Apple’s Mind-Bogglingly Greedy and Evil License Agreement

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Most news articles about a company or a person include a rote disclaimer somewhere in the text: “_____ declined to comment on the matter.” This is often a pro forma statement, since the writer knew perfectly well she was never going to get a comment in the first place.

Ed Bott is tired of the game. After reading Apple’s end-user license for its eBook authoring program with mounting outrage, and then writing a blistering column about it, he ended with this:

Oh, and let’s just stipulate that I could send an e-mail to Apple asking for comment, or I could hand-write my request on a sheet of paper and then put it in a shredder. Both actions would produce the same response from Cupertino. But if anyone from Apple would care to comment, you know where to find me.

Atta boy! I view Apple as much like China: overseers of a huge market that’s irresistible, and well aware that they can use their market power in any way they like without having to answer to anyone. In most ways that I can think of, they’re really far more of an evil empire than Microsoft ever was. They’re just not as big.

(On the merits of this particular case, though, I suspect that Bott is overreacting. The core problem is that Apple insists that if you write a book using its program, you can sell it only through Apple. But I’d be surprised if someone didn’t very quickly create a translator that converts Apple’s almost-ePub files into genuine, clean ePub files that can be used anywhere. In practical terms, Apple’s EULA may not really amount to much.)

Via Ryan Cooper.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate