30-year-old Apple now a goliath with iPod+iTunes, will anti-trust concerns arise?

“After Eve’s lunch in the garden of Eden around 4,000BC and Sir Isaac Newton’s seventeenth century bump on the head, 1 April 1976 is the third date on which an apple revolutionised human development. This is the date on which Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne founded Apple Computer in 21-year-old Jobs’s bedroom at his parents’ California home. Expect a lot of hyperbole as the company approaches its 30th birthday,” Stephen Foley writes for The Independent. “Apple is preparing to launch a slew of new and improved products and is sure to remind us all how the company changed the modern world not just once, but twice. Its early products were hailed as computers ‘for the rest of us,’ so easy to use you didn’t need to be a geek to get it. They popularised personal computing in the same way that Apple’s iPod – 50 million shipped and counting – has turned digital downloading into a mass market phenomenon.”

“Steve Jobs, who was holding down a second job as head of the Pixar film studio until its purchase by Disney, has emerged as one of the most powerful figures not just in computing but in the media world,” Foley writes. “The Macintosh, launched in 1984 with a mouse and a screen that said hello to you, became one of the most successful product launches in computing history… Indeed, Microsoft’s Windows, now the dominant operating system, looks a lot like that of the Mac… now that Apple is the Goliath, and as anti-trust questions begin to be raised over the dominance of iTunes software and its superior inter-operability with the iPod hardware, might its apparently unassailable position crumble as it did after the shooting-star success of the early Macintosh? The difference this time is that everyone inside Apple – from Steve Jobs down – is aware of and determined to learn from the failures of the past.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Macaday” for the heads up.]

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Related article:
Apple’s vs. Microsoft’s music DRM: whose solution supports more users? – August 17, 2005

24 Comments

  1. It’s not illegal to have a monopoly, it is only illegal to abuse that monopoly to prevent other companies from creating competition. Just because everyone else sucks doesn’t mean that Apple is abusing it’s position. Why is it that no one seems to understand this point?

  2. It’s funny how the closed system almost sunk them with the Mac and how it’s the unbeatable combination with the iPod. I am sure that Steve is much more carefully playing his on the world market than the last time.

  3. Unfortunately for the competition, Apple gained a huge market share because the customers preferred the iPod and iTunes. Apple doesn’t have a monopoly – they simply have the products that customers prefer. Maybe one day a competitor will gain that level of consumer preference . . . Right.

  4. The Chinese claim 5000 years of recorded history. (Though 4000+ years is better substantiated.) So 1000+ years from the Garden of Eden to Chinese civilization? That’s pretty impressive.

    That’s Western thought for you.

    MW, honestly,is “Europe”. Related to the Eurocentrism of Western thought.

  5. Restrictions on iTunes downloads are not harmful to a computer. The Sony debacle was centered not around it’s restrictiveness, but because it was done in such a way that compromised the security and functionality of the computers they were used on. iTune’s songs may have restrictions, but I have yet to hear of a person having problems with a computer after removing a song or iTunes. Plus, I have never bumped into the limit of the DRM restrictions with iTune’s downloads. Not. Once.

  6. Dak,
    The Sony debacle is only the most recent attempt. There were attempts before that were not harmful to the computer. Surely you are aware of that.

    That’s great that you haven’t had any problems with Fairplay. Other people most certainly have run into problems with completely legal uses. In any case, I dread the thought of a society where everything is wrapped up in some layer of DRM.

  7. Apple got to be the biggest because they provided the first easy-to-use player and the first music store. This was not anti-competitive.

    The anti-competitive practices come into play when Apple refuses to support others’ DRM and refuses to license its DRM to others.

    It’s a lock-in/out for consumers. Once you buy an iPod, you can’t use anyone else’s music downloads, and once you buy a song from iTMS, you can’t use anyone else’s players.

    …without violating your license agreements.

    BOO anticompetitive Apple. Using one to lock in the other.

  8. How can something like this be considered “closed” when it works on any PC or Mac? And music purchased can then be transferred to any other music player, albeit with a little effort?

    Will some people not be satisfied until they can plug in their 2001 iRiver and download songs straight from iTMS?

    Sheesh. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”rolleyes” style=”border:0;” />

  9. Folks..the EU and France are not coming down on Apple and iTunes because there is an unfair monoply there.

    They come down on any American company that out foxes them in any realm of industry. If a French company had a product called Le iPod that worked only with a web site called Le iMusique and it had a major share in the EU music market. The envy driven monopoly suits against Apple would not exist. In fact, they would call us anti-European if the U.S. government brought any kind of suit against their “monopolistic” iMusique. Wake up and smell the truffles, the EU doesn’t give a rat’s ass about fair. They are there so Europe can trip up American industry in a civilized and organized manner just long enough for a European competitor to get online (no pun intended). DUH!

  10. Why isn’t the french Gov going after the windows media format since most them will only play on windows and not on the mac? Talk about a closed system. I love media spin. Call me when they start talking about the closed Napster and Rhapsody systems.

  11. -DakRoland-

    That’s hitting the nail on the head. And MS is the people’s evidence #1.

    I’ve said this in other posts, and have no problem saying it again: It is much more important than people realize, that MS, somehow someway, be squeezed back into a more proportianal market share, specifically with regard to their OS. To say that this whole Mac vs. Windows thing is simply about style, taste, or which one is better is a radical oversimplification of the reality. We’re not talking stereo systems or slicer dicers here we’re talking about a type of technology upon which the entire planet has complacently and inavertently rested its physical operations – Corporate, Civil, Defense, etc. When is someone going to wake up to what’s really at stake here.

    If you’re a conspiracy theorist you’re only limited by your imagination, and in this case I hope your imagination has limits ’cause its down right scary to think of where we are with MS at this point in the world’s operational history. On the other hand, if you’re a pragmatist, how imbecilic is it that you turn over the mechanical infrastructure of the entire planet to one corporation? Hmmm?

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