Like a predatory loan officer or an unstable partner, technology companies have an obsession with locking you down. Here are some of the worst examples of proprietary products that leave you trapped, broke and angry.
The iPod Plug
While it in some ways seems like an example of a proprietary technology done right (it's solid, supports lots of connection types and has become basically ubiquitous), Old 30-Pin has quite a bit to feel bad about. Consider this: It single-handedly obliterated the non-iPod accessory market. Almost every MP3 player dock, FM transmitter or interfacing device supports this port exclusively—or with some feeble aux plug (cable not included) in the rear. And why shouldn't they? There are more 30-pin-jack iPods out there than there are all other MP3 players combined.
But it means Apple is stuck. An abrupt switch would be a disaster for third parties and customers alike (consider the outcry when the iPhone 3G wasn't compatible with some older 30-pin accessories) and it's not clear what they could switch to. Micro-USB probably doesn't have enough pins for all the various functions the port should serve, and switching to a solution that would, say, force users to connect both a power plug and and audio cable to a dock would seem like a step backwards. But hey, just because it's currently practical and ubiquitous doesn't mean it isn't evil. It's because of you, iPod jack, that my Sansa has about as many docking prospects as the average Giz writer.