Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 8th Apr 2010 12:20 UTC
Editorial Car analogies are quite popular on internet discussion forums, and ours is no exception. The problem with these analogies, however, is that they are usually quite flimsy, and a recent popular one is no exception. A number of people are now arguing that computer makers' move towards closed platforms (Apple, Sony, and so on) is akin to people no longer being able to service cars on their own. This analogy, which looks sound on a superficial level, breaks down when you spend more than five minutes contemplating it.
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Pertinent analogy
by twitterfire on Thu 8th Apr 2010 12:41 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

If you want to make a true analogy with cars, you can compare Apple with a chain of Gas Stations which forces you to buy lazy, expensive cars from them (cars) if you want to buy gas (Mac Os X).

You can even compare Apple with a car maker that sells lazy, expensive but well designed cars (iPod, iPhone, Ipad) that forces you to buy expensive gas from them (AppStore, iTunes).

You can compare Sony with a car maker that advertises and sells nice cars(PS3) equipped with hifi stereo(boot other OS), but for some weird reason, after you buy the car from them, sends it's employees overnight to steal your stereo .

Reply Score: 4

RE: Pertinent analogy
by Lanadapter on Thu 8th Apr 2010 15:27 UTC in reply to "Pertinent analogy"
Lanadapter Member since:
2009-10-01

which forces you to buy lazy, expensive cars from them (cars)


wat

Reply Score: 2

RE: Pertinent analogy
by JAlexoid on Thu 8th Apr 2010 20:31 UTC in reply to "Pertinent analogy"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

You can even compare Apple with a car maker that sells lazy, expensive but well designed cars (iPod, iPhone, Ipad) that forces you to buy expensive gas from them (AppStore, iTunes).

What? iTunes expensive? That's new :-D
It's their hardware that is expensive.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by flanque
by flanque on Thu 8th Apr 2010 12:49 UTC
flanque
Member since:
2005-12-15

I'm surprised you put so much effort into such a ridiculous topic.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by flanque
by dbolgheroni on Thu 8th Apr 2010 18:56 UTC in reply to "Comment by flanque"
dbolgheroni Member since:
2007-01-18

You have an iPhone, right?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by flanque
by flanque on Thu 8th Apr 2010 21:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by flanque"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

Nope. Nokia E51.

Reply Score: 2

one difference
by google_ninja on Thu 8th Apr 2010 12:51 UTC
google_ninja
Member since:
2006-02-05

Cars have been sold to consumers for over a century, computers have been sold to consumers for about 40 years. We aren't even at the point where our lawmakers (rich, old, white guys) have a chance in hell of understanding the issues, let alone properly regulating an industry.

Reply Score: 5

RE: one difference
by kragil on Thu 8th Apr 2010 12:58 UTC in reply to "one difference"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

No one is lobbying/paying for those "issues" and if there is no money to be made "our" lawmakers in the US won't do shit.

There is money in software/gene patents and "IP" etc, that is why those things are tightly regulated against consumers.

Reply Score: 5

specialists
by jack_perry on Thu 8th Apr 2010 13:24 UTC
jack_perry
Member since:
2005-07-06

Actually, specialists are allowed to service Apple computers where I live. They're even called "authorized specialists" and can display the Apple logo on their advertisements, despite not being part of Apple.

I don't know if they service iPads, iPods, or iPhones, though; I know only that they service the usual Mac equipment. There isn't an Apple Store for quite a ways in any direction where I live, so I reckon they must make a lot of good money.

Or have I misunderstood what you're getting at?

Reply Score: 5

RE: specialists
by kvarbanov on Thu 8th Apr 2010 13:32 UTC in reply to "specialists"
kvarbanov Member since:
2008-06-16

Oh, come on, I've had enough with those guys from Apple ... wherever I turn - Apple is behind the corner, come on people, get out of the shell, there are other interesting things in our virtual lives. And yes, I drive modified V6, it's quite straightforward though and anyone can service it - the same with the computers - I own only hand-built pieces with Linux on them, why would I want to be stuck with only one vendor and have no control over MY machinery ?

Edited 2010-04-08 13:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: specialists
by flanque on Thu 8th Apr 2010 13:40 UTC in reply to "RE: specialists"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

Normal users don't want to do this, member?

They just want it to work.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: specialists
by Gryzor on Thu 8th Apr 2010 13:50 UTC in reply to "RE: specialists"
Gryzor Member since:
2005-07-03

What makes you think that the majority of the people care about that? You haven’t been able to even update your phone since the first mobile phones. Go update your Nokia n70’s symbian. Not close to possible (and if possible, not nearly really useful).

Why is a “PC” different? People have had no trouble using their phones for the past 15 years. If you could, for example, add MEMORY to a smartphone, how many people would do it on their own and how many people would simple take it to the store and say: more memory. pay. Go.

Users -normally- don’t care about that. You do. I’d like to (but I don’t care, have other things to do). But most people doesn’t.

There aren’t any statistics that I have, but all my co-workers, friends, family members, etc. that use any sort of computer, couldn’t care less about servicing their computers (on the contrary!). Some of them are professional software developers, not the “typical” user.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: specialists
by dbolgheroni on Thu 8th Apr 2010 18:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: specialists"
dbolgheroni Member since:
2007-01-18

It's not because you're too dumb or because you don't care that devices (cars, computers, etc.) have to be so closed.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: specialists
by Tuishimi on Fri 9th Apr 2010 00:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: specialists"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Wha?

Reply Score: 2

5 min contemplating it???
by krreagan on Thu 8th Apr 2010 13:43 UTC
krreagan
Member since:
2008-04-08

If you spend 5 min contemplating this you need to get a life! It's an analogy! they are never perfect and usually only meant to convey meaning on a superficial level.

Get a life bud!

KRR

Edited 2010-04-08 13:45 UTC

Reply Score: 0

Comment by Gryzor
by Gryzor on Thu 8th Apr 2010 13:43 UTC
Gryzor
Member since:
2005-07-03

Your second part is also incorrect.
A mechanic has to be authorized by the manufacturer to be able to service your ford. if YOU do it, you void the car’s warranty.

If you’re going to compare cars with computers (ridiculous but acceptable I guess), make sure you OWN a car.

I have THREE ford FOCUS, so I am entitled to comment on that. I am in Europe, so this is no “weird country law”. You CAN take your car anywhere, but only authorized mechanics can do your service (and preserve the warranty).

There are Apple Authorized centers (where I live, in Madrid, we have *NO* Apple Store, but a lot of Apple Authorized Centers), who can honor your warranty, order authorized apple parts and sell them. My Mac Pro had a faulty video card last month and THEY replaced it (and ordered the replacement card for me).

WIth the Focus, when I did the service I took it to Ford. It was expensive. The next time I went to another less expensive mechanic that was FORD Authorized and that meant that my warranty is still ok.

Before you ask, I have three cars because they belong to my company. I had other fords in the past (and hopefully never have another one).

The point is, tho devices seem to be heading in that direction (less serviceable), I don’t think that’s bad, even if you don’t have other choice but to take it to your manufacturer. Computer and Devices are less prone to require maintenance than 10 or 20 years ago also. The iPad as an example, there are less things that can fail in there than on any other Apple computer.

I understand your point, but don’t use bad analogies.

Edited 2010-04-08 13:44 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Different here.
by oiaohm on Thu 8th Apr 2010 14:21 UTC in reply to "Comment by Gryzor"
oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

Our fair trading in Australia we have many mechanics who can do the service work and preserve warranty. For warranty to be void they have to prove that what was done by the other mechanics was not to book. This includes failing to sign off what was done or record what was done.

Also they have to prove that the other machanics work is also releated to the problem. A while back a few tried voiding warranty due to road side assist having had bonnet up. Reason why the road side assist was there in the first place was that the car had already failed.

Issue with were I am there are no Apple Authorized Centers near by so you are very much on your own so apple warnity is basically worth jack. Why no Apple Authorized Centers your techs have to sit apple exams. No where to sit the exams near by.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Gryzor
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 8th Apr 2010 14:29 UTC in reply to "Comment by Gryzor"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I have THREE ford FOCUS, so I am entitled to comment on that. I am in Europe, so this is no “weird country law”. You CAN take your car anywhere, but only authorized mechanics can do your service (and preserve the warranty


Did I say anything different? Of course you'll lose your official warranty, I said so quite clearly (I wonder how you missed that).

My point is this: whereas tech companies are trying to lock you out of their devices, and force you to take service from them and them alone, this is not the case in the automotive world, since you can have your car serviced wherever you want - all the information and training required MUST be made available to ALL shops; official dealer or no. This is LAW.

Despite that clear difference, people are saying that it's okay for tech companies to close their devices like this "because car companies do it too" - which is patently untrue. I'm arguing that the automotive model (one supplier, but many places to go for parts and service) is a superior model that leads to more competition, lower prices, and better longevity.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Gryzor
by Morgan on Fri 9th Apr 2010 00:32 UTC in reply to "Comment by Gryzor"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Your second part is also incorrect.
A mechanic has to be authorized by the manufacturer to be able to service your ford. if YOU do it, you void the car’s warranty.


Perhaps this is true where you live, but not here in the US. My car's warranty is valid no matter who does the work as long as OEM replacement parts are used. I've confirmed this more than once on in-warranty vehicles I've owned.

Reply Score: 2

If the car is the computer...
by mrhasbean on Thu 8th Apr 2010 14:05 UTC
mrhasbean
Member since:
2006-04-03

...then it is the fuel that it uses that is the OS, not the engine, and there are very real emission and performance laws as well as operational limitations for using different types of fuels in any given engine. Granted you can purchase approved fuels from any number of suppliers, but the reality is that if a car manufacturer wanted to produce a vehicle that met all required emissions, safety and performance laws, and they built that car to work with only fuel that they manufacture, legally there would be nothing to stop them. It would be up to the public to determine whether they believed there was sufficient value in the whole package to justify their purchase, just like it is with Apple's devices.

When it comes to servicing, again there are significant differences that prevent one servicing model from being effective in the other arena. An internal combustion engine is an internal combustion engine. If it's a four-stroke it's a suck, squeeze, bang, blow principal and there are common types of components used in engine design; pistons, cranks, valves, cams, etc, so effectively if you've seen one four-stroke internal combustion engine you've seen them all. Same for rotary engines, diesel engines, etc. So while there are variations between manufacturers the basics are the same.

With computer systems that isn't the case. The entire system is integrated in many cases so many repairs require complete component replacements. In a car it would be like having the whole drivetrain as a single unit and if a valve stem seal went you'd have to replace the entire drivetrain. In a car, something with large components making up the drivetrain, that model would be stupid. But with computer systems where everything is integrated on one board that might be 5cm x 7cm in size that model works well.

With Apple the channel through which these parts can be purchased is certainly controlled, but it's a fairly easy process to become accredited - my son is a certified Apple tech and doesn't even work in the industry - and repairs can be carried out in numerous authorised places - at least that's the case in Australia. There is also nothing to stop a company manufacturing after-market upgrades. The RAM upgrades I have in all my Macs were purchased from the same component supplier I purchase my PC components from, as were the standard 500Gb 3.5" SATA drive and 250Gb 2.5" drive I personally installed in one of my iMacs and Mac Mini respectively, using take-apart notes I found on the 'net.

There are a plethora of after-market components and upgrades available for various Apple models and there always has been - one Australian company specialises in touch screen upgrades and they're just as capable of providing it on a Mac as anything else. And there is also nothing other than financial considerations stopping manufacturer's of things like LCD panels, optical drives, etc from making after-market replacement components for Apple devices.

Reply Score: 2

OS-Air Plane
by cb88 on Thu 8th Apr 2010 15:02 UTC
cb88
Member since:
2009-04-23

you should do an article on those Operating System - Air Plane analogies.... those are awesome

Reply Score: 2

RE: OS-Air Plane
by twitterfire on Thu 8th Apr 2010 16:38 UTC in reply to "OS-Air Plane"
twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

you should do an article on those Operating System - Air Plane analogies.... those are awesome


Now, if anyone cares to make an computing analogy with porn, Apple will be BDSM, MS just mainstream, straight boring porn, PS3 foot fetish, and open source systems like Linux will be amateurs posting their homemade videos on some sites.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: OS-Air Plane
by ssa2204 on Thu 8th Apr 2010 21:04 UTC in reply to "RE: OS-Air Plane"
ssa2204 Member since:
2006-04-22


Now, if anyone cares to make an computing analogy with porn, Apple will be BDSM, MS just mainstream, straight boring porn, PS3 foot fetish, and open source systems like Linux will be amateurs posting their homemade videos on some sites.


Damn funny analogy, made me laugh because it is so close.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: OS-Air Plane
by Tuishimi on Fri 9th Apr 2010 00:11 UTC in reply to "RE: OS-Air Plane"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Ha ha! That's great!

Reply Score: 2

coming soon - the iCar
by fretinator on Thu 8th Apr 2010 17:06 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

Dealer: Are you interested in purchasing our insanely great iCar?

Prospect: Maybe. This is best looking car I have ever seen. It almost looks hand-crafted. The lines are gorgeous. I see this white one is a 4-cylinder. Can I get an 8-cylinder in white?

Dealer: No, no, the 8-cylinder is titanium silver. The 6-cylinder is red.

Prospect: I guess I could just get it painted after I buy it.

Dealer: I'm sorry, but that would void the warranty.

Prospect: Ummm..OK. Well, I was noticing that there was no hood on the front. How do I get to the engine, the battery, etc?

Dealer: There are no user-serviceable components on the iCar. We make it easy. If anything goes wrong, just bring it in to our service center.

Prospect: I see. I noticed there is no gas cap.

Dealer: That's our patented "Magno-cap". Just bring your car to our service center and we'll fill 'er up!

Prospect: Yikes! Well, one last thing. Where's the trunk?

Dealer: No need for extra storage. We provide the "Car-Go" service. For a small fee, will transfer any items to where you are going. It easy!

The prospect finds this all very strange, but is overcome by the absolute beauty of the vehicle. Besides, all the other executives at the company are getting one. He buys.

Reply Score: 9

RE: coming soon - the iCar
by JAlexoid on Thu 8th Apr 2010 20:46 UTC in reply to "coming soon - the iCar"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19


Dealer: There are no user-serviceable components on the iCar. We make it easy. If anything goes wrong, just bring it in to our service center.


You forgot to add:
Prospect: How much will the winter tires cost me?
Dealer: Winter tires? Sir, we have a separate iCar coming out just before the winter tire season, I would suggest coming down then to buy your winter version.

Reply Score: 3

RE: coming soon - the iCar
by Morgan on Fri 9th Apr 2010 00:39 UTC in reply to "coming soon - the iCar"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I love it! So my Hackintosh I'm typing this on would be what...a basic everyday sports car that I secretly fuel up at iCar fuel depots?

Reply Score: 2

Important
by dbolgheroni on Thu 8th Apr 2010 18:57 UTC
dbolgheroni
Member since:
2007-01-18

This is why you have to CAREFULLY choose your hardware.

Reply Score: 1

No. They are not.
by SteveB on Thu 8th Apr 2010 18:57 UTC
SteveB
Member since:
2005-07-10

A car is a open object. Every one can modify things on a car. Certain modifications are voiding the guarantee but most modifications don't.

Computers are as well open. It's normal that you can modify your computer (add new hardware, exchange hardware) and that you can use your computer the way you like it (install software, remove software, develop software, etc). A computer is seen by the average user as an open platform.

The new approach to close down computers and have them as a closed platform separates the user base of computers in 3 user campuses.

1) The one that don't care if computers are open/closed.

2) The one that prefer the computers to be open.

3) The one that prefer the computers to be closed.


I would say that most users don't care if a computer is open or closed. But what most of those users care is the price. Closing down a platform automatically leads to controlled prices (the one closing down the platform has control over the price for hardware/software/services of the platform). And this is where most users start to care if something is closed or open. So I would say that most users don't care if a computer platform is closed or open but they care if the price for a platform (closed/open) is higher then for a comparable other computer platform. If the closed computer platform offers benefits that can outweigh the open computer platform then the price does not play a role. The same goes for features. If a closed computer platform offers +/- the same features then a open platform then users don't care if it is open or closed.

The whole discussion about open or closed is starting to be boring. A producer can close down his platform when ever he likes. And if the product and price and features and and and is competitive and customers are buying it then who cares?

Why all this talk for something that is normal business tactics? If one does not like a closed platform then there are enough other open platforms to choose.

If the consumers are following that closed computer platform trend then individuals that would like to have a open platform are the one that must swallow the bitter pill. The mass is deciding and if the mass is happy with the closed platform and many or all platform producers/sellers are following that closed platform trend then there is not much one can do against it.

It's a free market.

Reply Score: 1

I fully agree
by Kondor337 on Thu 8th Apr 2010 21:22 UTC
Kondor337
Member since:
2006-09-16

I disagree with practically everything that Thom writes, but this time, I totally agree with him. Very good article!

Reply Score: 1

jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

The EU may be different but one easy example over this side of the pond; Smartcars. If you buy the desile which is available in Canada, you can not have it serviced by anyone in the US. Smart sells different computer codes to the two different geographic locations and those codes are required to connect into the diagnostics computers. I believe they are trying to make it illegal to maintain and mod your own car through the DMCA also. Even getting what codes are available is a very expensive proposition for auto shops so it's not like the corner carage is going to be able to service your car; usually, you gotta go back to the dealership.

The SmartCar example is frequently discussed on the Off The Hook radio show as it's primary host is a US citizen that has to drive up to Canada to get a desil Smart serviced. A regular guest host has discussed accessing the diagnostics computer and how auto companies are trying to lock small garages and owners out of cars by lobbying for DMCA protection of the computer access codes and command sets. Car manufacturers would love nothing more than locking you out of your car and into there dealership support contracts.

Reply Score: 2

Brendan
Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

If a "closed computer device" breaks (and it's not still under warranty); someone tells you the cost of labour plus the cost of parts adds up to more than the price of a new one; so you throw it in the bin and replace it with something twice as fast.

If it is still under warranty; you send it back and they take out any storage device/s. Then they throw it in the bin and send back a new one with your old storage device/s.

Cars are different - they actually are worth fixing.

-Brendan

Reply Score: 2

Apple sells an experience...
by Tuishimi on Fri 9th Apr 2010 00:16 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...more akin to a theme park and the rides therein. You get to go and enjoy the rides, but they sure as heck won't let you see the machinery or change anything to do with the operation of a ride. And every once in awhile they add a new ride, and take away an old one.

Reply Score: 2

Wisdom
by smoerk on Fri 9th Apr 2010 10:18 UTC
smoerk
Member since:
2009-07-10

"The engineers think that the device is the 'car' and software is the 'fuel' that powers it. When in fact it is the other way around: Software is the car and devices are the fuel."

from http://www.fastcompany.com/1610991/is-apple-really-committed-to-the...

Reply Score: 1