Daniel Eran Dilger
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Arrogance Unleashed: The Foul Stench of Computerworld’s Mike Elgan

mike elgan
Daniel Eran Dilger
Mike Elgan, a former editor of Windows Magazine, has recently gone on an anti-Apple rampage, posting countless articles on why users should torment themselves with fear, doubt, and uncertainty about Apple. Elgan’s desperation is so overreaching that it is, like Rob Enderle, an embarrassment even to Windows Enthusiasts.

Arrogance Unleashed.
His most recent tirade was headlined “Apple Arrogance Unleashed!” Elgan knows a lot about arrogance. Recall that his wikipedia autobiography was unceremoniously deleted by the wiki police due to his being “not particularly notable.” Clearly, Elgan has far higher regard for himself and his opinion than pretty much anyone else does. So when Elgan writes an article on arrogance, it could be potentially noteworthy.


A large part of Elgan’s arrogance seems to exude from his curiously inflated contempt for everything Apple. Having made Apple his enemy target, it’s natural that Elgan might try to turn around his own weaknesses and present them as if they were Apple’s.

So it is that Elgan starts his screed by citing Steve Job’s comments from 1996, where Jobs said the problem with Microsoft is “they just have no taste… in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their product.” Of course, Jobs said that before he returned to Apple, but in the minds of simpleton Windows Enthusiasts, Jobs is Apple.

Microsoft Surface: the Fine Clothes of a Naked Empire
Steve Jobs on Microsoft – YouTube

Hypocrisy Unleashed.
Elgan dug that clip out from a decade ago to set up his contention that while Microsoft clearly does lack taste, Apple has “no gratitude. Or humility. Or generosity. Or manners.” This introduction suggests that his article will outline why he says this, but the explanation never comes. Instead, we are treated to paragraphs of unprofessional banter that just rings hollow in a bitter sort of desperation.

As Paul Thurrott always does, Elgan begins his attack on Apple by immediately noting “I’m a big fan of Apple products.” He immediately then begins to wring out his rage-soaked contempt for Apple on the stage of a morality play that begs the audience to share in his outrage. It’s a simple case of us vs. them, and Elgan makes it very clear that the “them” is a very, very bad Apple.

Paul Thurrott’s Merciless Attack on Artie MacStrawman

You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.
The reason why Apple is so very bad, Elgan fumes, is its arrogance. What Elgan misses is that arrogance relates to an “exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.” However, even Elgan notes that Apple’s “superiority complex has always been both partially deserved and one of the company’s motivations to strive for better things.”

Being better doesn’t mean being arrogant. Apple’s iPod isn’t “arrogant” for being thinner and more attractive than Microsoft’s clunky Zune, or having outsold it by a huge margin in the free market. Apple simply has a superior product because it worked harder to deliver it.

Arrogance is when a company delivers an embarrassingly bad product, then announces it will take over the market, but yet fails to do so. Elgan himself fell into that trap when he fawned over the Zune last fall, saying that it “scares Apple to the core,” and that the Zune would “leverage the collective power of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Soapbox (Microsoft’s new ”YouTube killer“) and the Xbox 360.”

Elgan’s Zune article in Computerworld was full of errors and misrepresentations he later had to edit out, but the message still fell down flat because Elgan wasn’t commenting on the Zune as a product. He was merely firing out bullet point blanks he’d imagined in his own PowerPoint presentation on why Microsoft can never, ever fail. That’s arrogance.

Office Wars 2 – Microsoft’s Outrageous Office Profits

microsofts profits

The Windows Enthusiast’s ‘Partners Myth.’
Fans of Microsoft like to cultivate the myth that Apple treats its partners badly, while Microsoft waltzes from one dance partner to the next, leaving the whole floor enchanted and blushing. The problem with that idea it that is that it is a manufactured lie. It isn’t true today and hasn’t ever been true in the past. While all companies work toward their own interests, Microsoft has proven to be a lousy partner, while Apple has not.

In the 80s, Apple partnered with Microsoft and gave the company a strong lead into the graphical application development business with the Macintosh. Microsoft responded by betraying Apple and finding loopholes in its contract to allow it to use Apple’s own technology against it on the PC with Windows. It then ported its Mac apps away from Apple’s hardware and froze its development on the Mac in 1994 in an attempt to kill its former partner.

In the 90s, Apple partnered with IBM to develop the PowerPC processor and Taligent software. Microsoft had just betrayed IBM over the development of OS/2. Microsoft also used OS/2 to pull the rug out from under its own DOS developers, by advising them to port their applications to OS/2 while Microsoft itself worked to develop its own apps for Windows, ensuring that the company could leverage its PC monopoly to obtain a new monopoly in the desktop PC application business.

Within a couple years, the DOS PC application market led by developers such as Word Perfect, Lotus, and Borland was wholly transferred to Microsoft. Windows Enthusiasts tell the tale that all of those developers simply just didn’t port their applications to Windows fast enough. That’s not true; Microsoft intentionally executed each of them and used its OEM licensing leverage to close Windows to any competition to Office.

SCO, Linux, and Microsoft in the History of OS: 1970s
SCO, Linux, and Microsoft in the History of OS: 1980s
SCO, Linux, and Microsoft in the History of OS: 1990s
SCO, Linux, and Microsoft in the History of OS: 2000s
Office Wars 3 – How Microsoft Got Its Office Monopoly
Office Wars 4 – Microsoft’s Assault on Lotus and IBM

Software Sells Systems

Apple vs Microsoft in Partnerships.
We don’t need to dig back into the early 90s for examples of Microsoft’s ill treatment of its partners however. Microsoft had continued to attack its Windows partners in any area where the company determined that it wanted a market all for itself: Netscape, Sun’s Java, Real Networks, Google, and so on.

After setting up the PlaysForSure partnership with a variety hardware makers and online stores in order to roll out Windows Media, Microsoft decided to yank the rug on all of them and replace them with its own, incompatible Zune player and store. Microsoft is a horrific partner and has always been. It is a traitorous leech on the back end of technology.

Apple, on the other hand, has formed strong partnerships with other companies throughout its history. Its alliance with Acorn to create the ARM architecture resulted in the most popular embedded processor in consumer electronics. Its partnership with Motorola and IBM on PowerPC remained strong until its PowerPC partners backed out of the desktop market and entered gaming and embedded markets, leaving Apple stranded.

Origins: Why the iPhone is ARM, and isn’t Symbian

Apple partnered with the OSF and with open source developers to create MkLinux. It later collaborated with the Net/Free/OpenBSD communities and even delivered its own core OS in Mac OS X as an open source project. Apple has shared its QuickTime Streaming Server, Bonjour, and other technologies with the community. It contributed its QuickTime container format as the basis of the ISO’s MPEG-4. It worked with KDE to deliver Safari’s WebKit based on improvements to KHTML. Apple bent over backwards to accommodate developers in its move to Mac OS X.

Apple’s Open Source Assault

In music and media, Apple has partnered with labels to deliver consumer friendly products that aggressively work to keep prices low and usability high. Apple didn’t tax its iPod users with a “theft indulgence” as Microsoft did for Universal with the Zune, but it did create a real market for labels and studios to offer their music and video at fair prices and using liberal copy restrictions.

Apple partnered with HP to deliver the iPod until HP backed out of the deal. Apple has also partnered with car makers, airlines, Nike, and a variety of hardware makers to deliver iPod compatible accessories and integration products. It has recently partnered with Starbucks and with mobile companies around the world to deliver a new class of mobile service at competitive prices.

There are no doubt groups–including patent trolls and their attorneys–that can complain about Apple, but calling Apple a bad partner–particularly in comparison to Microsoft–is laughable and simply dishonest.

Poor Microsoft.
Elgan’s single point of proof that Apple is a bad partner is the fact that Leopard developer previews depict networked Windows PCs using a comical icon displaying the “blue screen of death,” which Elgan called a “slap-in-the-face insult.” Yes, how troublesome for Microsoft that Apple as its competitor pokes fun at it in such a benign way.

How outrageous. Imagine Microsoft making arrogant and embittered attacks on Apple. Oh wait, we don’t have to imagine. Just search YouTube. Check out Steve Ballmer doing a nervous guffaw about the iPhone, insisting that nobody would buy it and that it was the “most expensive phone in the world,” while knowing full well that it actually cost less to own than his own Windows Mobile units. In nearly the same breath, he heaved about how the Zune had taken 25% market share, despite the fact that it had never come even close, ever.

Microsoft executives have consistently been arrogant braggarts who dismissed Apple at one turn after the next, only to be humiliated by their own incompetence. Vista is a disgrace the company can’t even sell. Windows Mobile is an embarrassment. WinCE is a decade long catastrophe. Microsoft shamed itself with years of serious security problems and software that is so bad it made “blue screen of death” a common phrase. Apple is somehow outraging our sense of decency for making light of this?

The most foul hypocrisy here is that Elgan has been at the forefront of ridiculing Apple on Microsoft’s behalf. He presents a false image of being impartial and appreciating Apple’s success while really he’s a contemptuous troll that has been running down everything Apple has contributed throughout his entire career. Trying to build a case of righteous indignation against Apple just exposes what a complete fraud Elgan is.

The Spectacular Failure of WinCE and Windows Mobile
Apple: iPhone Now Costs Less than Ballmer’s Lame Motorola Q

Pity the iPhone Users.
Elgan then rambles on about the damages suffered by iPhone users after Apple lowered the price. As someone who bought two iPhones, with the intent of using them for a year or two, I can’t really see the outrage. Anyone who is bitter about the price of the iPhone dropping shouldn’t have bought one. However, Elgan’s prancing around feigning anger and outrage is a bit too much to stomach.

He dismisses the fact that Apple offered early buyers a $100 credit, a bonus they had no anticipation of getting when they chose to buy the iPhone, and which they didn’t have any legal right to get afterward. Apple volunteered it. Elgan described it as “$100 worth of products they never intended to buy.” What a piece of work!

“Most companies avoid punishing hardcore fans. Not Apple,” Elgan whined. Perhaps Elgan should take a closer look at the Xbox 360 fiasco. Microsoft shipped defective machines to users, leaving many to return their machines repeatedly for repairs. The company was forced to reserve a billion dollars to handle warranty work this year, but never credited users with a rebate nor did it perform a recall, despite admitting that every one of the 11.6 million units sold suffered from design flaws that will eventually lead to thermal failure, even when used correctly.

Innovation: Apple at Macworld vs Microsoft at CES
10 FAS: 7 – Apple’s Hardware and Dvorak’s Microsoft Branded PC

Microsoft’s Burning Babies.
Fourteen million of Microsoft’s original Xbox models also had their power cables recalled after the company was sued for fires that resulted in multiple families’ houses being burned down, but only after insurance companies began seeking damages from Microsoft. When a young couple lost their house–and their baby–in a fire caused by the Xbox, Microsoft’s lawyers blamed the parents for not knowing that the Xbox was a dangerous fire hazard.

Microsoft said the Kline family, which filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company as a result of the Xbox fire that killed their child, “knowingly, willingly, intentionally, and voluntarily exposed themselves to said danger and assumed the risk of incident, injuries, losses, and damages.”

Microsoft’s lawyers argued that the Kline’s “losses and damages, if any, resulted from misuse or abuse of the Xbox console at issue.” Meanwhile, Xbox gamer blogs called the suit “frivolous” and a “waste of everyone’s time.”

Just to wrap things up: Microsoft’s products can burn down your house and kill your baby, but if Apple lowers its prices, it’s “punishing its hardcore fans,” at least according to Elgan and the Windows Enthusiasts that chant out chilling, cult-like phrases in support of the most disgusting company in technology.

Microsoft Says Xbox ‘Abuse’ Led To Fire That Killed Baby — Xbox Lawsuit — InformationWeek

Elgan’s Next Outrage: Unsupported Firmware Tampering.
For his third example of Apple’s overreaching evil, Elgan tried to drum up sensationalism around the iPhone update that disabled security cracks which allowed third parties to install additional software. “In an act that can only be characterized as ‘revenge,’ Apple issued a software update that can kill these modified or improved phones,” Elgan wrote.

For having been a proponent of Windows throughout his career, Elgan sure doesn’t know much about software. Perhaps those two ideas are related. In any event, Apple did not “brick” any iPhones, and anyone who frames the event as such is a sensationalist fraud. Apple clearly warned users before releasing the update that it had discovered that phones with tampered firmware could be left unworkable by the software update. After it released the update, it put up a bold warning that reminded users that the update would likely cause problems for iPhones with tampered firmware.

While the philosophical debate over whether Apple should open the iPhone to third party development is interesting, the underlying technical grounds for disabling third party software can not be argued around. All of the unauthorized third party software developed for the iPhone relied upon exploiting buffer overruns. These were significant security flaws that could just as easily allow attack vectors to malicious coders. Apple had an obligation to its users to patch these cracks.

However, Apple left the iPhone update an optional install. It did not roll out an automatic update that users could not shut off, as Microsoft does with its Windows XP and Vista software update. Apple also did not ban any equipment it found violating its terms of service, as Microsoft does when it permanently bans Xbox 360 users suspected of installing hacks to their console firmware from accessing its online Xbox Live services, or as it unintentionally did when its WGA system went down and legitimate XP and Vista users were locked down with a reduced feature set on suspicion of software piracy.

WGA the Dog: Microsoft’s DRM Failure Earns Zoon Nomination

Why Apple May Never Open the iPhone
How Closed Is the IPhone?
How Open will the iPhone Get?

 Rd Techq307 Entries 2007 9 15 Apples Itunes Ringtones And The Complex World Of Copyright Law 2 Files Shapeimage 1

Tampered Firmware Never Supported.
Given Microsoft’s outrageous treatment of its consumer base, it is laughable that Elgan can continue his absurd soapbox rant about how awful it was that Apple offered a software update the solved security problems for the iPhone. But he keeps going. He describes Apple’s update as “malice,” which is a clear case of libel.

Elgan insists that Apple “could have handled these iPhones in any number of ways, from code that prevents modified phones from being updated, to reformatting and re-installing the iPhone software.” This displays Elgan’s ignorance in his subject matter. Perhaps he doesn’t understand that the iPhone isn’t a small PC, but rather a series of at least three independent embedded processors, including a baseband cellular radio subsystem and the ARM processors running the OS X operating system.

Each of these systems has its own firmware, and that firmware has to be in a known state in order to load software properly. When hackers dig through the system, they can overrun memory buffers until part of the system resets, then feed it replacement code to allow themselves further access into the system. This works very much like a biological virus, which inserts its own DNA code into cells to force them to perform other tasks. Like viruses, these break ins complicate how the host system works in complex ways.

No computer or device makers can offer to support a PC or mobile device running with tampered firmware. For example, Microsoft doesn’t guarantee that Windows will load properly on a system that does not work as originally designed after unsupported hacks are made to its BIOS. For Elgan to perform his theatrics about how Apple is abusing its customers with a “cold slap in the face” is simply a matter of intellectual dishonesty, hypocrisy, and grosteque ignorance.

State of the iPhone – Solipsism Gradient

The Arts of Noise.
Elgan rejoices that much of the ignorant media has churned out opinions that question Apple’s decisions, citing sensationalist headlines from such luminaries as CNET, Gizmodo, and PC World, which cited “analysts” as fearing that users may now be afraid of security patches. Elgan doesn’t spell out how much credibility these groups have, however; that would be embarrassing.

He also fails to account for the fact that these same flacks and wags have been gushing pro-Microsoft propaganda for years while the iPod decimated Microsoft’s failed plot to deploy Windows Media. The iPhone also beat the feathers out of Windows Mobile, despite Gizmodo’s plea to boycott the iPhone. Microsoft’s paying bloggers to repeat its slogans didn’t create excitement around Vista either.

Maybe the power of pundit propaganda is waning in a world where the truth can be found on the web? That does explain Elgan’s frantic desperation in taking irresponsible potshots at Apple, one of few companies actually working to deliver real innovation in hardware and software.

Secret iPhone Details Lost in a Sea of Hype and Hate

 Rd Rdm.Tech.Q2.07 34C8Bd5D-E210-4A62-Be6F-Fd21E046A397 Files Perfectphone

Boot Camp Flunkie.
For his final number, Elgan brings up Boot Camp, the installer utility Apple provides to set up a Windows partition on Intel Macs. As is typical, Elgan reports everything in a wrongheaded, sensationalist, fraudulent manner.

“The day Mac OS X Leopard ships, Boot Camp turns into a pumpkin,” Elgan wrote. “The only way to fully use it is to upgrade to Leopard. Apple wants your money, and wants it NOW. Most companies would maintain good customer relations by giving users a little time to upgrade. Not Apple.”

That’s not even remotely accurate though. Boot Camp isn’t even required to run Windows. It’s a setup utility, and its beta has expired and been replaced multiple times over the last year. All it does is assist in the formating of a hard drive and in setting up the partition for installing Windows. Apple also provides a set of hardware drivers so that Windows can take full advantage of all the unique hardware on a Mac. None of these things expire in a way that causes problems for existing software.

Once installed, there’s no need to use Boot Camp. Elgan suggests that Tiger users will somehow be stuck in a conundrum with expired, non-functional software. That’s a lie, and exactly what one might expect of someone who has devoted their entire career to supporting a flawed, overpriced, software empire that lacks any class, or as Jobs noted, taste.

For his disingenuous, desperately sensationalist, and outrageously disgusting misinformation campaign, Mike Elgan earns a Zoon award.

What do you think? I really like to hear from readers. Comment in the Forum or email me with your ideas.

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1 osViews | osOpinion { 10.06.07 at 4:29 pm }

Arrogance Unleashed: The Foul Stench of Computerworld’s Mike Elgan…

Arrogance Unleashed: The Foul Stench of Computerworld’s Mike Elgan Mike Elgan, a former editor of Windows Magazine, has recently gon…

2 mrprezident { 10.06.07 at 7:00 pm }

“Its partnership with Motorola and IBM on PowerPC remained strong until its PowerPC partners backed out of the desktop market and entered gaming and embedded markets, leaving Apple stranded.”

This is completely false. Ok, yes Motorola did drop out, but IBM was really the important player in the first place, and I was working for IBM on PowerPC at the time Apple switched to Intel (ironically now I am working for Intel), and I can tell you that IBM was dedicated to supporting Apple right up until Apple pulled the plug. I love Apple, but they were always a pain in the ass customer to deal with.

3 sebastianlewis { 10.06.07 at 7:13 pm }

Glad to see the link repaired, as much as I enjoy that 404 page, your articles are really much much better. Also I’d like to congratulate Mike Elgan for earning another Zoon award, you worked hard for it and I’m sure your mother is proud.


4 slayerjr { 10.07.07 at 4:30 am }

Fabulous as usual. What is needed now is an actual physical Zoon that can be sent to Elgan’s employer together with a copy of your treatise. Since most executives are clueless as to what effect their hirelings may have on the credibility of the company they represent, such a move may well have a real effect on their behavior. Keep it up Dan and thanks.

5 danieleran { 10.07.07 at 7:34 pm }

@mrprezident: There’s no doubt IBM liked getting paid, but it also made some “Who needs Apple” remarks after Apple announced the move. IBM also failed to deliver 3GHz G5s, and really had given up caring much about the desktop market.

My point was that Apple didn’t set up a partnership and then knock them down, betray its partners, or try to run them out of business. Companies do exist to make money, but there are also ethics.

Apple certainly works in its self interest to make the best of its partner agreements, but the fact remains that Apple is (at least for now) a far better partner than Microsoft, and this has historically been the case throughout the company’s history.

6 mrprezident { 10.07.07 at 10:22 pm }

@danieleran: It was nice for IBM to have Apple, b/c they were a high visibility customer, but on the other hand, Apple was a pain in the ass customer and we weren’t getting tons of money from them anyway. So of course there were some “Who needs Apple” remarks. That doesn’t mean that IBM backed out of the desktop market and left Apple stranded. In fact, the opposite happened. IBM had not “given up caring much about the desktop market.” IBM did a really awesome job of supplying high performance chips for Apple despite Apple missing their deadlines and causing huge delays. IBM did have problems delivering 3GHz G5s, but that was due to technical issues that were eventually resolved and had nothing to do with IBM’s commitment to Apple. Ultimately Apple made the right decision, b/c Intel is much more equipped at making power efficient processors which is the direction that Apple wanted to take.

I’m not trying to negate your main point which is that Apple is (as of now) a better partner than Microsoft. I completely agree with you. I would much prefer to work with a demanding, flaky, and overly secretive company who would cut me off without any warning, than one who regularly engages in non-ethical monopolistic practices.

My comment was simply to correct your assertion that IBM abandoned Apple, which was just not the case.

7 brucehoult { 10.07.07 at 11:48 pm }

It’s not so much that IBM (and Motorola) actively abandoned Apple, as that they simply failed to invest the resources necessary to keep up with x86 chips, especially with chips for laptops.

The G5 is a great processor, and Intel had nothing to beat it until the Core 2 Extreme, which happened some time after Apple had switched the rest of the line-up to Intel (and years after the decision was announced).

But while the G4 was a really nice series (a lot of different cores were sold under that name, from 400 MHz to 1.42 GHz or more), the fact is that, starting with Intel getting unexpectedly lucky with the Pentium M/Centrino, Apple’s laptops were falling further and further behind in performance and there was nothing they could do about it.

It may be that IBM didn’t have the technology necessary to match or beat the Centrino/Core/Core2 series. It may be that they could have done it but it would cost more than could be justified by selling them to Apple and they saw no other customers. It doesn’t matter — they didn’t do it, and that effectively constitutes sending Apple into the arms of Intel.

8 kirkgray { 10.08.07 at 12:09 am }

I agree — IBM didn’t abandon Apple. It did however neglect it. IBM failed to deliver the faster processors it promised. And failed to deliver low-power, laptop capable processors as well.

9 Michael Vasovski { 10.08.07 at 12:34 am }

“I’m not trying to negate your main point which is that Apple is (as of now) a better partner than Microsoft. I completely agree with you. I would much prefer to work with a demanding, flaky, and overly secretive company who would cut me off without any warning, than one who regularly engages in non-ethical monopolistic practices.”

Wow! You get the Poon Award… Free lap dance at your favorite dive:)

10 JohnWatkins { 10.08.07 at 1:20 am }

I like the web site overhaul. No more text scaling problems and it loads fast (compatibility with Safari is a good thing.) No wonder we haven’t heard from you for a week, busy, busy. Nice article too!

I think what we need now is an exploration of this whole, “Apple is a big meanie for ruining the hacks I did on my iPhone, and anyway, Apple is way worse than Microsoft ever was,” story.

Where is this coming from? Why do people expect Apple to work around their hacks? Where do people get the idea that Apple is a monopoly? etc. The climate around Apple right now is just plain weird. Meanwhile the stock goes up.

11 CNA { 10.08.07 at 1:32 am }

Daniel –
Thanks for your new site which now works great on my 2001 iBook running 10.3.9.

12 ebernet { 10.08.07 at 3:24 am }

“All of the unauthorized third party software developed for the iPhone relied upon exploiting buffer overruns. ”

Where did you get that information from? I thought once the patched system was on there, the applications that were downloaded and run by installer.app were standard OS X apps written to native iPhone frameworks…

13 danieleran { 10.08.07 at 3:50 am }

@ebernet: you have to break through security in order to patch the system, which is required to install software. Once you’ve patched your firmware, it’s no longer a standard system that Apple can update using a single patch.

Further, patching the initial security flaws means that the same firmware patches for getting in to install software won’t work. That’s why new methods are being developed. That was the “cat and mouse” effect various people described.

Apple can’t sanction those apps, because doing so would make it responsible for an inherently insecure system.

That’s why it’s comical that the same wags that insist that Apple isn’t doing enough to “secure the iPhone” are also complaining that it is “persecuting hackers” who are exploiting security holes to create ways to install software.

A platform without security might have lots of software options, but it also will have those security problems. Apple doesn’t want another Windows.

At the same time, it also isn’t (yet) deactivating units that are patched, which it could easily do. All the reporting that says Apple is “bricking phones” is wrong. It released an optional update that patched security, and noted that it might not work with units that had patched firmware (there are multiple ways to install software, and each uses different tricks).

Apple also announced that they wouldn’t support the software update on units with tampered firmware, which no other company would/could do either. The difference is that Apple isn’t killing phones or banning them from the network (which is very possible to do) in the way Microsoft bans Xbox Live users. This makes is yet more comical that the wags are pretending to be morally outraged over things, because they defend banning users in other circumstances when they break through security to install software that may or may not do things that cause problems.

14 ebernet { 10.08.07 at 4:06 am }

Daniel, I am not disagreeing with your article – I am disagreeing with the method stated for doing ALL the hacks. I was under the impression that “jailbreaking” to install apps (not the unlocking of the phone) simply used the standard iPhone mechanism to do a software restore to install a modified version of the system software for the phone part that included the installer app – I didn’t think it used a buffer overrun to put it in the “install firmware” state but rather the standard command that iTunes issues to install firmware – the loader for that I beleive is permanent and will not change from version to version. While hacking the baseband firmware may do that, I have seen no indication of hacking the 1.0.2 image does that.
As to why it is taking so long to do this with 1.1.1, from my understanding the disk image is encrypted, so before they can mount the disk image, modify it with installer.app, and make that the new disk image to restore in the same manner as they did for 1.0, 1.0.1, and 1.0.2, they need to unlock it. As far as I know, none of those steps involve buffer overruns, while they do, of course, involve hacking the OS.

I had installer.app and a bunch of cool apps installed on my phone. 1.1.1 simply wiped them out as it installed (restored) the OS image. I imagine such upgrades will continue t work if and when the developer group unlocks the disk image. I know of no one who had installed apps and NOT unlocked the phone having their phone disabled, nor would I expect that to happen. I see no reason to unlock my phone and am happy with AT&T. I am hoping that if I go to travel in Europe at some point, when I rent a SIM card from a local provider, I will be able to rent an iPhone along with it, or AT&T coms out with better deals. Maybe even, someday, Apple will allow unlocking for such scenarios. To unlock for use in the US seems foolish AND foolhardy.

15 Tilneys { 10.08.07 at 6:45 am }

It does make me wonder how many people have been put off from migrating to Apple Macs over the years by these rogue, reprehensible writers. I hope that one day they look back and regret what they were doing. We also mustn’t forget the other names in this category like Paul Thurrott and Rob Enderle to name but two.

Welcome back Dan. Your site is looking in better shape than ever and I wish it significantly increased, and increasing, readership.

16 James { 10.08.07 at 7:41 am }

Daniel I love the new site design!

I really would enjoy your dissection of bad journalism more, if you just concentrated on on just the articles. That ad hominem attacks are everywhere now on the internet and in political life, in no way makes them less reprehensible. Indeed that you indulge in them makes you look weaker, which is a shame, because your arguments stand up on their own, without any need for camouflage.

17 jake { 10.08.07 at 10:25 am }

The amazing thing is really the number of these guys who come out of the woodwork to criticize anyone who threatens Microsoft’s hegemony. What’s in it for them beyond the schadenfreude? Seriously, WTF?

Liked the dance metaphor. So Apple is like the slightly vain good-looking guy who’s a little picky about his partners. Lots of people are dying to see him fall on his face. Sometimes his choices are a little hard to figure. Everybody has an opinion about how he should make choices. IBM gets dropped because ultimately it just wasn’t putting out. No really ;-).

But doesn’t that make Microsoft a little like the serial date-rapist?

OK, maybe this analogy thing is getting a bit over the top . . . .

18 rogera { 10.08.07 at 10:37 am }

Hi Dan,

My oh my, you have been busy. Love the new web site. Much cleaner and an easier read than the old one. Also, I always enjoy your articles so keep up the good work.

With regard to the wags and wallies who write all this anti-Apple stuff. In encouraging their hacks to write this garbage, Microshit must be feeling the pressure that Apple is putting on them in the market place. They are a most dishonest and unethical company that uses downright illegal means to manouvre competitors aside. I have not bought any of their products since I threw my PC into the garbage can 15 years ago and will not ever do so in the future.

I run OS 10.4..10 as my main OS and Xandros on a partition for playing around with. Linux is still so Windows-like that I doubt that I could convert full time to it.


19 brian { 10.08.07 at 10:58 am }


Enjoyable article. Will you ever run out of new material being handed to you by these so-called journalists?

While I agree with most of the article, I do think that a slight amount of iPhone outrage is in order. I think that many people had hoped that the introduction of the iPhone would immediately change things in the cell phone market. Such as the need for exclusive deals, subsidies, and SIM locks.

I am really looking forward to a truly free market in which there are no required ties between device manufacturer and service provider. I didn’t have to sign up for AOL or AT&T broadband in order to use my MacBook Pro. If it had been required, I surely would have searched hard to find some way to “unlock” such a restriction.

So I don’t blame the unlockers. I do blame the industry for forcing this crap on us. And I am disappointed in Apple for not finding some way to take the high road here, and kill off these wretched phone locking practices.

As far as 3rd party applicatons support goes, it’s their choice and their right to control it. But it is a shame in that it will probably lead to Windows Mobile dominating the smartphone market.

20 gus2000 { 10.08.07 at 11:37 am }


Great site. Both of them. I’ll be happy when we’re back to just one RDM, tho. :)

Hooray for Elgan and the FUDrakers! Animals attack when cornered, and pseudo-journalists are largely animals. Their broad and merciless attack on Apple only signals to me that even they understand that The End Is Near. Not the end of MS, but the end of the tyranny.

Feel free to keep pointing them out and picking them to pieces.

21 Phildikian { 10.08.07 at 12:23 pm }

Hey Dan,

Congrats on the new site – been hoping you were okay after the hiatus. Great article, keep up the good work!

I think an idea for a new article could be about all the iPhone people who are mad at Apple for not changing the cell phone market “enough”. WTF? People are really impossible to please… I realize that it would be completely revolutionary for Apple to in one fell swoop abolish SIM cards, annual contracts and enable 3rd party apps WHILE keeping their phones as safe from hacking as possible… but come…on! Do these people understand what they’re asking? I consider myself an avid yet realistic Apple user (since 94), I don’t defend when Apple makes a “dumb” move, but I also don’t criticize purely for the sake of “looking” objective.

People complaining about Apple not doing “enough” drive me crazy. Yes, there is more work for Apple to do, but do you expect them to abolish locked phones and annual contracts? To do that, they would have to setup their own carrier as no current carrier would do that. People complained about Apple “selling out” to AT&T – like Verizon would be better? They’re all snakes in my book. I think Apple may have created a monster – on one hand they do so many things better than most companies, but yet it is never enough…

Drives. Me. Friggin’ crazy.

22 gkent { 10.08.07 at 12:23 pm }

Mrprezident Apple rightly gave up the super hot G5 chips because they could not be made smaller and cooler by IBM. Apple was falling behind in the important laptop area as well as many overheating problems with the G5 in iMacs and Powermacs. Look at the problems Microsoft XBox has had with heat using those IBM chips. Apple dumped the G5, adopted Intel, and market share has soared. Loyalty to your company should not blind you to the facts. G5 chips are too large, too power hungry and too hot. IBM had their chance but they blew it.

23 UrbanBard { 10.08.07 at 5:51 pm }

Great rework on the web site, Daniel. Much better for those of us with aging eyeballs.

I think that the iPhone is just too new. It is still an infant. Like any infant, many people have impossible expectations for it. Trust me, it will never be president.

The Linux Open Source community wants the iPhone to be wide open but as a phone it cannot be. FCC regulations must apply.

Then, there are the contracts that Apple signed with AT&T; those cannot be ignored. The iPhone must have been a difficult feat to carry off; designing the hardware and software was the easiest part.

AT&T had to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade its EDGE service to 2.75G. Next, before a 3G iPhone can be released AT&T must upgrade to HSDPA. Many more hundreds of millions of dollars must be expended and the customers have to pay for that benefit.

So, AT&T rightly demands a lock in. Who would expect otherwise? People who believe in magic? A fast connection Fairy, perhaps? People who believe they can get something for nothing?

I do wonder about the FUD, though; it seems too coordinated. It looks as though Microsoft got together with the mobile phone manufacturers to start up a FUD campaign. I doubt that Mike Elgan, Ken Dulaney and Rob Enderle are on Microsoft’s payroll; stupid people often work for free. I just think that they are lazy writers out of ideas and someone is feeding them a line of bull. Their positions defy logic.

I think Apple has been rather restrained in this. Hackers break their iPhone Warranty, so all Apple does is warn them not to update. The hackers do so anyway and don’t want to accept any responsibility for the results. Sorry, no sympathy from me.

All this will blow over. Six months from now, no one will remember. A big Christmas season will come in the meantime. No one can say that the iPhone isn’t a big success headed for even greater things. Apple’s detractors will continue to rant and no one will care.

24 brian { 10.08.07 at 8:17 pm }

This will not all blow over. Apple and the iPhone is just a single data point. Cellular customers are beginning to get fed up with how U.S. service providers operate – including the way they use device subsidies and device locks.

I think change will come, for the better. I don’t mind paying more for cellular service, if that’s what it takes, in order to get good service and freedom to choose my device, carrier, and contract terms in a functioning and competitive market.

Apple will be more liked if they are a catalyst for these changes; less liked if they seem to support the status quo. For the record, I don’t think they do support the status quo. They are more like the naive schoolgirl who just strutted into the frat house, and is a prime target for being “educated” in the ways of the world. Let’s hope they are smart enough to see past the smoke screens.

25 ebernet { 10.08.07 at 8:28 pm }

Brian, until the US standardizes on one protocol (GSM or CDMA) there will always be a sort of lock-in in the US. I really don’t think this is a deal breaker – I have been with the same cell provider for 10 years, twice out of contract. If I want to switch to something other than T-Mobile I would need to buy a phone, and there are many great ways to cancel contracts….

26 mrprezident { 10.08.07 at 9:14 pm }

@gkent: re-read my post. As I already said in my previous post, Apple made the right decision b/c Intel is much better equipped at making power efficient processors. IBM’s G5s were not “too large” (that doesn’t make any sense), but they were certainly power hungry. IBM makes server chips that run hot. That’s what they do (although now I think they are realizing they can’t do that anymore). Power wasn’t an issue when Apple first partnered with IBM, but things change.

27 lmasanti { 10.08.07 at 9:56 pm }

“The iPhone must have been a difficult feat to carry off; designing the hardware and software was the easiest part.”
If the hardware and software were “the easiest part”… why did nobody come with a decent cellphone before?
Are Microsoft, Sony, Nokia, Simbyan and Motorola… “little companies” incapable of making such an “easy” combination of hardware and software?
AT&T had to do a lot of work, but nothing out of common knowledge.
The hardware maybe is “easier” than the soft, but to get what they got (in size and thickness) is not easy either.
And if you thing that getting the full software designed, programming and running was an easy task, remember that Apple postponed 6 month Leopard!

28 brucehoult { 10.08.07 at 10:34 pm }

Being the easiest part doesn’t mean easy. Sure, few other companies in the world could have done it. Not because of lack of talent or money, but because few companies have their own OS and state of the art dynamic object-oriented runtime and UI frameworks. But most of all because very very few other companies have management that will allow the programmers to keep on working on something, polishing away at it, until it is perfect. It’s always “that’s good enough, ship it and move on to the next thing”. Jobs doesn’t just allow the developers to polish until they’re happy — he requires it.

But even with all that, yes, the hardware and software were the easy part. That’s just more of the same consumer electronics engineering that they’ve been doing since 2000 and more of the same Unix/Cocoa software engineering that they’ve been doing continuously since the late 80’s. The HARD part is persuading evil bastard business partners (whether recording labels, tv&movie studios, or telcos) that there is a better way to do things. That is where the great unknowns and unknowables lie.

29 UrbanBard { 10.08.07 at 11:31 pm }

@brian, the solution is VOIP. But, it will take a long while before that is ready and nation wide. The problem is that America, and the world, is technologically balkanized because the local phone systems are partially deregulated leaving the local phone companies as monopolies. That monopoly is what needs to be changed, But VOIP will push in the right direction.

@imasanti, Apple built the iPhone upon a successful product: the iPod. The economies of scale of the iPod were inserted into the iPhone. No doubt this has been planned for some time. Apple already had a long association with ARM since the Apple Newton. Apple took its strengths and created the iPhone out of them.

Also it had Mac OSX ready to be used. Daniel says that the iPod really runs on Mac OSX with a PIXO front end. All this was easy for Apple because they had been moving toward this for a long time. It would be prohibitive for anyone else, though.

The problem is that Apple needed partners to make this work. It took some special circumstances to allow Apple to break into the Smart Phone market. All the odds were against them.

Apple insisted on paradigm shifting business practices on AT&T’s part. They were probably quite reluctant, but AT&T could see that Verizon was gaining on them. Other technologies were threatening them, too. It took a leap of faith to accept the iPhone sight unseen. AT&T did it because they desperately needed a success.

AT&T had to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade its EDGE service to 2.75G. It will have to spend perhaps a half billion dollars to upgrade to HSDPA 3G service for a 3G iPhone in 2008. This was very hard to do for as hidebound a company as AT&T is. If you think any of this was easy, you are fooling yourself.

30 binesi { 10.08.07 at 11:33 pm }

Sorry. Who needs a cellphone anyway? If they choose to hack it and they are warned it may not work . . . Damn wish I was important enought to justify spending that kind of cash.

31 UrbanBard { 10.09.07 at 1:44 am }

Who needs anything, binesi? The economists say we have unlimited wants and limited means. What is convenience worth to you? Not much I’d say. That is because your time isn’t worth much.

$400 for an iPhone is not that much money to me; nor is $59 a month. I just don’t have much need. If I were in business, rather than retired, so that my time was how I made my living then reducing idleness would be important. Then a cell phone would be a necessity. Hell, I’d want mental telepathy.

But, keep up that attitude, binesi, and you will remain a peon.

32 dkrieb { 10.13.07 at 9:29 am }


With all of the talk about Apple and iPhone; can you tell us anything about the recent articles regarding Google and their plans to launch their own phone? If so, how does this affect or tie in with their relationship with Apple. There seems to be more than meets the eye.

33 Anti Virus Software { 10.16.07 at 2:20 pm }

Anti Virus Software…

I couldn’t understand some parts of this article, but it sounds interesting…

34 Linda { 10.17.07 at 6:42 am }


35 Steve Jobs Ends iPhone SDK Panic — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 10.22.07 at 4:51 pm }

[…] Arrogance Unleashed: The Foul Stench of Computerworld’s Mike Elgan […]

36 Kuben { 10.24.07 at 8:09 pm }


I am very impressed with your site. The quality of the design and content makes it a real winner! Thanks again for a great site and a great resource on the net….

37 Zoon Awards Hall of Shame — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 11.10.07 at 5:59 am }

[…] Arrogance Unleashed: The Foul Stench of Computerworld’s Mike Elgan […]

38 Ten Myths of Leopard: 10 Leopard is a Vista Knockoff! — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 11.10.07 at 6:01 am }

[…] Arrogance Unleashed: The Foul Stench of Computerworld’s Mike Elgan Forbes’ Fake Steve Jobs Is Also Fake On Apple A Tag Team Leopard Feathering. Microsoft Watch blogger Joe Wilcox recently outlined the major complaints of Vista and tried to map them upon Leopard. Among his criticisms of Leopard compared to Tiger was that Leopard’s “Internet connection is sluggish and routes slowly,” and that Microsoft’s Outlook Web doesn’t work well in Safari, but is only usable in Firefox. The former issue has sanity problems that are hard to address, but as for the latter problem: Safari doesn’t render Microsoft’s HTML any differently on Leopard than in Tiger. […]

39 mrunderhill { 12.29.07 at 5:50 pm }

I’d love an iPhone, (i own the iPod Touch and just about everything else Apple have thrown at me), but i think they have dropped a clanger with regards to tying the product with a 18mth phone contract.

Whilst i can understand it gives Apple an additional revenue sharing stream, i believe the iPhone would have sold three-fold if it was a solus product.

I live in the UK where phones are heavilly subsidised and people are not used to paying for them when buying on contract. So the fact Apple have already sold an incredible amount to date (not sure of the official figure) in the UK is outstanding.

However, i have a sneaking feeling that Apple will eventually change the rules for this in the UK either through price reductions or through a new iPhone product.

40 hylas { 01.27.08 at 8:32 pm }

I have to say I’m a big fan of PPCs, (I’m writing from a G5) but I’m slowly realizing that the move to Intel was necessary. I do wish we could keep the PPC optional (in a perfect world).

These so called “professional writers” fool no one that has basic reasoning skills, though I have seen some pretty funny things lately – such as Charley Rose interviewing Walt Mossberg last week on his show,


… the more Walt spoke of Apple, the more uncomfortable Charley became, several time injecting “but, but, Microsoft – blah-blah-blah, but, but, Bill Gates.


41 hylas { 01.27.08 at 8:39 pm }

Whoops, wrong Mossberg Link (here’s the right one):

Walter Mossberg
A discussion about Macworld, 01/23/2008



42 ebernet { 01.27.08 at 9:20 pm }

hylas wrote:

“… the more Walt spoke of Apple, the more uncomfortable Charley became, several time injecting “but, but, Microsoft – blah-blah-blah, but, but, Bill Gates.

Actually, it was Rose who switched gears to CES and what Bill Gates said, and it was Walt who could not get his nose out of Steve Jobs ass long enough to address what he was being asked. Instead of responding to Rose’s questions about MSFT and Bill Gates, he kept on going back to Steve Jobs. Unfortunately, Walt is unable to separate Jobs from Apple, always referring to Apple as “Steve Jobs”.
For example:
“What did he say that made it compelling?” was the question about Bill Gates last CES address…
Walt Responded:
“He sketched out a very similar vision to what he has been sketching out for years, and it kind of hasn’t happened yet, which is the digital home of course with instead of Jobs doing it with Apple products he wants to do it with Microsoft products, and all of this media flowing…”
So Charlie responded, very truthfully, that it is too early to count out Microsoft…
So then Walt talks about the stuff Microsoft is making, and is unable to NOT compare it to the Apple TV, and then brings Jobs in to say Apple made it VERY clear they intend to be in the thick of it…
We KNOW Walt, you just spent the 1st 12 minutes talking about Apple – can you address for 2 minutes the questions about Microsoft? You did not bring up MSFT incessantly when discussing Apple, Why bring AAPL up incessantly when discussing Microsoft?

Look, I love Apple, I even like Walt, but just like Rose says: “Walt Mossberg is the WSJ’s guy…”, he can just as easily say “Walt Mossberg is Steve Jobs’ bitch…” – because Walt is an unapologetic fanboy…

43 Boycott Novell » IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: September 15th, 2008 { 09.16.08 at 6:37 am }
44 Boycott Novell » IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 17th, 2008 { 10.17.08 at 6:31 am }

[…] Drafted hates him: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2007/10… (among […]

45 jragosta { 03.15.09 at 8:59 am }

Unfortanately, it’s not just Elgan. Apple bashing has been in style for decades. While they concentrated on making great products, Microsoft has concentrated on buying (in the figurative, if not literal sense) journalists and analysts.

I recall a game done by Gartner Group in the 90’s. Every quarter, they would release a huge press release saying that software sales for Macs were declining. They only reported at the end of the article that the sales decline was based on an ESTIMATE of last quarter’s Mac software sales. Then, a few months later, it would turn out that the actual sales exceeded the estimate by a large margin – and Mac software sales had actually risen for that period. There was, of course, no press release announcing that fact. The only way you could find out about it was to wait until the next year and see that they were again using ACTUAL sales for comparison to the current quarter’s estimate. This went on for more than 4 years. Gartner Group was publishing one press release after another saying that Mac software sales were declining when they were actually increasing. It finally stopped years later after I published a web site showing the scam and enough people were contacting Gartner to ask them to justify their scam. Of course, by that time, Apple WAS in trouble, so they could stop this particular scam and move on to something else.

46 liberalguilt { 06.25.15 at 12:45 pm }

Elgan is one of the weirdest people I have ever met.

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