Hassleware — A New Strategy To Make Users Not Close Your Software

This post is not to be taken too seriously. I’m not actually advocating for the strategy outlined below. Just pointing out that it is taking place already, at least in iTunes.

One thing I’ve noticed about iTunes on Windows XP is that it is a massive resource hog — especially when starting the application, but even worse, when exiting it. It typically takes several minutes for iTunes to quit, and during this process there are several moments where my machine freezes up because all resources are being used by iTunes. I like iTunes as a product — don’t get me wrong — but it is the most
impolite app in my system. No other app freezes my computer just to
shut down.

My computer has a 2.1 gigaherz processor and more than 2 gigs of RAM, and lots of availale disk space, so it’s not due to scarce resources. It’s simply iTunes. The hassle factor of starting and shutting iTunes is in fact such an annoyance that I have resorted to just leaving it running in the background most of the time. In thinking about this it occurred to me that — perhaps unwittingly — Apple has come up with a clever way to make me keep their software open all the time. It’s just too painful to close iTunes, so I leave it running.