back to article Apple demands public apology for iPhone parody

For years, Apple has ruthlessly ridiculed Windows users with its Get a Mac ads - but like many a schoolyard bully, Cupertino can dish it out, but it can't take it. American comedian and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres apologized to Apple on her eponymous television show for a parody iPhone commercial that ran on Monday in which …


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  1. Rodrigo Rollan

    Who is to blame ?

    I pin this one down on Ellen, other than Apple. She apologised, she is the weakest link here. For all I care, apple can kiss my beloved bottom if they demand an apology. It's comedy. If they can't handle a parody, perhaps they should not be selling their products to the general public, only Fans.

    1. Adam Foxton
      Jobs Horns

      At least

      it wasn't a proper grovelling apology. They still showed the same "advert" again, they still laughed and they pointed out that Apple were the only ones not really finding it funny.

      Then took the piss a bit again during the apology.

    2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      Truly lame.

      I hadn't my mind made up on Ellen till today.

      Now I know where she stands. Amongst the truly lame.

  2. El

    You need to use a different font

    I can't figure out if you just called Ellen "a hoMey housewives' heroine" or "a hoRNey housewives' heroine"!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DRM Strikes the Reg...

    The daily show doesn't play, it shows this nice little message that politely tells me that "In Canada, Comedy Central videos are available on The Comedy Network". Well as a consumer I don't give a rats hiney, all I want is to see the content... make it happen.. figure out who gets what royalties amongst yourselves just play the damn content.

    Oh, and Apple? They show contempt for the consumer,= and their developers.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      You COULD always look it up on, say, The Comedy Network's page.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Daily Show.

      I use this addon for Firefox to view TDS outside America.

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge


    It would be interesting to know exactly how much advertising Apple threatened to pull from the TV network to extract this apology.

  5. Doug Glass

    True Colors

    Well Stevie boy you are doing a really fine job (no frakkin' pun intended) of showing just how much you really do admire the Microsoft business model. You learned well from Master Gates (not to be confused with Master Bates) and are your sandaled feet are wreaking with the droppings.

    Keep it up; pretty soon the only difference between Apple and Microsoft will be the hardware.

    1. Adam Foxton
      Jobs Horns

      I don't know if this was a joke

      but aren't they running on the same hardware? Mobile OSes running on ARM-derived chips, Desktop OSes running on Intel x86s?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      There is no difference

      between Apple and Microsoft. Or any other big corporation really. They'll all happily screw over every man, woman, child and other corporation on the planet to make money. Okay.... that's a slight exageration - but probably true of 99.999% of them.

      The difference is in the people who lead (led) them. Bill Gates made his money and is now busily using that fortune to try and make the world a better place. Love or hate him, he's done some good at least. Jobs on the other hand..... well, he probably wouldn't even pee on you if you accidently set yourself on fire, citing the fact you hadn't used an iLighter to do it.

      1. Ascylto
        Big Brother

        Oh, really?

        Try doing a little homework on Mr Gates and his Foundation. Try this word ... e-u-g-e-n-i-c-s. Then, perhaps, you might change "Love or hate him, he's done some good at least".

        Still, the little man with the little moustache did build the Autobahns.

  6. Maliciously Crafted Packet

    I think the sense of humour failure...

    is because Apple have continually made real breakthroughs in user interface design over the past 30 years only to see this repeatedly ripped off by the likes of Microsoft. And now its happening again with Google, this is making Steve justifiably a bit prickly.

    1. Angus 2

      Heh that argument

      is a stretch of Herculean proportions.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Real breakthroughs, brought to you in association with.....

      I wonder where we would be today if the Lisa designers hadn't taken an eyeball of the Alto and realised that the GUI "desktop" metaphor was the way forward?

      Mac fans will tell you that Apple brought 32 bit processing to the desktop. Anybody who knows anything about the history of the ARM will tell you otherwise.

      The first Mac with dual CPUs arrived in 1996, two years after the RiscPC natively supported multiple CPUs. Sadly Acorn never did much work with genuine CPU sharing (i.e. two or more ARMs (but then Acorn was lazy, they didn't sort the PC+PSR issue, it was left to Castle when the newer ARMs dropped PC+PSR mode entirely), mutliprocessor support sort-of happened with the Simtec Hydra board), but my RiscPC is still here running an ARM7 and an 80486 in the same machine. I'm looking at (don't hold your breath!) a basic DOS runtime so running an x86 executable will start the program within the RISC OS world (sort of like a very rudimentary take on how wine works). No reason, just because. :-)

      Newton might have made the PDA sexy, but I think Psion is what made them viable.

      Shall I continue?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      Give Jobsy a break

      It's probably the side effects of whatever life extending meds he's on causing his loss of humor.

      Or it could just be that nutcases^H^H^H^H^H^H visionaries are not known for being reasonable (what is they say about progress only being made by the unreasonable man - or woman as the case may be).

    4. Christopher E. Stith

      Xerox PARC

      Go piss up yourself. Apple stole the original Mac's UI from Xerox. They stole the dock from OS/2 and WindowMaker. They make a shitty phone with a shitty screen that happens to have a great app store. Their music player, desktops, and laptops are mostly far overpriced based on style and branding while lacking serious features. Only their very high-level desktops match or beat other vendors on price vs. features, and that's if you're okay with having very few video cards as options. They screwed all the people who invested in PowerPC Macs by discontinuing OS support way too soon after switching to their iBMclones.

      I fail to see where Google has ripped off Apple. Do you really think Android is anything like iPhone OS? Touchscreens, OSes, application repositories, cell phones, and WiFi were all around a long time before the iPhone. At least the Android phones mostly have decent black level and contrast ratio. Touch-screen only phones really do suck for heavy typing, BTW, no matter who makes them.

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        "Apple stole the original Mac's UI from Xerox."

        Uhm, no. They didn't.

        They PAID Xerox for a visit to Palo Alto. Rather handsomely, too. It's not theft if you've *paid* for it fair and square. That Xerox didn't capitalise on their own R&D is entirely Xerox's fault and nobody else's.

        As for "stealing" their Dock from OS/2 and WindowMaker: try again. OS X is derived from NeXTSTEP and NeXTSTEP *predates* both OS/2 and WindowMaker. In fact, the latter was an explicit attempt to *copy* NeXTSTEP.

        Feel free to hate on Apple all you like, but at least fight them with the truth. Steve Jobs may be becoming more of a liability than an asset—though he's *always* been an eccentric—but he's had a good twenty-five years at Pixar, NeXT and Apple. By CEO standards, his track record is pretty damned good. He's not paid to be *nice*. That's the job of Apple's *PR team*.

        1. heyrick Silver badge


          So PAYING to visit someplace entitles you to later copy their ideas?

          So failing to capitalise on R&D is suitable justification? (whoa, hasn't the tide changed re. all this patent nonsense) They who invest in R&D are free to do, or not do, whatever they want with it. For somebody to see "ooh, that looks good, let's make it like that" may or may not be ripping off an idea, it may or may not be an homage. But one thing it absolutely definitely isn't is "innovation". Somebody ELSE had the idea FIRST, Apple FOLLOWED. That is, I remind you, what this sub-thread is about.


          Oh, and CEOs aren't paid to be nice. Nice shouldn't cost extra. And certainly appearing to be sane should be part of the job description. Would you invest a lot of money in developing for a platform where the CEO appears to have a highly capricious nature and make statements of levity on what seems little more than whims and emotions? To quote El Reg: "The ban arrived just days before Adobe introduced a new iPhone packager with its Flash Professional CS5 development kit." ( Well, there's the resources and development of the iPhone parts of Flash (and, I would assume, some sort of runtime to make it work) pissed away. Because the CEO is having a hissy fit. 25 good years can be easily destroyed by behaviour like this.

          At this time, unless you think you have an app to pull in cash or are writing freebie farting apps, I would not consider the iPhone to be a viable platform for development until we know the rules are fixed and will stay that way. It isn't about innovation, it isn't about sexy, it isn't about branding, it isn't about who's compiler is the most orgasmic. It is about TRUST and CONFIDENCE. My next phone won't be an i-anything, I just don't have any trust or confidence in the company. [alternative suggestions welcome!] While this might sound like me having an equal sulk, there are two important differences. My sulk doesn't stand to affect/inconvenience millions, and I am the guy with the cash - lest a big giant corporation actually forget what their purpose is. No customer equals pointless product. Well, they might not notice one or two in a million, but if Jobs keeps up like this, the numbers will increase. Or have you forgotten that the awesome Google who did everything Lycos and Altavista couldn't has turned, in the course of a decade, into a company more feared/hated than Microsoft? Bloody hell, who'd have thought that. But it goes to show that feelings and opinions change. And if in the future Apple should become something less than the status symbol it is now... well, they wouldn't have innovated on that either. :-)

          1. Anonymous Coward

            re: Huh?

            "So PAYING to visit someplace entitles you to later copy their ideas?"

            *sigh* It was known to Xerox PARC that Apple was accessing its research in order to work on a GUI - in return for this access, Apple gave it $1 million worth of pre-IPO Apple stock.

            According to Michael Malone's Infinite Loop, Apple had filed patents relating to this area BEFORE the visit - one reason Xerox PARC was so receptive to letting Apple visit and why more than a few people left it for Apple, is that they had shared viewpoints.

            Additionally, there were quite a few differences between Xerox PARC's Smalltalk and Apple's user interface... but don't take my word for it, here's what Bruce Horn (who worked on both) says:

            "Smalltalk has no Finder, and no need for one, really. Drag-and- drop file manipulation came from the Mac group, along with many other unique concepts: resources and dual-fork files for storing layout and international information apart from code; definition procedures; drag-and-drop system extension and configuration; types and creators for files; direct manipulation editing of document, disk, and application names; redundant typed data for the clipboard; multiple views of the file system; desk accessories; and control panels, among others. The Lisa group invented some fundamental concepts as well: pull down menus, the imaging and windowing models based on QuickDraw, the clipboard, and cleanly internationalizable software. "


  7. Decavolt
    Thumb Down

    "Apple demands" and "Jobsian wrath" just conjecture

    You offer no evidence (because I suspect you have none) that Apple "demanded" anything, nor do you offer any evidence of this so-called "Jobsian wrath." So the title and tone of this article is merely conjecture with an anti-Apple spin. All we know is that Ellen heard the people at Apple didn't like her spoof - so what? That is hardly proof that Apple contacted Ellen and *demanded* she apologize. Spinning things a bit much here, aren't you?

    1. Tom 54


      I do not think that comedians are commonly in the habit of apologizing for jokes or spoofs. That would tend to make one think someone said something. I know it is hard to really see the truth through fanboi glasses. But it is plain as the nose on my face! Well, your just gonna have to trust me it's there, as you havnt seen it first hand.

  8. FARfetched
    Paris Hilton

    Cue Apple haters in 3… 2… 1…

    Like this is IT-worthy?

    Paris, because she doesn't have much to do with IT news either.

    1. Arclight


      the Iphone isn't technology?

      Mines the coat with the £500 I saved by not paying over the odds for an Apple

  9. Greg J Preece

    It's a parody, fuck off Apple

    Boo hoo, someone insulted the Church!

  10. Matt Bradley
    Thumb Down

    Read between the lines

    Seriously. If you can't read between the lines of that comedy apology, your irony gland is seriously broken.

    1. Ammaross Danan
      Thumb Down


      I think this thought has merit. Perhaps it was their plan all along, just feeding off the anti-Apple sentiment of crack-down.

      "Hey! Let's do an Apple parody of some sort!"

      "That sounds funny! Know what would be even better?! The following episode, we can stage a 'fake' apology, claiming Apple didn't like it! Our rating will go through the roof as everyone reports our 'apology'!"

  11. LaeMing

    Apple's *new* attitude?

    Not sure where this idea that Apple's draconian paranoia is a recent development comes from. My own observations are that it dates rather specifically from the very first day of the Second Coming of Steve. They just have enough mainstream penetration now that it is becoming generally noticeable.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Greeks have words for this sort of thing...

    Hubris and Nemesis

    no not the rides at Alton Towers.

    the first could be phrased in English as "pride that blinds", the second as "just desserts"

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    St Jobs is the iPope

    Shame on Ellen de Galilei for not standing up for comedy and her constitutional rights, especially after Apple's recent flurry of madness. Hers might have been the straw that broke the iCamel's back and saw the media and public finally opinion turn on Apple.

    Is this really the same iCon who came out on air and then had an on-screen girlfriend? Perhaps she learnt from that experience to dispense with courage and never rock the boat again.

    Sandi Toksvig towers above you!

    1. Octoberon


      "Sandi Toksvig towers above you!"

      Now that's comedy!

  14. Naughtyhorse


    "It wasn't supposed to be this way," Stewart continued. "Microsoft was supposed to be the evil one. But now you guys are busting down doors in Palo Alto while Commandant Gates is ridding the world of mosquitoes! What the fuck is going on?"

    my thoughts exactly! (does that mean it's ok to UG to win 7?)

    Gates must have a big gilt framed piccy of steve - which he kisses every day, as the jobsian attitude is prolly doing more for his image than ridding the world of malaria!

  15. Dann

    Good advert

    I never would have known about this if Apple hadn't complained.

    It was funny though

  16. mrweekender

    What a sack of crap

    Jesus christ can't these morons write anything original. Also if she's carrying an iPhone this makes her twice as full of shit and is most certainly the prime indicator that this is ratings driven.

    Basically, fuck off Ellen - you're about as funny as varicose veins.

  17. Sir Runcible Spoon
    Jobs Halo


    The easiest way to hurt Apple (if that's your thing) is to not buy their shit.


    Oh, and to take the piss out of anyone that does :)

    where's the bronzy icon when you need it?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    South Park

    Apple better hope that the creators of South Park Trey and Matt don't hear about this otherwise they'll do a full episode parody ten times as bad and they certainly won't apologies!

    Also the Simpsons already took the rip and Apple never did anything to them.

  19. Eddy Ito

    I just want to know

    Will the Scientology folks start going after Apple for theft of trade secrets trade secrets? Also, would that be (trade secrets)^2 or trade^2 secrets^2?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't Appologise!

    Apple makes good stuff. But all phone makers need to be frequently reminded that real people have different size fingers!

  21. John Tserkezis
    Jobs Horns

    Welcome to the farm.

    "The creatures outside looked from Microsoft to Apple, and from Apple to Microsoft, and from Microsoft to Apple again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    iSay Apple get an iLife!!!

    Indeed the old ads from Apple used to say "Get a Mac"...if they took Ellen's jokes that personally, maybe it's about time they "Got an iLife"....seriously what's this big deal about iPad anyway or iPhone or iAnything fro that's just another gadget currently blown out of proportion, in less than a decade there will be loads of look-alikes...and then Jobs or whomsoever will be pulling the strings will have to think about the next iThing.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did Apple *really* complain?

    Or did Ellen, for comedy purposes, say they "complained"? There's no evidence other than Ellen saying they complained. What's the nature of the complaint? How was it communicated? Makes for a good story, though, eh, by a comedian!

    We all just blindly assume they actually complained - well, not all of us...

  24. David Evans

    Is this a site?

    Why yes, yes I think it is. So why have a video that can't be shown in the UK?

    NB. While DeGeneres' "apology" was clearly tongue-in-cheek, the fact that Apple even bothered to get hot under the collar about it shows the sheer levels of control-freakery they employ these days.

  25. Jolyon Ralph
    Thumb Down

    Sorry, Videos are not currently available in your country.

    Getting a "Sorry, videos are not currently available in your country" message on the 2nd video box.

    Is this true? I was just going to phone Blockbuster and check.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I checked

      I think they are only refering to VHS, blockbuster still rent DVDs.

      Tho it is a poor show when inserts a US only video.

  26. vandenbudenmayer

    Hmm, not so sure

    The title of the article is 'Apple demands public apology for iphone parody'. Nowhere have I seen any evidence of this demand. And it doesn't really make sense either. Yes, Degeneres apologises, but why? The more likely scenario is that the network bosses have asked her to do so, not because of any demand that Apple have made, but because they are scared of losing advertising revenue. If Apple really had asked for an apology, then you would not expect Degeneres to show the original parody again. So in other words, the whole article is nonsense. Comedian makes a parody, bosses are a bit worried about possible fallout, ask comedian to apologise, comedian apologises and makes it look like Apple asked for this apology so she doesn't look like a muppet.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    More equal..

    Well said John Tzerkesis. I've signed in just so I can give you a thumbs up!

  28. Peter Clarke 1

    Missed a trick

    Surely Apple should have demanded an iPology???

  29. Adrian Jackson
    Gates Horns

    Sorry, Bill...

    ...Apple is now the most evil computer company out there (with the demise of SCO, anyway). Microsoft dropping into second place yet again.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Steve Job's brain, will it blend!?

    oh wait its already slushy grey soup, interesting spicy taste of irrational anger though.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    The really sad part..

    ...was the audiences ' whoop-whoop--hell-yeah' when she mentioned the iPad. FFS.

    Unfortunatley I think USAians are actually PROUD of Apple, and forgive them their sins simply 'cos they're american (although I'm sure the hardware is made in china by the same people that make all the other pc kit).


  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1990s underdog?

    "As Cupertino has transmogrified from the scrappy underdog of the late 1990s to the consumer-electronics juggernaut of today, it has become increasingly heavy-handed in its dealings with its developers, its staff, and the media."

    In the early 1990s Apple, along with IBM, were the big bad, baddies of the IT world, with everyone routing for the "scrappy underdogs" of Microsoft and the IBM clone manufacturers. Which is pretty much what gave us the evil of Microsoft, HP and Dell against the saintliness of Apple and IBM that we have today.

    What goes around, and all that.

  33. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    I assume Apple DID "ask" for an apology and that doesn't mean that they get one.

    Now when Jon Stewart criticised Fox News and (if I have the name right) Bernard Goldberg on "The Daily Show", and with calm dignity and gravitas told them to "Go ***** Yourselves", and then in a later show responded to their response to that, saying, "I'm SORRY I told you to go ***** yourselves", I thought that was a retraction. But since he then brought on a gospel choir (whose name escapes me) to SING "Go **** Yourselves" at them while he performed a kind of chicken dance back and forth across our screen, apparently it wasn't a retraction. But then I thought it was a false line, since clearly he was NOT sorry that he told them to go ***** themselves. Neither am I. I just feel that you SHOULDN'T say "sorry" and then demonstrate that you aren't, even if you really aren't. Say sorry and don't mean it, that, one thing. But say sorry and then take it back, is worse. Maybe I'm taking this too seriously.

    As for the iPhone, or rather the iPad, hey, remember how some of us were all excited about a new slate computer from Apple, and some of us thought it would be just a larger version of the iPhone minus the ability to make phone calls? And it turned out to be just a larger version of the iPhone minus the ability to make phone calls? And it is still, today, just a larger version of the iPhone minus the ability to make phone calls? And only runs a censored range of software? Well, I am standing up (once I finish this) to say "I Don't Care About It". And I want everyone to join me.

  34. SynnerCal

    Profits for Logitech up

    Me with coffee + description of the iPad maker as "Appholes" = one ruined keyboard.

    Seriously, that's just class in a glass.

    -1 for Apple, like the article says - they're happy to dish it out, but can't take it. Isn't that always the case with the school bully?

    Shame, because Apple's got some killer products (I'd have a Mac if it was more affordable, not convinced by iPad and current iPod's) ... ruined by Stalinist policies.

    Oh and a reluctant -1 for The Register - a UK site that tries to show a video that can't be seen in the UK? Poor show old chap!

  35. yeah


    mmm...interesting, thanks for info

  36. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    No such thing...

    I never knew about it and neither did thousands of others! Now it's blown out of all proportion, we all hit YouTube looking for it and play it thousands of times giving Apple the finger and Ellen Wotnot some free publicity!

    This article and my waste of time commenting is 5 mins of my life I am not getting back!

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Crass Nuts/Zoo humour follows

    "My fingers are so much thicker than I remembered."

    Lucky Portia...

    A/C and coat, as I'm terribly sorry for lowering the tone.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ignore her, Steve

    She's just bragging about how thick her fingers are.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They bust Ellen(who needed busting) but don't bother with the Jesus phone crap

    HI, dear Apple people have been complaining to The Register and other publications for calling the iPhone the Jesus Phone. But no Mr Jobs you don't say anything about it. Good job!......Its time that Apple made a press release they don't like it called a Jesus Phone. Tell them Jesus Christ doesn't need no phone to communicate! His love and message is spread my the Holy Spirit... God loves you all but hates some of your livestyles...

  40. Mullerrad
    Gates Horns

    Apple Bully

    I'm in UK but have seen the video and the retraction on a Revision 3 podcast.

    I have a mac pro and too be honest I'm beginning to think that apple are now the evil empire not microsoft. Maybe its time to go fully linux.

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