The Press Democrat’s business pages frequently feature fawning coverage of Apple’s press releases, while attacking Microsoft at every opportunity. Today it was a long article about the exciting! MacWorld! show! in San Francisco! this week!

Never forget that Apple’s market share is currently two percent and falling – for good reason. 2003 was a terrible year for Apple and its customers, and 2004 is starting off badly too.

Apple has had terrible quality control problems recently. iBook owners are gearing up for a class action lawsuit since Apple seems unwilling to admit that display problems and logic board failures are its fault. Hundreds of people are reporting problems, which are claimed to be a combination of cheap shielding materials and basic mechanical design flaws.

Poor design of the 15 inch aluminum PowerBook led to white stress spots on many models.

Apple’s 10.2.8 operating system update was catastrophic and yanked after only a few hours when many users lost their networking.

Apple OS 10.3 had to be updated to fix two severe bugs which trashed data on some system configurations.

Apple issued security updates in November and December for exactly the same kind of security issues that plagued Microsoft last year. (So did the Linux community. So did the Unix vendors.)

Despite the hype, Apple is losing money on every downloaded song from iTunes. The song downloads are loss leaders intended to help Apple sell iPods. As always, Apple’s success with a proprietary file format has led all competitors to standardize on a more open alternative – and as always, Microsoft has been standing by with the alternative, the WMA format for music files. Most of the new online service competing with iTunes are settling on the WMA file format, which can be played by all the non-Apple mp3 players. So Apple is once again driving an industry to adopt Microsoft technology.

And finally, the security features intended to lock up iTunes downloads were cracked today. Digital rights management continues to be a frustrating and annoying roadblock for honest consumers, while it offers no meaningful protection at all against piracy.

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