Criticism of Apple Inc.
Accusations of anti-competitive behavior 
Portable devices 
There has been criticism of Apple's portable devices, whether iOS-based (i.e. iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), or other non-iOS-based (i.e. iPod Classic, iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle), being locked into iTunes and creating an iTunes Store monopoly for these devices. Because of this, Steve Jobs was ordered to attend a court hearing regarding antitrust violations specifically with iPods and iTunes. Similarly, Apple has not licensed its FairPlay DRM, or its formerly proprietary lossless format codec Apple Lossless (ALAC), to any other company, thus preventing content —either purchased from the iTunes store, or Apple Lossless encoded in the iTunes computer application or bought from non-iTunes sources— from being used on other manufacturers' devices. As of April 2009, all music on the iTunes Store is DRM-free, however this does not apply to other content. The Apple Lossless (ALAC) codec was reverse-engineered and an independent encoder and decoder was released. In 2011, Apple made the original ALAC source code available under the Apache license.
Apple was caught up in controversy regarding the online sales of music in the European Union where, as a single market, customers are free to purchase goods and services from any member state. iTunes Stores there forced consumers and other music buyers to iTunes-only sites by restricting content purchases to the country from which the customers' payment details originated, which in turn forced users in some countries to pay higher prices. On December 3, 2004, the British Office of Fair Trading referred the iTunes Music Store to the European Commission for violation of EU free-trade legislation. Apple commented that they did not believe they violated EU law, but were restricted by legal limits to the rights granted to them by the music labels and publishers. PC World commented that it appeared that "the Commission's main target is not Apple but the music companies and music rights agencies, which work on a national basis and give Apple very little choice but to offer national stores".
Google Voice controversy 
Apple has been criticized over attempting to prevent iPhone users from using the Google Voice application by disabling it on the iPhone. Apple declined to approve the Google application for use on the iPhone, claiming that the application altered iPhone intended functionality, i.e., that with Google voice installation, voicemail is no longer routed to the iPhone's native application Visual Voicemail but instead is routed through Google's application, thus "ruining" the iPhone user experience. This caused controversy among iPhone developers and users, and the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began investigating Apple's active decision to deny users' ability to install Google Voice from the Apple online store from where users routinely download and install iPhone applications. As of November 2010, Google Voice has been made available for the iPhone.
Antitrust issue with Adobe Flash and iPhone OS controversy 
With the release of iOS 4.0 SDK, Apple changed its terms of service to prohibit programs that are originally written in non-Apple approved languages from being used on the iPhone. This was criticized for being anti-competitive by disallowing use of Adobe Flash and other programs on the iPhone. The New York Times quoted an Adobe employee alleging the policy to be anti-competitive. On May 3, 2010, Ars Technica and The New York Post reported that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) are deciding which agency will launch an antitrust investigation into the matter.
The controversy over Apple's changes to section 3.3.1 of the iPhone SDK license agreement erupted after John Gruber's April 8, 2010, Daring Fireball blog post entitled, New iPhone Developer Agreement Bans the Use of Adobe’s Flash-to-iPhone. Strong opposition to Apple's licensing changes spread quickly with bloggers and others. Others were quick to note that the language used in the agreement also banned other developer tools including MonoTouch, Lua, Unity3D, and many others.
The original iPhone OS 3 section 3.3.1 reads:
- 3.3.1 Applications may only use Published APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any unpublished or private APIs.
The revised iPhone OS 4 section 3.3.1 reads:
Steve Jobs posted a reaction entitled "Thoughts on Flash", but did not directly address any third party development tools other than Adobe's Flash platform. The "Thoughts on Flash" post drew immediate and harsh criticism with Steve Jobs being accused of outright lying by many. Jobs' assertion that Flash is not open, or closed and proprietary, attracted a great deal of attention with references to open source projects that take advantage of Adobe making the Flash specification open for developers to build on.
App Store 
In March 2012, a group of Chinese writers demanded compensation from Apple for allegedly selling unlicensed versions of their books. They accused the company of selling pirated copies of 95 Chinese books through its online store. The writers are seeking 50 million yuan ($7.7 million) in compensation.
John Wiley & Sons and "iCon: Steve Jobs" 
In 2005, Steve Jobs, co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. banned all books published by John Wiley & Sons from the Apple retail stores in response to their publishing an unauthorized biography, iCon: Steve Jobs.
Price reductions 
Apple has been criticized for post-launch price reductions, most notably after the price of the iPhone was cut by $200 just two months after its release. This quick drop in price resulted in many complaints to Apple. Apple worked to rectify complaints by offering $100 store credit to early iPhone customers who had bought their iPhones from Apple or AT&T.
Media relations 
Apple has also been criticized for its methods of tightly controlling information regarding product launches, deliberately passing out misinformation in an effort to find leakers and keep the media unsure of Apple Inc.'s current developments. Therefore Apple's methods result in more hype surrounding product launches. In some cases, Apple deliberately leaks information to the public to gauge potential viability of products such as the Apple iPad. Many attribute Apple's secrecy to Steve Jobs' reclusive nature where "he has always kept things close to the vest...and only confided in relatively few people.”
Think Secret lawsuit 
With regard to leaked information about new Apple products, Apple has been accused of pressuring journalists to release their sources, has filed lawsuits against unknown persons, "John Does", to find out how their product information has been leaked and has been chastised by the courts for doing so as an abuse of the legal discovery process. In particular, Apple fought a protracted battle against the Think Secret web site that resulted in a "positive solution for both sides". No sources were revealed.
Gizmodo incident 
In April 2010 a Gizmodo editor, Jason Chen, became the subject of legal controversy in San Mateo, California when the California Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (a multi-county task force that investigates high-tech crimes in the Silicon Valley area, of whose steering committee Apple is a member) seized computers from the editor's home office, ostensibly to investigate the reverse-engineering of an iPhone. The Gizmodo blog published an article the week prior about the iPhone product's future, including a product dissection, after Chen's purchase of a misplaced iPhone device. Gawker Media published the warrant on its website as an example of over-reaching by Apple and its improper use of law enforcement to police its patents. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has also come to the defense of Gizmodo, citing the Privacy Protection Act of 1980 that protects journalists from police "rummaging through sensitive information contained in a reporter's notes and communications" and the warrant served was too broad, as it included "all records and data located and/or stored on any computers, hard drives, or memory storage devices, located at the listed location."
Reuters reporter incident 
In February 2010 it was reported that security guards at a Foxconn facility in China that manufactures Apple equipment assaulted a Reuters reporter. The reporter was attempting to take pictures.
Labor practices 
In 2006, the Mail on Sunday alleged that sweatshop conditions existed in factories in China, where the contract manufacturers, Foxconn and Inventec, operate the factories that produce the iPod. The article stated that one iPod factory, for instance, had over 200,000 workers that lived and worked in the factory, with workers regularly doing more than 60 hours of labor per week. The article also reported that workers made around $100 per month and were required to live on the premises and pay for rent and food from the company. Living expenses (required to keep the job) generally took up a little over half of the worker's earnings. The article also said that workers were given buckets to wash their clothes.
Immediately after the allegation, Apple launched an investigation and worked with their manufacturers to ensure that conditions were acceptable to Apple. In 2007, Apple started yearly audits of all its suppliers regarding Worker's Rights, slowly raising standards and pruning suppliers that did not comply. Yearly progress reports have been published since 2008. In 2010, workers in China planned to sue iPhone contractors over poisoning by a cleaner used to clean LCD screens. One worker claimed that they were not informed of possible occupational illnesses.
Problems in Chinese factories 
During the international launch of the iPad news reports broke of about a dozen suicides over the past year at the manufacturer Foxconn's complex in Shenzhen, China, where products from many manufacturers including Apple, Dell, HP, Nokia and Sony are produced. Apple together with Dell, HP, Nokia and Sony have pledged to investigate the suicides.
In 2011 Apple admitted that they were finding more and more child laborers in their factories. 
Foxconn employee suicides 
On July 16, 2009, Sun Danyong, a Chinese factory worker employed by Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn, committed suicide after reporting he lost a prototype model for a fourth generation iPhone. Upon filing his report on July 13, Chinese media reported that his residence was searched by Foxconn employees, and that he was beaten and interrogated by his superiors, actions illegal under both Chinese and American law. The incident raised questions regarding Apple's secrecy policy and working conditions in their Chinese factories. An Apple spokesman told reporters that the company was "saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee." Apple's relationship with Foxconn regarding corporate security has been a continuing subject of controversy since Sun Danyong's death.
Apple states its policy on how it influences the corporate culture of its suppliers in its Supplier Responsibility Progress Reports. Holding suppliers accountable for their errors and omissions in their relationship with Apple is an area of concern Apple reports itself as taking seriously, and in its latest report, Apple stated that "[our] procurement decisions take into account a facility’s social responsibility performance, along with factors such as quality, cost, and timely delivery. When social responsibility performance consistently fails to meet Apple expectations, we terminate business." Apple has not announced whether it has severed business ties with Foxconn. Given Apple's stated policy, terminating relationships with such suppliers may be difficult without incurring huge financial losses.
In 2009 and 2010, Foxconn factories supplying iPhones, iPads and other devices have still come under fire in the press, with one source describing conditions as a "white collar prison". In 2009, Foxconn guards were videotaped beating employees. Later in April 2010, four workers committed suicide in a single month in the same factory. By May 2010, 12 workers had committed suicide at a Foxconn operations in China - although the number of suicides was lower than the general suicide rate in China. Apple, HP, and others stated that they were investigating the situation. In response to the suicides, workers were forced to sign a legally binding document guaranteeing that they would not kill themselves. It is not clear how employees who fail to abide by the terms of this agreement will be sanctioned.
Students forced to work at Foxconn 
For the production of the iPhone 5, thousands of students were allegedly forced to work against their will at Foxconn plants. Schools claimed it to be an internship that students would learn a lot from and that the student would be allowed to leave whenever they like. The catch was that missing two months of school to assemble Apple products in a factory was required to graduate.
Quality control and customer service issues 
The Danish Consumer Complaints Board reported a fault with Apple's iBook product line and criticized Apple's response to the issue, indicating customer support problems at Apple. In that case, a solder joint between two components fractured after a certain number of computer restarts causing the computer to break down, with most incidents occurring outside Apple's warranty period. Websites such as AppleDefects.com were created in response to the issue and detailed quality control issues with Apple's product portfolio.
Apple has been repeatedly criticized for its unwillingness to honor its warranties and its concomitant penchant for giving any reason for doing so, no matter how bizarre: in 2008, Apple repair centers began to refuse to honor warranties of its products which had been used in an environment it deemed hazardous, i.e., that had been used around someone who smokes; and in 2009, Apple refused to honor its warranty and replace a defective battery on a machine that had a small amount of unrelated cosmetic damage that did not affect the machine's functionality, nor that of its battery.
Data security 
Despite the existence of a small number of known viruses and malware designed for Apple products, a 2006 report by McAfee found a 228 percent increase in the annual rate of vulnerabilities in the period 2003-5, compared to Microsoft's products, which saw only 73 percent. Moreover, every year since then a significant number of vulnerabilities have been found and fixed through security updates. However, the public's lack of awareness of the security vulnerabilities of Apple products has led to criticism of Apple for misleading the public which has risen over the years. This criticism has also drawn attention to Apple's failure to update its products with security updates in a timely fashion. An example of this was a security flaw in Sun Microsystems's Java, which Sun fixed promptly, while Apple took more than five months to distribute the fix. That is much longer than other companies, and drew sharp criticism from experts and journalists. A recent example is a malware product called MacDefender, MacProtector, MacSecurity, or MacGuard, which is an application that can be installed in OS X by the user; ZDNet's Microsoft Blogger Ed Bott estimates that it has been installed by 60,000 to 120,000 Mac customers who thought it was legitimate anti-virus software.
Overall, experts admit that Apple products are less likely to be breached by a hacker or infected by a virus/malware, though they emphasize that this is mainly due to the lack of interest by hackers in attacking Apple products. In particular they fear that Apple places its clients in danger by not taking action to inform the public of its security vulnerabilities. As David Harley, security expert from anti-virus vendor ESET said,
|“||"Any computer user who believes a system is so safe that they don't have to care about security is prime material for exploitation by social engineering."||”|
According to Secunia vulnerability rankings, Apple has led Microsoft in reported security vulnerabilities since 2007, and currently leads all other vendors in reported vulnerabilities for 2010. This ranking, however, doesn't "indicate the actual security (or lack thereof) in the different vendors products; it rather shows that vulnerabilities continue to be discovered in significant numbers in products from even the largest and most popular vendors including those who spend significant resources on improving the security of their products" according to the authors of the study.
Misleading warranty claims 
On December, 27th, 2011, Apple was fined a total of €900,000 (around $1.2m) by the Italian Antitrust Authority for failing to properly inform customers of their legal right to two years of warranty service under Italy's Consumer Code. According to the Italian agency Apple only disclosed its own standard one-year warranty and offered to sell customers AppleCare for one additional year instead of abiding by the law. The agency fined Apple €400,000 for failing to disclose the legally mandated two-year warranty and €500,000 for selling overlapping AppleCare coverage.
On March 15, 2013, China Central Television aired a program for the World Consumer Rights Day. The program criticized the issue associated with Apple warranty issues in China. The report said, iPhone always use old back cover when change broken iPhone in China. Also said the warranty period for changed product is only 90 days and the warranty period for Macintosh and iPad are not according Chinese laws to get warranty in China.
Comparison with a cult/religion 
|"The scenes I witnessed at the opening of the new Apple store in London's Covent Garden were more like an evangelical prayer meeting than a chance to buy a phone or a laptop. "|
|— Alex Riley, writing for the BBC|
Russell Belk argues that, like a religion, the Cult of Mac is a belief system that helps its followers understand technology and the world. The attitude of Apple sympathizers and fans is viewed by many as being "cult-like".
According to neurological research cited by the BBC on their "Secrets of the Superbrands" documentary, the response from the brain of an Apple enthusiast when viewing the brand-related symbols and imagery is similar to the one of a religious devotee when exposed to religious symbols and images.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is compared to a god figure and savior, and his life story is said to resemble Joseph Campbell's heroic adventure myths. Jobs was often viewed as a saintly figure to Mac users.
Loyalty to Macintosh computers and Apple have been compared to religious belief. The term Cult of Mac is often used to describe this group. Psychologist Dave Levine argues that the Mac community has a religious feeling, providing a sense of community and common heritage for those who have rejected religion. Mac users are frequently known to use religious language in describing Macs. Terms such as "evangelism", "persecution" and "martyrdom" are used. Many users view their devotion as a battle between good versus evil, with evil frequently being Microsoft. The term "cult" has been used to describe Mac users (Cult of Mac), however, Dave Arnott, author of Corporate Cults, argues that devotion to Macs is no different than devotion to a car or rollerblading.
There is also a website titled "Cult of Mac", dedicated to Apple-related news. This "cult" attitude has also been mocked/parodied by Samsung, on a video ad for an Android phone, and also by Motorola in their ad for the Motorola Xoom.
Vexatious litigation 
In November 2008, Apple sent a cease and desist letter to BluWiki, a non-commercial wiki provider, alleging a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Apple claimed that a discussion of how to get other hardware and software to interoperate with the latest iPods infringed their copyrights. On April 27, 2009, Odioworks (the operators of BluWiki), backed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sued Apple in OdioWorks v. Apple, seeking a declaration of non-infringement and non-circumvention (an official response that Apple's intellectual property rights were not being infringed upon). On July 8, 2009, Apple ceased claiming infringement, stating that Apple withdrew its takedown notifications, and that "Apple no longer has, nor will it have in the future, any objection to the publication of the itunesDB Pages which are the subject of the OdioWorks complaint." The EFF noted, "While we are glad that Apple retracted its baseless legal threats, we are disappointed that it only came after 7 months of censorship and a lawsuit."
Google has accused Apple (alongside Oracle, Microsoft and others) of trying to take down Android through patent litigation, rather than innovating and competing with better products and services.
"Boycott Apple" hashtag on Google+ 
In June 2012, Google+ was in uproar over a recent Apple injunction against the Galaxy Nexus flagship Android smartphone. An appellate court has lifted the injunction as of July 30, 2012, but the injunction made "#BoycottApple" the longest trending hashtag Google+ has ever seen.
Environmental destruction claims 
In 2006, Apple announced it would end shipments to Europe of certain products, including the eMac desktop computer and the AirPort wireless access point, as non-compliant with the European Union Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (ROHS).
In 2007, Apple's Board of Directors recommended shareholders vote against proposals for adopting stronger environmental policies, like eliminating persistent and bioaccumulative toxic chemicals, assessing the phase-out of toxic chemicals such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), and adopting a stronger e-waste "take-back" and recycling program.
In 2011, the Beijing environmental group Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) singled out Apple for criticism, accusing the company's Chinese suppliers of discharging polluted waste and toxic metals into surrounding communities and threatening public health.
In June 2012, Apple withdrew its product line from the global registry for greener electronics program, Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), reporting the line no longer qualified for EPEAT's ratings for green certification; the San Francisco Department of Environment then notified its agencies that Apple computers no longer qualified for city purchase funds. The line of products has since been added back.
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