What if...

What if you bought a computer that you couldn't install any of your own applications on? (Stupid, I know, but what if?) What if that computer required you to sign up for two years Internet service with one particular company, and prohibited using any other ISP? (Not that the ISP subsidized the price or anything - the computer wasn't cheap.)

What if some bright guys came along and figured out how to install your own applications on the computer? And then showed you how to choose your own ISP? You'd do it, right? I mean, why not, it's your computer. But wait.

What if the company that made the computer sent down an update that checked to see if you had installed your own applications and deleted them if so?

What if that same update checked to see if you were using the required ISP, and if you weren't turned the computer into a useless, unfixable, piece of glass and plastic?

Would you ever buy a computer from that company again?

Would you ever trust a company like that again?

Addendum: Some Apple and cell phone customers seem to be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, so let me put it another way.

Let's say you're selling me a cow. You tell me that that cow is being sold for the express purpose of making milk. I agree, and buy the cow.

Later I decide that I'd prefer to make cheese. You say that's a violation of our agreement and kill my cow.

When I paid for the cow it became my property, to do with as I please. If you don't like how I'm using it you may choose not to do any further business with me but you don't get to kill my cow.

And, by the way, warning me you'd kill my cow if I keep making cheese doesn't make it all right.

The lawyers will point out that contractually I agreed to your terms. True. But I don't think the contract said anything about killing the cow did it?

Apple's sole redress is to halt all support of my phone. If we let Apple destroy our property for not following the rules we're telling the music industry it's ok to destroy a hard drive containing illegal songs, the cable company to fry our TVs for stealing cable. That is vigilante justice and a direct threat to the rule of law.