Why the U.S. FTC should let both Apple and Google do what they want in the mobile-ad business

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“Is Apple the most powerful mobile technology company? Or is it Google? The Federal Trade Commission’s apparent answer to that either/or question: They both are,” Farhad Manjoo writes for Slate.

“If you have to ask whether either Google or Apple is too big for the mobile business, isn’t that a pretty good sign that neither one of them is? Only one of them can be a monopoly, after all,” Manjoo writes. “At the moment, each company has enough power and ingenuity to prevent the other from gaining a permanent, monopolistic foothold in the phone market.”

Manjoo writes, “If federal regulators put a stop to Google’s acquisition, then Apple’s outright domination on the iPhone and iPad will be assured. So the FTC has a choice: It can smack down Google now and Apple later, or it can leave both companies alone and let them compete. I’d rather see the fight go on.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s outright domination on the iPhone and iPad will be assured regardless of whether or not the FTC allows Google to acquire AdMob – as long as the FTC doesn’t somehow attempt to cripple Apple’s iAd or force Apple to allow third-party ad networks access to Core Location and other user data that Apple currently disallows, not just for competitive advantage, but also for user security. In the clear absence of a monopoly, there seems to be no reason for the FTC to compel Apple to do either thing to or with their platform. Certainly, the FTC shouldn’t be in the business of trying to predict monopolies and attempting to regulate them where they do not currently exist. Also, monopolies are legal unless abused (ask Microsoft about that), so without a monopoly situation, there can obviously be no monopoly abuse to correct, which is yet another reason why the FTC shouldn’t act.

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


  1. Farhad Manjoo is a person with dubious credibility. He had a few favourable pieces on Apple, but then he changed his tunes overnight with a strong bias against all things Apple. This conveniently took place when he wrote a book on Jobs. Ever since then, his work on Apple has not been featured anywhere else and he’s been fading. MDN has not bothered to link his hit-bait headlines until now. Seriously, I wouldn’t mind not hearing from him again.

  2. Checks and balances need to in place before the problem so that the problem if it arises can be dealt with with no serious ramifications. The FTC should use the M$ case point as a reference to put into place the various checks that would allow for start ups to enter and gain a foothold on these markets to encourage vigorous competition and a choice.

  3. I guess I am wrong then, since you have clarified it yourself. I was under the impression you have written on Jobs that was not favourable, and somehow I was sure it was a book. I thank you for correcting my mistake, and my apologies to you.

    MDN MW: ‘needed.’

  4. Well, Apple clearly has a monopoly in the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad markets. That argument worked so well for Psystar, right? So let’s regulate Apple.

    And of course Google has a monopoly in the Google search and ad markets, so we’d better regulate them, too.

    Heyyyy… come to think of it, Adobe has a monopoly in the Photoshop and Flash markets! So what the heck, let’s start regulating them, too.

    In fact, you know that whole “free market” thing? Let’s just chuck that out the window and regulate everybody! Since we all know every single one of them is an evil, filthy, rotten, stinking monopolist in each of their own individual markets. Can’t trust those conniving capitalists!

    But you can trust the FTC, oh yes. We’re not evil at all. We’re the government! You can trust us to be fair, honest, and impartial, always!

    (…though, if you wanted to slip us a bunch of money on the side, we can be persuaded to be fair, honest and impartial in your favor.) ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    MW: trade

  5. “That’s why you play the game.”. Herm Edwards, KC Chiefs head coach.

    Let Google and Apple play the game, and may the best team win. Hopefully it will be a long and fierce rivalry, because the fans win in the end.

  6. Anyway, Mr. Manjoo, if I may take advantage of your quick attention here, I have found this following article titled, “Free iTunes! Apple’s hypocritical move to block competitors from accessing its software” ~ by Farhad Manjoo, (Posted Monday, Sept. 28, 2009, http://www.slate.com/id/2229856/) to be less than factually credible.

    Here’s a rebuttal of your piece: http://www.jon22.net/in-which-i-pick-apart-farhad-manjoo/

    And there are a few more articles where you had opined against Apple with, what I felt, flawed and deliberate bias. These are the reasons, I have stopped reading your posts anywhere they had appeared in the recent past.

    I used to enjoy your writing, and felt it was a shame that your logic had seemingly checked out at the similar gates of those at the Inquirer, Jason Paltrow and that Aidan Kingsley Hughes etc. I tend to simply ignore their posts as they seem to have nothing but unbalanced vitriol to share with the world.

    I sincerely hope, you separate yourself from those predetermined anything anti-Apple mindsets. Does not mean that you have to like Apple overnight to win many of us back, just allow healthy doses of facts in your work when you care to critique. Just a suggestion.

  7. You’re thinking of the English guy who writes for Wired, who wrote a book on Steve. Inside the mind of Steve Jobs. I think that’s the one. The same guy who hawked his iPod book by getting his kids to dress up as iPods at MWSF, or something like that. Using your kids is pretty lame.

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