My chief problem is I'm hopelessly conflicted over which group of assholes I want to win and which group of assholes I want to lose.
Well golly gee! It's not like there's not a choice of "none of the above". Ah, but, *Give me convenience, or give me death*
At first I was going to mod this up, but then I thought a bit more about it. Let me give you a better example of what the grandparent was likely getting at:
Let's face it, I sincerely doubt that ANY slashdotter uses Realplayer on a regular basis. Most of us file it under "relics of the 90's" or "squandered tech opportunities" or something similar. Had RealNetworks won that case, I sincerely doubt anyone here would have actually purchased or used this application. However, this court case was one where many of us were hoping that RealNetworks would win - not for the amazing software or for the continued growth of RealNetworks, but for the court precedent. If RealNetworks won, it would be the first piece to fall of the problem of legislatively backed DRM. The war would continue, of course, but it would be a start.
I can't speak for the GP, but I concur with his sentiment. I don't think that Apple, Google, or these retailers have my best interest at heart. Not in the slightest. However, they all want the same thing: money. Apple seems generally better about not directly selling marketing data, but there's also no guarantee that they're not doing it under the table. Even without the tin foil hat, Apple may keep all that data in-house, and if iCloud security is any indication, that database security is questionable. Aunt Google, we all know, sells marketing data - they compete just as much with ClearChannel as they do with Microsoft - arguably more so. Retailers have their own science about how to psychologically manipulate you to buy stuff in their store. Apple may be the 'least offensive' in this lineup since their biggest crime is still a matter of speculation, but they're still no saint, even by corporate standards.
Thus, we have ourselves a bit of a conundrum. Even if you and I continue to use cash, the order invariably goes "opt-in, opt-out, alternatives disincentivized, alternatives socially unacceptable, alternatives impossible/illegal". Thus, the question becomes "who do we want blazing that trail?" That's the true question being asked by the GP, and unfortunately, I agree.