Thursday, July 19, 2007

Apple is the new Real Networks

Maddox had a really great point buried in his blog post "One thing PC users can do that Mac users can't" that shouldn't go unnoticed: Quicktime is the new Real Player.

You install it on your machine and the first thing that happens is it takes over all of your file associations in your web browsers. MP3s will start being handled by Quicktime when in Firefox, stuff like that.

But then you just start realizing that Apple has installed shit all over your machine that you don't want, while making it more unstable. Browsers start crashing when Quicktime tries to handle media. A Quicktime icon now appears in your Windows task bar (what purpose this serves, I'll never understand). If you were silly enough to install iTunes, you now have an iPodService running in the background on your machine. And suddenly you'll get an annoying popup for Quicktime updates that you don't care about -- which you then have to close all of your browsers and download a whole new EXE to install instead of having it install itself.

I'd extend Maddox's claim to say "Apple is the new Real Networks.":
  • They are pushing a proprietary DRMed format that no one else can license to play. (Though even Real has changed their ways on this, I THINK).
  • When you open their player just to watch a simple movie in their format -- which we don't want anyway -- a bunch of advertisements get thrown in your face for their products.
  • We get constant reminders that we need to pay for the "pro" edition, which until last week was the only way you could get full screen playback with Quicktime.
  • They aren't very good Windows programmers, so they make unstable applications that don't work adhere to the UI guidelines of Windows.
  • Their software is insane bloatware. QuicktimePlayer, on launch, takes 50 megs.
  • The only reason users tolerate any of this is because Apple currently enjoys their "in" with content providers to install this spyware-like crap on people's machines, or because they're unlucky enough to have gotten an iPod as a gift.
I'll take Windows Media, thanks.

I don't really understand why Hollywood wants to put trailers in Quicktime only format instead of Windows Media. Now there's a good idea: pass up the decent player installed on 99% of the world's computers for the crappy player that users have to install themselves. I'm guessing media providers do quicktime only because Apple supplies the bandwidth for HD content. I can't think of any other advantage from a marketing perspective.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're right, the only thing worse than Quicktime is iTunes. I bought QT pro just because it was the only reliable way to export to h.264 but there are alternatives options now.

I have friends that have an iPod and they have found alternatives to iTunes for syncing their music. Recently, I found an alternative to the QT player.

http://www.free-codecs.com/download/QuickTime_Alternative.htm

This app is built off of the open source Media Player Classic -- my favorite video media player. It completely replaces the need for QT to be installed. They even have a real player alternative option too Even works in web browsers.

Cheers,

Arash