Have you ever heard of a guy called Don Fanucci? You are well educated if you have. If you haven't then I'd suggest you watch the Godfather part 2.
He's a nice Italian chap who runs this great little scheme whereby people have to pay him protection money. If they refuse, he beats them up. It's a brilliant idea. It's also how most big corporations operate.
Take Microsoft for example. We have to pay them obscene amounts of money for the privilege of using their products. During that time we get millions of free patches to download; patches that are necessary because their products are rubbish and full of bugs.
Of course, as soon as one of their products becomes obsolete, these patches pretty much stop because Microsoft isn't interested in supporting them any more. The other thing that happens is the product mysteriously stops working properly.
For instance, I use an older version of Office and I have no reason to upgrade at the moment. The only programs I use are Word, Outlook and Access. I don't use Excel because it's annoying and assumes, always incorrectly, what I want to do before I've done it and I don't use PowerPoint because I'm not an imbecile.
Recently, however, since later versions of Office have been released, Outlook and Word have started to freeze on a regular basis. I can barely move the cursor without it hanging and forcing me to wait 5 minutes before I can compose an email. I often get a message saying Outlook can't open Microsoft Word because it is busy. Well pardon me Mr Gates but I'm the one who's bloody well busy, not Word!
It's the same with Apple and the iPhone. I took out a 2 year contract back in June 2009. It has been brilliant. I've become one of those annoying people who, every 5 minutes, gets the phone out and fiddles with it for no reason whatsoever.
Anyway, recently the thing has started to run a bit slow. The Internet connection is the worst. I can't remember the last time I got a 3G connection and it fails to connect to my email accounts or Facebook on a regular basis. It often takes ages to catch up with itself when I'm composing a text message and there have been a number of occasions where people have tried to call me and it has gone straight to voicemail.
Of course you might argue that the phone is 2 years old and is getting tired. This is very possible but I find it a little strange that it started happening just as my contract came up for renewal. Call me cynical but do you think this could be a deliberate ploy to force me to buy a newer model?
The thing is I, along with everyone else, put up with this because there isn't much in the way of choice. Both companies monopolise their respective markets. Like Don Fanucci, they expect me to wet their beak because I'm just a little punk with no respect.
Of course, Don Fanucci's little business empire collapsed after he annoyed Vito Corleone. So I'm going to take a leaf out of his book. I'm off out to buy a pony and a hacksaw. I'm then heading down to the o2 shop to make them an offer they can't refuse...