A confusing logo war for Apple

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I’m sitting here typing on a white MacBook enhanced by the fabulous Mac OS X Leopard. My first-generation iPod nano is mere feet away, while my omnipresent craving for an iPhone looms even closer. What can I say — I’m a sucker for Apple’s intuitive, visually pleasing designs, not to mention the brand’s cultish appeal to tech-savvy 20-somethings. I’m an Apple fan, and it would take a severely drastic overhaul on the part of Microsoft to wrench me back into their right-mouse-button-endowed universe.

Still, I’m mad at Apple. I’m mad at Apple the way that wives get mad at husbands: No, I won’t leave; I won’t slam my MacBook’s cover shut in the hopes of damaging its internal circuitry; I won’t even get into bed with a Hewlett Packard while I wait for my emotions to cool. I’m a loving, loyal Apple-enthusiast, and I’ll stand by the company for better or worse.

That said, my tiff with Apple started a couple of weeks ago on April 4, when the company — formally Apple Inc. — issued a legal challenge to the apple-shaped logo belonging to GreeNYC, a sustainability campaign in none other than the Big Apple itself — New York City. The computer company claims that the similarities between the logos will confuse its customers.

Apple’s logo is a solid apple shape with a bite taken out of its right side and a right-facing leaf on top. Though classically rainbow-colored, the Apple apple has most recently appeared in a sleek-looking, monochromatic solid color, running the gambit between white, gray, and silver. On the other hand, the Big Apple’s apple is a looping green outline of an apple shape (not solid) with a left-facing leaf. Perhaps in effort to discourage conspicuous consumption, GreeNYC’s apple is entirely intact (not bitten).

Maybe Apple is right — despite these obvious differences, I do feel confused.

I’m confused about why Apple, a company known for its not-so-green practices (using toxic chemicals in their products) would want to pick a fight with the GreeNYC, one of the good guys. Heaven forbid customers confuse Apple with the Big Apple’s campaign; it would be so bad for business if people started to associate the company with environmentally friendly procedures.

Furthermore, I’m confused about why Apple would want to entrench itself in another who-thought-of-it-first dispute, after spending literally decades battling over its name and logo with Apple Corps, best known as the Beatles’ record label.

Apple Corps sued Apple Inc. for the first time in 1978, resulting in an $80,000 settlement in 1981 and a promise that the latter play no part in the music business. In 1989, Apple Corps sued again following the release of an Apple computer with a synthesizer chip, for which Apple Inc. had to pay its recording-industry rival a whopping $26.5 million in 1991. The legal drama erupted again in 2003, when Apple Corps saw iTunes and the iPod as clear violations of the 1978 agreement. In 2006, a UK court ruled in the computer company’s favor, but you’d still be hard-pressed to find the Beatles in the iTunes store. Why would Apple want to inflict this sort of headache on somebody else?

Last, I’m confused about why Apple thinks I’m going to be confused. Besides being an Apple devotee, I’m also a customer — I chose the company’s products over those of its rivals, while some of my friends were worried about paying more money, trying something new, or finding all their favorite “Windows compatible” games in an Apple environment. I like to think that the thousands of dollars I’ve poured into the company reflect shrewd, educated purchases. Apple, after all I’ve done for you, can’t you at least respect me enough to assume I can tell the difference between a green outlined apple and a solid silver one?

Like I said before, I’m not going to leave. I like Apple products too much to abandon them over some idiotic trademark war. But things have changed, Apple. The honeymoon is over. I hope you can make it up to me.