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Apple's Jobs Hoist With Own Petard on Gay Marriage App

Apple (AAPL)'s decision to ban a Christian app that argues against gay marriage illustrates the problems companies bring on themselves when they start making moral judgments about their customers' activities. In protest, the organization that made the app has now re-edited Apple's famous "1984" Super Bowl ad to make CEO Steve Jobs the Big Brother character (video below). The group, The Manhattan Declaration, is calling on Jobs to end his censorship of Apple's app store.

Thus, Apple's policy of approving -- or rejecting -- apps based on their content has managed to make an anti-gay group look like it's standing up for freedom, and Jobs look like someone who doesn't want his customers to access anything he disagrees with.

Apple's policy is a hit-or-miss affair that's supposed to offer users "freedom from porn" but in fact prevents them from downloading Oscar Wilde, cellphone radiation detectors, and James Joyce's Ulysses.

Even if you agree with Apple's policy of rejecting objectionable content, it's impossible to enforce: How would you draw the line consistently enough to make it defensible? You can't. It's impossible. Which is why Apple will repeatedly bump into this issue -- and why fringe groups will repeatedly be able to make Jobs look ridiculous -- until the policy is ended.

Regardless of what you think about Manhattan Declaration's position on marriage, its position on the iPhone is basically correct: Why shouldn't iPhone users be able to do whatever they want with phones they own?


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