So a few days ago Engadget wrote a post on the race to the bottom that has started happening in the smartphone and tablet market thanks to Amazon and now Google. The gist of it was that both these companies, who would (and have, in case of Google) otherwise struggled to sell their devices and make profit off the hardware, have decided to sell them at price, or in some cases at a loss, and instead rely on revenues through content sales to make money.
The problem with this model, as the article mentions, is that it would result in lower quality standards as manufacturers won’t consider innovating or spending much on the hardware if they know they are going to sell it at a rock bottom price. Moreover, it also screws over other companies who make a profit off selling the hardware, and makes people think just because they are not selling things extremely cheap they are ripping people off when it’s just a different way to make money, not worse.
Both of these were very valid points but were met with criticism from the Android-loving, Apple-hating crowd found in the comments section of any technology site these days. And apparently it was so bad that Engadget had to apologize for their article. Yes, apologize for having an opinion that not everyone agrees with.
Now there are usually three kinds of posts you write. There are the news stories where you have no business putting your opinion in. You present the facts as they happened and leave it to the readers to interpret it as they want. Then there are the reviews, which also mostly deal with the facts and numbers but there are also some opinions for things that cannot be quantified. And then there are opinion pieces, which are just that, your opinions.
Every person has their own opinion and the point of these opinion pieces is to get them across to the readers unchanged. You don’t sugarcoat it to make it appeal to a broader audience. Conversely, you don’t spice it up either to make it more sensational. If you do that it’s no longer your opinion. And if you have to apologize about you opinion, you probably don’t care much for it yourself. And if you don’t care about it, no one else will.
I’ve seen this trend recently where people write articles that are too safe, too neutral, where they are afraid to stand by their honest opinion to prevent offending people who would disagree with them. You will find articles where the author mentions something good about a product, only to pull it back with a minor complaint to not appear too excited about it. This is why I enjoy reading the writings of people such as Gruber or Siegler. You may disagree with what they say but at least they are honest and say what’s on their mind without giving half a fuck about what others might think. If you like something, say it. If you hate something, say it. No one likes the guy who tries to please everyone.
The apology has since been removed after both Gruber and Siegler posted about it. Hopefully, Engadget will continue to write sensible articles in future without apologizing for it making too much sense.