iFascism?

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September 26, 2009 8:05 a.m.

A bit tongue-in-cheek. But if you take some of the political designations with a grain of salt, it’s not a bad point, from TPM Reader RS …

I have been a mac user since 1985 because I’m a composer and Apple computer has always been the best platform for music, except for a brief period when Steven Jobs created the NeXT computer.

One thing that fascinates me is the way that Apple continues to maintain a cool/benevolent/almost counter-culture reputation, while actually being an incredibly aggressive, ruthless, arguably monopolistic company (the way they are cornering the music and phone businesses, and the way they so carefully guard applications on the iphone). Compare this to Microsoft, which has a more fascist ambiance around it.

The bottom line is that Bill Gates is a far more generous person than Steven Jobs, directing enormous resources at important problems of the human condition. How then does his company seem like the right wing of the computer industry, with Apple on the left?

There is something very interesting going on with marketing and design, and at it’s core I think it has to do with the aesthetics of the computing experience. Apple has always strived for beautiful, cool, elegant, and easy to understand interfaces, while most things in the wintel world are clunky/geeky/and for some hard to understand. How this all connects with the information about your user base would be an interesting thing to look closer at.

I think the point about Gates’ and Jobs’ personal generosity is sort of beside the point. Sort of a distraction. And despite Jobs’ being an insanely wealthy man, I’m not sure he’s at all in Gates’ league in that regard. What’s more, Microsoft seems a little warmer and cuddly since their window of true monopoly power seems to have passed, at least for the moment. But the interplay of aesthetics (which Mac has in spades) and centralized control (which Mac also has in spades) is an interesting one.

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