The iPod Virus: Apple Arrogance

by Devanshu Mehta Oct 19, 2006

Recently, there was an outbreak of E. Coli in the United States- bags of spinach across the country were recalled and the questionable spinach was traced to a region in California. How would you have felt if you had E. Coli poisoning- or worse, died- and all the farmer responsible said, “There is E. Coli in our spinach and we are really upset that human bodies are not more strong and healthy to protect against these things.”

That’s what Apple just did.

Historically, Apple has been an arrogant company and its user community has at times been snarky. We are an elitist minority and usually, we like it that way. We claim that Macs are better and safer and so much cooler, so we are not being arrogant. We’re just giving you the truth.

Apple users can do what they like, but this is my message to the Apple corporation: Stop it. You have gone too far.

In September, an undisclosed number of Video iPods were sold with a Windows virus called RavMon.exe on them. This is a serious issue and one that should be dealt with swiftly and effectively. These things happen and the way to separate the great companies from the bad ones is to see how they respond.

Apple’s response was terrible. They said:

As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses

I’m sorry we broke in to your house, they say. You should have stronger locks.

There isn’t a hint of an apology on their page disclosing the issue, only an aloof sense surprise that people actually use Windows.

Wake up, Apple- your biggest cash cow is the iPod and most of them are used by Windows users. Insult them all you like in the Mac ads, but your iPod users are Windows users. And you just sold them a virus for $400.

Now that I got that out of the way, let us try to deal with the issue of the virus. If you bought a Video iPod after the 12th of September this year, you may have been sold a virus. I would recommend this free trial of McAfee anti virus which should deal with it. Make sure you run it with the iPod attached and scan any attached external drives. Then restore your iPod from iTunes (how to restore).

Apple has not yet disclosed a method of detecting whether your iPod is one of the problem iPods and I doubt they will, unless they smell a lawsuit. Public apologies, meaningful freebies and not being called a weakling is the least an infected paying customer should expect from a company like Apple. Right now, I feel embarrassed for being an Apple user and insulted for being an occasional Windows user.


  • **~~~unproduct-iiive~~~**

    I agree wholeheartedly.  wink

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 21, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • Still, I will not go on a forum to complain that the world news did not pay any attention to my personal pain.

    This is yet another red herring.  No one has made this claim just as no one equated the value of human life to a computer product.

    But this IS tech news and it IS very telling about Apple.  I was just watching an episode of Cranky Geeks and Apple-fan and user Om Malik cited this as one more reason why Apple “can’t handle success” and that they need a swift kick in the butt to knock them down a peg.

    It is not the complaining I’m objecting, is the vehemence with which they are formulated.

    Have you never used the internet before?  Ever gone to an Apple fan site before?  Ever see the fanboy reaction to an article on an Apple fan site that even HINTS that some Microsoft product might be better than an Apple product or that Macs are more expensive than PCs?  Talk about unhinged anger.  And I don’t recall anyone chastising them about how they don’t really care about the starving children in Africa.

    If your incredulousness is sincere (and frankly, I have my doubts), then I agree with Ben.  Why come here at all when there are clearly more important issues to deal with?  Shouldn’t you be doling out soup at a homeless shelter?

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 21, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • A Backhanded appology is not an appology.  Apple was wrong to insult Microsoft or anyone else at any point in their appology.  Those who sling mud get mud on themselves.

    They could have far more easily achieved the goal of pointing out the weekness of Windows within their appology with a phrase more like this:

    —We are appologize that we did not detect and repair the Windows machines that became infected before they wrote infected files to the affected iPods.—

    Furthermore, it would be great if they could commit to something like this:

    —We have concluded that the only way to be absolutely sure windows viruses don’t get onto production iPods in the future is to completely remove Windows from the PCs in our manufacturing facilities.—

    They could allow the use of Unix/Linux to help keep cost of production down (must keep that profit high) and it’d be great if the ipods themselves had firmware allowing them to format w/o needing to be hooked to a computer at all.  I realize preformatted drives saves time, but users have to charge the batteries right away anyway, give users the option to reformat during that time.

    I’ll even go out on a limb here and suggest the iPods should all use the Mac FileSystem and iTunes should include drivers for Windows to support reading & writing to Mac Formatted disks. 

    I know, I know, shockwaves would be felt all over the computing world.  For the mac litterate, imagine mac formatting all your external data drives and the you can search with spotlight at “light speed” grin No more horridly slow XP search unless it’d take longer to get to a mac.


    P. S. I currently make my living as a consultant for Windows Networking, surveilence, and PERL programming.  I run Windows via Paralles on my Macbook.  I use a FW drive to keep a fresh copy of Windows ready to replace the one on my laptop and it takes all of 3 minutes to copy the 6 Gigs of Windows with all my programs and settings.  When I need to add new software I get a fresh copy on my laptop, install the software and make another copy on the FW drive with the date in the name.  At least my copy of windows is almost always running well at the customers site tongue laugh

    P. P. S. I use Windows a lot when programming perl because of the need to copy those applications directly to the customer’s machines.  The flexability this setup allows me is worth far more then the cost.

    P. P. P. S.  grin I just wanted to type that.

    IamWm had this to say on Oct 21, 2006 Posts: 24
  • “Uh huh.  Are you Windows developer?  ‘Cause unless you’re a Windows developer, then you should shut the hell up.  Isn’t that what you said?”

    Are you just up for debate? Cause it seems you have a extreme hatred eh? Is this something to be offended about?

    “I didn’t realize that telling people to shut the hell up for criticizing Apple was considered mature discussion.  Duly noted.
    And btw, a Mac-tard is not the same as a retard.  A Mac-tard would be someone who, hypothetically speaking, tells people to shut the hell up if they bash Apple unless they’re a Windows developer, but holds no such standard for those who bash Windows.”

    I never said “shut the hell up” but just don’t make such a big fuss about it. I’m not putting down microsoft as the way others do. Well, it appears you use it in a different way. I’ve heard people use Christ-tard before. You should use a more appropriate term. I didn’t make myself clear.

    Depending on how this “virus” came about, it would be rather difficult to make everything work for windows. If you are a windows developer then you would understand. So, i suggested that people stop complaining at apple bringing Microsoft picture.

    Now, i agree that they should’ve mentioned themselves first which is a rather good point.

    Again, do you have any info as to how this virus came about and what it does?

    macguysoft had this to say on Oct 22, 2006 Posts: 7
  • Are you just up for debate?

    No.  I’m wondering why people who aren’t Windows developers have to shut up when criticizing Apple, but people who aren’t Windows developers can criticize Microsoft to their heart’s content.

    Is this something to be offended about?

    Is being told to shut the hell up offensive?  To some.  But so is being called a Mac-tard I’m sure.  I’m not offended at being told to shut the hell up.  It’s the completely bogus standard you pulled out of your ass that one must rise to the level of Windows developer in order to be qualified enough to criticize Apple after they delivered a virus to Windows users.  It’s just a wee bit preposterous.

    Btw, the severity of the virus is irrelevant.  When Jobs talks about the security flaws of Windows by pointing to 15 billion viruses, he doesn’t make any distinction between the ones that are really malicious versus the ones that he delivered to users via a bunch of iPods.  So making that distinction to defend Apple is hypocritical.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 22, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • Again, do you have any info as to how this virus came about and what it does? -macguy

    Go back and read my post way up there ^^^.

    And people, RavMon[rev].exe is a trojan not a virus. It requires an external executable to manifest its payload onto your WINDOWS machine (not just XP). That means, you have to be a Win-tard person first-of-all to begin with - The Odious One?

    To the rest of you Mac faithful…go back to your HandBrake and MacTheRipper rips and enjoy Tiger with no worries…with your video iPods… wink

    Robomac had this to say on Oct 22, 2006 Posts: 846
  • I know it’s not my freakin’ biz but one irritating poster has got some massive time on his hands pelting sacks full of sh*t! I wonder how his movie scripting is going?

    Anyway, his nebulous anger at Apple, the Steve’s ego, and Kool-Aid Fanboys makes him drool at articles of this nature. The Odious One likes to read between them comment lines so you have to <review> your submits for He will scan them for His egotistic barrage of sh*t. You’ve been warned.

    Like I said before, I like him. I would feel very empty reading interesting articles that comes out of A.M.‘s geniuses. Without him, I’d just be high-fivin’ with the likes of Nana, SydneyS, WAWA, Tundraboy, Bad Beaver, and countless other Mac faihfuls out there. Wouldn’t be much fun.

    Robomac had this to say on Oct 22, 2006 Posts: 846
  • I don’t agree that Beeblebrox is “pelting sacks full of shit”. And beeblebrox, surely you can see that if you just made your points in a more polite manner not only would nobody accuse you of this, but nobody could.

    His points are good (most of the time - or at the very least worth careful consideration) but his tone is unhelpful. People have a very hard time seeing past the tone and just brand him as the type of drooling idiot he often accuses others of being.

    All round, a little less branding might do us all a favour.

    But are you saying, Robotech Infidel, that you find the way Apple has handled this affair appropriate?

    Benji had this to say on Oct 22, 2006 Posts: 927
  • That’s it for me. I’m getting out of here. This doesn’t feel cool.
    Even if one would just post the date, you’ld get a few hystericals shouting that Windows can show the date as well as Mac, if not better, and that you’re retarded to think Apple invented the Gregorian calender. I sincerely hope Vista will be a major success.
    As they say in America;
    Have a nice day.

    WAWA had this to say on Oct 22, 2006 Posts: 89
  • LOL. Vista…. I’m running Vista RC2 on my Mac some times.  Just like the move to XP broke a lot of software, the move to Vista is going to break a lot too. 

    The biggest problem with Vista is the success of XP.  XP is really good enough and though XP isn’t perfect, to replace XP, Vista will almost have to be {perfect}.

    The only feature I’m aware of that might get traction is encryption between every Vista PC based on Domain credentials.  Note that this doesn’t stop authenticated users’ PCs from causing problems.  But even still, it’s a step in the right direction.

    Of course every new Windows PC will have Vista so there will be a slow transition at least.


    IamWm had this to say on Oct 22, 2006 Posts: 24
  • Apple Arrogance: Arrogance is an attitude and so is Pride.  The difference is weather it’s justified or not.

    Macs are great Computers compared to Windows Computers.  They have a right to be Proud of their acheivments.

    It’s a matter of Humility.  They’ve made a mistake and should confess, make it right, and move on.  Handle it right and everyone forgets about it.

    TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT: Am I the only one who thinks it’s strange that Apple is constantly compared to Windows Market Share, but rarely compaired to DELL, HP, and the “whole lot” of other PC makers? 

    Almost 5% of the OS market should mean about 5% of the PC market.  And if you take a STAB IN THE DARK and say 40% DELL and 40% HP/Compaq leaving 15% to all others combined.  That’d place Apple at 5% vs 40%.  Still an underdog, but nothing like 5% vs 95%.

    The point is that if they raise to 40% they’d be on par with the likes of DELL, and I’m not sure, but the “New Computer Sales” might be drastically different numbers already.


    IamWm had this to say on Oct 22, 2006 Posts: 24
  • It’s a matter of Humility.

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    Benji had this to say on Oct 22, 2006 Posts: 927
  • that you find the way Apple has handled this affair appropriate? -Ben

    One thing, Apple’s PR release should be considered a smithereen of an apology, when read between the lines. They are cocky, for sure, for bad-mouthing Windows structural failures (where none of which are Apple’s faults). Do you get apologies from MS high ranks from those ineptitudes? Nada. Like Apple, they are too proud to beg.

    Arrogance, as some would cynically pen, is in Apple’s blood (and they should be very proud for what they have accomplished since 1997) for as long as The Steve is the honcho there.

    No amount of criticism for miswriting a PR release (surely, it was reviewed prior to release) is going to change anything. It is just good babble on blog and rumour sites. I haven’t smelled a PR carcass being circled by voltures on mass media outlets as like CNN or BusinessWeek. These smart journalists just know of a good criticism when they see one. This one is just a minor flak that our good friend Devanshu is trying to elevate to a personal vendetta.

    Sure, bad-mouthing Windows rotten innards was perhaps unnecessary but it is not a direct assault of the majority of their customers (most of whom are the intelligent types for selecting an Apple branded player). I doubt this minor err on their part will have any effect on the switcher momentum that is now rapidly gaining.

    In fact, it may help. Why? Their PR release may not have been that glamorously written (they should hire a new PR guy) but it does point out the glaring weakness of ALL windows OSs to date, and will include Vista - too much baggage in one monolithic crap!

    As for The Odious One, if he can write with more poise than seething, personal stabs at posters He doesn’t like one bit, then it would be a more **~~~product-iiive~~~** debate. Again, his style is his own and no Mac-tard can change that. I was merely advising ones when getting into a duel of extremisms with the Beeble for that’s his specialty.

    Robomac had this to say on Oct 22, 2006 Posts: 846
  • Ben Halls writes,
      His points are good (most of the time - or at the very least worth careful consideration) but his tone is unhelpful. People have a very hard time seeing past the tone and just brand him as the type of drooling idiot he often accuses others of being.

      Although I seem to argue with him a lot from post to post, I do agree with you, he appears to be a very smart man, but the way he writes (maybe I’m taking it the wrong way) seems that he lacks in people skills.

      And Beeble, don’t post against the previous line or you will be admitting a fact, I do not wish to argue. I just like to voice my comments and/or thoughts in reference to the article.

    Macster2 had this to say on Oct 22, 2006 Posts: 40
  • I picked this analogy from another site…..

    If I hit another car, yes.. it’s my fault. I wasn’t paying attention. But if the other drivers airbag doesn’t go off and they get hurt, then it’s the car companies fault for not having the airbag properly installed.

    I know this is going to get picked apart, but check out the article and posted comments @

    Macster2 had this to say on Oct 22, 2006 Posts: 40
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