There’s a Worm in Apple

Make money, money, honestly if you can;
if not, by any means at all, make money.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus [Horace] 65BC – 8BC

I like Apple. I might even say that I love the products. Using a Mac has done wonders regarding my sanity in interacting with computers. No more stupid remarks by a stupid OS, but a system you can do work with. Serious work. Creative Work. I also love the iPhone and the iPod touch (and, when I get it, probably also the iPad). Great devices, beautifully made and very conductive for good app development. Simply beautiful and super-useful.

But the company itself seems to have a worm. Or rather, quite a few. There have been some good essays about Apple’s strange ways to deal with App programmers (see for example a very good one by Paul Graham). Or the censorship of certain Apps due to the words or images they use, as if we were all little children and could not stand the words “sperm” or “fuck” or certain images or themes.

Recently, I made my own negative experiences with Apple when trying to register for the iPhone App Developer Program. As with my .mac account (now: .me, which reminds me too much of “Windows Me” to feel comfortable, even the logos look similar), I used the credit card of my mother (don’t have one, don’t want one, but occasionally need one). Unless my .mac account, it worked only half-way: They took the money, and then claimed that they could not be sure that I was really me and wanted to see a notarized document confirming my identity.

Wait, they took the money first and then wanted to make sure they are taking the money from the right person? After taking it?

Yeah, I was surprised too. After much debate and the realization that even with a notarized document any account I could create would be in my mother’s name, I decided to cancel the application. It took some eMails more before they agreed to refund my money.

So far, so bad — it took time and nerves to get this far — but now it’s been over one and a half months and they still have not returned my money. 🙁

I’ll be honest, I will probably still use Apple products — there is simply no competition, especially when you include applications like Scrivener, Circus Ponies Notebook, or Keynote. And I need to use it to develop apps for the iPhone/iPod touch (which I now do via a work account).

But, hell, what the fuck is wrong with Apple? 🙁

Update 2010-05-21

After another (angry) eMail Apple has transferred the money back. Yeah. I got my money back. Seriously, something has changed with Apple. Yes, I think a clean, almost sterile Apple is better than the colorful-and-fun-but-almost-bankrupt Apple of 1997, but, damn, Apple is loosing its soul. I guess it’s only a matter of time until they stop putting Apple Stickers in each package case, because they cost a few cents and no one will want to use them anymore anyway.

Hmm, thinking about it, I’m tempted to try to start a campaign called: “Love the products but don’t like where the company is going? — Send your Apple Stickers back to Apple“. Given that Apple includes 2 white Apple Logo stickers with most products, it would be a strong feedback that the company is heading in the wrong direction (from customers/programmers view) by sending the stickers back to Apple’s headquarter at Apple Inc, 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA 95014, United States. Sure, they could say thanks and use the stickers again, but the manpower needed would probably make that uneconomical. And the realization that people are willing to use their products, but do not like the company anymore and protest to it so strongly that they send back the “free gifts” (or “free advertisement”) should stir a reaction. Paper letters are harder to ignore than eMails and Blog Postings.

After all, Apple is loosing its cult-like status and is alienating their fellowship. If Apple ever gets in trouble again, because other companies make better products, there will be significantly less praying for Apple’s survival.