What Do You Mean “New” Evil Empire?

While cruising through Slashdot this afternoon, I came upon an item in which Rolling Stone blogger Charles Coxe asks whether Apple may become Is the New Evil Empire.

Once but the student (see their classic 1984 ad, their PC vs. Mac ads and oh, everything else that’s ever come out of their mouth), it seems that little ol’ Apple finally could be turning into the Master.

The 1984 ad was then and still is extremely creepy–it was meant to lash out at some imagined IBM monoculture, when in fact the PC/DOS/Windows ecosystem was much more “free” than the Mac side of things. On the PC side of things, you got to choose your hardware, and fire your supplier if it irked you too much.
All that gear, unburdened from OS/hardware lock-in, was the primordial soup from which Linux and open source eventually sprang. On the Mac side, you get what Apple gives you, and you’re happy about it, because giant billboards tell you you’re on the side of Gandhi and Muhammed Ali.
Again, creepy and just a bit EEEvil…
And what about Apple’s “you’re not a journalist,” crusade, waged not just against the sorts of creative professionals to whom Apple’s supposed to cater, but specifically against those creative professionals who work to crank the Apple buzz machine.
However, being an evil empire and being viewed as an evil empire are two different things. As long as Apple keeps up the sharp marketing, and as long as Apple’s market share remains low enough so that most people interact with Apple only through those advertisements, I think Microsoft’s rep as keepers of darkness will remain safe.