Incensed owners of Microsoft’s fabled Zune player spilled into the streets on Sunday to vent their anger. But rather than take over public spaces, they’re focusing on Apple — the company they hold responsible for the demise of their cherished platform.
Occupy Apple has now taken over two Apple Stores, though calling it a “takeover” is a bit generous. In White Plains, NY, the Zune zealots were estimated at five — and that included one protester’s unborn child.
“We’re fighting corporate greed,” said Alexi Kravinik, leader of the NY group. “Apple owns 99% of the good design in the category. That’s blatantly unfair.”
The exact goals of the Occupy Apple movement are hard to pin down. One faction demands that Apple cease iPod production for two years to let Microsoft back in the game. Another demands that Apple simply produce a brown iPod.
Either way, the movement hopes to focus public attention on Apple’s special brand of corporate greed.
“There’s only one reason Apple made a better music player than Zune,” one demonstrator charged. “They’re trying to win customers for themselves. Whatever happened to sharing?”
Surprisingly, the manager of the White Plains Apple Store is happy to have the group camping out on the premises. “When they’re not huddling together or chanting the Z-word, they’re stocking up on Apple gear,” he said. “They’ve actually become my best customers.”
Though the movement is barely a day old, Occupy Apple has been a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Late Sunday, demonstrators erupted with glee when a rumor circulated that Apple would build an optional “Zune mode” into the next generation of iPods. But spirits dropped to a new low when the rumor was proven false.
While Microsoft executives are buoyed by this show of strength by Zune owners, they are also bracing for an occupation of their own. A massive group of Windows-weary customers has promised to begin occupying Microsoft Stores — as soon as they can locate one.