Saturday, April 01, 2006

Bring 'em Back to the Ground

You ever noticed how the media tends to create angelic companies. We've been inundated with stories about how Google's motto is "first do no harm" or how great Apple is. But when you take the hype away, you see these companies for what they fundamentally are - companies which are in the business of making money. Now, I'm a free-market capitalist and don't have a problem with that, but I am sick and tired of the propoganda.

Apple refused to share source code that would allow other MP3 players to access the iTunes website, even though they are legally different segments of the business. When Microsoft did that, there was an outrage, but for Apple, there was nary a whisper. Apple tends to keep pushing new versions of the OS and software, and offers poor support on their old versions ... nothing?

As for Google, well, they certainly violated their stated motto by doing serious harm to their stockholder with their plans to offer a secondary stock offering. For more analysis on this issue, read this article on the Motley Fool website.

My intent is not to denigrate these companies or to prop up Microsoft. I have been gradually steering away from Word and even Powerpoint for my work applications (moving to Latex and Acrobat instead). But open-source isn't the answer for everyone - it's hard to understand, there's no support and basically isn't worth your while if you aren't a geek willing to spend your precious free time on it. The point is there are several good vendors offering different products that may be good or crappy depending on your application. All of them are in to make a profit, as they should, and none of them have some greater social goal, except where it lines up with their business interests.

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