More on the Snow Leopard Heat Issue…

Kidding apart, the Snow Leopard oddities (laptop heat issue, printer and application incompatibility and so on) raise a still unanswered question: can a software house – and in particular an operating system manufacturer – be free to sell a not well enough tested and not fully usable application?

This is not the rant of a discontented user but a precise legal question. Is it conceivable to let a producer of critical assets – as software surely is – to deliberately mass market unreliable products? Time has come when software manufacturer can’t be anymore allowed to “go crappy” treating users as a bunch of sheep and just “selling a roadmap”.

I don’t know if somebody ever did an assessment of the additional expenses caused by this marketing strategy (or, at least, I don’t know if this assessment has been made available to the public.) The fact is that software manufacturers should bear the legal consequences of their choice. But as Mark Minasi and Alan Cooper pointed out, software houses succeeded in convincing users that things must go that (wrong) way.

Apple’s Snow Leopard’s mismatched name…

Well, it seems that this time Apple marketing guys have slipped on a wet surface. Snow Leopard, the latest MacOS X version, causes serious heat problems to laptops such as the Mac Book Air (mine is literally burning.) A quick look at users’ forums on the Internet shows that this is a widespread problem and that Apple is doing almost nothing to fix it. Sure, a patch will come, but when? In the meantime, it is very hard to use a Snow Leopard equipped laptop.

Apple is more and more posing as Microsoft, and I wonder how the Cupertino-based company could possbily still run its commercial by claiming that OSX works out of the box, with no big legal copies for each advertising statement. But above all, can we still trust Apple?

Somebody might think that this is an exaggerated criticism for a very common event in the computing market (i.e. a new software that is – at least partially – a  crap one) but that’s the point. I start asking myself whether Apples really are the computers for the rest of us.

Snow Leopard… they’d better call it Firefox, oh, sorry, its taken. Why not Firebird, then?

p.s. I switched back to 10.5.8

More on the Italian Antitrust investigation upon Google News

The strongest claim supporting the Italian Antitrust investigation upon Google News is the alleged Google “dominant position” that would make Italian publishers poorer (better, less rich) by not getting advertising revenues from their online contents.

There is some doubt, nevertheless, that  Google’s market role could be defined as a “dominant position”. 1

Although it is undeniable that Google is the users’ preferred choice, and that Google has created from scratch a new business model attracting a huge quantity of customers, its legal status can hardly be defined as “dominant” in the Antitrust meaning. A characteristic of “dominant position” is the customer’s “locked-in syndrome”. Once you buy a product (or a service), its technological, purposely created oddities – such as non-standard file format etc. – make it almost impossible to switch to another similar, competing product. The most blatant example is the operating system market, where Microsoft was able to secure its market quota through its dominant position.

In Google’s case, au contraire, users are not “locked-in”: they can buy advertising services wherever they like, and use other search-engines at their will. Furthermore, Google can’t do anything to force its users to use its services, except by improving efficiency and quality. This means, in other words, that Google might lose its business power on the snap of finger. To put it short, cannot rest on its laurels.

As for the specific claims of the Italian publishers, there is neither a contract with them, nor a broader legal obligation falling on Google’s shoulders, to force the search engine to actually find “everything” on the Internet. 2 If they don’t like Google’s “banning attitude” (that still has to be demonstrated, by the way) they can simply find different agreement with Google’s competitors, thus forcing users to change their search engine of choice. Provided – of course – that Internet users find those contents of some value, but this is a horse of a different colour.

  1. “Dominant position” is a concept belonging to the Antitrust law and depicts a situation where a company stays in its market in a much stronger position than its competitors, thus setting the rules for competition.
  2. Oddly enough, this is the first time, at least in Italy, where Google is “charged” with not making contents available, while in the past its management has been accused of not removing “disturbing contents” from its indexes