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BBC: Apple threatened to sour relations over report

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Monday, June 15, 2009
News Categories: Apple

Concluding a report on Apple in the BBC technology program Click, which featured an extended segment on Apple’s control over its employees, developers, and the media, presenter Spencer Kelly said that Apple was invited to participate in the program, but declined and threatened to sour relations with the program if it ran the segment. Click included two Apple-related segments in its 30-minute episode, one focused on announcements from the 2009 WWDC in San Francisco, and the next on various aspects of the company’s development and marketing strategies. In the latter portion, Click aired interviews that suggested that Apple communicates with members of the press solely for marketing purposes, and cuts access when coverage hasn’t been positive enough.

According to Kelly, “we did invite Apple to participate in that report, but they said they don’t comment on their internal operations, and that our piece was ‘speculative’ because it didn’t feature anyone from Apple. We’ll leave you to work that one out. They also added that running that report could ‘sour’ our relationship with them. We’re not quite sure what that means, but I’m sure that we, and you, will find out in due course.” A text article summarizing the piece is available online, but it should be noted that the spirit of the segment that aired on television is not fully captured in the print version.

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Comments

1

english journalists, BBC, and other companies tend to be PC biased to start with and start all new projects with PC support only and later when forced offer support to other platforms.

when BBC ntroduced the iPLAYER they had hired a Microsoft ex-employer to head up the project.

Posted by Elo on June 15, 2009 at 8:40 AM (PDT)

2

Not just the BBC - Channel 4 with their 4OD service, ITV with their ITV Player (which requires installing Silverlight) all treated Mac users as ‘second class’ viewers and have only recently rolled out Mac support for their watch again service.

When you look at the number of Mac users against Windows users, then like many companies they’ll rollout for the majority and then cater for the minority later.
Broadband providers were a case in point - when I was looking for a Mac compatible ISP they were few and far between. Now there are more as Mac ownership has increased.

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on June 15, 2009 at 8:51 AM (PDT)

3

I have always been confused about the term “Mac compatible ISP.” Does it really matter what platform you use? Aren’t the setting exactly the same across ALL platforms?

Posted by ahMEmon on June 15, 2009 at 9:01 AM (PDT)

4

What does “Mac compatible ISP” mean? Were ISP’s actively blocking Macs? I know some have been loath to “provide technical support support” until the last 8 years or so, though that likely had more to do with fewer issues on an already small platform back then.

But it’s fair to criticize the BBC for supporting a monopoly that will use the added leverage to force out competing standards already in place, that also support but don’t favor the monopoly’s system (flash).

Posted by MainMac on June 15, 2009 at 9:06 AM (PDT)

5

#3 & #4 - there was a time when ISPs would make a point of saying in the smallprint on their websites, or configuration discs,  “Mac OS not supported”.
Obviously the reason being that their tech support staff could only read from the ‘Book Of Gates’ when a customer called with a problem.

As for the BBC? Why not condemn ITV for insisting on using “Silverlight” as the player for their watch again service and not one of the widely used players already in use?
I’m not protecting the BBC here - just saying how I see it….

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on June 15, 2009 at 9:20 AM (PDT)

6

“When you look at the number of Mac users against Windows users, then like many companies they’ll rollout for the majority and then cater for the minority later.”

Yes, that is how supply and demand works. If I create or use a minority OS I can’t expect companies to spend lots of money supporting me unless the result is a profit for them. This is not the reason that the BBC or the English or anyone else you wan’t to point at is commenting on Apple’s bullying.

Posted by Fanman on June 15, 2009 at 10:04 AM (PDT)

7

The BBC are so outrageously anti-Apple that they the first mobile platform they made the iPlayer available on was the iPhone.  I imagine that worked as a bigger boost to the iPhone than it did to the BBC.  In factvit was the main reason I bought an iPod Touch which then resulted in me buying an iPhone. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Just because someone says something a quarter critical of some aspect of Apple does not make them biased.  It means they have an opinion which may or may not be valid depending on its merits, not on whether you happen to be an “Apple fanboy/girl” or an “Apple hater”.

This form is very difficult to fill out on an iPhone btw.  Does that mean iLounge are biased against Apple too?

Posted by Jeremy Hilary Boob phd on June 15, 2009 at 10:16 AM (PDT)

8

To all those who say that BBC is anti-apple, I think you should actually watch the piece. I watched it when it was on the TV and thought it was very balanced - I actually thinking “what’s this it’s like a big long advert for Apple” because they covered it for such a large part of the show.

That’s why it was such a surprise when the presenter said at the end what Apple’s response was - The show actually gave me a very positive view of Apple. It was their response at the end that have now left me with a very negative view.

Posted by Stephen on June 15, 2009 at 10:37 AM (PDT)

9

I’ve been watching Click for some time and can tell you with certainty that it almost exclusively anti-Apple. From badly researched information and snide comments to downright lies - Click has been there. Having said that, this particular piece was balanced and as such, perhaps the tide is beginning to turn. Based on their previous form, I shall not be holding my breath.

Posted by Jay Dylan Tyler on June 15, 2009 at 11:34 AM (PDT)

10

Now I know why as an American I did so well working in IT departments in the UK. Ya Brits don’t have a clue - most of all the beeb! Click-online is all about the gel that’s in the presenters’ hair as they huff and puff their way around the internet. All so terribly serious.

Posted by Mike on June 15, 2009 at 11:39 AM (PDT)

11

Mike,
“Ya Brits don’t have a clue” - with respect, us clueless Brits helped create the internet (Tim Berners Lee) and a clueless Brit is responsible for may of the design icons that Apple is now admired for (Jonathan Ive) and going back in time Charles Babbage, known as ‘the father of computing’ was also a clueless Brit.

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on June 15, 2009 at 11:56 AM (PDT)

12

There was me thinking the UK built the world…

Posted by Fanman on June 15, 2009 at 12:35 PM (PDT)

13

Tim Berners Lee might be Brit but created the Internet using NeXT, a Steve Jobs creation. Also, Jonathan Ive became prominent under the guidance of Steve Jobs. All the personal computer technology one enjoys on PCs came from the Macintosh, another creation of Apple under Steve Jobs leadership. Current resurgence of computing for the common person, iPhone, iPod etc. are all from Apple under the direction of Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs is an American. Brits are brilliant but they need Americans to shine.

Posted by Viswkarama on June 15, 2009 at 11:32 PM (PDT)

14

@13

Not sure that Brunnel or Watt would agree with you on that one. Everything you mentioned came from Babage anyway, and it’s not as if the iPhone was the first decent mobile device with the internet now is it. I think the pirce tag kind of moves it away from the “common people”.

Posted by Fanman on June 16, 2009 at 12:51 AM (PDT)

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