company that makes mobile phones and washing machines. I don’t think there will ever be an Apple washing machine.

  20. 20
    ericblair says:

    @Baud:

    I think it’s the difference between making decisions based on a vision and making decisions based upon market research and analysts reports.

    Vision coupled with more long-term thinking as opposed to next-quarter thinking. Anybody who takes a company in a direction by vision alone without some numbers that at least give a good chance of success is going to get burned.

    As an outsider, the 90’s for Apple looked like next-quarter bullshit, pushing out one Mac after another just to grind out more product. I don’t think they’ll make that particular mistake again, but you never know which way technology will turn over the next decade.

  21. 21
    Butch says:

    @jheartney: Thanks for the information; there are a couple of other similar services but the upfront costs were too high. We both work at home so right now there’s no need, but recognize that could change.

  22. 22
    scav says:

    late,slightly obvious, but still relevant to the branding discussion. iLink.

  23. 23
    Tonal Crow says:

    Thanks for the reference to a great song about what ails America.

  24. 24
    WereBear says:

    @ericblair: As an outsider, the 90’s for Apple looked like next-quarter bullshit, pushing out one Mac after another just to grind out more product. I don’t think they’ll make that particular mistake again, but you never know which way technology will turn over the next decade.

    I agree; Apple has already had one disaster with that kind of thinking. Let’s hope they are inoculated for a bit.

    However, we are certainly at a low point, despite the delightful goodies surrounding us, because so many companies think nothing of slashing their R&D and customer service and expect the same results.

    Which is why I have Apple products, and a French press, and buy my pants from Cabela.

  25. 25
    Brachiator says:

    @catclub:

    Are you insinuating they would not sell their grandmother for a tidy profit because of some innate scruples?

    Apple would develop the iGranny.

    @Zifnab:

    Android is very open-sourced and accessible. They don’t fight you in their app store. They don’t sign exclusive deals with cell phone carriers. And they don’t make you buy a special widget cord just to interface with USB.

    Once again the Tech Religious Wars. Android folk and Apple both make products that consumers like. Both paths lead to similar results. And each path has weaknesses.

    @henry:

    Disney whores its name out because Walt died.

    Disney was a shrewd marketer. Just because he successfully whored out wholesome family fun, it was still marketing, From the movies to “Walt Disney Presents” TV shows, to Disneyland.

    I wonder what Walt would think about the way that Disney has maliciously sought to extend intellectual property rights, to control copyrights, and to cheat artists out of a share of the profits of new media products. I tend to think that Walt would be OK with this, although I freely admit that this may be just cynical speculation.

  26. 26
    Starfish says:

    @efgoldman: You forgot to add the line “Get off my lawn” to your entry.

    I would like to get a smartphone because I spend a lot of time chasing a baby and would like to check email occasionally from places like the park so I can get together with the other mommies. I don’t have so much time to sit down in front of a computer so I miss out on the 10AM email that asks me if I want to go for a walk.

  27. 27
    Zifnab says:

    @Brachiator:

    Once again the Tech Religious Wars. Android folk and Apple both make products that consumers like. Both paths lead to similar results. And each path has weaknesses.

    This can only be settled one way.

    http://tctechcrunch2011.files......#038;h=388

    Light Saber war!

  28. 28
    Nicole says:

    @MattF:

    Added: I’ll just note, in comparison, that LG is a company that makes mobile phones and washing machines. I don’t think there will ever be an Apple washing machine.

    But if they did it would be the prettiest washing machine ever. And automatically sort them into darks and lights, set the correct water temperature itself and then put them in the dryer for you.

  29. 29
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @WereBear:

    Which is why I have Apple products, and a French press, and buy my pants from Cabela.

    Why would you want to press the French? What have they ever done to you?

  30. 30
    NonyNony says:

    @ericblair:

    As an outsider, the 90’s for Apple looked like next-quarter bullshit, pushing out one Mac after another just to grind out more product. I don’t think they’ll make that particular mistake again, but you never know which way technology will turn over the next decade.

    It pretty much depends on who takes over at Apple and if Apple’s Board will let him continue to do the kinds of things that Jobs did with the company.

    If they hire a mercenary who cares only about short-term stock prices, then Apple will go back into the toilet. It really doesn’t matter what kind of product they have if the guy at the helm only cares about next quarter’s earnings. One of the good things about Jobs is that he knows when to tell the folks on Wall Street to go pound sand – and the Board at Apple would go along with him. A mercenary who cares only about short term stock prices – or someone with good intentions but who can’t stand up to Wall Street pressure to do the stupid, short term thing instead of the smart, long term one – could easily drive Apple underground in a matter of years.

    Disclaimer: IMO Jobs is a mixed bag as a CEO but at least he has a long-term vision for his company and he’s willing to tell people who try to shift that vision elsewhere where they can stick it. More companies in the US would be better off with CEOs who could do likewise – but most are either mercenaries who could give a rats’ ass about the company or are too skittish about what Wall Street investors say about their company to do it.

  31. 31
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Nicole: … and accept only iDetergent and iBleach.

  32. 32
    handy says:

    @Brachiator:

    I wonder what Walt would think about the way that Disney has maliciously sought to extend intellectual property rights, to control copyrights, and to cheat artists out of a share of the profits of new media products. I tend to think that Walt would be OK with this

    Is there any question? Of course Walt would be OK with it because he was a “content creator,” and if you ask any of them, “content creators” will all tell you they ought to have the exclusive right to intellectual property, even after they are long dead. To think otherwise is to support theft, dontcha know?

  33. 33
    scav says:

    @Nicole: and tell you what clothes you were allowed to wear, but yes, along those general lines.

  34. 34
    Chad N Freude says:

    @NonyNony: His successor is hand-picked and has been in effect trained by Jobs for several years, and Jobs is now Chairman of the iBoard.

  35. 35
    joes527 says:

    @Nicole: All true. But the washing machine would also have a sensor, and if water got anywhere near it you would be SOL.

  36. 36
    handy says:

    @NonyNony:

    I’m curious, since Jobs return in the late 90s did Apple have stretches of quarters where they were slumping? I only ask because my impression is Apple solidly delivered even in the short-term, and didn’t face that pressure from Wall Street to push things to market too soon like we see at a lot of other companies.

  37. 37
    bottyguy says:

    I think the brilliance of Steve Jobs is his willingness to let developers invest in prototypes. There a lots of little touches in apple design that must have taken a lot of prototyping to make work.

    For example the spring clip on the back of the latest Nano, the spring mechanism itself is impossibly small yet it works perfectly, just the right about of spring tension. It must have taken lots of prototypes to get that right. Each of the protos need to be paid for. In my engineering world I would get tremendous grief doing that many prototypes, the bean counters would come down hard on that kind of “frivolous” spending, but that’s what it takes to make things work well.

    It’ll be interesting to see if coming CEO/CFOs reign in the prototype budgets, and we all end up with Apple products that look like samsung designs instead of the other way around.

  38. 38
    drew42 says:

    I don’t understand the point of this post.

    Disney (which owns ESPN) is a completely different kind of business than Apple. And Disney’s entire business model for decades has revolved around its branding, and slapping its logo on everything it can get its hands on. And that model has worked incredibly well for them.

    When you say, “Apple didn’t try to whore out their good name in every conceivable circumstance…” that’s meaningless. Because Apple has no need to do that.

  39. 39
    kindness says:

    @Zifnab: Go fuck yourself. Apple designs ‘insanely great’ products. You don’t like ’em? Fine. Buy something else but don’t act like you are some paragon of knowledge.

  40. 40
    NonyNony says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    For now. Once Jobs passes away I expect the real test to begin.

    I watched this happen on a different scale with Wendys International here in Columbus. Dave Thomas – founder and CEO – retired. Wendy’s went to hell. Thomas came back and fixed the place up. Then he died, and Wendy’s has been kinda wandering back down the path of the stupid that Thomas pulled them out of.

    As long as Jobs is alive, I imagine that he’ll bigfoot everyone to keep his company on the path he wants it on. Once he’s dead – or no longer able to exert himself – that will change and we’ll see if the folks on the iBoard know their asses from a hole in the ground.

  41. 41
    dmsilev says:

    @NonyNony:

    It pretty much depends on who takes over at Apple and if Apple’s Board will let him continue to do the kinds of things that Jobs did with the company.

    That would be Tim Cook, who previously was Apples Chief Operating Officer, and has pretty much spent a good chunk of the last several years being groomed by Jobs to be heir apparent.

    Short term, Apple will be fine. The question will be whether they can continue with their current mode of innovation a couple of tech upheavals down the road.

  42. 42
    WereBear says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Why would you want to press the French? What have they ever done to you?

    LOL! I had to go back and look at what I’d done, there :)

    We had latched onto a fancy coffee maker years ago, gambling that paying three times more would give us something that lasted longer than nine months. It would up lasting for almost seven years! So when it went, we bought another one; even more features… and it lasted 3 months.

    So low tech it is.

  43. 43
    different church-lady says:

    @catclub:

    Are you insinuating they would not sell their grandmother for a tidy profit because of some
    innate scruples?

    Well, not inner scruples: it’s because Jobs would think the market wasn’t interested in his grandmother.

    And whichever blockhead takes over after Cook is pushed out will probably try it.

  44. 44
    NonyNony says:

    @handy:

    I only ask because my impression is Apple solidly delivered even in the short-term, and didn’t face that pressure from Wall Street to push things to market too soon like we see at a lot of other companies.

    From the time Jobs came back until the iPod took off, the word on the Street was that Jobs was doing everything wrong.

    Then when the iPod took off “the Street” would constantly over-estimate how good Apple should be doing, so they could downgrade it back and bitch about how it should be doing better.

    This game playing mostly stopped a few years back and Apple has been a darling of the investment set ever since. But I think that’s mostly because of Jobs “go fuck yourself” attitude towards his Wall Street critics combined with the steady and obvious success that Apple has had with Jobs at the helm.

    I’m expecting that once Jobs is gone, the knives will come back out and the pressure will be back on again.

  45. 45
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @drew42: Well, back when Apple first announced the iPhone, my initial thoughts were somewhere along those lines. “Why are they going into phones, of all places? Clearly they’re just trying to leverage their good name to jump into an area that they have no business being in.”

    Clearly I was wrong about Apple, but what about ESPN? What business did they have in phones? What did Apple do differently that let them succeed? You answer that, and I think you got the point of this post.

  46. 46
    different church-lady says:

    @Brachiator:

    I wonder what Walt would think about the way that Disney has maliciously sought to extend intellectual property rights, to control copyrights, and to cheat artists out of a share of the profits of new media products. I tend to think that Walt would be OK with this, although I freely admit that this may be just cynical speculation.

    Except Walt would force them to do it in a way that didn’t make his company look like a bunch of cold assholes.

  47. 47
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @NonyNony:

    Disclaimer: IMO Jobs is a mixed bag as a CEO

    Are you talking his whole career? Because, if not, I’m really curious as to what data you are using to support your opinion.

  48. 48
    DuckMan says:

    What everyone is missing re: the ESPN phone is that ESPN wanted to become a MVNO: their own carrier. Jobs was smart enough to work with – and not against – the big four.

  49. 49
    different church-lady says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    “Why are they going into phones, of all places? Clearly they’re just trying to leverage their good name to jump into an area that they have no business being in.”

    I had exactly the same thought at the time. But Jobs saw something we didn’t: Apple wasn’t getting into phones. Apple was getting into little mobile computers that operated on cell technology.

  50. 50
    Monkey Business says:

    @Dennis SGMM: How else are you supposed to get the juice out?

  51. 51
    MBunge says:

    @handy: “content creators” will all tell you they ought to have the exclusive right to intellectual property

    Most “Content creators” are absolutely thrilled to have their work consumed by as many people as possible and very few of them probably give a fig what happens to it after they die. Only immortal corporations give a crap about extending intellectual property rights toward infinity.

    However, most “content creators” do want to be compensated for their labor and as long as lazy thieves are trying to deny them that right, “content creators” have no incentive to fight corporate impulses.

    Mike

  52. 52
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    George Lucas has already done all this, so the truism of the founder being a guy who holds true to the original values does not always pan out. LucasArts, the game outfit, used to be like that, but now they sell bantha poodoo in a box labeled “Star Wars” and it sells, so that’s what they do.

  53. 53
    scav says:

    @different church-lady: Exactly. Only instead of calling them PDAs with added voice capabilities, they called them phones.

  54. 54
    different church-lady says:

    @NonyNony:

    Once he’s dead – or no longer able to exert himself – that will change and we’ll see if the folks on the iBoard know their asses from a hole in the ground.

    A side note to that: one of the very first things Jobs did when he pulled his coup is rework the board in his own vision — shoved about 4 people out, as I recall. I’m sure the current board is his vision, and will remain so as long as he’s alive. After he passes on, however, it could evolve in any direction.

    If Jobs were to pass on today it would be three years before we’d know if they’d figure out a way to keep being Apple or if they’ll go completely down the crapper.

  55. 55
    Dollared says:

    @NonyNony: What will kill Apple is its market cap.

    You cannot be an awesome consumer tech company and win each quarter. Yet that’s what Wall Street demands. You will have failures. You remember Lisa and Next and Newton?

    What will crush Cook is the same thing that crushed Microsoft and IBM: each quarter your net margin has to be the same as the quarter before, and the top line revenue has to be up 15% or more from the year before. That leaves no room for innovation.

    Wall Street is why US companies cannot sustain innovation on the consumer side.

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @handy: RE: I wonder what Walt would think about the way that Disney has maliciously sought to extend intellectual property rights, to control copyrights, and to cheat artists out of a share of the profits of new media products. I tend to think that Walt would be OK with this

    Is there any question? Of course Walt would be OK with it because he was a “content creator,” and if you ask any of them, “content creators” will all tell you they ought to have the exclusive right to intellectual property, even after they are long dead. To think otherwise is to support theft, dontcha know?

    But Walt was hardly a pure content creator. Some of Disney’s biggest hits, Cinderella, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, were all based on works that were in the public domain. Who knows what could be done with these works by new artists if their copyrights were allowed to expire within a reasonable time frame. Instead, we now have Walt Disney’s Cinderella, Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, brands which the company would like to extend into infinity and beyond.

    And then we have the absolutely shameful battle by Disney to control the rights to Winnie the Pooh. One bright spot was the victory of another “content creator” over Disney:

    In the early 1990s [Peggy Lee] retained famed entertainment attorney Neil Papiano to sue Disney for royalties on Lady and the Tramp. Lee’s lawsuit claimed that she was due royalties for video tapes, a technology that did not exist when she agreed to write and perform for Disney. Her lawsuit was successful.
    __
    Never afraid to fight for what she believed in, Lee passionately insisted that musicians be equitably compensated for their work. Although she realized litigation had taken a toll on her health, Lee often quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson on the topic: “God will not have his work be made manifest by cowards.”

    And, ironically enough, Disney was spurred to create Mickey Mouse in part because he lost the rights to an earlier character, Oswald the lucky Rabbit, to Universal Studios.

    There’s lots of good stuff on the Cartoon Wars out there.

  57. 57
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @WereBear:

    Low tech is very good for some things, coffee making is one of them. I bought a French press for a campout some years ago. It’s made from some virtually indestructible plastic. The coffee was so good that when we returned home we put our coffee maker on the shelf.

  58. 58
    handy says:

    @MBunge:

    Just to clarify, I was making a statement about the immortal corporations you speak of, not so much about the artists and authors who create work and the “lazy thieves” who deny them just compensation. But again, I think unfortunately focus on the latter tends to railroad all reasonable discussion about limits to copyright laws and why they even exit in the first place.

  59. 59
    trollhattan says:

    @efgoldman:

    Yeah, jeez, software compatibility aside, I’m in the market for a new laptop and the Apple equivalent of what I’m looking at in the Windoz world is two-and-a-half times the price with basically the same key components. Some clubs, I can’t afford to join.

    I do own ipods and I vigorously curse itunes several times a week. That’s enough Apple for me.

    What was the question?

  60. 60
    Joel says:

    Disney is the corporate equivalent of a streetwalker.

  61. 61
    Lee says:

    @trollhattan:

    Instead of iTunes try CopyTrans or Sharepod (I used CopyTrans and like it, a friend uses Sharepod ans swears by it).

    I give Apple 5 years before it is back to an also ran.

  62. 62
    trollhattan says:

    @Joel:

    I’m so stealing this.

    You have no idea their influence until you have a tween daughter.

  63. 63
    Dollared says:

    @different church-lady: But let’s be clear: Walt was as driven and profit oriented as they come. Very similar to Jobs’ reputation for being incredibly demanding in pursuit of product excellence. He just had the Jobs-like ability to make it feel all warm and fuzzy in the Reality Distortion Zone outside his personal kingdom.

  64. 64
    trollhattan says:

    @Lee:

    Thanks! I’ll give them a look-see.

  65. 65
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Joel:
    Disney would put Mickey’s face on the business end of a condom if they thought that would make more money than it lost for them.

  66. 66
  67. 67
    Dollared says:

    @trollhattan: Omigawd yes. For example, their preschool content is just one blatant ripoff after another: Mickey Mouse Playhouse has exactly the same Project Management Fun format as Dora; Handy Manny has exactly the same Latin demographic as its target; They have some train thing to go after the Thomas Train market; now they have one channel labeled Disney Junior just like Nick Junior.

    The only original thing they seem to have come up with is Phineas and Ferb, and even that totally reinforces sexual stereotypes in just a brutal fashion.

  68. 68
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Nicole: And it would tell you exactly what clothes you could put into it.

  69. 69
    trollhattan says:

    @Dollared:

    Remember when Cisco was the world’s most valuable corporation? (March 2000) That sure lasted.

  70. 70
    handy says:

    @Brachiator:

    But Walt was hardly a pure content creator.

    Indeed he wasn’t, particularly once his studio got off the ground. In my clarification to MBunge @59 my thinking was more to the point that Walt Disney ran a media entity whose chief asset was content, and I cannot possibly envision a scenario where Disney the man would take issue with the practices of Disney the corporation, then and now, to protect that asset.

  71. 71
    Brachiator says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Disney would put Mickey’s face on the business end of a condom if they thought that would make more money than it lost for them.

    For Disney, it’s much more about control. They have sued day care centers that painted Disney characters on the wall.

  72. 72
    Lee says:

    @trollhattan:

    I’ve got two daughters (11 & 14). Luckily we were a Nickelodeon only family up until about 2 years ago. We were on vacation somewhere and the hotel only had the disney channel. My oldest got hooked on Hanna Montana.

    They still predominantly watch Nick.

  73. 73
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    Don’t forget the iBounce! They would also have additional cycles on the washer and dryer for “iWash & iWear”, settings for a clothing line that they would own the exclusive rights to.

    Wash and dry them in another machine and get sued!

  74. 74
    Yutsano says:

    @Dollared: Yeah, but they have a platypus.

  75. 75
    scav says:

    @Yutsano: Please explain how you know this. I am somewhat frightened, certainly astonished.

  76. 76
    Yutsano says:

    @scav: Teh Google reveals much.

    (Damn job. Always when shit gets interesting I gotta go.)

  77. 77
    scav says:

    @Yutsano: whew. Blessed be Teh Google.

  78. 78
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Brachiator:

    Back in the good’l days of dial up I was working for EarthLink. We heard that Disney was considering some sort of Big Deal with us and, sure enough, Michael Eisner showed up one day (With an extensive posse). The front desk receptionist asked him to sign the visitors’ log and he refused with the words; “I don’t have to sign. I’m Michael Eisner.”

    A couple of months later, Microsoft was considering a Big Deal with us. Bill Gates himself showed up and he signed the visitor’s log. “Somebody” on the mid crew stole the page.

  79. 79
    KXB says:

    Even if you do not own any Apple devices (all I have is the Nano), you still benefit. Since Apple is the trendsetter in terms of design and ease of use technology, they set the bar – and competitors have to catch up. So, your non-Apple laptop may contain some elements that were designed to approach Apple. Because Apple made MP3 players so easy to use, it turned the music world and distribution upside down. I simply use iTunes software to burn CDs that I borrow for free from the library. So in the past, when I might hesitate to buy a CD for $13 on a group I have not heard about, I can now try them out, and then burn the files legally, for free.

    As far as marketing and advertising, it deserves a lot of criticism. But, one of my favorite radio programs is CBC’s “Age of Persuasion” They do an awesome job of discussing the business and history of advertising, in the style of MarketPlace. Most of their past programs can be listened to in the archive section

    Age of Persuasion
    http://www.cbc.ca/ageofpersuasion/

  80. 80
    Brachiator says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    George Lucas has already done all this, so the truism of the founder being a guy who holds true to the original values does not always pan out. LucasArts, the game outfit, used to be like that, but now they sell bantha poodoo in a box labeled “Star Wars” and it sells, so that’s what they do.

    There are times when I wish that Lucas would give up a chunk of the rights to the Star Wars franchise, so that someone could reboot the thing and make up for The Phantom Menace and succeeding, increasingly craptastic films. Hell, I would pay good money to see a remake of Return of the Jedi without the fuzzy Ewoks.

  81. 81
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    “Touch the Magic”? That is wrong on so many levels. WTF is Disney thinking?

  82. 82
    Sam Houston says:

    For the good of our economy I think the government should step up and allow Jobs to have access to the same alien-derived life-extending technology that Cheney uses.

  83. 83
    MikeBoyScout says:

    I don’t believe there ever was a golden age of business, but the shit age began with the idea of planned obsolescence which was quickly improved to delivering useless & worthless shit from day one.

    Jobs and Apple are insanely successful because they really can’t stand the shit they are force fed and need to endure every where else.

    I’ve only ever owned one Apple product (iPod mini), but I’ve used the concepts Apple has pioneered ever day for more than 30 years.

  84. 84
    gene108 says:

    @Brachiator:

    But Walt was hardly a pure content creator. Some of Disney’s biggest hits, Cinderella, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, were all based on works that were in the public domain. Who knows what could be done with these works by new artists if their copyrights were allowed to expire within a reasonable time frame. Instead, we now have Walt Disney’s Cinderella, Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, brands which the company would like to extend into infinity and beyond.

    You can still make your own adaptations of those titles. You cannot use any elements that were inserted into the stories by Disney.

    There was a case I heard about on the radio about a re-make or prequel to the Wizard of Oz. MGM (I think was the studio that made the 1939 film, with Judy Garland) changed some things from the original book. So if you want Dorothy to have ruby slippers you need to get the studio’s permission, because that was their modification to the book (Dorothy had silver slippers in the story version).

    The question is can you sell anyone on your non-Disney adaptation, because people have been basically been hard-wired to think of the Disney version as the default version to these stories.

  85. 85
    Brachiator says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    The front desk receptionist asked him to sign the visitors’ log and he refused with the words; “I don’t have to sign. I’m Michael Eisner.”

    Funny stuff. I’ve heard that the documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty is a very candid look at the Eisner years.

    A couple of months later, Microsoft was considering a Big Deal with us. Bill Gates himself showed up and he signed the visitor’s log. “Somebody” on the mid crew stole the page.

    Hmmm. “Somebody.” Heh.

  86. 86
    ppcli says:

    @Dollared:

    The only original thing they seem to have come up with is Phineas and Ferb, and even that totally reinforces sexual stereotypes in just a brutal fashion.

    Not to mention evil-genius stereotypes. You would have thought that eight years of Dick Cheney would have weaned us off the “vaguely Eastern-European accent” thing.

  87. 87
    Jager says:

    @henry: Walt’s number one rule was “protect the park”. Meaning don’t “screw” with the product in anyway shape or form. The guy who ran Disney University said the first thing that changed after Walt died, fences went up around the grassy areas and the company applied for liqour licenses.

    Hmm, the f-word gets moderated today,huh?

  88. 88
    Brachiator says:

    @gene108:

    You can still make your own adaptations of those titles. You cannot use any elements that were inserted into the stories by Disney.

    Point noted. But in my ideal universe, even the Disney versions would fall into the public domain.

  89. 89
    MTmofo says:

    http://www.macnn.com/articles/.....companies/

    Despite his resignation earlier today as CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs is not planning to vacate his seat on the Disney board of directors, reports Bloomberg. Jobs is Disney’s largest individual shareholder, with a 7.4 percent stake in the company. Though the Bloomberg report quoted unnamed sources “with knowledge of the matter” as its source, the story echoes earlier reports from CNBC.

  90. 90
    Arclite says:

    Wow, a Disney phone, that’s so Stupid.

    On the other hand, a Call of Duty phone, with a hard shell camo case, crosshair focusing mechanism on the camera, and Call of Duty mobile pre-installed, is something I would pay cold, hard cash for.

  91. 91
    Corpsicle says:

    @trollhattan: The idea that Apple hardware is ridiculously expensive is about ten years out of date. I’m looking at MacBook Pros right now. If a windows laptop exists in the real world that has essentially the same components and capability, and is 40% of the price, give me a link to it and I will buy it right now. I’m guessing that it only exists in your imagination.

  92. 92
    kindness says:

    So many haters….

    The gist of what I’m getting from the haters here is they think a Porsche 911 is the same thing as a VW Bug. Or they think it’s wrong for the Porsche 911 to cost more than the VW Bug. Or they think it’s stupid for someone to pay more for a 911 than a VW Bug. No? That’s funny ’cause that’s what I see.

    Apple products aren’t faster. Apple products are designed better, have better components and work better than other’s stuff. You can deny it till you’re blue in the face but I’m extremely satisfied with all my Apple products. Yes I paid more for them. So? I’m happier with them. Isn’t that why we pay more for one thing over another?

  93. 93
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @trollhattan:

    the Apple equivalent of what I’m looking at in the Windoz world is two-and-a-half times the price with basically the same key components.

    I think you’ll find that all the hardware components in Macs offer more than twice the quality and reliability as those found in a generic PC, and the software components far superior for all general uses. (It’s the software that really counts.) In addition, the Macs can run Windows, both natively and virtually, as well as Mac OS X. We won’t speak of the 250,000+ pieces of Windows malware. On the other hand, if you have no real use for productivity and value, and need only to check the traffic and weather, facebook, and post uninformed nonsense on balloon-juice.com, then any computer will suffice.
    .
    .

  94. 94
    handy says:

    @Corpsicle:

    It’s not ridiculously expensive but it’s also not within the price range a lot of people are comfortable with when deciding computer purchases. I understand why Apple gear is priced they it is and I have no problem with that. At the same time, would you object to someone’s decision to purchase a Nissan Versa as opposed to a Corolla or Civic?

  95. 95
    Brachiator says:

    @kindness:

    Isn’t that why we pay more for one thing over another?

    Not always. Saks 5th Ave used to carry a lot of the same products as another department store that they owned. They deliberately priced the clothes higher because that’s what customers expected.

    Similarly, there was a time when Sony deliberately charged a premium price for its products to help combat the perception associated with “cheap Japanese goods.” Japanese products had achieved quality parity with US goods, but the negative perception was hard to overcome.

  96. 96
    Corpsicle says:

    @handy: I can certainly understand that. My Mac is 6 years old due to me being broke. You can buy a new Windows laptop for less than $500, and it will be capable enough for most things. But it is 3-4 year old technology, and pretending it is the same as a new MacBook is pretty ridiculous.

  97. 97
    patrick II says:

    @kindness:
    So, your moniker is meant to be ironic?

  98. 98
    trollhattan says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas:

    Nah, same processor, same video card, same hard drive. Apple has better display, lesser optical disk drive and fewer ports.

    The Cupertino fairy dust went away long ago, they’re just another computer today. If I were spending somebody else’s money I might reconsider (although I’d still have to unlearn all the Windoze quick commands).

  99. 99
    Nied says:

    That is, Apple didn’t try to whore out their good name in every conceivable circumstance where money could be screwed out of a trusting consumer.

    Really?

  100. 100
    scav says:

    @patrick II: clearly. As expressed in 93@kindness, we’re only haters if we have different design objectives in our computing environment. idesign is iperfect for ieverything, imen.

  101. 101
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Apple didn’t try to whore out their good name in every conceivable circumstance where money could be screwed out of a trusting consumer.

    True enough, but ever since the very start in 1978 the smug in their advertising has been thick enough to cut with a knife.

  102. 102

    espn is such a horrible company, i actually hope that one of the offshoots of the comcast/nbc merger is that they build a competitor. which is sad.

    even sports fans weren’t dumb enough to buy the espn phone though. in fact, most sports fans i know look at espn as a necessary but unpleasant evil. even if they disagree on why that is exactly.

    i like apple, but i would need to buy the whole line, not just a piece here and there, and that seems a bit much, all at once.

  103. 103
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Corpsicle: For what most of the people around me need, a computer from 4 years ago, selling for about $250 would be enough. For me, I am never ever going to learn Objective C. Just ain’t gonna happen. Therefore, Macs don’t fill my needs.

  104. 104
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @ppcli: Yes, I know. Isabella is such a weakling.

  105. 105
    hondamikesd says:

    Funny you should compare/contrast Disney and Apple, Steve Jobs is on the board of both companies. And ESPN is a wholly owned subsidiary of… Disney. I’m not blaming jobs, I just think that the coincidence is funny.

  106. 106
    Nied says:

    @kindness: @Uncle Clarence Thomas:

    The gist of what I’m getting from the haters here is they think a Porsche 911 is the same thing as a VW Bug. Or they think it’s wrong for the Porsche 911 to cost more than the VW Bug. Or they think it’s stupid for someone to pay more for a 911 than a VW Bug. No? That’s funny ‘cause that’s what I see.

    Actually if we’re making car comparisons I’d say Apple products are more like a Lexus LFA. Sumptuous design with a ridiculous amount of attention to detail in the design (possibly too much) but still only getting you the same performance as a Lamborghini Gallardo for three times the price.

  107. 107
    Corpsicle says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): I didn’t mean to criticize old cheap tech. My home theatre PC is a Windows 7 box made from spare parts, cost me about $100 all together, and it is perfectly adequate for playing audio and video.

  108. 108
    Dollared says:

    @ppcli: @ppcli:I know. Cheney would have been one alternative, but I would personally root for something modeled on Tim Curry.

  109. 109
    Lee says:

    If you game Apple products are not even considered (and I game).

    I can build my own rig that will outperform a Mac for much less.

  110. 110
    Nash says:

    @Nied:

    I was hoping someone else would remember the fail that was the ROKR. Yeah, Apple NEVER did anything stupid. Except when they did, but we don’t talk about it . . .

  111. 111
    Joel says:

    I was a life-long PC guy, on account of price, recently switched to Mac because of the large amount of OS X-specific software applications for my work. I went all in, too, with a Macbook Air, and I love the damn thing.

  112. 112
    kindness says:

    @Lee: I’ll give you the gaming thing. Macs aren’t made for gaming. You can, but….

    The one thing I like most about my Mac…I don’t have any virus protection running in the background all the time. I had gone through all of them, webroot, Norton, Symantec. They’re system hogs. They slow your machine down to molasses in winter and you can’t run them without them being on, always. On a Mac, nada. No software conflicts (cause Apple is a hardass with their developers), no system crashes.

    My biggest problem so far? My old Christmas card address list was on a MS Works database & there is no way to open it in a Mac. Having to write 80 damn envelopes last year instead of printing it up on invisible stick ons sucked. So I went & bought a new version of Works & loaded it up on my daughters PC. From there I expect to pull it out of Works and save it as anything else but MS Works.

    Oh…and patrick ii @98? welcome to the great world wide web. life is grand, isn’t it?

  113. 113
    trollhattan says:

    So as to not be greedy, just one per family.

    http://www.frys.com/product/6538353

    Have at it–$200 off through the 1st!

  114. 114
    ThresherK says:

    @Joel: What is your field of work?

    No snark. I’m just trying visualize a sorta geographic, sorta Venn diagram showing Mac adherents w.r.t. Richard Florida’s writings on the “creative class”, and wondering if that idea holds water.

    (Yeah, I’ll leave the actual work to someone else.)

  115. 115
    different church-lady says:

    @Nied: Yeah, but the problem here is that Macs aren’t Lamborghinis or Lexi — they’re really more like Honda Accords: you pay a little more for them and in return they run better and last longer. Whereas everything else is more like a Ford Festiva.

  116. 116
    different church-lady says:

    @MBunge:

    Only immortal corporations give a crap about extending intellectual property rights toward infinity.

    No, be fair: the children and grandchildren of the original creators are very into that as well. Nobody’s a bigger dick about these kinds of things than the offspring of a successful artist.

  117. 117
    scav says:

    @different church-lady: Depends on what you’re doing. For a half my career stuff (and that bleeds into my desired home environment as does my career), can’t be a Mac, for another half, they’re actually preferred and for a solid half, the best option is UNIX-based. Computers are tools, their design can’t be evaluated outside of the context of what they’re being asked to do and that varies by user.

    ETA: all those halves are, yes, approximate, but they more or less add up if you look at the qualifying words.

  118. 118
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Brachiator:

    For Disney, it’s much more about control. They have sued day care centers that painted Disney characters on the wall.

    Every so often, the University of Oregon gets some cease-and-desist warning from some lawyer at Disney about using Donald the Duck as a school mascot.

    And, in reply, the UofO sends the Disney lawyer a photocopy of the original, signed by Walt Disney himself letter granting the UofO perpetual rights to use Donald as a mascot.

  119. 119
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @scav:

    This. No OS is “best” absent context. If you like the looks of the Mac and it accomplishes what you want it to then it’s best for you. Same for Windows. If you’re running big iron the UNIX is a solid choice.

    OTOH, I wish that the Mac aficionados would stop talking about how Macs use better hardware. They use Intel CPUs, AMD graphics and their mainboards are manufactured by Foxconn. If you can assemble a kids’ swing set then you can build a PC with those same components for a hell of a lot less than the cost of a Mac.

  120. 120
    Arclite says:

    @Corpsicle: Seriously? You’ve been at the Koolaid again, haven’t you Gaffer?

    Let’s see, 2.2 GHz Core i7 Macbook Pro with 750GB hard drive, 4GB RAM, 1440×900 15 inch backlit LED display, and AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor: $2050

    2.0 GHz Core i7 Asus gaming Laptop with 750GB hard drive, 8GB RAM, 1920×1080 15 inch backlit LED display, and Nvidia 460M graphics processor: $1299

    Although the Asus machine has a slightly slower processor, ANY core i7 is overkill for the vast majority of tasks. You’ll only notice a difference in something like ray tracing or photoshop processing.

    In addition the Asus machine has a Bluray player and USB 3.0, neither of which are on the Mac. The Asus machine has more RAM and better screen resolution. And the Asus’ 460M blows away the Mac graphics, running games (if that’s your thing) 40% or so faster, which can make games like Crysis 2 actually playable on a notebook (not that you can even play that on a Mac). URLs in the following comment to avoid moderation:

  121. 121
    Mike G says:

    @MattF:

    I don’t think there will ever be an Apple washing machine.

    However, there is The iToilet

  122. 122
    Arclite says:

    Macbook Pro link.

    Asus Republic of Gamers notebook link.

    You are absolutely paying a premium for the Mac name, and 40% doesn’t seem off the mark. Asus is one of the top PC manufacturers in the world, and their stuff consistently wins awards and has done for a decade. However, you could get similar offerings from HP, Samsung, Toshiba, or Lenovo, all of which make excellent notebooks.

  123. 123
  124. 124
    Joel says:

    @Arclite: I hate Thinkpads and their stupid Fn key.

  125. 125
    Arclite says:

    @Joel: Well, that’s the great thing about PCs: There’s so much variety to choose from. If you don’t like something about the way a Mac is designed, you’re SOL.

  126. 126
    Lojasmo says:

    @phil:

    For a little fun…

    most recent item on that list is what? Thirteen years old?

    Fie.

  127. 127
    Can't Be Bothered says:

    I love my macbook pro. The premium has been worth it and then some. Zero problems, no virus software. Everything works, always. That said, Apple scorched me on MP3s and other things through iTunes and their general attitude seems to be to try to completely control media content and push out competitors through bullshit IP and screw over developers. It’s crazy to me that everyone has been gobbling up ipads when they don’t run flash. That’s apple yet again thinking they know best (yes, HTML5 is way better.. but half the web uses Flash) and trying to lock down access to media (buy the app don’t go play the game with flash). What’s worse is that competitors haven’t capitalized on that by offering tablets at or below cost to gain market share. I expect Amazon will rectify that situation shortly.

    I think Apple’s biggest strength is also their weakness. Closed ecosystem means everything works better. But they take it to such an extreme, especially the decisions they’ve made in mobile devices, to dictate what can be done and become the gatekeeper for all software and media. They’re not content with just selling good hardware that works well with some of their software. So on that score, fuck them. I’m buying an android tablet and have an android phone. Steve Jobs is not going to dictate to me how and what I can put on the hardware I buy from him. I haven’t used iTunes in ages and I have no idea why anyone would. It’s shitty software, for overpriced media.

    And I think it’s funny that people think he’s such a visionary. Apple was goddamn dead in the water before Napster. The iPod 100% saved the company. No MP3 revolution, no Apple. It’s that simple. The iPod was good and original, intuitive design that was first to market. What he is “visionary” about is knowing that good design that works is more important than price point +or- 50%. If something works, consumers don’t care so much about tech specs vs. price. I also LOLed when some people upthread said they were perplexed when they heard Apple was going to make phones. I said for years beforehand that it wasn’t a matter of should, but that they had to make phones. Anyone with a modicum of tech sense understood that “phones” were going to be little computers that needed to be an everything media and connectivity device. It didn’t take a visionary to connect the dots.

    I’m torn. Love my mac laptop, but hate the sanctimony of fanbois as illustrated by Doug’s post. And to say that the company’s desire to destroy competition and control content is troubling is a fucking understatement. Count me in Google/Android camp for what is good about openness and tech nerds.

  128. 128
    Brachiator says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    And, in reply, the UofO sends the Disney lawyer a photocopy of the original, signed by Walt Disney himself letter granting the UofO perpetual rights to use Donald as a mascot.

    Very cool. It’s like, “here’s our get out of jail free card, suckers!”

  129. 129
    Joel says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered: I think your post is great, but overlooks one key point. One way in which Jobs was a visionary (even in the early days) is the idea of the computer as furniture, as opposed to merely being a tool. Let’s face it, Apple products are attractive in ways that those of their competitors are not. A lot of people have been drawing car analogies, and I think that’s wrong. Going back to the furniture analogy, you could buy a perfectly functional chair from IKEA, or you could buy a Herman Miller. Sure, they’ll both do the job, but there’s a reason why people pay more for the Aeron.

  130. 130
    Brachiator says:

    @Can’t Be Bothered:

    The iPod was good and original, intuitive design that was first to market.

    It amazes me that people undervalue this.

    What he is “visionary” about is knowing that good design that works is more important than price point +or- 50%. If something works, consumers don’t care so much about tech specs vs. price.

    It amazes me that people undervalue this as well.

  131. 131
    Corpsicle says:

    @Arclite: That’s a nice laptop, but the comment I was responding to said that an equivalent Windows laptop could be had for 40% of the price of a Mac. I’m not disputing that they cost more, but 2-3 times more is ludicrous.

  132. 132
    Corpsicle says:

    @Arclite: Look, if you want to hate Apple go ahead, but that Asus you like? Reviews give it a 3 hour battery life. Less than half the MacBook Pro. The Asus weighs 7.9 pounds, the MacBook Pro is 5.6 pounds. But I guess in your world weight and battery life have no value whatsoever.

  133. 133
    Peter J says:

    @Chad N Freude: His successor is hand-picked and has been in effect trained by Jobs for several years, and Jobs is now Chairman of the iBoard.

    Have you seen the photos of Jobs that TMZ has published? (And no, I’m not linking.) He’s not going to be the chairman. He’s dying.

  134. 134
    Peter J says:

    @Nicole:

    But if they did it would be the prettiest washing machine ever. And automatically sort them into darks and lights, set the correct water temperature itself and then put them in the dryer for you.

    And it would only allow you to wash certain clothes approved by Apple. Definitely not g-strings.

  135. 135
    Peter J says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas:

    I think you’ll find that all the hardware components in Macs offer more than twice the quality and reliability as those found in a generic PC, and the software components far superior for all general uses. (It’s the software that really counts.) In addition, the Macs can run Windows, both natively and virtually, as well as Mac OS X.

    I’ve seen enough reports of tech sites opening Macs, Time Capsules, etc to seriously doubt that components in those products differ in any way from PC products. But if you got any documents to prove what you’re saying, let me know.

    And I can, and have run OS X on my PC, both natively and virtually. But just to be able to point it out. Google OSx86.

  136. 136
    Ecks says:

    I used to believe all that stuff about macs beig super stable and reliable till i had to deal with my wife’s laptop and its spiny rainbow wheel of death. But if what you want ti do with your mac is what its designers had in mind they ARE wionderfully intuitive to use. Otherwise not so much.

  137. 137
    Spike says:

    @Peter J: Rule of thumb: If the question is “Have you seen ‘foo’ on TMZ?”, the only reasonable answer is “No”. This is true for all values of ‘foo’.

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