Basically you have to pay them money in order to be allowed to do things that are already ethical, perhaps even legal to do. If you already can do these things, then you often have to put up lobbying efforts to make sure that you can continue doing them.
Paying for extortion is unethical and illegal too. Laws punish both the extorter and who omits to denounce.
For example, recall how after Google introduced gmail, California senator Liz Figueroa wanted to ban it.
Presumably she was afraid of the fact that the average Gmail user wouldn''t be aware that Google (and Google's unfaithful employees, and hackers, and the NSA,
In that case, it took some heavy lobbying in order to keep gmail legal.
You mean that Google overrode the people's sovereign will, that they had expressed democratically by electing Liz Figueroa, by corrupting other politicians? If so, it's highly immoral and Google deserves to be punished for this. The government has the monopoly of coercion in modern democracies, and this privilege stems from the fact that it represents the will of the people. Altering this fact is one of the most serious crimes that an entity can stain itself with.
Before gmail they used to suck horribly, the good ones gave you a whopping 10MB of storage
In 2005 my ISP gave me 300 MB of storage which, in a time of 56K modem dialup connections, was plenty. The free offer from the same provider was 100MB, which is still ten times bigger than 10MB.
and each action you took required an entire page reload, making them slow as fuck.
Did your webmail work like that? The one of my ISP looked like MS Outlook and wasn't bad. Why, AJAX was invented by Microsoft for that exact purpose.
when what their user base wanted was yet another rehash of the win 95 desktop layout. The Gnome developers actually tried to do something new in desktop UIs, they actually tried to innovate
Even Windows 8, with all of Microsoft's economical and political prowess behind it, failed, because UI designers decided to drop the excellent "Windows 95 desktop layout" without having a proper replacement for it (Metro solved a different problem). Microsoft's remedies for this situation have all gone in the direction of restoring elements of the Windows 95 desktop layout.
Perhaps so many people want the "Windows 95 desktop layout" not because they dislike change or are irrational beings. Perhaps they want it because it works, and as is the case for most things that work, perhaps its form follows its function, and this could be the reason why most traditional desktop environments tend to appear similar. Most airplanes look like the same, even though aviation is characterized by strong innovation.
And while Apple can readily fix a bug in its own software, at least for users who keep up on patches, "Linux" refers to a broad range of systems and vendors, rather than a single company, and the affected systems include some of the biggest names in the Linux world, like Red Hat, Debian, and Ubuntu.
And thanks to the LGPL license of GnuTLS, all the users have the possibility to upgrade their systems, independently of whether Red Hat, Debian, Ubuntu, Apple, Microsoft believe that maintaining those systems is still commercially convenient or not. GPLv3 would be better, as it would give the users the warranty of being able to actually install the updated code into their devices, which is important for non-PCs.