While reading the excellent Mac OS X Tiger Review on ArsTechnica, I came across this Quicktime rant that I had to share.

Mac OS X ships with a complete integrated development environment that supports C, C++, Objective-C, Java, and all of the APIs in Mac OS X (not to mention distributed compiling, a GUI design and layout tool, and a suite of performance monitoring applications). Tiger includes a free web browser, e-mail client, address book, dictionary, thesaurus, font manager, and AIM/Jabber instant message client. When you buy an iMac you get all of the above plus iLife: iPhoto, iMovie, Garage Band, and iDVD.

The total development cost of this software bundle is absolutely huge. The total retail cost of iLife alone is $80. And yet after spending $1,500 or more on a new Mac with this great software bundle, what's waiting for you when you fire it up for the first time and try to watch a QuickTime movie trailer in full-screen mode? Why, it's a nag screen asking you to pay $30 more for the "privilege" of calling the QuickTime APIs that are sitting right there in the library code on your disk.

This is just criminally stupid. It mars the otherwise exemplary out-of-box experience for buyers of consumer Macs especially. Having spent well over $4,000 on my current crop of Mac hardware (plus $80 for iLife '05 plus who knows how much for the Mac OS X Public Beta through Tiger), I find it personally insulting that I'm still not entitled to the "wonders" of QuickTime Pro.

Yeah, sure, I can download a third-party movie player application and find a third-party QuickTime browser plug-in. I can watch movie trailers in iTunes, which will go full-screen even without the magic "pro" key. Or I can google for an illegitimate QuickTime Pro key code. I can even shell out the $30. But it's not the money that bothers me, it's the principle. I'd be happy if Apple simply raised the price of its hardware by $30. On a $4,000+ bill, it's practically a rounding error.

But please, Apple, give up on the QuickTime Pro thing. It's always been annoying, but when viewed alongside today's suite of bundled Apple software, it's downright ridiculous. Worse, it makes the Mac platform look bad when the bundled QuickTime Player application can't do all of the things that make QuickTime so cool: cut, copy, and paste together different kinds of media into a single file, extract and recombine tracks, import and export a huge number of formats, and yes, view video in full-screen mode.

Amen to that!

Posted by jzawodn at April 29, 2005 04:57 PM

Reader Comments
# Joseph Scott said:

A double amen to that.

I just finished installing Tiger I'd love to for the nag screen in Quicktime 7 to be gone (plus having the extra features would be nice).

Perhaps Quicktime Pro should be free on Mac OS X and pay-ware on Windows?

on April 29, 2005 06:08 PM
# Simon Job said:

Even if you do shell out for 'pro', your $29.99 investment disappears when you upgrade the play from say version 5 to 6, or presumably 6 to 7. No discount for previous 'pro' users.

on April 29, 2005 06:45 PM
# Aristotle Pagaltzis said:

Amen. The QT Pro silliness has always felt like RealNetworks Envy to me.

on April 29, 2005 06:58 PM
# Mike said:

Yeah, Apple just throw in Quicktime Pro. Jeez.

/OT - you should have comments for your link blog - this is too funny:

" But you know what else I didn't expect?

I didn't expect Yahoo to actually fix it the next day!

That, right there, is pretty awesome. Thank you very much, [info]gecampbell! Yahoo News Photos works great now!"
http://jwz.livejournal.com/475140.html

When JWZ bitches, apparently people still listen.

on April 29, 2005 06:58 PM
# Doug said:

Honestly, I think it is perfectly legitimate for Quicktime Pro (with movie encoding ability) to cost money while the playback version is free. I don't want to encode any videos, but if I did, I might consider upgrading.

What bothers me is that they give you the playback version for free, but cut out all the useful playback features (like fullscreen) and then nag you ever time you open a movie.

Add ALL the playback features in the free version, and STOP NAGGING us every time we open it, and I'll be fine. I agree with this story in that I think it is completely ridiculous for me to spend $2k on a new computer and I'm getting the equivalent of shareware "please support the development of this program by giving us a donation" popups when I open up the programs.

Totally ridiculous.

on April 29, 2005 09:55 PM
# Jeremy Brown said:

Yes, the need to press "later" on the QT is a drag, but once I have done it, I don't quit QT. It remains running for the duration, and that can be a week or so.

Tiger upgrade NEXT week for me.

on April 29, 2005 10:10 PM
# anonymous said:

I just want to point out four things:

1. If you would bother to get QuickTime 7 before you rant you would see that the nag movie is gone.

2. The overwhelming number of the people that have QuickTime installed are Windows users. How much did they pay Apple when they they bought their Dell system?

3. Do you think that Apple gets the ability to give away the Sorenson, JPEG 2000, MPEG 4 and other third party codecs for free? Guess again!

4. Quit whining about thirty bucks. I've been able to use my pro key for QuickTime 6 for over three years. Considering all the features it gives me, what a bargain!

on April 30, 2005 10:14 AM
# jim winstead said:

i would suspect that the separate charge for quicktime pro has to do with codec licensing. apple probably is probably paying out a percentage of those quicktime pro license fees to the codec owners, and the price of doing so for all mac os x buyers would be prohibitive.

thatís just a theory, though. and iím not sure how it justifies the nag screen.

on April 30, 2005 10:47 AM
# Hugh J. Sloan III said:

Yo Jeremy:

You have been ranting about much lately; are you not getting laid enough, even by Geek standards? Take a fuckin chill pill dude. Seriously, only Berners Lee or Lampson, maybe Jon Udell qualify to be bitches when it comes to condemning bad fruit here in the Valley. Leave the Apples alone!

H the magnificent. Palo Alto

on April 30, 2005 11:00 AM
# Hoby said:

I agree. As Apple puts out more software and more versions of Quicktime, the distinction between Pro and not is increasingly a pointless one. The nagging and the player limitations serve only to annoy us.

While it's good that the price hasn't gone up, it's abusive to offer no upgrade path. It's also a bit odd to limit such functions in a player. It's as if they'd released two versions of iTunes, a 'Pro' which could Rip and Burn - and a 'free' which would only Play.

This is another one of the reasons why more digital videos haven't been encoded in Quicktime.

on May 1, 2005 02:18 AM
# Scott Johnson said:

What really annoys me about the whole Pro issue is that I can't just buy it online. No, that would be far too easy.

I was a good Apple user and pre-ordered my copy of Tiger. It arrived early on the afternoon of April 29. But I didn't think to pre-order QT Pro because I have never used it before. Two days after receiving Tiger, I decided that QT Pro would be nice to have. But I have to wait.

It appears that the only way to get QT Pro online is via the Apple store, and the shipping time is 3-5 days. That's just ridiculous!

on May 1, 2005 07:47 AM
# said:

In the past, when I've shelled out the $30 for a pro-key - twice now), shipping time has been minutes. I don't know what drugs you're on, but when you order online, all you get is a registration code - APPLE DO NOT SHIP YOU A NEW BOX!!!!
I'm guessing you figured this out, Scott, when you finished taking your coffee break to post your note and get back to ordering QT Pro.

As to the rest, I agree: real playback functions that all the free/shareware offers, but pay for encoding.

Personally, I think Apple should release iCinema: iTunes for movies with Tags, playlists, etc. But could they justify their actions to the movie studios? Who knows.

on May 1, 2005 08:17 AM
# Barry Schwartz said:

No that is so funny, thanks for sharing!

on May 1, 2005 07:30 PM
# Viswakarma said:

Don't forget that QT runs on Windows also. Free QT Pro will bring the Windows Crowd in droves to QT and away from Windows Media. However, there may be some code in QT that Apple pays royalties or license fees and that may become a revenue buster.

on May 1, 2005 10:02 PM
# Adrian Lee said:

If it were MS, people would be moaning about how they are stiffling competition by bundling everything together, but as it's Apple, people are moaning about stuff not all being bundled together?

Ironic, and a little confusing........
I wonder what people would be saying if the market shares were reversed. Security issues aside, would people moan so much about IE being bundled with Windows, compared to Safari being bundled with Mac's?

Back on topic a bit more. I hate Quicktime fullstop, I wish it would just die, I don't want to need the Quicktime player at all, let alone the Pro version..... Same goes for RealPlayer. Why can't we just use more generic formats that can be played in whatever player we want.....

on May 3, 2005 03:40 AM
# Ben said:

Two things particularly bother me:

1. They made "Save As..." a Pro feature. This will break many user routines are by now muscle memory, and it does so silently and without warning -- if you try to "save as" in Safari while looking at something that opened with the QT plugin, it will appear to save, and you won't realize that the file is bad until you try to open it in another application. If that application is iTunes, it will silently do nothing, rather than explaining what's wrong!

2. The Pro features aren't disabled, only the most obvious hooks to them are disabled. They can be invoked from AppleScripts or in third-party apps. This makes the idea of paying for normal access to them particularly insulting -- for those of us who have no need of editing features, Apple is simply holding the ease and integration of the user experience for ransom, without actually preventing us from doing anything. Why?!

on September 20, 2005 07:01 AM
# said:

Two things particularly bother me:

1. They made "Save As..." a Pro feature. This will break many user routines are by now muscle memory, and it does so silently and without warning -- if you try to "save as" in Safari while looking at something that opened with the QT plugin, it will appear to save, and you won't realize that the file is bad until you try to open it in another application. If that application is iTunes, it will silently do nothing, rather than explaining what's wrong!

2. The Pro features aren't disabled, only the most obvious hooks to them are disabled. They can be invoked from AppleScripts or in third-party apps. This makes the idea of paying for normal access to them particularly insulting -- for those of us who have no need of editing features, Apple is simply holding the ease and integration of the user experience for ransom, without actually preventing us from doing anything. Why?!

on September 20, 2005 07:04 AM
# AdamW said:

So I give up guys? How the hell do I get the registration code to open up the 'wonderful' Quicktime Pro. Where do I go for the answer?

on January 5, 2006 07:39 AM
# Dr. Lizard said:

I used to be able to download MPEGs, watch them, and save them if i liked them. Suddenly, i cannot - i must pay $30 first. This violates the entire paradigm that brought me to Apple in the first place. What, i cannot SAVE a FREE download? And the most annoying thing is, it is in my computer somewhare...i just can't save it for later viewing!

(oh - yeah, i am using Safari 1.3 on a G4 with OS X 10.3.9 and apparently Quicktime 7..... not Pro)

Huh. At least the free Adobe Reader lets you SAVE free downloads.

Thanks, Jeremy, for pointing this out much more eloquently than i could.

on January 24, 2006 02:58 PM
# King Dork said:

The code is always the same, it's not special, it's always the same, MACWoRld magazine publihsed it ages ago, but i lost it, and upgraded my mac recently.

But the code is always the same. So share with the mac users. 30 is 30, and if all you need is a code, and all the info is already in your mac, then why charge?

oh and Mpeg 4 is propery of apple! just like firewire!

on February 8, 2006 03:24 PM
# Coderash said:

This just in - Apple today released a new version of its awe inspiring QuickTime. This little piece of wonder software takes care of all your multimedia needs and will automagically set itself up so you won't have to hassle with actually having to choose a media player. "We've even figured out how to keep our audience captivated with a little blue 'Q' in the corner of our users screen." said Steve Jobs. "It's called an 'icon' and it helps people remember us." he says. When asked what the purpose was for this little blue 'Q', Jobs says "I just said it helps people remember us. That's it! It doesn't do anything else and most people just can't understand the incredible genius behind this little marketing miracle. Better yet, it helps them remember to upgrade to QuickTime Pro." Jobs, referring to the highly advanced QuikTime Pro, made mention of the god-like talent necessary to author this derivitive piece. "I liken the experience to Genesis 1:1 when God created the heavens and the earth" says Jobs. When asked what the difference was between the Regular and Pro versions, he replied "The Pro version is extremely advanced. It took a team of 18 of our engineers a period of 2 years to come up with a piece of code that I like to sum in 3 words... Full Screen Baby!" Jobs is one of the original founders of Apple and is responsible for many of these types of breakthroughs. Steve Jobs and Apple are highly successful, taking in Sales revenue of over 14 Billion per year. Jobs commented "We make a lot of money. I was talking yesterday about the Macintosh was responsible for 3 percent of our sales, and the iPod was responsible for 7 percent. But the real juicer for our company is QuickTime Pro at 90 percent of our sales. This gem of code truly brings a tear to my eye when I think about it."

But not all computer users feel like Jobs. A random survey shows internet comments such as "f*ck you steve jobs, go snort some more coke with your black turtleneck and shove your ipod and shitty software up your a**." For the less passionate, it is simply "I hate Quicktime for making me click 'Later' every time I want to watch something. I don't want Quicktime Pro but I'll probably end up buying it when Apple's persistence finally drives me crazy." At a conference where these comments were read, Steve Jobs rubbed his nose, looked up, and just smiled.

This authors favorite quote...

"Get over it, you are just a movie player."

on August 10, 2006 06:38 AM
# Jack Daniels said:

Apple Has Popup Envy. Maybe they will grow up one day and come out and play with the big dogs. There are plenty of freeware progs out there. DL one and remove the offensive nags. When they see their nags don't work maybe they will 86 them. Now back to another good belt of 'ole #7.

on October 13, 2006 11:52 PM
# jayoh said:

agreed! i could understand export options, BUT FULL SCREEN ISN'T A FUCKING PRO FEATURE... it's something everyone needs!

on June 17, 2007 02:27 PM
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