Bundling is Worse

This isn’t just an Amazon problem. In the last few years, Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter have all made huge attempts to move into major parts of each others’ businesses, usually at the detriment of their customers or users.3

Google, the geek world’s undeserved, unquestioned darling for well over a decade, has made all of its core products worse by forcefully shoving Google+ into them. They’re leveraging extreme success from some businesses (search, email, maps) to juice the numbers of one that’s faring poorly against its competitors (Google+). Sound familiar?

Apple’s Maps is still worse and has fewer features than Google Maps, which was previously integrated better into the iPhone and didn’t enable as much Google tracking creepiness. Not anymore. (Although I think the fault of this is shared between Apple and Google.) Many of Apple’s other applications and services have suffered as well as they’ve spread themselves too thinly and competed on more fronts.

via Worse – Marco.org.

I don’t usually read or link to Marco, because he’s got some very specific chips on his shoulder. However I think he hits the nail on the head here.

This vertical bundling of unrelated services that you can only really get if you buy into all of them is getting really frustrating. It’s actually one of the reasons I’ve always been anti-Apple, because the bundle was deep to their core, and I’m an a-la-carte kind of guy. But now everyone else is mocking Apple and trying to bundle all their services. Interop is being dropped left, right, and center.

You know who else loves bundles: your cable company.

This transition of tech services away from the pro consumer a-la-carte to monolithic bundles that mean you have to buy into a lifestyle to get any real benefits, is really frustrating.  You can no longer photo share from Picassa to anything other than G+, for instance, which was the last straw for me, and I’m getting all my photos out of Google now. It’s the reason I don’t buy much on VOD services, because I challenge you to find one that will let me play on a Linux Laptop, a Nexus 7 tablet, and a Roku (that’s my minimum set of devices I need to support).

It’s like the bad old internet with AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy silos all over again.

So, I agree with Marco, this situation is worse. It’s also the sort of thing that AT&T, IBM, and Microsoft were taken to anti-trust for. But, like the cable companies, because there are multiple monopolies it will probably be seen as ok, even if it’s anti consumer. Like the cell phone market in the US.

But it’s still worse.

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