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Apple backlash?

Jeremy Hillman Jeremy Hillman | 12:58 UK time, Monday, 28 July 2008

At the risk of igniting yet another flurry of Apple v PC fervour, and with a heavy heart at returning to the subject so soon, Stephen Fry, who we love and admire, took a pop at the BBC over the weekend for not doing enough stories about Apple products.

It's a criticism I haven't heard before. He feels we are running scared of an anti-Apple community backlash. My colleague, online technology editor Darren Waters, has written this heartfelt response to Stephen who's clearly now a signed up member of the anti-anti Apple Community (if that's possible).


By Darren Waters

3G iPhoneI feel a little uneasy disagreeing with a national treasure, but I must take issue with Stephen Fry's comments about the BBC technology site in his latest Guardian Dork Talk column.

Stephen's an educated and interesting columnist on technology, but unless he's been popping into our editorial meetings each morning without my knowledge, I don't see how he would know how we decide which stories to cover.

As editor of the technology section, it is my job, with the help of my colleagues, to decide which stories we write about.

And even if Stephen had popped in to see us - and by the way, he's welcome any time - he wouldn't have seen or heard us discuss, debate, or even mention not doing any legitimate stories about Apple because we fear an anti-Apple community backlash.

The reality of writing about any subject which engenders passions - and technology is definitely one of those - is that no matter what one writes about, there is always someone who believes we should have written about something else, or written it differently. But this issue is not about Apple; it is about the editorial process itself. Every day, my colleagues and I on the technology section spend time questioning ourselves about the legitimacy of any story.

All serious journalists ask that question, each and every day. Sometimes that debate about legitimacy lasts a micro-second, sometimes it lasts a lot longer.

We are juggling finite resources covering a subject area with almost infinite scope and complexity. Sometimes I am asked why we haven't written about Subject A, and why we have written about Subject B. The answer most of the time is that we did not have enough resources to write about A and felt B was a more relevant story to the majority of our readers. A backlash from any quarter never enters into the discussion.

I sadly predict such a mundane answer wouldn't qualify as interesting enough to earn maximum points on Stephen's BBC Two show QI, but there we are.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I think as usual, The BBC have got the correct balance.
    I don't want BBC News to turn into yet-another Apple rumors web site, while at the same time I appreciate that Apple are a huge force for innovation in the industry.

    You gave coverage of Microsoft's Live Mesh, and Ubuntu 8's release. Google's Android also gets a lot of mentions. I even remember this article before Apple was cool, (yes, I had one, it still works!)

    As technology coverage in general goes, your best output is hidden away on News 24 on Sundays - that is "Click"- It should be on weekdays on BBC1 or Two.

  • Comment number 2.

    Never mind Apple, your use of the word "who" in the opening sentence is wrong and should be "whom". The "who"/"whom" refers to Stephen Fry, who is the second person in the sentence (after "we"). It's common throughout English - an active/passive, first/second, active/subjective thing.

  • Comment number 3.

    What I do notice about your Apple coverage is that every Apple story seems to have to end on negative counterpoint, often poorly argued or unsubstantiated.

    In contrast, coverage of Microsoft stories seems to have a different tone, usually upbeat and positive, regardless of the wider reaction to that story.

    I can't help but worry that the BBC's impartiality has been compromised by the close 'relationship' that has been fostered between Microsoft and the Beeb. ..

  • Comment number 4.

    Surely if Apple produced enough news worthy topics the BBC would report them with fervour?

    Here is an idea for a story on Apple Computers. Why doesn't the BBC cover Apples continuing anti-competitive stance with respect to its own operating system and two of its major (arguably market leading) software titles, Final Cut and Logic?

    You are not allowed to install OSX on any computer other than an Apple Mac. You cannot purchase Final Cut or Logic on any platform other than OSX. Ergo, you cannot run Final Cut or Logic on any computer other than an Apple Mac.

    This leaves Musicians or Video Editors who want to use those software titles which are (arguably) the best on the market no other choice than to buy an Apple. Certainly Logic was available on the PC until Apple bought it and removed PC support.

    Would Apple enjoy the "coolness" and market share that they do at the moment if you could install OSX on the much cheaper (despite in some cases being better spec - certainly the same architecture) PC's? I doubt it.

    This is anti-competitive behaviour at its worst and certainly highly hypocritical considering their (and others) recent high profile complaint about anti-competitive Microsoft activities.

  • Comment number 5.

    Oh dear, big mistake setting off another Mac/PC thread!

    You should have stuck to something less controversial. Israel/Palestine perhaps.

  • Comment number 6.

    I am confused as to the reason why you have not reported on the ongoing Mobile Me (ss) fiasco.

    Large numbers of users being locked out of their chargeable email for over a week.

    Users signing up for a "free" trial being charged the full amount on their credit card.

    Apple making a gesture of a month's free service to apologise over poor performance.

    Apple Support being overwhelmed and effectively pulling up the drawbridge.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not a Mac basher - I think Apple products are great but this is in need of good journalism to find out what is going on and how they made such a mess of it.
    To say that Apple did not come up in the editorial meetings at all I find hard to believe, it should have.

  • Comment number 7.

    Stephen Fry did rather take over as "Apple's chief apologist" after Douglas Adams died, didn't he?

    Fry is a know Apple Mac freak, I think he said he had the fouth one ever in the UK.

    IMHO, I want the BBC to cover a wide range of technology subjects, but not just to regurgitate press releases.

    And yes, please stick "Click" somewhere were people can watch it!

  • Comment number 8.

    Apple surely isn't a 'community' in the generally understood sense, but one of the Fortune 500 top for-profit corporations in the USA.

  • Comment number 9.

    Finding a balance is going to be a near impossible task, as you're trying to match the desires of a varied group of individuals.

    Take Stephen as an example: one of the biggest Apple fans around, is it any great surprise he isn't seeing enough of them being talked about? In fact I'm surprised that for someone supposedly so erudite that he's so quick to dismiss anything that isn't Apple.

    Personally I find the BBC still a little too Apple-heavy. I would prefer to see a more varied set of topics, with information about as many products as possible. Difficult when it's case of a single company vs. many companies e.g. Apple vs. PC Compatibles.

  • Comment number 10.

    Yes, The BBC have got this right. As a public service broadcaster the BBC has to tread a fine line when reporting technology news as it is often a commercial press release or product launch that leads to the story.

    The BBC should report new and innovative technologies and as I remember the original iPhone was reported however the 'Mark 2' iPhone is neither 'new' or 'innovative'. It is simply a product catching up with features offered by many other vendors who have not managed to cultivate a quasi religious status. So in this respect the euphoria around the launch may be one 'iPhone 2' newsworthy item.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well I am still waiting for the two half hour programmes all about the launch of OS X 10.5 on a prime time BBC2 slot, just like Micro$oft had when they launched Vi$ta.

    And I have to agree with Gee4orce, the 'relationship' the BBC have with Micro$oft is a bit too cosy for my liking. Maybe if this relationship wasn't so close, there would be questions asked about M$'s sales figures for Vi$ta, or their sudden insistence by Steve Ballmer that they are adopting the vertical approach to manufacturing - something Apple has done since it was founded.

  • Comment number 12.

    Gee4orce and twentyeightone.

    Regarding this supposed "relationship" between Microsoft and the BBC you may be interested in what Erik Huggers, Director BBC Future Media and technology said on this subject earlier in the year. I quote:

    "Finally, I wanted to address some stories that have been spread by a handful of individuals in the open source community. It is true that I worked at Microsoft for a long time and frankly speaking, I am proud of that.

    Right now, my loyalties are to the BBC and the BBC alone. I will only make decisions that are in the best interest of the licence fee payer. My actions will speak louder than my words..."

    The blog post is here:

    Nick Reynolds (editor, BBC Internet blog)

  • Comment number 13.

    Its a little boring to read Apple fan after Apple fan asking why the launch of Vista got more coverage than another subversion of OSX?

    Considering that over 90% of the people reading that story did so on a PC, I don't think you'll have to look far for an answer. If the Beeb's criteria include how the story affects the reader, then Vista is a much bigger story and OSX 10.5 (which is just a revision of OSX 10.4 - more akin to a Windows service pack).

    Apple does very well for coverage considering what a small share of the market the Mac has. The Beeb rightly gives more coverage to the Iphone and Ipod because they have much larger market share than Macs.

    I'm confident the Beeb are doing their best to find the right balance. I guess like the Palestine and Israel dispute, either side will always claim the Beeb is biased against them.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think the BBC is already posting too much about Apple. The BBC's coverage of the iPhone is completely disproportionate to it's use. It is recieving unjust coverage because it's a fad in the BBC office and has become a pet favourite, despite the fact the rest of the world hasn't adopted it in a similar fashion.

  • Comment number 15.

    I don't see why comment by Stephen Fry, in particular, should make your hands shake.

    Follow that good old BBC tradition and carry on regardless.

  • Comment number 16.

    At the risk of disagreeing with such a supposedly esteemed person as Stephen Fry, I think there has been more than enough publicity about Apple and their products. It is not the job of the BBC to become a marketing platform for them, my own view is there is already more than enough coverage of the iPhone, any more would be too much.

    Lets face it, the iPhone is a mobile phone, it is not particularly doing something new, the only appeal it has are its looks and the user interface. It is style above substance, there are many other phones on the market or coming on to it that do much the same without the Apple tag.

  • Comment number 17.

  • Comment number 18.

    To be honest I'm not sure the amount of coverage of Apple products is an issue but it certainly doesn't get too much.

    Its just that when reporting on the iPhone the fact that it is a game changer, and has changed the game isn't touched upon.

    Reporting this isn't marketing for Apple, its a change in direction for the mobile phone industry, effecting a huge amount of the population and of worthy note I reckon.

    Its shear denial to say that the iPhone isn't responsible for this evolutionary step in mobile phones.

  • Comment number 19.


    Before you pontificate on Apple's alleged anti-competitive stance, you would do well to look at convicted monopolist Microsoft, who have actually been found guilty of such practices. Apple have been, almost single-handedly, been responsible for virtually every major innovation in the computer industry: first commercial GUI, first use of colour graphics, first use of Ethernet as standard, first use of USB as standard, first consumer-oriented certified UNIX OS - the list is endless. All this from a company who has seen a 3500% growth since Jobs' return, arguably the biggest turnaround in American corporate history.

    The complaint that Apple hardware is more expensive is utterly specious: compare like for like and Apple's hardware is very competitively priced - when building a Final Cut Studio suite, (and I've specced and built eight systems for clients over the last two years) I'm not going to niggle over a few quid difference, which is all it amounts to if you were to try and run OS X on other hardware, even if you could do so legally.

    And to those who think the iPhone is "just another "smartphone"…think again! Show me another smartphone that's running a fully-certified UNIX client and I'll give you a grand! Look at what Ed Colligan, CEO of Palm, said about the iPhone just before its launch: “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,” he said. “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.” Guess what, Ed - they did!

    It's fashionable to knock Apple because they're the little guy and because people believe Microsoft are the standard by which all others are judged. Looking at the unmitigated disaster that has surrounded the launch of Vista, is it any wonder that people are moving to OS X in droves?

    Like it or not: Apple have been and always will be at the vanguard of innovation in the industry. I'm no apologist for Apple and will criticise them when it's due (the fiasco over the MobileMe launch left me with a sour taste), but with over 35 years of computer experience under my belt, Apple wins every time!

  • Comment number 20.

    Exactly what cdssmac said - brilliant post my friend. Brilliant.

    @ Nick Reynolds, I'm hardly going to be convinced by the words of a man who comes directly from a company that is a convicted monopolist. He can say what he likes, this "relationship" the BBC has with a convicted monopolist like Microsoft is worrying, especially as iPlayer still only works properly on Windows PCs (ie: watch episodes offline - and don't give me this rubbish about DRM - you can rent movies from iTunes that have a time limit. FairPlay - look it up), you can watch news, well, with Windows Media Player, maybe RealPlayer (if you're lucky).

    It seems as soon as the words "convicted monopolist" and "Microsoft" are used in the same sentence, posts are "moderated" and editors are forced to justify their decisions. Is it getting hot in this kitchen?

  • Comment number 21.

    I'm becoming bored of hearing and reading the comments of BBC editors when called upon to defend particular editorial decisions, especially where this Aunt Sally "balance" is concerned.

    Their defences are most often specious, avoid the issue, or just plain contradictory. Newswatch, in particular, is generally laughable in this respect. Editors never seem able to put their hands up and say "maybe we got it wrong in this particular case".

    They are bound to, after all. They might be specialists in a particular field of the media, but when such a large audience is reached there is always going to be someone out there who is better informed, and they will be shouting at the 'telly.

    There was always going to be a risk of this ostrich instinct taking over the reflexes of the editors when a platform is presented for the informed (and not so informed) to get their opinions out of the living room and into the wider world. The beeb have let a genie out the bottle and are in danger of wasting their wishes at the moment.

    If Auntie is going to try and engage in a dialogue with her customers she had better learn to be a little less smug.

  • Comment number 22.

    twelveightyone - you can watch all BBC programmes on the iPlayer on a Mac via streaming. Mark Thompson the BBC's Director General has said the BBC is aiming for downloads which work on Macs this year.

    See this blog post

  • Comment number 23.


    1) Stephen Fry is a comedian educated at Cambridge, I we haven't got many of those types already. Sigh. Hardly a national treasure at any rate.

    2) Stephen Fry takes a side swipe at the BBC on a blog he writes and the BBC deem it worthy of a public response? For goodness sake, keeps these 'in' spats to yourselves please.

    3) The gist of the weblog entry above is: "Well (says Darren in a petulant tone of voice) I can't _wait_ to see Mr Fry come along and sit in on one of OUR meetings. Yes. Then we'd really show him. Yes." Please grow up.

    4) ...for the record Stephen Fry is blatantly an apple fanboy and so why, why bother about him? By responding to his comments your making his opinions appear to carry more weight than they really do.

    5) Generally I do think the bbc offer a wonderful news site for both current affairs and sport. It's a very tricky job to be impartial but you do make a good go of it and thank goodness for that. Please keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 24.

    Stephen Fry likes Apple computers and iThings because they are pretty.

  • Comment number 25.

    It is quite clear that there is a very close relationship between the BBC and Microsoft. The attempt to spoil the recent Firefox 3.0 success story with a "security threat" which was never realised, is just such an example.

  • Comment number 26.

    This wasn't just another Apple story, it was the launch of the iPhone 3G, Apple's new wonder toy. While I don't expect every phone to get a launch day story, the fact that Apple and O2 had such an overwhelmingly horrendous day should have been worthy of a report. Added to that the mobile me service which was also lauded at the same time as the iPhone 3G has been a PR nightmare since it was launched.

    While I may be an Apple fan, in terms of technology news I think that super slick Apple getting it all wrong should have been reported. It was a big story that the BBC consipuously didn't cover. That, I think is worth of comment.

    As for the Editorial reply, it seemed very confusing to me, on one hand it seemed to be about mr Fry having a pop and on the other hand it seemed to be grovelling to him.

  • Comment number 27.

    @ cdssmac

    I think that if you read my post again, you'll note that i mentioned Microsofts recent lost case.

    However, if a software vendor were to make a complaint about Apple regarding their refusal to allow OSX to be installed on any other type of machine, or their buying of final cut and logic and stopping support for any OS other than OSX, then they would surely lose.

    As for Macs being similarly priced to similarly spec'd PC machines, sorry, but you're clearly delusional. I too am a system builder, and you must be buying your kit from some damn expensive places.

  • Comment number 28.

    I find that the BBC does cover Apple quite extensively, as it should for such a creative and forward-looking company.

    But I do find consistent anti-Apple bias in the content and presentation "tone" of reviewers, both "on air" and in print.

    I also find people with large investments in their PC software, or indeed, in their guns, fishing rods, or cars, to be very defensive about their own tastes and addictions.

    Perhaps the BBC needs to have more reviewers be managed by neutral editors, or at least, editors that own Apple kit ?

  • Comment number 29.

    Upon reading Stephen Fry's column in the Guardian I must admit that the comment about the BBC did stand out. I thought "that can't be right, surely the BBC doesn't have that blatant a bias in it's technology reporting." But then where were the stories about the iPhone selling out, people queueing etc? If people start queueing outside a cinema to be the first to see a particular film the BBC wouldn't hesitate to write an article about it. So maybe Stephen does have a point after all. Maybe its subconscious? For example see this article which manages to mention everyone except Apple even when using a picture of an iPhone to illustrate the point it's making!

  • Comment number 30.

    Both Microsoft and Apple should get very little coverage until one of them comes up with something genuinely new!

    cdssmac (19)

    "Apple have been, almost single-handedly, been responsible for virtually every major innovation in the computer industry"
    Is a bit exaggerating it. Apple may package things together well for less techy users but they did not invent everything!

    Furthermore, why do I really care about a UNIX client on my phone? So I can type:
    > cd /contacts
    > ls -l ;-)

    Regarding Apple's "anti-competitive" stance: Apple make their produces easy to use and work seamlessly by having control over all hardware, O/S and software. This is to make things simple for the user. PCs on the other hand are a free-for-all where you can build hardware you like, but you deal with the compatibility issues yourself.

    If the BBC wants something interesting to report then it should consider the PC transition from 32-bit to 64-bit O/Ses. This is relevant because 32-bit O/Ses only support 4GB memory, and 2GB is standard today. To go beyond 4GB of RAM, PC users need to go to 64-bits. With 16 to 32 change, Microsoft bit the bullet with Windows95. With 32 to 64 Microsoft are sitting on the fence by releasing two versions of XP and Vista. My view is that Microsoft is scared of forcing a change to 64-bit on its user base because people and businesses may look at the cost of the MS upgrade and decide to use Ubuntu and OpenOffice instead (they are free!).

  • Comment number 31.

    I am neither an Apple or Microsoft 'fanboy' but I have found myself getting tired of stories about the iPhone. As many have pointed out, most news items written about this product are insignificant in terms of technology advancements.

    A story about people queuing for this product should probably be placed in a lifestyle article such as 'top 10 things to do when you don't have a girlfriend'

  • Comment number 32.

    I don't use Apple product. I find them expensive and concentrate more on form than function.

    Thats my choice and its no big deal. I don't hate Apple, in fact I think they have made some very good looking devices (read Mr Ive has made some very good looking devices)

    What really grates is that Apple get credit for devloping a device / technology / application as if the technology was entirely their own. What follows is a marketing success that feeds this myth. In many cases ignoring the basic facts (iPhone 1.0 was basically an old technology phone with a not very up to date set of add ons - camera, gps). PR wise a great success and they flew off the shelves and all credit to them for selling ice to eskimos.

    Microsoft gets a beating for tie-ins and add ons that have earned itself anti trust suits up to the eyeballs. Linux still has the image problem that it belongs in a geek world. Both of these negative points are being flogged whilst the tirade of happy hippy SoCal free lovin' Apple is just as bad as microsoft for tie ins in fact iTunes seems to get away with it Scot free.

    Please don't stop reporting on Apple products as they are some of the best looking and most innovative products available.

    Please do start reporting warts and all for all technology. lets face it there are still good points about Windows. It's a fine product, just one that everyone loves to give a good kicking. Personally I like my old Archos 420 and Ubuntu. They both do what they set out to do but both have limitations.

    Thanks for listening....rant over!

  • Comment number 33.

    Apple has always had a small market share becuase it products were very expensive becuase they locked in proprietary hardware with thier proprietary software so they had no competition for people with more money than sense and must have a pretty box.

    That is what IBM tried with the PS2 and failed and is why Burroughs, DEC, DG, Univac and even IBM's mainstream products eventually all failed.

    Microsoft recognised the software was a separate industry and thrived as a result.

    Apple wasn't even original and copied Xerox PARC so they had some nerve to sue MS for coppying their interface in Windows.

    It's all nonsense MS Windows and Office do the real work in this world.

    As for iPhone and other iThings that is just Apple diversifying as they know their computer business is eventually doomed even if it seems to be booming now, but only becuase of Windows compatibility :-)

  • Comment number 34.

    Can anyone explain the difference between Apple not encouraging OSX on a generic PC and say... Nintendo disallowing PS2 games on a Wii?

  • Comment number 35.

    I made a formal complaint to the BBC over their silence on the success of the iPhone launch as it seemed astonishing the BBC could ignore it.

    The reply from the BBC was to refer me to two articles published in the previous weeks!

    Seems to me the BBC have caved in to the Anti-Apple-Taliban.

    Interesting to see they now DO choose to publish the fact that Apple is blogging the progress towards fixing the MobileMe launch issues... Odd hey?

  • Comment number 36.

    Whilst I continue to be disappointed about BBC iPlayer support for Mac, lets look at the Apple/Microsoft debate from another angle - they are just computers, some people prefer one and some the other. Its like saying Brie is better than wensleydale, no its not, its just different.

  • Comment number 37.

    I wish the BBC would just forget the word “bias” and simply do it's job by reporting on the main stories of the day, like every decent journalist should.

    This existence of this debate alone proves the BBC made a mistake and should admit it. If it was any other phone nobody would care less and is for a reason. Stephen Fry is an intelligent person… and the BBC can learn much from him.

    Good point Serenepenguin. Stop discriminating and give equal iplayer support for Macs etc. Although the name iplayer certainly does sound like it would work well on a Mac.

  • Comment number 38.


    Wii is an embedded operating system using different code and written for different architecture to the PS2. Nintendo have never said you can't use PS2 games on a Wii. They just wouldn't work.

    OSX is not an embedded operating system (ie, it is installed or not installed by choice). PC's are more than capable of running OSX, Apple have just said that it is a breach of licence to run OSX on any other machine than an Apple.

    Does this clear it up for you?

  • Comment number 39.

    you may also like to note that while Wii doesn't allow (at the moment) PS2 games via the Wii shop, it does allow games from these platforms, which were its major competitors for many years...

    Turbografx (PC Engine), SEGA MEGA DRIVE and NEOGEO.

  • Comment number 40.

    There's a lot of crap and myth written about Apple and there is one in particular that I would like to dispel.

    That Apple nicked the GUI from Xerox Parc...rubbish...Apple invested millions for the privilege and took the basic GUI and developed the first Mac GUI. Microsoft were unsucessfully sued by Apple as they had the license to develop software for the Mac worded that they could take the GUI elements and use them for their own OS...not illegal but definitely not the work of a partner...

  • Comment number 41.

    And since Apple write the OS is it wrong for them to say where you can install it??? Apple is predominantly a hardware sells software as part of that experience....

    Look at the sales of it's software compared to it's hardware....the proof is right before your eyes....

  • Comment number 42.


    Apple intentionally bought hi-end video and music production software and removed PC support, so that in order to use it, you have to buy a MAC (as you have to have OSX to run the software in question). That is anti-competitive behaviour, and NO, they should not be allowed to do it.

    As for whether or not they should be allowed to say whether or not people should be allowed to install OSX on other hardware, surely in the interests of an open and competitive market they would allow users to install OSX wherever they liked. To not do so would make such actions as making a complaint to the European union about Microsoft not making lets say, um, Internet Explorer for example, not available on OSX, EXTREMELY hypocritical.

    Oh, hang on...

  • Comment number 43.

    to Serenepenquin

    Brie is much better than Wenslaydale

  • Comment number 44.

    to kai_the_film_geek

    Apple did copy Xerox PARC but not very well, first try with Lisa was a complete failure and then cam the Mac for the fashion conscious techies but it still took them years took sort it out and even with a late start Microsoft still overtook them although they do seem to have faltered with Vista proabaly due to include all thise Apple like gimmicks :-)

  • Comment number 45.


    I concur with poster 3; in particular, with this comment:

    "I can't help but worry that the BBC's impartiality has been compromised by the close 'relationship' that has been fostered between Microsoft and the Beeb. .."


    For starters, not just a few reports on Apple Products - such as the iPhone - often contain a palpable 'whine'. ..

    Example: BBC News: "From iPhone to iGroan"


  • Comment number 46.

    I don't think the BBC has a pro-Apple bias, it's just the BBC is rarely scathing about anything - its still mired in the waxed-moustache, top-hatted, gentlemanly, received pronunciation mindset with the occasional agent provocateur doing something sack-worthy.

    Take the recent Bill Gates interview, it might as well have been done by the Tellytubbies.

    So no, an Apple bias isn't the beeb's sin - it being about tiger-ish as Tigger is the BBC's problem.

  • Comment number 47.

    The video editing software. Final Cut was originally written by Macromedia and purchased by Apple before there has never a PC version...this also goes for the rest of Final Cut Studio.

    Yes Apple bought Logic and removed support for other platforms...but hey...they own it. And you can still can Shake for Linux...but at a ridiculous price...

    And Adobe, originally a Mac software company has also has withdrawn software from the MAc platform which is now only available on Windows....

    Microsoft withdrew Explorer and Windows Media player from the Mac..which was far more damaging for the Mac as a platform as most websites are coded for Explorer and a lot of media requires Windows Media Player. Apple did not make a complaint that Microsoft withdrew Explorer either.

    But you can get Safari, iTunes and Quicktime for the PC...

    Even trivial things like reading a Mac formatted hard disk on a PC can't be done without buying extra software...can it be read on a have been able to even format for the PC for years. Can a PC read a Mac formatted iPod??? Nope...vice versa???...yep. Does a Zune work on a Mac???

    So your argument is a bit pointless...there is far more software on the PC side that is not available for the Mac...far more....

  • Comment number 48.

    @33, thegregdyke

    What planet are you on? Apple is the only vendor to be bucking the trend in sales and remains the only hardware vendor to retain a large margin on individual sales. And that's just their desktops/laptops, add in the iPods and iPhones and they're a very wealthy business.

    Apple may have been on the verge of going bust years back, but now? Unless Jobs does something really boneheaded, Apple are just going to keep chipping away and getting richer.

  • Comment number 49.

    I'm sorry to stir it up, but the BBC does have this problem with Apple and the users of the Mac.
    Steven Fry does have a point. Mac users have been treated like second class citizens for some considerable time. Yes, I know I'm going to get the usual response- here they go again, Mac users blah blah blah! Unfortunately it's true! We are still unable to download programmes via the iplayer to watch on our own time. We have to watch it there and then, or not at all.
    I enjoy greatly BBC's Click. Very informative but heavily biased on Windows products. And when we do get a mention! enough said! OK, some times it's tongue and cheek and that's OK but it would be nice to be treated fairly. Don't get me wrong, please- I look forward to Click being shown each week and get annoyed when it gets cancelled for some news event!
    As for the technology people in the BBC, it does raise suspicions when the head man is yet again an ex-Microsoft employee. Can he truly say that Apple and Linux get a fair deal? I would like to think so, but I'll need persuading.
    I know this'll upset the users of Windows and, I have to say, that it is not my intention to do so but, I would like the BBC to see it from our- the Mac users (and Linux users too!) perspective.
    Kind regards, Mac-Jim.

  • Comment number 50.

    I always find some Apple fans pride in the large margins Apple make on their products quite amusing. Then again, the somewhat stoic behaviour of some MS adherents is also quite odd.

    Anyway, who really cares about what Stephen Fry thinks on this issue? He's a man with an opinion just like every other man with an opinion.

    The BBC should carry on. When you go over the top we'll let you know.

  • Comment number 51.

    48 Frank-Castle

    Not really Apple will always want high prices and because of that the market won't let them get above a certain size. I do think that that Steve Jobs has learnt a thing or two but he has been hit and miss but pales into insignificance in the face of Bill Gates who has been consitant throughout, a real genius but will Microsoft survive with Steve Balmer. I predict WGIII will be back to rescue his company in two years just like Michale Dell and all the others.

    BTW the dual boot OSX Windows doesn't work very well from all the people I know who have tried to use it. Some refuse to use the Intel machines becuase their software runs faster on the old PowerPC run faster at a quarter the clock rate.

    As for cost I nearly bought a quad core Mac pro (to run Windows) which was the about same list price as the equivalent Dell Precision 690. Apple would only give me 10% discount but Dell gave me over 50% and it is a fantastic machine an which I am told will run Apple software if I could be bothered.

    Dell also have fantastic service and on the last two calls both for hard disk faults we had new drives the next day in Fort William!!

    Thats enough.

  • Comment number 52.

    Much as I love Stephen Fry he has rather lost the plot here - letting his apple fanboydom get in the way of his undoubted inteligence.

    Perhaps the BBC site at times strays from regurgitating apple press releases - which is all most of the mass media coverage of apple is made up off. But that is a good thing isn't.

    Why on earth adding old technolgy (3G) to an existing product (iPhone) should merit major technology news coverage I have no idea

  • Comment number 53.

    Re:#4 (and general)

    I do not subscribe to the idea that Apple do anything other than attempt to protect their software from the many known bugs it would suffer when subjected to Microsoft's Windows.

    I met an Apple marketeer in the early nineties over lunch when he asked me why I, a professional programmer, opted for Windows (warts and all) rather than Apple (a genuinely better computer). Market size was the main reason but I also suggested that a "well written" program would survive "bug free" on either system. The problem I perceived was the increase in "easy" programming software available on the Windows system. This meant that people with little or no experience could create software that did what it claimed. Of course it would crash, freeze, or run out of steam, but it still worked up to a fashion.

    Apple have never subscribed to the idea that any software is better than no software and, in some ways, I would agree. An Apple remains a superior product to a PC in quality if not in the simple art of being a computer.

    My impression of the BBC is that it has been too market lead and does appear to empathise more readily with mainstream products from Microsoft than it does from Apple. There have been significant changes in Microsoft with the not too successful launch of Vista that have been covered extensively in the US but not here in the UK. Vista has been an attack on Apple's position as the "best" machine with many of the leading media "players" backing Microsoft's attempts to wrap up copyright protection.

    The BBC should report on the "damage" Microsoft have heaped on its "public" from significant problems with Vista's performance to the need to purchase new software that wouldn't work on XP. Instead we had a HYS item on Bill Gates' departure.

    I too share disappointment with the way the BBC talk up mobile technology when in fact it is actually pretty poor. This to me suggests that the BBC does not act for the vast majority of its license payers who will not be able to afford the latest technology and want a much more open and relevant description of the low cost market. If that is the reason (the ONLY reason) it does not cover Apple then fine. Sadly, though, the BBC cannot claim that at the moment.

  • Comment number 54.

    So how come, if the BBC is so neutral and adverse to product placement and advertising, is it that any Apple laptops or desktops on the BBC have to have their logo covered, while Dell laptops have their logo clear and usually nicely in the centre of the camera?

  • Comment number 55.

    Oh dear,

    Perhaps it's time you all switched to the amazing new, top secret Windows Operating System;

    Windows Mojave!


  • Comment number 56.

    When you've finished with Apple, how about turning some attention to Linux. There are too many things on that don't work on Linux. There are too many things that assume that everyone runs Microsoft Windows (and likes running Microsoft Windows).

  • Comment number 57.

    Garryhood wrote @ 29;
    "Where were all the reports of the iPhone selling out, people queueing?".

    If Apple had sorted out their manufacturing processes out they'd have had plentiful supplies of the handset on Day1 and there would have been no queues. But no frenzied queues doesn't generate the publicity that Apple requires, does it? And it doesn't keep the faithful champing at the bit waiting for their chance to take one home.

    Anotherlogonid @ 32 makes a very valid point. iPhone Mk.1 was ordinary. It contained nothing that other handsets hadn't already implemented. In many respects the BlackBerry range is ahead in terms of functionality. The iPhone has a touchscreen, but so did some of the early PDA/phone hybrids from the like of SonyEricsson.

    So what new and must-have killer app does the iPhone 3G have? Ummm, 3G. Not exactly ground-breaking is it? So you can watch a downloaded movie onyour tiny screen. You can also go blind trying to focus on something so small and so close to your face.

    Anotherlogonid misses one point though. The 1st generation iPhone did not "fly off the shelves". That's why this one has been rather rushed out before it was fully tested (see the MobileMe problems). It took something like 67 (?) days to shift a million iPhones, but only 4 days to move the same number of 3g handsets. Refusal to let the mobile Telco's offer discounted/free handsets and the restriction to one telco in each country rather curbed sales of the first version. Which is why the 3G can be discounted or offered for free by the telcos.

    IBM have been criticised for many things, but it was they who invented the modern PC and made it open-source, allowing clones from third parties to win the war for desktop dominance of that hardware. Apple's retention of every aspect of the Mac to themselves effectively allowed the PC-clone an open goal and destroyed Apple as a major force in the desktop arena. That's right Apple-fans, it was Apple's own fault, nobody else's.

    Microsoft's dominance of the O/S and Office productivity fields was built on the back of that decision by IBM. Carping by Mac-heads about the superiority of their kit looks like the miserable carping of juveniles who came a distant second in a race. 'Well I would have won it, but .....'. If Mac was truly competitive on price, specification and ease of use then it would take a large slice of the market for itself, instead of being still restricted to between 5 and 10 percent (and not existing in most businesses at all).

    Apple is still a triumph of spin over substance, The kit is superbly designed and looks great, but falls short in many practical respects. They've only solved the problems over CPU power by switching to Intel (and how the devotees must have choked on that).

    Kai makes another highly valid point @ 47. Software support for the Mac is but a tiny fragment of what is available for the PC market. That's a reflection of the market penetration by Mac hardware. What they have is superb indeed. But the likes of Photoshop work just as well on a PC (I speak as a professional photographer). If Apple cannot persuade the likes of me to buy their kit then what long-term prospects do they really have?

    Frank @ 48; If Apple is the only manufacturer to make a decent margin then that tells me one thing: their profit margins are too high and you're being ripped off by a monopolist company.

    Jobs has revitalised the company, as you say. But reports have been doing the rounds since the last Mac Expo that he's ill again. How long will he be there to guide them? What will happen if he retires for good?

    mac-jim @ 49; Bias? If Windows has 90 - 95 percent of the desktop market and the BBC gives it 90 - 95 percent coverage in its technology reporting then that's merely refelecting the state of play, not bias. It would be biased if they gave the Mac 25 percent of the airtime, for example. Just because your favourite piece of kit doesn't get the coverage that you want it to have doesn't automatically mean there's a bias.

    DougieLawson @ 56; fair point, but which version of Linux? The fragmentation in the market means that stuff written for one flavour will not necessarily run on all others. It would have to be a marketed version like RedHat, with an ongoing development programme behind it and a support framework. But it's still not 'out there' as a mainstream desktop O/S. And the like sof the BBC shouldn't be spending sums of money trying to provide support for every O/S, every browser and every media player combination out there.

    That serves to highlight the main attractiveness about Windows. Hate it as you may it's very ubiquity as a desktop and server O/S means that support is now almost trivial. In the bad old days (i.e. the 80's and 90's when I was working in IT) the plethora of O/S'es and productivity programs (none of which would work with each other) was a support nightmare for the bloke in charge of a company's IT. Drivers were not integrated into the O/S, so printer support for every program had to be installed explicitly. It was the stuff of nightmares. The advent of Windows and Office as ubiquitous in the workplace has made support far simpler and cut costs dramatically.


  • Comment number 58.

    @51, thegregdyke

    Facts appear to disagree with you, according to BMO Capital Markets Apple are displaying almost 40% year-on-year increase in sales in its desktops and laptops. That's *triple* the market average.

    Apples market share may only be around 7%, but its creeping up in _all_ market segments, including enterprise, and is increasingly on the move in the important household market.

    Even I'm having to buy a Mac, simply to do iPhone development on, and I've been using MS products since the earliest days of DOS.

    As for Gates being a genius, only when it comes to detail. Early MS products were simply put together better than the competition, but even then were problematic as many promised features were missing. It's why we used to wait for V3 to install anything (including Windows).

    And he's hardly a visionary - disregarding the internet at first, pushing the tabletPC and HD-DVD, spending 10 _billion dollars_ on IPTV with no meaningful return, and when you add in that many of MS's products originated elsewhere and Gates is seen as someone who was simply better at selling products than the competition.

    MS have done more than anyone to bring the PC to the masses, and for that we should be grateful, but they're also piratical (look at Spyglass, Burst, et al.) and favour marketing over features these days - and that's something we shouldn't forget.

    Apple are just as bad in their own way, something many Mac fans forget, and so are Google, but at the moment the momentum and direction of the market massively favour Google and Apple in the mid-term.

    Unless Windows 7 is a real killer, it'll fail like Vista has and MS will struggle to maintain its dominance outside the business arena (Apple nor Google are likely to challenge MS there for a long time, if ever)

  • Comment number 59.

    too few stories - way too many, more likely
    A survey in the US recently had Apple just squeezing into 3rd place in the top PC suppliers - just ahead of Acer, with 8% of the total sales.
    Given that they have this tiny, tiny proportion of the market it's quite reasonable that we should have 8% of stories about them - and an almost equal number about Acer computers, too. When was the last time you saw a story about their products?
    In fact they have a hugely disproportionate amount of coverage, for their tiny user base. Probably because it's the meeja who are their main market (including the luvvies, who don't mind paying over the top for pretty looking baubles).

  • Comment number 60.

    blimey White_rat you know your facts and figures. I thought the iPhone was like rocking horse 'ahem'.....perhaps I got done by the marketing department again!

    Any minute now my advent 4211 netbook will be beaten by an Apple equivalent. Tech wars are good for the consumer who can look at the marketing spam objectively. Very bad for fashion victims wallets

  • Comment number 61.

    Stephen Fry is a lot more than "an educated and interesting columnist on technology...".

    But he doesn't need to be any of these things [or be anointed with faint praise by Darren Waters] to be correct in recognising the human traits demonstrated by the masses against the interests of a minority. History is littered with them and we see new examples every day.

    A kind of faux respect is often applied to dealings involving minorities, in which laws are sometimes made and enacted to address their particular interests. But this only happens if they are vocal and active enough, and can claim 'victim status'.

    The Apple community don't need to claim 'victim status' because they are a [growing] bunch of geeky computer people who are spending up to three times as much as the majority on their computers, in order to run the best operating system on the planet.

    So the process is reversed, and instead, stones are hurled, praise is muted, and artificial 'balance' is applied.

    But it does seems odd that they need to be treated as the 'outsiders'. Witness the fact that Apple computer users inexplicably still aren't allowed to download BBC programmes on iPlayer, even though the name of the BBC's watch again service enjoys the 'i' prefix, most widely employed by and associated with Apple!

    And if the Apple community happen to point out the failings of the operating system used by the majority, and like the small child in Hans Christian Andersen's tale, cry out: "But he has nothing on!" as the Emperor goes by on his way to give away his billions, the crowd is too embarrassed to admit they are right.

    This is how things actually are. We don't need to pop into BBC editorial meetings to learn this, the evidence is clear in the policies.

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm on your side, Darren. When it comes to technology Mr Fry - however much we admire him in other respects - is simply another fanboy. The iPhone is *not* revolutionary, except in the USA; it is *not* game-changing, except in the USA; and it is certainly not responsible for three quarters of mobile web browsing except, maybe, in the USA. Furthermore, although the USA is usually completely dominant in most technologies, when it comes to smartphones, it's a mere minnow.

  • Comment number 63.


    Oh, come on... Not *allowed* to view iPlayer? It's only Adobe Flash, fer heavens' sake, not exactly rocket science. Heck, even my Wii can play Flash in its browser. I actually doubt that Macs can't play Flash content in a browser, but if you're correct, then the word "allowed" is surely out of place; I think you mean "able", so they are not *able* to view iPlayer.

  • Comment number 64.

    Stephen is right. The iPlayer was only available for the mighty Microsoft. However, it's not just the BBC. Channel4 and 5 do not have media versions for mac. But being a mac owner I have the smug satisfaction that when I log into web sites and blogs my computer will not freeze. My computer does not crash. All my stuff works and doesn't tell me how to format stuff, I tell it where and how I want my stuff formatted.
    My computer boots up in 30 seconds and does not give me useless error messages. And finally. What's Control Alt Delete???????

  • Comment number 65.

    The usual fan boy vs. fan boy, but I find it all rather funny how people see apple as the small guy fighting the good fight against the corporate evil of Microsoft Giant, absolute sophistry, True Microsoft is the behemoth of the software world and uses strong arm tactics to get it’s way, but apple is as guilty and to be honest far more guilty than MS ever has, cough “I phone third party app developers” or the cease and desist letter sent out by apple to any one trying to re-engineer their code, odd that the where not to worried when they borrowed Xerox’s code for the original apple GUI.

    I am not saying MS are the good guys they are not but neither is apple by any stretch of the imagination, even the adverts with the 2 chaps arguing about who can do what pc or mac are total nonsense PC’s are far more versatile than macs not and opinion just a fact and why the market share is the way it is.

    And some one mentions how the I Phone can run Linux…for what purpose? So if my TV can run Linux means it is better than the rest :?, Linux which is another over rated product with limited functionality reminds me of Leopard and remember WOZ used to sell blue boxes back in the days on phreaking and BBS so anti piracy and uncompetitive practices sound kind of hollow coming from him.

    The moral of the story is yes MS get more airtime that is because the have worked harder at broadening their market while APPLE have chose to lock everything down with uncompetitive processes… buy our OS, buy our Hardware, buy our Phone, Buy our Media Player and use our software or Else and convert everything to how we like and we might just let you use our stuff.

    Like Mr Jobs saying the IPhone is a blackberry beater on which planet is this, one is a vital business tool the other is and gimmicky toy.

    Apple is just another corporate giant just like MS just as nasty, just as anti competitive neither better than the other no matter what fan-boy cry famous or not, the BBC I think does a good job in my opinion.

  • Comment number 66.


    With all due respect, i'm running vista 64-bit and my PC boots in 30 second, never crashes or freezes. As for formatting - i'm not really sure what you're getting at - vista allows you to specify how you want the formatting done at install. you have several possible formats, not just the one OSX Extended (with or without case sensitive or journalled).

    All of your stuff works because Apple have full control over what is used with their OS. Excuse me but i'd prefer a choice, thank you very much.

    Control alt delete is a security feature, and while annoying, it has a purpose.

    What i'm reading here is basically "we know apple are just as bad for anti-competitive (if not worse) behaviour as microsoft, but its ok, because its apple"

    You gotta love Mac-Zealots, lol

  • Comment number 67.

    After reading Stephen Fry's comment. I disagree entirely with him and I think the BBC should not report report on the new iPhone at all. It's nothing special, my Nokia N95 8GB beats it in every way. The iPhone can't even do video recording and everyone seems to think 3G is new?! How about 3.5G...

  • Comment number 68.

    DontCallMeDarling (13) says 'Considering that over 90% of the people reading that story did so on a PC'....well maybe, and probably at work, where Micro$oft dominates.

    If you look at the sales in the US for computers over $1000 (£500 ish), you find (according to 'Fotune' magazine, that:

    'Apple’s share of the $1,000-plus retail market was less than 18% in January 2006 according to NPD. By September 2007, it had grown to more than 57%. And in the first quarter of 2008 it hit a record 66%.

    So, it looks like those who can afford a decent bit of kit buy apple (and value the productivity gain), and the 'value for money' gang go buy an MS PC, and spend their time fighting Vista.

    I 'switched'....and I aint going back

  • Comment number 69.

    jamesacres (67) says; 'my Nokia N95 8GB beats it in every way' (referring to the iphone).

    How about the browser?

    An interesting comment from the New York Times who ran an article some months ago on iPhone traffic on Google stating that despite a market-share of only 2% (compared to 63% for Symbian and 11% for Windows Mobile) the majority of mobile browsing traffic on Google over Christmas came from iPhones - that is simply astounding: more than 50% of the traffic from iPhones that have only a 2% market share!

    Not many people using the N95 for the internet then?

  • Comment number 70.

    As ever, nobody may say anything negative about the Microsoft platform, "experts" saying how great it is. It isn't.

    As a Microsoft Certified Consultant, I spend more than 85% of my time having to concentrate on the illogical problem of the day that Microsoft kindly build into their products, rather than honing and delivering the professional service I want to provide.

    Great, in terms of income for me. Though it has taken 10 years to give in: there is no hope of having a system that will ever work on this platform. Every release promises more security, faster boot up time etc etc etc. But it isn't. Every release is more bloated, slows down, takes more patch management and so on. There's a finite amount of space to store data in the universe and 89% is used in listing problems directly or indirectly attributed to the Microsoft platform.

    Am I a Mac snob? No. All I want is a computer that I can switch on and does the computing requested of it. A calculator does this. As does my non-ipod MP3 player.

    I sit back and watch large organisations waste so much money trying to get MS-based functions working consistently. "Use this and it'll save time and money and increase productivity".....No it wont. A Temp. will be employed and a permanent position will be created specifically for managing the exceptions to the data returned, ergo the whole thing triples in budget.

    And don't forget this next time you pay your Council Tax or go to your doctor or a hospital. All of them are losing millions due to these flawed systems. People say its poor management. But its this poor management that chooses Microsoft in the first place.

    The one year I spent in a Mac-based organisation gave me the space to actually develop my "skills". Because 1) the platform worked and 2) I wasn't spending all my time working out how to manage memory in a Terminal Services environment when I dared to try and use more than 2GB (I double dare anyone to get a definitive answer on this, especially from the Microsoft Technet Site). This was good management.

    The user base were much more productive as they could relax, probably because they knew that they wouldn't lose a document any minute.

    There's more to this PC stuff than looking at web sites, typing documents or making pie charts that your colleagues don't understand yet pretend to (the charts are definitely important because the green bit is of greater proportion in area to the red bit).

    So, you PC experts who obviously know the spreadsheet function "=SQRT(0)", anything that will raise the profile of Apple is a good thing. If businesses wish to stop wasting money then throw it at something that is not fundamentally flawed. Mac may be more expensive initially, BUT running costs are much, much less.

    PS For more than 2GB of memory in Terminal Services, make sure you get the right registry settings and the right switches in the BOOT.INI file. Check the block size on the Page file as well. Don't forget, paging uses 1MB blocks. Oh, and don't forget to not save the Page File so that you get a good contiguous disk block allocation for when you reboot every evening due to the fact that not all session memory is released properly or when profiles get locked or the numerous other reasons for needing the reboot. Have that one on me, Vista dudes.

  • Comment number 71.

    As someone who has used MANY different O/S over the years I have one thing to say - none of them are perfect.

    However, if someone told me that for my £1000 I could have a computer with any O/S in the world then I would choose XP or Vista. Is it the best? Probably not - but the reason is that it does everything I need and more!

    I can play the games I want, use office packages, browse the internet, watch TV online, listen to music, watch DVDs etc.

    If I used another O/S I wouldn't be able to do all these things - putting up with the occasional crash is a small price to pay!

    Although, vista has crashed just twice in the last year I have used it.

    I have got more annoyed the couple of time I had to use the office iMac for testing (not an O/S problem but the software I used).

    Apple fans always feel hard-done by and that everyone is against them, but the truth of the matter is that new Apple products get a lot more press then you would expect. How many other phones get the attention the iPhone does? Every new iPod is treated like it's a major invention - even if what it does isn't that new or impressive.

    Don't get me wrong - Apple make some nice products but some of the inventions credited to them by Apple fan-boys were actually around before Apple came up with them!

  • Comment number 72.

    jamesacres: 'It's nothing special, my Nokia N95 8GB beats it in every way. The iPhone can't even do video recording and everyone seems to think 3G is new?! How about 3.5G...'

    3.5G, otherwise known to most people as HSDPA, is used by the iPhone. in a Vidcast on the iPhone compared the speed of the internet and other online based items using WiFi, HSDPA and 3G. And guess which one won?! The iPhone.

    Also with regards to people who talk about the iPhone not being a major phone, gobble down this statistic: the iPhone is on course to becoming the best selling smartphone. I would say mobile phone but Nokia hold that record with the 1100 (yes, I do research before writing) over 200m sold Worldwide in its first year (I think thats correct).

  • Comment number 73.

    neilhoskins, you really need to read my comment accurately before attempting to contradict something I didn't say.

    What I said was:

    Witness the fact that Apple computer users inexplicably still aren't allowed to download BBC programmes on iPlayer...

    Which you will find is, as I stated, a fact.

    Having been engaged in a dialogue with the BBC about this for months, all they are able to say is that they are "still working on it". And their excuse for not completing the task is too pathetic to repeat, here or anywhere else.

  • Comment number 74.

    I understand that Stephen was frustrated as nobody likes to see their favourite gadget, television program or film relegated to only a few words.

    However they are only your favourites and the BBC has to balance the interests of it's entire audience. You can see that on their television channels. For every wonderful program by Jonathan Meades there is a lowest common denominator program like 'How Can You Solve a Problem Like Maria' or 'Celebrity Omelette Making'

    At the end of the day the iPhone is like many other Apple products is simply far too expensive for an ordinary working person to buy. Now don't get me wrong I think Apple products are lovely looking things. I have an Apple IPod touch but I had to swallow hard before parting with a wad of cash to buy it.

    My phone is an N95 8Gb which serves me well and even though the screen is smaller than the iPhone I don't find it particularly problematic to use. In fact I'm writing this comment on it.

    Remember that gadgets are only for Christmas and not for life.

  • Comment number 75.

    I understand that Stephen was frustrated as nobody likes to see their favourite gadget, television program or film relegated to only a few words.

    However they are only your favourites and the BBC has to balance the interests of it's entire audience. You can see that on their television channels. For every wonderful program by Jonathan Meades there is a lowest common denominator program like 'How Can You Solve a Problem Like Maria' or 'Celebrity Omelette Making'

    At the end of the day the iPhone is like many other Apple products is simply far too expensive for an ordinary working person to buy. Now don't get me wrong I think Apple products are lovely looking things. I have an Apple IPod touch but I had to swallow hard before parting with a wad of cash to buy it.

    My phone is an N95 8Gb which serves me well and even though the screen is smaller than the iPhone I don't find it particularly problematic to use. In fact I'm writing this comment on it.

    At the end of the day gadgets are only for Christmas and not for life.

  • Comment number 76.

    Stephen Fry was so right.

    I mean, the other day, Steve Jobs sat down on his toilet and laid a huge cable - but the BBC didn't report it!

    I mean, such a grund breaking and game redefining event was surely worth 90% saturation coverage on the blogs, not to say round the clock on News24

    Come on BBC get your act together!

  • Comment number 77.

    One of your contributors claimed that
    "The BBC's coverage of the iPhone is completely disproportionate to it's use. It is receiving unjust coverage because it's a fad in the BBC office and has become a pet favourite".
    I have no idea if that assertion is true. I do know I would find it easier to assess the worth of journalists' contributions if they were obliged to tell us their own personal preferences when writing about consumer products. If MPs are required to declare their interests why not journalists too?

  • Comment number 78.

    I am reading this 'blog' with interest during my lunch hour.

    I will give you a good reason why the BBC should
    take more interest in Apple.

    They are the first company i have come across in the computer/technolgy market that actually makes using their products easy and not the realm of 'techheads'. I work in the professional audio industry and that is bad enough. Why, why, why do people put up with difficult 'technospeak' jargon and endless issues with virus security, almost daily system crashes etc. I really don't want to have to learn about all this stuff and i don't want to talk to someone in a call centre that truly can't understand why i don't want to waste my time on issues with PCs. I just want something that you can take out of a box, switch on and it work. And you know what? I bet the majority of the human race thinks exactly the same as me.

    Apple seem to me to put people first and build their technology around that principle.

    That is why Apple is worth reporting about.

  • Comment number 79.

    I don't believe that there is any concerted or deliberate effort to give Apple short shrift, but that is exactly what is done on these pages.

    When there was big news about a new iPhone, for example, the headline on this page was "Software glitch hits iPhone fans". Sadly, it was what I have come to expect of BBC technology reporting.

    Then, of course, there is the famous example of the BBC iPlayer (a name doubtlessly "inspired" by the iMac, iPhone, etc.). Even today, years after promising to make the iPlayer available for all platforms: "The BBC iPlayer Download Manager only works on Windows XP (although not 64-bit versions) and Windows Vista within the UK. However, we are working on versions for other operating systems."

    And so it goes.

  • Comment number 80.

    Apple fans are convinced the BBC has a Microsoft bias.

    Microsoft fans are convinced the BBC has an Apple bias.

    Whether Apple users like it or not, Microsoft (and the PC in general) has the market share. Does that mean that Apple products don't do well, no, the ipod in particular has changed the MP3 market forever. However, Vista has/will have more of an impact on the majority than the iPhone, therefore deserves more coverage. That isn't bias, it's the way things are.

  • Comment number 81.

    The fact that this particular blog item exists just shows how the BBC has managed to make a mountain out of a molehill. We've already had Rory Cethlan-Jones' over-reactive response in his own blog comment yesterday.

    Almost anyone reading Stephen Fry's infamous column this week will notice that this 'jibe at the BBC' was merely a harmless closing sentance in a paragraph of wit. Had this blog not kicked up such a stink I probably wouldn't have even noticed it, let alone remembered it five minutes later.

    But the funny thing is that recently the BBC Technology website has shown a slightly obsessive and weird air of caution towards any Apple-related news - as Rory admitted himself this week - but to the point that it's now become positive discrimination against the subject. I would even go as far as to say that some newsworthy Apple stories have deliberately not been written for this very reason.

    Apple is one of the leading innovators in the technology space right now, like or it or not. Even to those who hate the mere mention of the iPhone have to admit that it is the driving force behind all mobile technology, and that its lack of a 5MP camera is, on the grand scheme of things, neither here nor there, even if it would be nice to have. The same can be said for the iPod and iTunes Stores, which have literally created huge and very profitable markets.

    I think there is plenty of coverage of other companies, products and platforms besides Apple and that it's simpy time for the BBC Technology department to put the prejudice behind them, grow up, and return to the impartiality over what items will be published that we have come to expect from the BBC.

    This small issue aside, this site is otherwise 100% spot on.

  • Comment number 82.

    As a unbiased observer of the debate between the world's first- and third-placed operating systems, I'd like to thank the BBC for their report on Linux in April, 2008.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 83.

    Overall, I'm disappointed by software. I'm amazed by the progress of Intel, nVidia, ATI, memory and disk manufacturers. With hardware, we've gotten more capability for less money.

    But nothing like that improvement is seen in systems software. We have UNIX, 1970s technology, polished and worshiped like a holy relic. We have Windows NT, which was finally a step forward in 1990, but that was 18 years ago. What do we have now?

    Vista = Windows NT + Konfabulator
    OSX = UNIX + Konfabulator
    Linux = UNIX + Windows NT

    Where are the new ideas, instead of mindless corporate productizing and mindless political mass movements (like OSS)?

  • Comment number 84.

    We need a new paradigm for operating systems.

    If it were 70s Brutalist physical architecture we'd be thinking of knocking it all down and starting again about now.

  • Comment number 85.

    @fleepuk #70

    I empathise entirely with your views on the "over-hyping" of Windows as a robust operating and server system. It is not. In my workplace we are using 16bit Windows 3.1 based software running on 32bit XP Professional with enormous overheads on data integrity and security simply because writing a replacement is a project too far. The 16 bit software isn't even recognised by XP and so all the functionality is lost.

    Windows is an enigma. First designed to compete with Apple at low cost and with an enormous range of software options, it has been made to look like a professional OS. And yet it is flawed so badly that even simple things (for example its EFS which is incapable of making best use of freespace) lead to major IT headaches and downtime.

    MS have never felt the need to address the major failures in Windows simply because it does hold so much of the marketplace. I believed that Vista would be Gates' nemesis because I know what the original spec was and how much it differs from what was delivered. MS have never been shy about their arrogance and contempt for their user base as anyone who has worked for the Redmond giant will testify.

    I use Windows as the base for my software simply because most of my customers are using it but if I was asked which computer was best then I would have to say Apple for all the reasons you listed.

    Just last year MS tried a different tack on Windows' failures by putting word around that it was the sheer task of meeting third party needs that overcomplicated their OS! Vista has failed because it is incredibly badly written, badly designed, and over elaborate but that has never stopped MS from blaming others for its own failures. That is the real reason behind Vista's hidden ability to block the installation of ANY software that MAY compromise its massive copyright protection tools. In other words Windows has started to dictate to its users what they can and cannot do - that in my books means it is moving ever closer to the Mac - a battle that MS can never win and a battle that will knock on the head all claims of Windows versatility and diversity.

  • Comment number 86.

    I'm awfully sorry, but I cannot take seriously anyone who argues that a new Mac OS is as significant and news-worthy an event as a new Windows OS.

    As for Fry, well he would say that, wouldn't he? If the encyclopaedic entry for "Apple fanboi" included a picture it could well be his photo; he is the epitome of fanboism.

    PS I'm reminded of one of my favourite quotes from the blogosphere (I saved it):

    "Macs are like tricycles, easy to use and nobody has ever died on one but very few have gotten very far on one either. Windows is like a street bike, you have to learn how to use one first and you can get hurt on them but you can keep up with the traffic and actually go places."

  • Comment number 87.

    Boy oh boy am I sick to death of this age old debate. If Mac had market coverage and products then they would get media coverage!! News for IBM Comp x86/x64 users comes from various points- Hardware, software, user interraction and gaming. Since apple use the same unified architecture as most PCs now it is quite simple to say that in 3 of those 4 points they're getting as much coverage as PCs.
    Why does Microsoft get talked about more? They have more products, more innovations, more future plans and 10 times as many users as apple and you can actually get games for a PC!This would change if apple changed their policies of OS/X only being available on Mac built machines.

    Mac's are also not for the mainstream, they're poor networking capabilities, poor support from 3rd party software vendors and little or no support from game developers have pushed the Mac into very specific industries.

    As a 3D designer I am unfortunately stuck between both worlds and must use both (PC for design, Mac for post processing). Instead of purchasing a MAC that would cost me approx £5000 for the spec I need (PC £900) I have opted for the currently illegal but necessary option of using my PC as a Hackintosh. By running a VMWare type product as an OS on my PC I can quite happily run OS/X or WIndows at full speed saving me £4100.

    If or when Apple decide to open their operating system up to non apple customers then I'm sure PC buyers and builders will appreciate the choice and I'm sure apple will get more media coverage but until then there's no point. It'd be like Top Gear giving 50% of reviews to 1 manufacturer and the other 50% shared between every other manufacturer.

    Stephen Fry, shame on you. This is a consumer driven market and Apple don't have the consumers.

  • Comment number 88.

    What always amuses me is the arguing over the supposed benefits of two (or three if you include the Linux destops) very similar methods of using a computer that, if you knew how to use a computer, you would not be using.
    The office systems used by people these days are the computing equivalent of the man with the flag walking in front of your car.
    Arguing over the colour of the flag gets you nowhere.

  • Comment number 89.

    "Mac's are also not for the mainstream, they're poor networking capabilities, poor support from 3rd party software vendors and little or no support from game developers have pushed the Mac into very specific industries."

    Never heard so much rubbish in my life.

    This is 2008, not 1998. Macs poor networking? Well the 15 Macs on my network at the moment may beg to differ!

    The myths people drag up on these forums is incredible!

  • Comment number 90.

    the3dgreek talks so much tosh I wouldn't even know where to start. What Mac does he buy for £5,000? £5,000 would buy him an 8 Core 3.2Ghz Mac Pro with 2TB of Hard Drives, 8Gb of RAM, 30" Cinema Display and a GeForce GT 8800 512Mb Graphics Card. How many PC's with that spec are £900. Configure a Dell to that spec and see what the cost is. I'll bet you any money you like it's over £900.

    I wish PC people who think they know about Mac's because they have an iPod and iTunes would stop making un-educated comments. They both have their merits and everyone has their choice. Stop the madness now and be happy with your choice.

    Finally, on the subject of anti competitiveness of Apple/Microsoft and Logic and Final Cut, PLEASE give honest and balanced examples. There are hundreds of PC only apps including several from Microsoft and Adobe to name a few so don't make out the problem is one way.

  • Comment number 91.


    Final Cut and Logic are the market leaders in software apps, designed for a specific (and lets face it, highly lucrative) market that require you to have a high spec machine.

    By buying these two pieces of software (neither of which were originally developed by them) and then removing PC support (and yes, Final Cut WAS originally supported on the PC, just not on the release version) they have ensured that in order to use those pieces of software, you HAVE to purchase their OS, which in turn means you have to purchase their machine.

    I'm not sure there are any Microsoft products to which anti-competitiveness applies to this extreme (which is in no way a statement that i believe Microsoft don't have anti-competitive strategies).

    I really don't see what relevance Adobe products have, they do not produce their own OS and as such should not be referenced in this debate. As an independant software house (who certainly AREN'T bedfellows with Microsoft), which platform they choose to produce their software for is neither here or there.

  • Comment number 92.

    I have owned several macs since 1989, got my first PC a couple of years ago. Just so you mac people know, the BBC iPlayer sucks old socks on a PC, it really is a rank piece of rubbish design. The existing radio player the BBC had worked wonderfully. This new innovation is rub a dub dub. Hard to use, unfriendly in every respect, just the kind of clap trap one would expect from a microsoft led development. Mac users you are not missing anything. Half the time it does not work. You can't browse programmes on one scrollable page while you are listing. Talk about a backwards step? If the BBC were not unanswerable to anyone, the whole team would have been sacked by now.

    So, be happy, iPlayer does not work on a mac, it does not work on a PC either. It is retarded backward step designed by imbeciles who have no understanding of usability at all. The chances are it will get some kind of award, handed down by other imbeciles who can't see past the eye candy. Sounds like vista, yep, much the same. Big fanfair for a big pile of crap.

  • Comment number 93.

    I took a read of the blog article. On first reading, I thought it had nothing to do with the BBC. I had to search to find the one line that mentions it.

    People will always disagree about what is important or not. We want to read stuff that interests us and makes us think - like Stephen's blog does. I would worry less about balance and more about what might be interesting. The fact that there is a new version of an iPhone, and what it does, is perhaps less interesting than the fact that the product is one that makes people queue for days to get it!

  • Comment number 94.

    For what it's worth... I use PCs running Windows. I don't much like Windows - it's a bit bloaty - but it does do what I need it to do. I've no beef with Apple, but the Mac doesn't do what I need it to do. It's as simple as that. I don't use an iPhone because I want a phone I can use to talk to people and send the occasional SMS with. That's a pretty small nut to apply a massive iPhone-shaped sledgehammer to. I don't use an iPod because I don't really need to have portable music piped in my ears all the time. I have a stereo at home and one in the car, and that'll do me, thanks. I don't object to Microsoft or Apple trying to make money. That's what I expect companies to do. If I don't like the way they do it, then I get a vote.

    Few points, though:

    Re #11: twelveightyone - please, for the love of Bob, *please* lay off with the dollar signs. Yes, we get it: Microsoft is out to make money. Okay, point taken. Like I said, it's what I expect companies to do - pointing it out so cleverly every time an 's' crops up in the sentence isn't going to make any difference to that expectation.

    Re #23: Lowexp - agree wholeheartedly with your fourth point. As can be seen from innumerable fiery squabbles between those who prefer Apple or Microsoft, or those who use Windows against those who prefer Linux, it's not a matter of being right or wrong. It's just a matter of having a preference, and how jittery you get when you meet someone who doesn't share it. So Stephen Fry prefers Apple. It's not news, it really isn't.

    Re #35: Jonamac - you made a "formal complaint" to the BBC because they didn't make a big fuss about a big fuss over the release of a new kind of phone? You couldn't think of anything more important to complain about than that?

  • Comment number 95.

    If anyone besides Stephen Fry had written this accusation no one would have paid attention. It is distressing to see so much attention paid to a celebrity's views especially when they have very little to do with actuality.

  • Comment number 96.

    The BBC is biased toward Microsoft, can the BBC please explain:
    - at subscribe on podcast section the BBC went through the effort to include a Zune button. The Zune is not even available in Europe let alone UK. And where available it is not popular enough to give it its dedicated button. You might as well include a Sandisk button.
    - The BBC never reports on the demise of the on-line music stores based on Microsoft Plays for Sure, I wonder why?

    And I agree an item about Apple always has to end with some negative spin. And I have not forgotten the advertorial for Microsoft Vista.

  • Comment number 97.

    Frankly I'm not happy about BBC supporting one platform over another, or indeed reporting one platform over another - surely that is the job of the commercial channels. Watch the Gadget Show or something if you want comparative reviews of products.

    If I were a BBC software designer though, and commissioned with producing a DRM'd download media service, I'd have to go with Windows as the lead platform. It's just common sense.

    They've done a pretty decent job with the streaming media though; I can even watch streamed iPlayer stuff on my PS3 which is fine by me.

    However, to have content specific to iPhones and not e.g. Nokia smacks of faddish platform bias too. Nokia seeks more phones in one week than the iPhone has sold in it's lifetime.

    BTW, I now use an iMac but usually run XP under boot camp because it runs the software I want. Unfortunately OS X just doesn't do what I need it too.

  • Comment number 98.

    Artificial Ignorance
    by ML Smith

    Thank you, Bill Gates, for making my life miserable. Yours truly, Ned Bletch
    I don’t know who else to blame. He is responsible for most of the software in the monster sitting on my desk, silently calculating it’s next move…waiting to torment me. The last of an endangered species known as The Computerless, I purchased my first monster two weeks ago. Now I belong to a class of unfortunate beings classified as The Computer Illiterate. These are people, like me, who fight with their computers for an hour just to find a way to write a word that doesn’t exist, like Computer less. You see what the monster did, don’t you? It corrected something against my will, separating the words “Computer” and “less.” Five lines up, I waged a brutal battle with the monster, and with all the tactical combat training I possess, I finally achieved victory. The monster is vindictive, however, and has chosen to underline the battlefield with red squiggly, presumably done to let me know that an error was made. The monster is not trying to help me, though - it is purposely antagonizing me.

    I wake the monster every morning, usually at six a.m. “Hello, Ned Bletch” it says. “You have twelve programs running, preventing others from logging on. Are there files you would like to delete?” Right off the bat, I have problems.

    Problem number one: My name is not Ned Bletch. I don’t know how or why the monster refuses to use my real name, but I have tried everything, including calls to “Technical Support” and have gotten nowhere. The monster did tell me that I could change my name, but if I did, he would shut down completely, forever. I don’t like being threatened, but I will settle for Ned Bletch to avoid catastrophe.

    Problem number two: I don’t have twelve programs running. I have three. That’s it. Which brings me to Problem number three: I am not on the internet. How can anyone log on? As I am pondering this phenomenon, a new message appears. “Someone is attempting to remove your files. Activate Norton Security Measures Now!” I have been told by people who know, to ignore these messages, which are “only promotional gimmicks” so I follow their advice, cancel out the message and go to the document I want to complete. Blank screen. Where did it go? I check for my other two documents, and they are gone as well. So much for promotional gimmicks.

    Three hours later, I have made my way deep into the monster’s internal system - purely by accident; but nonetheless, I find a list of files created as far back as 2003. There are hundreds of them, but the monster will not allow me to view them without entering an owner name. How would I know who owned these files? I am ready to throw in the proverbial towel when revelation intervenes. I enter the name Ned Bletch. Bingo! Letters, photos, legal documents, business contracts, accounting files, copies of pages from the Daily Racing Form, ownership documents for a racehorse named Howardscowstail…enough already! I get out and immediately call Dell Technical Support. Clearly, my new monster is really a re-conditioned facsimile. I have been ripped off.

    “Naw seer, thees is seemply cheep drive component use-ed for testink seestym ahn de-buggy. Nut ril file.”

    Somehow, my call had been routed to Dell-Urkutsk.

    “You’re telling me that you use copies of the Daily Racing Form to test your new computers? I find that hard to believe.”
    “Mose pipple do not understank, seer. Boot I asssure you, combputenk is nyew.”
    “I’m not on the internet. How come I get messages telling me people are waiting to log on, or are attempting to remove my files?”
    “Oh. Jus promotionk.”
    “But how can they contact me if I’m not on the internet?”
    “Hmmm. Mose like-ally pre-install-ed programk.”
    “Well, one of them wiped out all my files.”
    “Nut cane happenk. I tale you what. Torn ofe combputenk. Unplunk all power saucers.
    Thayn plunk bok een ahn turnink on. I wait.”
    “Listen, this isn’t a cell phone. That’s what they tell me to do also. It never works.” “You half sale foink?”
    “Where ees?”
    “Right here, next to my computer.”
    “Sale foink half eenternek?”
    “Yes, but I don’t use it.”
    “Duss nut mattres. Tek sale foink to differenk rum. Thayn tayl me whatappenk.”
    “I’m talking to you on my cell phone. How can I do that?”
    “Well, how do I exchange this thing for a new computer?”
    “You dyonk nid nyew computenk. Rid eenstrushion booklink.”
    “There is no instruction booklet.”

    The guy really tried.

    I am stuck with this monster. It does what it wants, not what I want, and if I attempt to work my way around all of its roadblocks, the monster gets angry and punishes me. This morning, I printed a page of text for my column. Would you enjoy reading this?


    I didn’t think so. Now, when I want to write in Times Roman font, I get this:

    In order to write in Times Roman, I must use a font called Webbdings. The font often changes as I write. Today, I considered the Dumpster, but changed my mind when I realized the monster would simply morph the Dumpster into a condominium.

    Well, it‘s all ????????? and I’m not so sure anymore. Artificial Ignorance is a frightening new technology. Who knows, we may find ourselves enslaved to a race of machines that is hard wired to George Bush’s brain. *****

  • Comment number 99.

    At the risk of talking the talk and not walking the walk (I'm a PC user and lover), I'd say the BBC's coverage of Mac-based products is adequate. I really don't think anyone at the Beeb gives a damn whether a particular platform is getting an equivalent level of coverage: there are simply more important things to think about, a point made much more eloquently elsewhere on this forum.

    What is interesting is that the BBC is certainly putting its (our) money where its mouth is: all the talk of Final Cut (an Apple product) seems to have left out the fact that the BBC's television production side is in future to be geared towards it. At TV Centre and White City, thousands of desktop editing systems are to be installed, all of which will be running Apple's finest. In light of this physical commitment to the platform, the question of coverage might seem a little less important than before. Everyone's a winner. TV producers will get to use the intuitive OS (whether they want to or not) and all the Apple diehards can enjoy a collective nerdgasm, knowing that Auntie shares their weisslust. Can we please now lay this ridiculous debate to rest? I hear the Olympics are quite interesting.

  • Comment number 100.

    At #97 : Quote: BTW, I now use an iMac but usually run XP under boot camp because it runs the software I want. Unfortunately OS X just doesn't do what I need it too.

    You sure have a couple of things in favor for Apple:

    1) Mac are more expensive: one user will buy one to use XP on it ;-)
    2) Mac runs XP faster than pc computers
    3) Given the best, most user will settle down with window MS Word version, as it does the job without looking at the mac version ;-)

    But yes, the art design of the iMac is far better than any pc box you will put on your desk ;-)

    thanx RuckMe MaulMe MakeMeScrum for the free advertisement!


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