Yeah, we all feel that at times. The big evil company that just acts like a bulldozer in the marketplace, or in your front yard. Boring, evil, moneymaking and bureaucratic. For a long time, that company was IBM. In those days, which lasted up until the late 1980's or so, before IBM posted the 1991 results, and we all laughed. Problem was then, we meeded some other company to hate with affection. And along came Microsoft, Bill Gates fit the Bill (!) perfectly here, a geek, a nerd and insanely rich. What an obvious target THAT was! And Bill wanted Windows on every desktop, hey that is just plain evil!
Today though, we have a problem. The thing is that to love to hate someone, there must, for some reason, be some kind of affection (admittedly, there was little to love with IBM also, except the alternatives were even worse). And although the stereotypical rich nerd that Gates is was something you could both hate and feel affection for, it is hard to feel affection for "Big Bull" Ballmer! Also, we are probably getting tired of the love-and-hate relationship with Microsoft by now, after close to 20 years with that.
So, which is the next company to take the leadership is this contest? I see three alternatives:
- Apple - This is obvious. A charming Steve Jobs, that takes on the world of mobile phones and devices, and at the same time is also a rich dude and a founding father of Apple. And again insist on censoring your morning newspaper when feed through your iPad. Apple has grown big enough to take the helm here, and Steve is Charming enough to create the suspicison that maybe, just maybe, he and Apple is evil.
- Google - This is an interesting contender. They get head to head with the former company-we-love-to-hate leader, Microsoft, which is sure way to into the contest. What Google lacks in a public likeable spokesperson, it compensates for by being the ubiquitous search engine. We like Google, maybe we love it, but maybe there is something with the results they give me? Any what are you doing,, censoring stuff in China?
- Oracle - You have to give Larry credit for not being the most charming person on the planet, really, at least not in the way he is portrayed in the press. And Oracle as a company has a lot of something that we who love to hate really love-to-hate, lawyers. And those lawyers aren't just getting after anything, they are after the users and the user communities. There sure is evil enough within Oracle to qualify for the company-we-love-to-hate.
As for Google, they are in much better shape than Oracle. The mix of good and evil is much better. Censorship of content is one evil thing, whereas the free search engine and apps is good. The feeling that you actually get too much paid for content when you search is just that feeling of an uncertain conspiracy that could get Google the #1 spot here. The problem is just that Google is too good. Noone really thinks that Google really is bad, and when Google acts bad, everyone seems to assume that Google was forced to. So where Oracle may be too evil, in the public eye, Google is too good.
This leaves us with Apple. And Apple sure fits the Bill. Steve Jobs is a great public spokesperson for a company that is after the company-we-love-to-hate Oscar, being both charming, unstable at times and sometime aggressive and very sure of himself. Brilliant! And Apple is trying real hard to win this prize, censoring content and applications on AppStore Apps, not allowing publications that are not "Apple friendly" and not allowing emulators or portability libraries. Yes, these are exactly the kind of things a winner of the company-we-love-to-hate prize show have. And Steve Jobs is a great spokesperson.
Congratulations Steve Jobs and Apple. And to Larry and Steve Ballmer: welcome back next year!
PS. This is not serious. This I wrote for fun. This not the opinions of my employer or anyone else, actually, it is hardly my own opinion. I do not really think companies are evil. But I DO believe that we need a company to hate at times. Also, I don't have an iPhone!