Why I will not get an iPhone… or a kindle

iphoneOh yes, the iPhone is a wonderful little device. It’s sleek, it’s easy and fun to use, it has internet connectivity and a browser that is quite usable despite the screen size (and that runs GWT applications fairly well…). It has GPS, doubles as an iPod. It has lots of cool and free or nearly free applications. And now the iPhone 3GS has bluetooth tethering, which was the last thing my old Treo 680 can do that the iPhone couldn’t.

I want an iPhone… but i won’t get one.

When I buy a computer, I expect to be the owner of the computer, and as such to be able to do whatever I want with it, namely installing software I choose. I don’t want to let anybody decide for me what is legal or what is moral to install. If I do choose to install something illegal or immoral, I should be responsible before the law or my own consciousness (or God, you choose), not before Apple, Inc. As much as I admire Steve Jobs for what he did for Apple when everyone thought the company was doomed, I strongly feel against Apple’s software distribution policy for the iPhone. But it’s not only about Apple.

Take the kindle case. Amazon has told us that e-books were so much better than paper books, we almost believed it. Then they sneaked into users’ devices and deleted copies of some Orwell books that users had very legally bought. It turns out the seller didn’t have the rights to sell them; but imagine how readers felt when a book they thought they had bought disappeared from a device they thought they owned ? of course I won’t get a kindle either.

Imagine if everytime you ran a program on your desktop computer, a request was being sent to Microsoft to make sure you are granted the right to use it? Oh wait.. isn’t this what Microsoft’s former Palladium architecture does? Well not yet, but if you’ve never heard about it, you should get informed before it’s too late.

Would you buy a car that could run only on fuel from one brand? Or a car that could decide which roads you could and couldn’t take? Or a car that could decide to jettison all gasoline because it was not purchased from an authorized reseller ? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then don’t buy an iphone. Or a kindle.

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