Weekend Open Forum: The most 'evil' tech company?

By on April 30, 2011, 12:57 AM

It's been a lousy few months for Sony with all the PS3 hacking controversy, followed by a lawsuit that triggered a backlash from a group of gamers. Then the recent security breach on the PlayStation Network, which resulted in some sensitive user data being compromised and forced the company to take the service down.

Apple for its part was recently met with intense criticism after a report emerged last week claiming iPhones are quietly recording users' locations and saving the data to unencrypted files. It didn't take long for Google and other mobile players to start being scrutinized as well.

We hear stories like these all the time in the tech industry, sometimes unwarranted or blown out of proportion, and sometimes you just have to stop and wonder: "What were they thinking?"

In the spirit of those awful moments we ask you: which is in your opinion the most 'evil' tech company? In the poll below we've included a few that sprung to mind due to recent controversies, from anti-competitive business practices to privacy issues, peddling unfinished or buggy products, DRM-ridden software or simply a lack of tact when dealing with customers. You can check up to three and of course use the comments for the ones we missed.




User Comments: 82

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gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Aperture Science

Clrabbit said:

I would have to give it a toss up between Apple or AT&T

Clrabbit said:

Although I can see why Adobe is on the list, their pricing policy is pure evil, and their new system of making you pay for .5 upgrades is one of the lamest things I have ever seen. If I could find a good replacement for Illustrator/Photoshop combo I'd jump ship.

treeski treeski said:

Apple, Activision and Sony to me. Foxconn would be a fourth, for how they treat their employees. I'm surprised no one has voted for them.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

No wonder Apple is leading the pack, well one of the so far 31 reasons for it, is provided by me along with two other lesser evils

By the way; it would be cool that whoever wins this poll, it's CEO's picture be placed in the article (preferably with horns).

Ithryl said:

The last episode of South Park convinced me that it has to be Apple.

Ithryl said:

treeski said:

Foxconn would be a fourth, for how they treat their employees. I'm surprised no one has voted for them.

I did for that reason exactly. Their employees are treated like cattle worldwide.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Rambus

/I win

( I'm not sure about most of the poll choices. Rather than evil Id say most were negligent, pitiful or pitifully negligent)

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Okay, it is very embarrassing, that I totally forgot about Rambus

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

I was going to vote Sony but their more dumb than evil. def Apple.

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

SCO comes quite high on my list of evil companies

Jinto Jinto said:

gwailo247 said:

Aperture Science

I know right!

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

my god man! have you forgotten about C.E.R.N and the Super Large Hadron Collider? first they are creating Higgs Boson particles, and then a black hole that will devour the Earth!...for the love of humanity!!.....oh wait....Apple.

Guest said:

Sony! who else?? huge PSN hack the size of the ill fated Titanic, secret root kits, PS3 DRM and downgrading specs with every new version, but lets look at their past history;who resisted supporting mp3 in favor of, oh what did they call it....ATRAC...Sony! who kept resisting standard flash formats by introducing new ones, MS, MS pro, MS Duo, Pro HG, M2, MS XC, etc etc Sony! Apple is not much better, and as far as anti competitive behavior goes, number 1 for Microsoft!

TekGun TekGun said:

"The most 'evil' tech company" headline and poll made me chuckle this morning GJ

gobbybobby said:

I would not say Sony, I am angry I STILL CAN';T PLAY PSN RIGHT NOW but Foxconn are 100 times worst, Apple and Foxconn if you let me vote both, I am supriced that Foxconn are not higher on the list.

[link]

[link]

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10182824

gobbybobby said:

EA and Avti are kneck and kneck, Id say Activision are Worse than EA, EA used to be bad but over the past few years have really got better.

Guest said:

Apple wins! ...errr. loses. nice products, bad lock-in.

Just watch the latest South Park...it will all make sense now.

SSaywell said:

Apple and Google

T77 T77 said:

Apple-Simply because of the fact that it is being ignorant regarding issues concerning user privacy and security.

Sony-Well,almost same as above.

EA-For simply forgetting its roots-PC GAMERS.Just dishing out DLCs for consoles and acting as if we pc gamers don't exist.

rajmond said:

the true face of Apple ....http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s15e01-hum
ncentipad

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Had to go for Apple.

Nima304 said:

My friend: Microsoft, because they steal from Apple.

Me: Apple, since they scam their customers and overprice their products.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Nima

Just tell your friend to do a search for 'Apple copied features from Microsoft' (you can reverse the query to know what MS copied by the way) ....... but if he could do that he would have done it already, enough said.

PC nerd PC nerd said:

Apple are evil bastards...

This picture illustrates that beautifully:

[link]

yowanvista yowanvista said:

Apple and its iCrap devices

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I second the AT&T comment, they would be my number one choice.

princeton princeton said:

I'm stuck between apple and foxconn because although foxconn treats their workers like crap apple allows them to do so and has them manufacture all their portable devices.

edvim said:

Wow, there are so many viable choices in that list. Kind of sad isn't it? I tend to think Microsoft edges them all out for overall bad impact on society across the planet (and our government for sanctioning their monopoly power). MS has loves to kill innovation, illegally stifle competition, and seed both the corporate and consumer markets with sub-standard software. Facebook is the up and comer though -- Zuckerberg's power play to control and monetize the Internet is scary to watch unfold right in front of our eyes, and since there's no real force outside of human ethics and morality to stop him it's going to be shame when we all have to pay him to do anything online. Interesting to see so many choose Apple. I'm of a generation that has seen Apple rise and fall so many times over the past few decades that I don't think this recent spurt of power/control nuttiness is going to be as long term as say, Microsoft's reign. With Steve Jobs slowing stepping out of the picture I think Apple will also slowly have another altered impact. Still, there's no denying Apple's influence on the consumer market even with its relatively small percentage of actual users. Can't ignore Oracle's increasing alienation of Open Source, but I'll still stick with Microsoft as my personal choice because of it's long and consistent history of sucking resources out of society. Fun article for a Saturday morning, good list to pick from, and some interesting comments.

Punkid said:

Guest said:

Sony! who else?? huge PSN hack the size of the ill fated Titanic

well that can happen to any company, happened to Gawker network too...though sony shouldve encrypted the data...

, secret root kits, PS3 DRM

well they gotta do that, look at what piracy has done to the PC gaming scene, look at what kind of a Crysis 2 we got....no one cares about the pc gaming industry cuz of the piracy...

but lets look at their past history;who resisted supporting mp3 in favor of, oh what did they call it....ATRAC...Sony!

Apple has their own music format, i dont know what its called , mayb m4p or something, theyve got ALAC for FLAC...

Microsoft - WMA

Au - the standard audio file format used by Sun, Unix and Java...

the point is , many companies have their own audio formats, so u cant blame sony for having one of their own ( would u also blame them for coming out with bluray and not supporting HD DVD :S ?)

who kept resisting standard flash formats by introducing new ones, MS, MS pro, MS Duo, Pro HG, M2, MS XC, etc etc Sony!

yeah well they have quite a few products now that support SD cards...apple has none...

So to sum it all up, Apple deserves this vote much much more than Sony

and as far as anti competitive behavior goes, number 1 for Microsoft!

come on, Apples the one thats all over the place suing ANY company that it sees as a competitor...

Guest said:

Too bad that Comcast doesn't qualify because they would win hands down.

Felix, Sanibel

hitech0101 said:

facebook what a waste of time yet every person i know is on it.

Win7Dev said:

iPhone 4 = half finished product

I think the iPad is the best apple device to date, but it is not cheap and can track your location. That is kind of stalker-ish and should be put on the packing, not just in the middle of the half spanish user manual.

mosu said:

Apple, Intel, Sony and Microsoft , fighting for first place. Only in America.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You're asking us to make impossible evaluations. Tech companies seem to be inherently evil, as for all intents and purposes, technology is tremendously addictive. So, I liken the whole lot of them to drug pushers. With that said, their actions toward us, and toward each other, are similar to rival drug gangs).

That's not really a far fetched statement, considering the way many of us hang on, (and must have), the latest release of anything tech. Be it a game, a tablet PC, the newest "smart phone", video card....ad naseum... !

So then, you ask us to choose "just one". You've obviously watched too many "Highlander" movies. "In the end there can be only one". Rubbish..!

So, it's a "love, hate" thing we have going on with tech companies, and this poll is tantamount to, "biting the hand that feeds us". (Well, closer to "spitting on the hand...[ ] ..." .

I'll sum this up in metaphor and simile."What you're asking us to do, is like offering a starving dung beetle a serving tray full of steaming, hot, fresh, turds, then telling it it can have just one"!

Staff
Jos Jos said:

captaincranky said:

So then, you ask us to choose "just one". You've obviously watched too many "Highlander" movies. "In the end there can be only one". Rubbish..!

You can pick three options

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Apple and Sony for me

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

So much for "Do no evil"... [link]

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You can pick three options
Whoops, my bad! It was an honest mistake, easily explicable actually. I can't read, I used to work for the post office.

That said, the poll saliently lacks,"Comcast", "Toshiba / Samsung", and "Twitter", all "excellent" choices.

(If you're going to classify "Facebook" as a "technology company", then you should have included the "Twitter" abomination as well).

Being "cranky" all the time, I think you should have included a "select all" button, if only just for me.

Guest said:

they forgot the government but i could go with apple

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

they forgot the government but i could go with apple
I think you're confusing, "evil bureaucracy" with "evil technocracy"....

Besides, if they included, "the government", since Techspot is on the "worldwide web", it would come down to a bitter, contentious debate. Something like, "our government is more evil than yours. (Like that was a good thing to argue over).

NeoFryBoy said:

You forgot, "All Cellphone Companies"

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

Oh my... I wished I could pick four companies.

1. Electronic Arts - they treat us customers like "consumers", not like "people". 20% of a disc is pure DRM - also known as "consumer control software".

2. Sony - I will not forgive Sony until they start recognizing "personal success" - Sony have been claiming copyright after copyright because anonymous piano players on YouTube play common songs too good! Not to mention Mr. Hotz.

3. Apple - we know why.

4. Adobe - because they act all pompous and try to own the entire market for software, and if it's not theirs, they buy it (#coughDreamweaver#) - they are running the market for profit making software too much! That market needs more competition!

Of course, the 1-4 list is just my personal opinion.

Mizzou Mizzou said:

For evil and most deceitful I voted for facebook since shortly after joining a few months ago my gmail account was promptly hacked. First breach I'd ever encountered, dropped facebook and then changed all of my online passwords ... no problem since.

Except of course for the email I got this past week from Sony that my PSN data had been hacked. Thankfully no credit card information involved, perhaps they should have invested a fraction of the money they've spent on DRM for computer system security.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

4. Adobe - because they act all pompous and try to own the entire market for software, and if it's not theirs, they buy it (#coughDreamweaver#) - they are running the market for profit making software too much! That market needs more competition!

You're right, Adobe is brutal. The scary thing is they have their "Adobecorp" equivalent of the "Applecorp".

For example they hold the belief "firmly", that if Adobe's video algorithms don't work with existing video drivers, then all the drivers are written wrong. It's kind of difficult to reason with them.

Staff
Jos Jos said:

I'm sure wireless carriers and cable operators would rank high in the list, I just didn't include them because their business is limited to certain markets, unlike the other companies listed whose products or services are available pretty much globally.

@Captain... funny that you mention Twitter, I thought of including it as a counterpart to Facebook but then I remembered an article explaining how they challenged a U.S. court order demanding they turn over information about a number of people connected to WikiLeaks. More importantly they did this while giants like PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, and Bank of America complied without hesitation. I thought they deserve some credit for that and I haven't heard of any controversies from them.

Here's the article if you are interested:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/01/twitter/

bakape said:

gwailo247 said:

Aperture Science

I agree. The list up here just seems sad in comparison.

Zecias said:

i think most people are voting for apple because they sell crap products and not because they are actually evil =/

PinothyJ said:

Punkid said:

would u also blame them for coming out with bluray and not supporting HD DVD :S

*Punches you in the *****.

Sony came out with BR before Toshiba came out with HD-DVD. Not only this, but the BR format was created with long time partners, Phillips, and soon after it's official creation they formed the Blu-ray Disc Association. Not only this, but in mid 2005, both parties attempting to do everything in their power to avoid a format war but failed due to incompatibilities.

Sony was never acting alone and Sony didn't create the format (of which they really didn't do anyway) just to kick Toshiba in the shins.

I hate when you n00bs cannot so much as do the tiniest of research before you start mouthing off...

Clrabbit said:

zecias said:

i think most people are voting for apple because they sell crap products and not because they are actually evil =/

I'd recommend taking a closer look at apple and their history and future plans, and a good hard look at what they are right now.

Crap products is the thin shiny outer layer Apple's evil runs all the way to the core.

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