Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

Apple used to stand for something. Now they stand for nothing. Where’s Steve Jobs when we need him?


Recently I wrote this post on Twitter, in reply to Tim Cook visiting Alabama:

Yes, Rosa stood for something. Yet Apple, the company I used to so highly admire… Recently stands for nothing. Videos promoting Trump campaign? Removing Taiwanese emoji? Removing Hong-Kong apps? Putting Crimea in Apple Maps as “Russia”? Yes please, Tim, do learn from Ms Parks

I’m an Apple user myself. I’m #iPadOnly, I buy a new iPhone every year, I love my Apple Watch and I own lots of Apple shares as well… and I’m so invested in this fruit company not just because of the “design is how it works” thing, but mostly because of their values. Here’s why I’m so disappointed in Apple so much recently:

Apple used to stand for something. Now they stand for nothing. Where’s Steve Jobs when we need him?

Promoting Trump campaign to get a relief on tariffs…

The current president to the USA is a Trump. This word - Trump - should stand in a dictionary for no integrity or intelligence. For making an office of a president a personal business enterprise. He’s pathetic. He’s racist. He’s a bigot. He’s approving of de-regulation of guns.

And yet Tim Cook plays too nice with him.. He even took part in Trump’s 2020 campaign by having this video prepared at Apple premises..

All to save money on tariffs… how much will Apple suck up more to a Trump - the one that’s on impeachment trial?

Complying with China local laws? Which ones?

Another thing that Apple is doing is eagerly trying to satisfy the Chinese government. They say they’re “complying with local laws”… but are they really?

Again, why is Apple doing this even though they claim China hasn’t really pressured them to do it?

Putting Crimea in Apple Maps as part of Russia?

This is just ridiculous. Russia annexed Crimea in a criminal manner and now they demanded that Apple and Google comply with that… and when you’re in Russia, you see Crimea as a part of Russia. How is this legal?

Complying with local laws… or a death by thousand cuts?

Again. Is it really complying with “local laws” or is it just Apple being a global company that in theory has all the power but in practice has to “be nice” to everyone?

You know: just in case?

By having “all the power”… they resort to keeping that power by being effectively powerless… and slowly but painstakingly turning back on all the values that got them here?

Back to selling “sugar water”?

When Steve Jobs hired John Sculley for the CEO of Apple out of Pepsi he famously asked him:

“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

Now it seems like they’re back at selling sugar water at Apple and counting dollars.

A friend of mine from iMagazine - Polish leading lifestyle magazine wrote this article in Polish about Sprzedawcy słodkiej wody where she points out how Apple used to stand for something and it resonated with us.

It inspired us. It changed us.

That’s why I’m so concerned about Apple right now.

Apple is effectively confusing me right now…

We can also see it in the products they sell…

It took them more than 3 years to fix the crappy keyboard in their MacBooks and MacBook Pros… and even now, they actually didn’t admit they were wrong and they fixed the keyboard on the biggest of the MacBook Pros… and they keep selling MacBook Airs with keyboard that every now and then types EE instead of E.

Using notifications and aggressively using in-app up-selling techniques much? Totally. One of the rules of App Store on iOS and MacOS is that you mustn’t use notifications to sell stuff, yet Apple is constantly themselves breaking that rule while trying to enforce it on app developers. What a double standard.

Back to Ms Rosa Parks…

When Ms Rosa Parks refused to be moved to “black only” place on the bus, she risked her life.

That’s right, she had a lot at stake, yet she did it.

Tim Cook by cozying up to the Trumps, Russians and Chinese is risking dollars (which they have plenty stashed all over the world) and not the livelihood of his company.

On one hand admires her… but these are just words.

Apple with slightly lower margins will be fine. Maybe the stock price will not be at current record-highs, but as a minority shareholder I’m not concerned about that. Tim Cook should play the infinite game.

Why I choose Apple but now I’m confused…

I choose Apple because of their products like iPhones, iPads, AirPods, Apple Watch… and when they do these products right, these are amazing and my life is much improved.

I choose Apple technologies like iCloud, HomeKit, iMessages… because of their strong stance on customer privacy and encryption.

Ultimately I choose Apple because I thought they believed in changing the world for the better. On doing the right thing.

It was Tim Cook himself, who once exploded:

“When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind,” he said, “I don’t consider the bloody ROI.”

But now, with all the actions pointed out in this post, it just seems that Apple only pretends to stand for something.

And this makes me sad.

Please, Tim Cook - get back to the roots - you’re running the most powerful company in the world. With great power comes great responsibility!

Just listen to your buddy, late Steve Jobs explaining how “marketing is about values”:

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 /apple-values/