Oh For Fuck’s Sake: Apple Edition

TUAW: Apple boycotts Fox News because of Glenn Beck

Jolene mentioned this weekend that I only blog when I’m pissed off about something. I said no way that’s true! I sometimes blog when I’m just mildly bothered by something. Pissed off isn’t always a requirement. I could write about raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but that’s not going to get me ad-clicks. Besides, I also think that posting here about the things that do bother me help me get it out of my system… so I’m not some blathering, drooling vegetable at home at nights. This way, I’m just a blathering vegatable and just drool while sleeping.

The link above? I’m just mildly bothered by this, rather than pissed off.

I could give a rat’s ass about who is boycotting who, much less why.

I’ve known about Glenn Beck for decades, back when he was a morning talk show DJ on WKCI in Connecticut. Glenn and Pat were a good duo and it was an entertaining show. At some point, he became a born-again conservative. Why? Frankly, I don’t care, but he can sell it to the public and that works for him. I bought one of his books a few months ago… I started reading it at Costco and found it pretty funny. Sorta like how I read the Left Behind series: it’s good, if you take it as fiction… what I found out later is that some of the populous read both as non-fiction. Whoo boy, that’s scary. You can tell because now that Glenn is born-again, his audience has shifted with him. Same thing happen when Anne Rice was born-again in religion: do you honestly think the people that read The Vampire Chronicles would want to read her newer Christian works? Maybe there’s some overlap, but most likely not too much.

So why the mildly bothered statement?

Because what this boycott involves Apple and even so, it’s only because I’m shareholder. I bought shares of Apple because of their business and only because of their business. Do I care that they’re green? Only if it moves the stock price. Do I care that they advertise on Fox News? Only if it moves the stock price. Do I care if Steve Jobs is feeling well? I don’t know the man, so only if it moves the stock price. I’m an American Capitalist when it comes to the stock market. I once picked stocks to follow because of their product line or because I liked the company – that’s fine, but only if their fundamentals support it. If not, I’ll buy their products, blog about their company, and put my money elsewhere.

In this instance, Apple is letting political feelings get in the way of their business. Sound familiar? It should, because Google is having this very same issue right now. I haven’t mentioned it because I don’t hold GOOG (or BIDU) but if I did, I would be furious (or ecstatic.) If you want to do business in another country, you have to follow their laws. Plain and simple. Don’t like the laws? Lobby to have them changed or get out. And if you are getting out of what is arguably the worlds largest market, and I’m a shareholder, I’m going to want to know how that’s going to impact the bottom line. If you are losing money in China? Fine. If you are over-extended or can’t technologically deliver for their culture? Fine. If your American ideals of no-censorship are making you uncomfortable in a nation that requires censorship and you want out? No. Or at least do the responsible thing and tell us how you’re going to earn back the same money that you’ll be losing and in another way that will happen.

With Apple, all of this hubbub is about iPad advertisements. Will they lose sales by not advertising on Fox News? No, they won’t. Won’t even make a dent: there’s so much hype of the iPad that they can double the price right now, and still not take a huge hit to the number of sales. The problem is that this decision sets up Apple on a slippery slope. What if they also want to ban Fox News content from the iPad? What if they get pissed off at The Onion or EA or Activition and ban them from the device as well? Now, other hardware makers will compete with the iPad – what if HP comes out with a Fox News special edition tablet that they do advertise on Fox News, with O’Reilly and Beck sponsorship? You know damned well that it will sellout in all of the red state Walmarts. And that will hurt Apple’s sales, which in turn hurts the stock price. That’s why it matters. That’s why I’m mildly bothered.

This whole post was started by a thread on Facebook. The response of some people about this topic was “Yay! That’s smart!” which was OK but followed with a “Everyone should ban Fox News!”. ORLY? Am I hearing this correctly? The same crowd that is liberal (or at least anti-conservative) and that is all about rights and freedom and the ACLU actually want people to ban or silence a press outlet? My! That sounds like China or the USSR cerca 1985. Or any censoring government in our history. YARLY! I was saddened by this because the very people that think they are acting like Americans are missing the point. There are supposed to be conflicting opinions and debate. If you really support the freedom you say you do, you should be glad that the tinfoil hat wearing Fox News crowd is active and allowed to speak their mind even if you would fight your entire life opposing what they say. They aren’t even making policy at this point, given the makeup of Congress, the Senate, and the White House: they are just frothing at the mouth while exercising their government given right to do so. Shutting them up is wrong and should remain so.

Take responsibility for comments made? Always. And maybe that’s what this is: a reaction to one comment or pulling out of one show. But that’s not what it sounds like it… it sounds like publicly trading companies are beginning to impact their business based off their social conscious, rather than the passionless business plans they should working off of. And if that’s the case, maybe I should re-adjust my own investments accordingly.

The way things are heading, I might just have to bury it all in the backyard and call it good.

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