Apple’s lone-wolf strategy backfires; recent setbacks may force Cupertino to rethink its ‘us vs. them’ mentality

“Apple Inc. is a synonym for independence, hipness and originality — but recent setbacks may finally force the icon to rethink its us vs. them mentality when it comes to big battles in Washington and Silicon Valley,” Steve Friess writes for Politico. “The company marches to its own iTunes, spending little on lobbying, rarely joining trade associations and, in a pattern that’s become more pronounced this summer, refusing to negotiate or settle in many lawsuits.”

“Experts say Apple’s tried-and-true approach is starting to backfire, as the company has already taken at least one big hit in a high-profile e-books trial,” Friess writes. “A recent landmark D.C. appearance by CEO Tim Cook may reflect a new reality for Apple: that direct engagement with lawmakers, regulators and rivals is more effective than trying to remain above it all… The very notion that Cook felt he needed to do what late founder Steve Jobs never did — publicly mollify Congress and, by extension, the American public — showed that the worm may have turned for Apple.”

Friess writes, “Three weeks ago, Apple was found by a federal judge to have orchestrated an e-books price-fixing scheme. The five other book publishers involved settled with the Justice Department, but Apple refused. The company lost at trial and has vowed to appeal. Apple also appears headed to court in a class-action lawsuit over Silicon Valley hiring practices. Two other co-defendants recently settled. And later this week, Apple and Samsung expect to learn who has won a patent dispute before the U.S. International Trade Commission.”

“Experts and insiders say, something’s got to give. The company’s outreach must mature, said Matt Seeger, dean of the communications school at Wayne State University in Detroit,” Friess writes. “‘When you have a $400 billion company, it’s hard to claim you’re outside of the system,’ he said. ‘At some point, that image becomes counterproductive. It’s the 60-year-old dean trying to be cool.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The Beltway Shakedown.

Related articles:
Bipartisan group of U.S. Senators recommend presidential veto of impending ITC import ban of older iPhones, iPads – July 31, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: NY judge rules Apple colluded to fix ebook prices, led illegal conspiracy, violated U.S. antitrust laws – July 10, 2013
Apple becomes latest target of the Beltway Shakedown – May 30, 2013
Apple steps up lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. – May 24, 2013

38 Comments

    1. At the very least Apple needs to be more vocal about what it actually does. Hard to do that without being political.

      For payments for example, I expect them to be ahead of the game regarding the inevitable marrative on security issues.

    2. Yes, extortion money! And those talking heads know which companies are spending those ad dollars on their network that feeds their paychecks!

      My wife was watching Bloomberg this morning with me and she finally understood what I have been saying for a long time, the 2 girls tried to turn the guests opinions against Apple several times. It was great, those 2 had integrity and stuck to the facts! I guess they will not be invited back again.

    3. Well said. To think that mollifying Congress is the same a mollifying the public is arrogance and stupidity in equal measure. Yes be like all those other companies that o as try r told and stagnate, yes that sounds like a Great plan.

  1. MDN said it in two words. The elected representatives of the American people have learned to expect little money from little companies and big money from big companies. When the biggest company of them all spends very little money, they consider such practice offensive and insulting. Consequently, they try to make a point to let such company know (in the most obvious way) what it is expected to do.

    As much as I think nobody here would want Apple to develop a lobbying operation on the K street, at this point, such effort is becoming extremely difficult to avoid without serious consequences. The American system of democracy is a shining example of legal corruption at the highest level (and of grandest proportions), where billions of corporate dollars are funneled (legally) into the pockets of elected representatives (via their re-election campaign funds). As this game has been played by the same rules for decades (centuries?), a company of such size (as Apple) simply cannot expect to stay outside of it.

    1. “The American system of democracy is a shining example of legal corruption at the highest level”

      I agree.

      It is illegal to buy votes, that is give a voter a stipend for their vote, but it is not illegal to give voters government funds.

      I became totally disillusioned with US “elections” when it became apparent that the most qualified were bypassed for the idiots that promised the most in government “assistance”.

      Congress is where you go to get rich/er, by giving away government money.

      1. I agree with you, but most of the big money doesn’t go to individual benefits, it goes to corporate coffers. Food stamps is a cheap program compared to boondoggle weapons programs and for-profit prisons and the like…

    2. “The American system of democracy is a shining example of legal corruption at the highest level (and of grandest proportions), where billions of corporate dollars are funneled (legally) into the pockets of elected representatives (via their re-election campaign funds).”

      Very true. It’s not really a democracy anymore. Basically it’s a merger of state & corporate interests – AKA Fascism.

      1. Yep, lets get Adolf back in play and make this country great once more! Democracy is obviously dead, lets bring in a new, really good system of government like, say, North Korea, or Lebanon, or Russia, or…………………………..

  2. It is premature to say this (re the e-books decision) until the appeals process has run its course.

    Also, I vote: No. Apple, please do what is right. Not what is politically expedient. It is ultimately a question of aesthetics. Kai zen.

    1. Matt Seeger, dean of the communications school at Wayne State University in Detroit, “When you have a $400 billion company, it’s hard to claim you’re outside of the system,’ he said. ‘At some point, that image becomes counterproductive. It’s the 60-year-old dean trying to be cool.”

      Seeger is the 60-year old dean saying “you’ve got to go along to get along”. I say Apple is the company that can force the system to change.

      Better products, lots’a dough, Papa Jobs

  3. Cook didn’t do Congress any favors when he appeared. He stated what most Americans with any sense already know. The tax system is broken and Congress created the holes allowing Apple to legally do, along with many other multi-national companies, what it does.

    You shouldn’t have to lobby to do the right thing.

  4. Just other way of saying: Apple, time to pay the gangster inside beltway. Nowaday, statesmen are rare, politician are plenty. Politician are just as gangster as mafia other than they are elected. Gangster are self-appointed.

  5. Matt Seeger, dean of the communications school at Wayne State University in Detroit:

    “When you have a $400 billion company, it’s hard to claim you’re outside of the system,” he said. “At some point, that image becomes counterproductive. It’s the 60-year-old dean trying to be cool.” (emphasis added)

    He’s talking about himself.

  6. He might want to check records before postulating like this. Apple has been embroiled in lawsuits and government inquiries all through the years — but with size comes visibility.

    To me he lost credibility when he slid from describing Apple as “us vs them” to “staying above the fray” — I think he wanted to paint Apple as the arrogant upstart but his notes eventually convinced him that Apple really just hasn’t cared all that much about politics.

    In the education sales division there were always some who were registered lobbyists and who worked strategically with state-level folks, but a smaller presence at the national level.

  7. Now had Apple joined in all the utterly ridiculous worship surrounding the guy when he was HIRED, maybe bring out a limited edition half black, half white Obama iPad or something, Apple wouldn’t be the target of CNN, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Justice Department, and so on.

    1. You’re right. It couldn’t have anything to do with Apple becoming the largest (and most successful) corporation in the country, which puts them as the lead subject in virtually any business story.

      And the point of the original story isn’t that Apple was singled out for litigation. It’s that they refuse to settle (in other words, compromise), which is the way things typically get done in the real world…

  8. In other words, “If you want to dance to the music, you must pay the piper.” Nonsense. Apple just has to sell more iPhones to get back up to $700 a share and no one will have a negative thing to say about the company. I kind of like Apple being a “lone gunman” but maybe that’s not the best way to do business. I don’t know because I’m lousy when it comes to making money. I have to ride on Apple’s coattails and hope to hell they know what they’re doing.

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