Dear Apple: I may rob your store

An Apple Computer Inc. logo hangs in the center of a clear g
An Apple Computer Inc. logo hangs in the center of a clear glass cube marking the entrance to the new Apple Store in New York, Thursday, May 18, 2006.
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dear Apple,

I am a professional journalist who has been enjoying your products since the second grade, when I used an Apple IIe to write my first-ever school paper. I’m fairly sure my parents paid for that computer, just like I’ve paid for subsequent Apple (AAPL) laptops, phones and tablets.

But now I’m seriously thinking of robbing your store at the local mall.

To be clear, you don’t need to put your “geniuses” on the lookout for someone trying to pocket an iPad mini. My plan is to walk in, find a device that I want, inform a store employee that I’m taking it and then leave. Perhaps then head over to that sushi place across the corridor. If you want to spend the money on literal bells and whistles, that’s up to you.

But I assume you won’t really mind. After all, you recently released a new operating system that allows for all sorts of ad-blocking extensions. In other words, you decided that consumers have the right to not pay for much of my content here at Fortune.

Perhaps you included such flexibility because some consumers believe the costs of our advertising — namely, indirect costs like cookies and other tracking software — is too high. Kind of like some consumers might feel $350 is too much to spend for an entry-level watch, or $19.99 for a USB cable.

Perhaps you are simply trying to help consumers who believe online ads take away from the user experience, by increasing load times and cluttering up the screen. In other words, this is your way of telling us to optimize our product. Kind of like how I wish my iPad didn’t always run out of battery life while my daughter is using it on a two-hour car ride. Really Apple, if you only would improve this part of the user experience, then I wouldn’t need to steal from you. I’m the victim here.

Then again, there is a third possibility: You are locked in a battle for digital supremacy with Google (GOOG), and don’t give a whit about who gets hurt in the process. Well, I’m taking my family on vacation next month and some extra spending cash would really go a long way. And one of those Withings home video cameras would make me feel more comfortable that the lady we pay to feed our cats is actually showing up. So if craven self-interest is okay by you, it’s okay by me.

Again, I’m not trying to threaten you. I’m a devoted user of your products, just like so many of your customers are devoted users of online content. Instead, consider my pending pilfer to be the sincerest form of flattery.

Thanks in advance for understanding, and best wishes for your future prosperity.

Dan Primack, employed writer (for now)


(h/t to @danielseaman for a tweet that inspired this post. For another view of the ad-blocking controversy, please check out my colleague Mathew Ingram’s much more sympathetic post)

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