Audigones

The made-up word ‘Audigone,’ according to timestamps, was first used in this Forward Address: OS X post, as a way of describing the cancellation of Panic‘s commercial MP3-playing application Audion in the face of competition from Apple’s free iTunes.

The entertaining history of Audion makes me wonder how many other inspiration stories there are out there of…uh, Apple mercilessly crushing its independent developers.

So, despite the fact that it’s not my word, I am hereby defining ‘the Audigone’. In order to qualify as an Audigone, something must be:

1) sold for money.
2) confronted with a rival Apple product.
3) discontinued because of said product.

Added points for going out with a spirited fight. Subtracted points for bitching hypocritically about Apple during your concession speech.

While I believe there are many Audigones, the only true Audigone so far publicly revealed to me is Audion itself.

But because there’s nothing else to talk about, I’m also christening the ‘almost-Audigone,’ something that just misses being an Audigone by conforming to only 2 out of the 3 requirements.

Here is a list of almost-Audigones:

Internet Explorer
Competitor: Safari
Not a true Audigone on account of its freeware status, and minus points for whining about not having access to OS internals (!). But I suppose it stands to reason: isn’t giving up what Microsoft wishes its browser competitors, like Firefox, would do on the Windows platform?

Opera
Competitor: Safari
More of a real Audigone, since it’s sold for money. But not cancelled! After a disappointing demand from the CEO that Apple license Opera (!), they decided to fight on. I was very impressed by Opera as a stripped-down, fast browser on Windows in 1997, and I’ve paid for Mac Opera, but I must say it hasn’t impressed me enough to use over Safari. They’re fighting the good fight, but they’re also depending on other platforms for their revenue.

LiteSwitch X
Competitor: Heads-up Application Switcher in 10.3 Panther
Kudos for their spirited counter-attack: “Dear Apple: You forgot some important features,” and for continuing to sell the product, though that does disqualify them from being a full Audigone.
Boos for the unprofessional open memo asking for official recognition from Apple for “their idea.” The idea that the idea was solely theirs is demolished effectively by Daring Fireball. If they’d stuck to “features,” I might have paid out of solidarity, like I did for Netscape 4.

Konfabulator
Competitor: Dashboard
As with LiteSwitch X, Konfabulator’s creator accuses Apple of copying their idea, and once again Daring Fireball assumes rebuttal duty. As with Opera, they will try to make their money on another platform. Should I include “concentrating on Windows” as an alternative to 3)?

Honorable mentions on the almost-Audigone list include Power Computing and all the Macintosh clones (cancelled due to license termination, not product competition) and UserLand Frontier (pretty much killed by AppleScript, though its technology lives on in Manila and other UserLand products and will be (has been?) open sourced).

I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of Audigones, both real and almost-. So remind me!

–And expect a real Audigone story from me in a few days.

2 comments

  1. Scott Stevenson

    It sort of seems to be a grey area where Apple offers to hire the developers, no? This is the case with Watson and Audion. That seems to have an air of mercy, although it means you’d be working for someone else instead of yourself. Still, there are worse things than working for Apple.