All entries for Friday 28 September 2007

September 28, 2007

Apple owns you

It’s an adage of the internet world that if you compare something to the Nazis, then your argument is defeated.

So I won’t. But…

Apple have issued a compulsory update to their iPhones which means that anyone who’s tried using the device on a phone network other than AT&T, will now find the iPhone is basically dead. Permanently.

If this isn’t the most authoritarian technology company in the world, then who is?

“Microsoft” – I hear you shout!

Well, not really. I don’t think they’ve ever charged someone £900 per year for a product which you can’t mess around with.

Most companies have something called a ‘EULA’ – or End User Licensing Agreement – which most people have traditionally ignored.

These put restrictions on what people can do with a product, such as a computer game. They’re often disregarded by modders and people who play games on friends’ machines.

I can’t think of an example of a hardware company using the EULA in such a measly way as Apple are doing.

And as every device on the planet (including, maybe one day, your own body) becomes connected to the net, what other products could be shut down once you play around with them? Perhaps Olympic athletes should have a chip in them that injects them with lactic acid if it detects an illegal drug?

So do you own an iPod or iPhone? Or do they own you?

P.S. I don’t own an iPhone.


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