Well, it’s official, as if I have finally seen the worm.
My loss of faith in Apple as a corporation began when I bought an Apple TV2 so that I could stream Netflix programming. As chronicled in previous Rants and Raves Logbook posts, I had taken a huge swig of the advertising Kool Aid telling me how wonderful it was going to be.
It didn’t take long to experience the truth of the matter, which is that only on rare occasions could I watch a movie from start to finish without frequent pause/buffering problems. Without going into the details here, suffice it to say that by replacing the Apple TV with a different streaming device, the experience has been flawless.
Recent posts in the Writer’s Desk Logbook have addressed the on-going (and seemingly endless) task of preparing to indie-publish my novel. The last major chore is to develop a marketing plan for sales and distribution. Access to Amazon and Barnes&Noble is a straightforward affair, but Apple, in its typical snotty approach to business, has established a list of requirements that must be met before applying to work directly with them. They make sure to point out that even if you meet all the requirements, Apple at its sole discretion reserves the right to refer you to an Apple Approved Aggregator.
When I first read that about four months ago, I decided to use the aggregator option and chose Smashwords as my portal to the iBookstore. Recently, I re-visited that issue and began the process of filling out the online application to join the “partner program” and “sell my content” directly through Apple.
The application presented me with a screen that said: To distribute content on the iBookstore, you must authenticate with a valid Apple ID and password belonging to a valid iTunes store account. The user signing in here must be authorized to enter into agreements on behalf of the individual or company who will distribute content. Then it asked for my name, Apple ID, and password. That makes little sense to me, but if Apple wants to bundle tunes and books, so be it.
I’ve never bought a tune from Apple in my life, so I used my Apple ID and password to create an iTunes account. To check it, I opened iTunes, visited the store, signed in and a message from Steve Jobs himself greeted me with Welcome! So far, so good.
But when I returned to the authentication screen, the same Apple ID and password resulted in an error message: The Apple ID and password you entered is invalid.
This began a frustrating series of attempts to authenticate and a flurry of emails with iTunes support in which no one at the other end of the communication seems able to do anything other than click on auto-reply messages of how eager they are to make my experience with iTunes enjoyable. Which it definitely isn’t.
My Apple ID and password are valid. I’ve checked them with Apple. My iTunes account is valid. I’ve checked that with Apple. But no matter what I do, I’m told by the authentication screen that they aren’t. One of the emails seemed to indicate that iTunes support had finally gotten the message, and they provided me with a link to contact someone in the partner program directly. I clicked on it and it took me directly to the same infuriating screen.
I decided to establish another Apple ID and password and iTunes account just in case something was wrong with my original ones. After successfully doing that, I tried again with exactly the same result. Frustrated beyond belief, I used my wife’s Apple ID and password to see what would happen and it worked.
Okay, why not cancel my Apple ID’s and start from scratch? But nooooooo, you can’t do that. Once you get an Apple ID, it’s chiseled in virtual stone. The only way you can deactivate the account is to select None on the credit card information screen. I found some information online indicating that it might be possible by calling a special number, but the ramifications of that filled a couple of pages as explained by Apple support.
Which, I’m convinced, is an oxymoron. They really do want to rule the world by having every person on the planet addicted to iDevices of one kind or another. And their aloofness astonishes me. The iBookstore represents a small portion of the remaining 25% of sales that Amazon and Barnes&Noble don’t control. It’s no wonder. You can’t purchase ebooks from the iBookstore unless you have an iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone. If Apple thinks they are going to dominate the ebook market with strategies like that, they are living in a dream cocoon of their own making.
The support folks owe me another email, but it’s probably going to be the last time I’ll try to get this problem fixed, and then that worm-infested apple is going in the trash.