Why Apple is evil: Creating a patent pool specifically to attack Theora

Let’s see, you’re using (and own some of the patents behind) a codec that’s extremely popular for web media, is well-supported on mobile devices, and provides high quality and small filesizes. It’s competitive on its own. However, it runs the risk of being expensive in the future, and there’s a competitor that doesn’t even come close to your codec on any of those, except for being an open standard. It runs the risk of defeating your codec of choice, because of that.

The logical response would be to steer the licensing body of your codec to make it very cheap, right?

No, the response that Apple appears to be choosing is to gather a bunch of patents together, and sue the makers and users of the free codec into oblivion.

I wish I were joking, but I’m not.

There have been fears of patent threats against Theora before, but this is an actual organized attack against it, simply for the sake of removing competition to H.264.

If that isn’t evil, I don’t know what is.

Source: The Register

Why Apple is evil: Massive hypocrisy against Adobe

I’m not one to defend Adobe – they make steaming piles of crap that make Windows Me look like a good piece of software – and I think their products deserve to fail, but Steve Jobs posted an open letter to Adobe today, full of ridiculous levels of hypocrisy, some wrong information, and a small amount of failing to understand the technology.

Let’s start with Apple’s bashing of Flash as not open, and that there’s no competing implementations. Sure, there’s no good competing implementations for general use (and that’s compared to Adobe’s own Flash Player,) but with the Open Screen Project, the specifications are open, with no restrictions on their use. And, there are a few competing implementations.

While we’re on the topic of Flash… Jobs said that H.264 is a more modern competitor to Flash, that can be hardware accelerated, and uses less power due to using such dedicated hardware. Here’s the thing… most Flash video nowadays is H.264, just in an FLV container. And, Adobe’s working on versions of Flash Player that will offload H.264 decoding, including for Mac OS (which just recently had the API to allow that exposed.)

But, here’s another thing. H.264 is actually closed! And, the MPEG LA is threatening to eventually sue even end users who run H.264 decoders that aren’t properly licensed. Now, H.264 is a good quality codec, but… why would Apple, who claims to care so much about openness, want to steer so many people towards H.264? Simple, Apple owns quite a few of the patents that H.264 uses, and therefore makes a large amount of money off of H.264 licensing.

As for the whole “cross-platform frameworks suck, because apps for them don’t take advantage of the platforms they’re on,” well, um, iTunes for Windows? Safari for Windows? QuickTime for Windows? All apps that dig their hooks into Windows deeply, but don’t use the services that Windows provides for them, instead using Apple’s own stuff on top of Windows, and not taking advantage of Windows.

Apple’s just as guilty, here.

Source: OSnews

Why Apple is evil: Liquid sensors that throw false positives

This is hardly news, nor is it specific to Apple, but here we go.

The iPhone uses liquid sensors that, whenever they’re exposed to liquid, notify a service technician that the device has been exposed to liquid. This is generally a good idea, that reduces warranty fraud.

However, independent studies appear to have shown that these sensors sometimes produce false positives, while in the normal operating conditions for the phone. Obviously, this could cause major issues for owners of devices that have failed, after a false positive.

A class action lawsuit against Apple has been filed.

Source: CNET

Why Apple is evil: Firing engineers for showing your co-founder (who you still pay) a prototype

I’ll keep this one short, there’s not much to say.

Apple engineer gets iPad 3G. Apple engineer waits until wifi launch date to show Woz, and shows Woz. Apple engineer gets fired for that.

Great job, you just fired someone for showing a prototype to a person who is so critical to your company, it wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for his hardware designs. I think you can let THAT particular NDA violation slide. Or just not make it a violation in the first place.

Source: Gizmodo

Why Apple is evil: They utterly fail to understand the Streisand effect

I’ve avoided covering anything involving the lost iPhone 4G story, because so far, Apple’s actions in this case hadn’t been evil. The phone was their property, and it should be returned to them. Fair enough.

You can even argue for charges to be filed against those that participated in the checkbook journalism, as they knowingly purchased property that wasn’t theirs. However, allegedly, the seller contacted Apple, and they said it wasn’t theirs, that it was a Chinese knockoff.

But, now, it’s gone from perfectly sane to ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY ABSURD.

Apple has gotten the San Mateo police department to raid Jason Chen’s home, apparently against both California law, and federal law, due to their protection of journalists and their sources.

Presumably, Apple’s trying to get the cat back into the bag.


Source: Gizmodo

Why Apple is evil: Why compete with your competition when you can just sue?

Some more old news, but Apple’s going for the patent suit method of killing its competitors, now.

And, rather than go against Google, they’re going against an OEM of Android hardware, HTC. This is likely an attempt to scare OEMs away from using Android – “use it, and you’ll get sued by Apple.”

Apple: Compete with Android on merit, not on suing manufacturers of Android hardware.

Source: BusinessWeek

Why Apple is evil: Lifetime bans from buying iPads, for buying too many

Honestly, this is just ridiculous – turning away paying customers because they’ve bought too much of your product.

I’m not joking. “Protocol Snow” was buying iPads and reselling them outside of the US, and apparently reached a lifetime limit on iPads. So, he has a lifetime ban from ever buying another iPad.

There’ll be another post later today, to make up for yesterday’s lack of a post.

Source: The Register

MIPS preparing to take ARM on in the smartphone market

Looks like things are about to get interesting. ARM has owned the phone market for quite a few years now, with very little competition.

Sandeep Vij, CEO of MIPS Technologies, has said that penetration of the cellular market is his top priority, and there are two customers of MIPS that are working on chips for the cellular market.

In addition, MIPS has released a port of Android to their CPUs. Android is a good choice, as almost all Android apps are compiled to run on the Dalvik VM… recompile Dalvik for MIPS, and all of those apps will run, unmodified, with no emulation penalty (well, no additional penalty over the VM penalty.)

So, now we’ve got MIPS and Intel both aiming at smartphones, Renesas has a SuperH chip that has the processing power for a mid-range smartphone (although it has on-board RAM, and not much of it,) and the rumor mill is saying that Apple wants to buy ARM (although, admittedly, that one’s not likely.) Interesting times indeed, and this time around, we won’t have the pain of having to know what CPU’s in your phone to run an app, unless it’s Windows Phone (and Microsoft will likely require ARM for the foreseeable future, there,) iPhone OS (and Apple will stick with ARM, I suspect,) or Symbian.

Why Apple is evil: App search tools banned due to screen scraping

I’ll admit that this one’s grey area, but Apple posts data (about apps on the iPhone) on the public Internet. A user may wish to use that data in a more efficient manner, so they install an app to do it for them.

Oh, wait, they can’t, because that app is banned, because it uses that data that Apple has posted on the public Internet.

As the App Rejections blog points out, this is kinda screwy. Apple can’t stop screen scraping on the public Internet (robots.txt is voluntary, too,) but they own the iPhone platform, and can control anything that goes on on it.

Screen scraping is a valuable tool for getting at data when a site gives it to you in a form that’s not really usable to filter on that data. Sure, it’s sometimes abused, but in this case, it can only benefit users, and can’t harm Apple.

Source: App Rejections

Why Apple is evil: They think they’re the moral police

I’ve already mentioned Apple’s insane censorship before, but I’ll mention it again.

It seems to me that Steve Jobs wants to be the moral police of the app store, not allowing anything remotely titillating (unless it’s from major, reputable sources that make Apple a lot of money, of course) on the iPhone.

To his credit, he did suggest going to Android to view porn on a phone, but still.

The thing is, there’s parental controls on the iPhone. So, use them to lock the porn away from those who you don’t want to see it – don’t block porn altogether.

Source: Wired