The Macalope Daily: Zombie media

Macalope

Does anyone know what is the matter with Forbes?

It used to be a rather benign dead-tree business news rag, the proceeds of which did nothing more damaging than fund the vanity candidacy of its founder’s grandson. But the advent of the Internet was a great disruption for the magazine business, and these days Forbes’s Web presence is the online equivalent of a correspondence clown college.

Or the moaning of the shuffling undead.

The Macalope is not providing links to any of this, partly as a community service for those who don’t want their brains to explode, and partly not to reward the jerkery.

Two weeks ago Forbes was asking “After $30 Billion Mistake, Can Tim Cook Manage Apple?” (link to Daring Fireball’s take on it). Last week, it had moved on to more important questions, like “Is The Apple Logo Blasphemous?” Again, not making that up.

Really, people, it’s like you don’t know anything about business.

As if those weren’t great enough atrocities against Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, now Anthony Wing Kosner at Forbes asks “Should Apple Be Broken Up?”

You mean broken up laughing at what Forbes pays people to write?

Apple shares some important characteristics with Google. It is a preferred brand, but not technically a monopoly. It is an intimate part of people’s daily life. It has created a high standard of satisfaction for its users whose expectations are now extraordinarily high. And, as the world’s most valuable company, it has grown, perhaps, too big.

I must be an Apple-hater, right, to suggest such a thing?

No, no, no! We haven’t ruled out idiocy, insanity, trolling for hits, or some combination of all of them. There’s still lots of room for an underlying explanation.

But, just to be clear, we’re talking about antitrust concerns, right? Because that seems laughable considering Apple’s only got a majority of one market, tablets, and even there it’s less than 75 percent.

…just as Google may be undermining the integrity of its search product by moving into shopping and mobile, Apple’s all-in-one approach may have diminishing returns in terms of user satisfaction.

ERROR. VARIABLE NOT DEFINED.

Kosner believes that Apple’s user satisfaction would be higher if Apple weren’t trying to earn multiple revenue streams.

Higher than what it is right now? Anthony, there’s only so much user satisfaction a person can take before his relationship with his phone becomes inappropriate.

Ultimately, this is not a matter of regulation but of consumer choice.

Ahhh, so we’re not talking about antitrust concerns. So we can at least put the title and lede of your piece into the “link baiting” category. Got it.

Would it surprise you to know that Forbes separates this high-quality analysis into two pages so it can jam another ad into your eyeball? Probably not. The Macalope’s readers may be smart and sassy, but they’re also pretty jaded by now.

In a less adversarial environment, couldn’t Apple and Google have made a deal for Apple to be able to create its own, unique interface based upon Google’s data?

Sure! In a less adversarial environment, Google would have paid Apple for all that mobile operating system R&D Cupertino did for it, too. Any other Marvel Presents: What If?! scenarios you want to get off your chest?

Kosner then gets into the Maps issue and laments the fact that, while you can use other map apps on iOS, you can’t change the systemwide default for maps.

Apple’s argument has always been that the bundled approach makes things easier for users. No one changes the defaults anyway.

Not that many people do. The fact that we’re even talking about the Maps issue indicates how rare it is. But the thing is, this is the choice the market presents for users. If you want to change the default apps, get an Android-based device. If you want something less fiddly, that doesn’t come junked up by your carrier and has apps that are just better, get an iOS-based device.

But it’s OK. The Macalope knows that reasonable thoughts like that don’t sell ads on has-been print publications. It’s cool.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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