Welcome Guest [Log in]

Please note: I am no longer actively posting to this blog. My blog has moved to http://jimklein.org

Jim Klein :: Weblog :: Apple, Corporate Greed and a Culture of Ownership

January 25, 2012

ipadAh, yes, here we go again. Yet another corporate shill (or Schill, in this case) stands before the populus with a somber look, declaring that the U.S. education system ranks whatever-th globally (in test-taking on an uneven playing field constructed to bolster the careers of politicians who lack the temerity to take on real issues - but that's another post). Next, a few heart-warming videos play, followed by a wonderful - dare I say "magical" solution to the problem devised by said corporation, which, as they desperately hope you will believe, truly cares about education. Who are we to doubt their sincerity? This must be true, right?

But wait a minute - are we perhaps being sold? Are we giving Apple a pass because we love their products so? Are we giving up too much just because the solution seems so simple? Or worse, do we really believe that better textbooks are the answer to all of education's woes? Rather than just hoping for the best and assuming Apple's intentions are pure, let's instead take a step back and try to understand a few key truths about corporations.

  1. Corporations don't care about you or your cause - they are fundamentally profit making machines. Anything they can do to sell you something, they will do, including pretending to care about your needs; even building solutions that might meet them. But the truth is, if it doesn't have the potential to positively impact their bottom line, they aren't going to do it. Think about it: if Apple really cared about kids or education or any of the things they wanted you to believe they care about (based on their presentation), then they would be using some of the $100 billion surplus they are sitting on to buy every kid in America an iPad (which they could easily do). Or how about a more nuanced example: notice that the recent Apple announcement didn't talk about solving the still colossally painful problem of managing all the devices they propose, let alone any of this magical new content at school-scale - a well-known issue that has gone largely unaddressed for a nearly two years. Sure, they have offered hacky solutions which were obviously developed internally by low-level engineers with no clear guidance or strategy from their leadership (or they would work better). Why? It's quite simple really. They know, based on the current conditions, that extracting additional money from schools for such features is unlikely. And besides that, there's no real competition out there anyway, so why invest in it? Think about it: do you really believe Apple couldn't have solved the problem long ago?


  2. Corporations are fundamentally monopolistic. Corporations always have and always will look for ways to lock you in to their products and to prevent you from looking at others - it's just common sense. But they won't say this outright, of course. Instead they'll offer the illusion of openness and compatibility, in the hope you will be fooled into believing there might be a way out, should you choose to exit. Remember when Apple declared that their iTunes audio codec was an "open-standard that anyone can use"? Problem is no one did (of course - why would they? See #1), so it's not a standard, rather it's a hurdle to overcome should you foolishly attempt to depart the Apple ecosystem. As related to the recent announcement, iBooks are apparently "just a modified version of ePub". Oh, OK, so it's *like* an open standard. Only it's not. It's something that you'll have to buy Apple products to use. This is simply an extension of their brilliant, yet fundamentally toxic app/content strategy that locks you in to their hardware, pre-determines what you can and can't do/have, and ensures that they get a cut of anything created *on* their devices *for* their devices. All roads to Apple products lead through Apple, so they always get their cut. A brilliant corporate strategy for profit-making (see #1), lock-in, and control.


  3. When a corporation says something is "free", they don't really mean it. Consider the iBook creator app. It's pretty, easy-to-use, and "free". Only it isn't. The content you create *requires* an Apple product to use. To make matters worse, Apple has shown their hand with the largely unprecedented requirement that any content created with the tool for a cost *must* be sold through the Apple store. Which only works with Apple devices. In other words, see numbers 1 and 2, and think about whether what you are getting is truly "free".

 

So knowing this, let's take a look at recent events from a more corporate perspective. Apple knows that funding for education, while shrinking, is still one of the biggest pots of money out there. They also understand that due to a number of factors - from tech-rich Common Core Standards, to an increase in auxiliary digital content associated with textbooks, to a desire to bring "21st century skills/tools" (don't get me started) to the classroom - all schools are hurtling toward some form of 1:1 device-to-student ratio, yet most have not yet achieved it. Of course, they also know that competition will only continue to increase, and that the spotlight only shines for so long any one product. So how can they ensure that their devices become the de-facto standard for 1:1 deployments? How do they make a decision for their products so dead simple that people don't think twice about choosing them, even at their own peril?

Enter the textbook publishers, who provide an easy entry point to the market segment, due to their small numbers and relative ubiquity (read monopolistic behavior - see above). Based on their recent efforts, textbook publishers clearly have no idea how to adapt to the new, digital frontier and are already running scared, as they can clearly see the rise of open content/textbooks on the horizon. They know they must adapt, but they have no idea what to do, so they are blindly flailing about from one bad idea to the next. Add to that worries about unlawful copying and an overall fear of losing control, and you have a potent combination of fear, uncertainty, and doubt in an industry ripe for the picking.

So Apple swoops in and becomes savior to the dying industry - much as they did for music - by providing an easy vehicle by which publishers can maintain ownership, control, and the rest of their outdated business models; for a small fee per transaction, of course. But better yet, Apple not only gets in the door, but also becomes that de-facto standard product, thereby guaranteeing millions in device sales and more in content fees. And if they can muscle in and set pricing, they might just be able to make their device even more of a no-brainer by enabling schools to pick them up through textbook funds, with no increase in school textbook budgets (but no decrease either, of course). 

Now all they have to do is sell it - ie distract you from the fact that they are a corporation that wants your money - which is fine exercise in marketing 101. With a somber look, you share a sense of hopelessness and need. You then talk about your already beloved products using words like "revolutionary" and "the future". Next, you trot out your new partners to attest to your caring and quality, and boom! Peace, love, and new markets to own.

And everybody wins, right? That is until something better comes along. But luckily for Apple, schools will have already given up their freedom to choose. 

Think about it.


Posted by Jim Klein | Share This


Comments

  1. You've outlined and articulated a lot of my concerns.  Thank you!!!  BTW, I stopped by your blog today to see if you have a Twitter account.  Do you? :)

     

    -Kristen

    @kwalkersb

    Kristen WAlker on Friday, 27 January 2012, 11:59 PST

  2. Interesting post. Beginning the paper can be the hardest part. Conceptualizing about your identity attributes and characterizing your qualities is a decent place to start.

    essay paper writing services

    dave on Friday, 8 May 2015, 05:51 PDT

  3. Completely agree with author! Today such major labels/coprporates like Apple, Google and others starts to promote their poducts not only using traditional marketplace methods, but also supplying schools, universities and other institutions with their products! If one day you will need help in writing, you can check the essay editor

    Guest on Tuesday, 18 August 2015, 02:05 PDT

  4. Today, students are extra smart and want to discover new things in life. Apart from academics, personalized essay there is much more to explore and enjoy.

    kerry jay on Friday, 25 March 2016, 05:45 PDT

  5. Author you are a perfect writer for stuff like that of apple and iTunes .So whenever i think that i am in need of these iTunes gift card code then you should check this website also.

    zakarta on Thursday, 14 April 2016, 12:21 PDT

  6. Google and others create to promote their poducts not no assignment writing help more than using traditional market methods, but also supply schools, institution of higher education and other institutions with their foodstuffs.

    Rocky Handome on Saturday, 23 July 2016, 00:27 PDT

  7. Totally have the same opinion with author! Today such main labels/corporate like Apple, Google and others create to endorse their products not just by usual Tbdress Coupons marketplace method, but also supply school, university and additional institution with their crop!

    Guest on Saturday, 30 July 2016, 12:44 PDT

  8. this is just amazing to have this hack pokemon go online.

    Guest on Friday, 19 August 2016, 11:37 PDT

  9. The Uber app is available for both Android and iOS users. So it is flexible and within your reach to simple download and install it right away on your smartphoneuber india

    uber on Monday, 26 September 2016, 03:06 PDT

  10. Check here is a great collection of the best Happy New Year Celebration Ideas 2017 below.Happy New Year 2017 SMS

    tinku on Thursday, 29 September 2016, 03:20 PDT

  11. good this was all about how to check Snapchat online, http://isnapchatemojis.com on Computer/laptop or how to examine Snapchat online, great.

    mohit on Friday, 7 October 2016, 23:48 PDT

  12. One of the best ways to send your Happy New year greetings and wishes to your beloved ones is through various social media platformshappy new year 2017 wallpapers

    happy new year 2017 hd wallpapers on Monday, 31 October 2016, 23:30 PDT

  13. good As soon as you double click the installer, the Kodi setup Kodi APK Download software application from a remote or neighborhood storage space area. https://kodidownloadapp.com/kodi-apk-android-download/ nice.

    Guest on Monday, 28 November 2016, 02:24 PST

  14. good As soon as you double click the installer, the Kodi setup https://kodidownloadapp.com/kodi-apk-android-download/ software application from a remote or neighborhood storage space area. nice.

    Guest on Monday, 28 November 2016, 02:25 PST

  15. Thanks for sharing. I hope it will be helpful for too many people that are searching for this topic.
    guardianbikes

    Guest on Thursday, 1 December 2016, 20:19 PST

  16. Many students don't have any idea about their health they pretend to be normal at any time to take good advantage. Academic Dissertation Help

    Guest on Tuesday, 13 December 2016, 21:54 PST

  17. They'll have it done for you and it's the best thing at this moment

    Merry Christmas Quotes 2016

    Guest on Saturday, 17 December 2016, 05:32 PST

  18. New Year Messages 2017

    We will read the messages together and we blog.

    Guest on Saturday, 17 December 2016, 05:33 PST

  19. Wishing you all happy new year 2017 with the huge collection of New Year wishes. All of you have started planning for celebrating new year in different manner.
    http://www.inewyearwishes.com/

    Guest on Monday, 19 December 2016, 20:55 PST

  20. UP Board 12th Results 2016 - The Results of UP Board Intermediate 2016 Exam will be announced on 15th May and can be checked online up 10th results 2017

    up board result 2017 on Wednesday, 21 December 2016, 01:54 PST

  21. Hey, This is the great post must say, the content and pictures are awesome. I really like the efforts you done in this post. The content of this post is commendable. Thanks for sharing such a great post. Thank you so much for this article, i really like it. Such A good Post I saw in internet. I love to visit your site always :) I glad to see this :)

    Happy New Year 2017 Images

    Happy New Year 2017 on Thursday, 22 December 2016, 10:20 PST

  22. We will read the messages together and we blog.

    Bonne Année 2017

    <a href="http://imgsquotes.com/Bonne_ann%C3%A9e_2017.html ">Bonne Année 2017</a> on Friday, 23 December 2016, 02:16 PST

  23. Hey, This is the great post must say, the content and pictures are awesome.

    <a href="http://theflashseason3watch.online/the-flash-season-3-episode-10-watch-online.html">the flash season 3 episode 10</a> on Sunday, 25 December 2016, 23:37 PST

  24. nice writing
    the flash season 3 episode 10

    Guest on Sunday, 25 December 2016, 23:38 PST

  25. ??
    http://www.2017happynewyearwishes.com

    http://www.2017happynewyearwishes.com/2016/12/08/happy-new-year-2017-images-download-hd-animation-gif-3d/

    ?http://www.2017happynewyearwishes.com/2016/12/08/happy-new-year-2017-whatsapp-facebook-twitter-status?
    ??

    ?
    http://www.2017happynewyearwishes.com/2016/12/07/happy-new-year-2017-images-wallpapers-friends-family?


    http://www.2017happynewyearwishes.com/2016/12/02/send-happy-new-year-wishes-to-brothers-and-sisters/
    ??

    Guest on Monday, 26 December 2016, 07:57 PST

  26. IPL 2017 LIVE
    IPL 2017 Schedule

    Royal Challengers Bangalore Team 2017 Squad List

    Kolkata Knight Riders Team 2017 Squad List

    Delhi Daredevils Team 2017 Squad List

    Kings XI Punjab Team 2017 Squad List

    Sunrisers Hyderabad Team 2017 Squad List

    Gujarat Lions Team 2017 Squad List

    Rising Pune Supergiants Team 2017 Squad List

    Mumbai Indians Team 2017 Squad List

    Guest on Tuesday, 3 January 2017, 01:18 PST

  27. tattoo ideas and designs

    Adam on Tuesday, 10 January 2017, 10:46 PST

  28. [i]??????? ?????? ?????????? ?????[/i]
    ?????? ??? ?? ?????????? ?????????, ? ?????? ? ????????? ????? ??????? ? ????????? ??? ? ?????????????, ???? ?? ??? ????????. ?? ???????, ?? ???? ?? ? ??????? ????-?????? ? ?????? ????? ?????? ? ???.

    DunnyLip on Wednesday, 11 January 2017, 10:35 PST

  29. Kerala SSLC result 2017

    https://keralaresults.nicn.in/sslc.html

    Khushi on Sunday, 19 March 2017, 23:01 PDT

  30. good Friday
    happy easter wishes for facebook
    easter clip art
    easter bunny images

    Guest on Sunday, 2 April 2017, 06:33 PDT

  31. Hello. And Bye.

    XRumerTest on Sunday, 9 April 2017, 09:26 PDT

  32. Well, good news for us as we know apple one of the famous technology company in the worldwide, as we know taht U.S. education system is one of the best right now it will be helpful for our youth great job. Vin Diesel Cotton Jacket

    Guest on Thursday, 13 April 2017, 00:48 PDT

  33. Fascinating post. Starting the paper can be the hardest part. Conceptualizing about your personality traits and portraying your qualities is a respectable place to begin. Law Essay Writing Services

    Guest on Thursday, 18 May 2017, 12:54 PDT

Add a comment

Your comment text

Your name

Comment visibility:

Please enter the code in the image below

Security Code