Apple’s growing antitrust problem

“Apple’s expansion into services could test the hardware company in several ways — including the risk of making the company an even bigger antitrust target — because the company already tightly controls its ecosystems, especially the iPhone and iPad,” Sara Fischer and Ina Fried write for Axios.

“Companies have long-alleged that Apple and Google exploit their footing as owners of both the world’s largest smartphone operating systems (iOS and Android) and some of the world’s most popular apps (like Apple Music and Google Maps),” Fischer and Fried write. “Dutch antitrust officials said Thursday that they would investigate whether Apple favors its own apps over those of its rivals.”

“It’s never been clear whether having a monopoly over a particular platform presents an antitrust problem if the platform itself faces sufficient competition,” Fischer and Fried write. “In this case, Apple dictates the terms and rules for the iPhone, but the iPhone itself has competition. Think Xbox or PlayStation as other examples of this. For the most part, regulators have been hesitant to step in.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If customers don’t like Apple’s App Store, they are not forced to continue shopping there, they can choose another smartphone brand.

SEE ALSO:
Apple says treats all app developers equally as Dutch open probe – April 11, 2019
EU regulators say Dutch Apple probe complements their own investigation – April 11, 2019
Dutch antitrust regulator investigating charges of abuse by Apple in its App Store – April 11, 2019

11 Comments

  1. I believe that one major issue is that this is a totally new environment for those who develop and write the laws for antitrust. Apple is a major power in today’s technology, but it does not have a commanding lead in computers, or phones or pads. What Apple has done is mature into a full environment because of dome rather brilliant people who design products that they themselves lust for.

    Apple has also confused the antitrust folks in that they are not destroying competition by grossly under pricing them. Apple will generally be more expensive than the competition, totally voiding the traditional formulas governments have used to detect monopolistic behavior.

    Apple Stores are another interesting development. Remember how they were going to fail? Especially after Gateway failed in the retail sector? Apple developed a more intelligent approach and it has been very successful. Not a monopoly, though, as MS has their boring copies of the Apple Stores in a lot of malls, generally close to the Apple Stores.

    1. Apple does not need to kill competition for Apps by underpricing them, they forbid them from existence. Even if free, Apple must still approve an application.

      Anti-trust is not ‘just’ about monopoly power.

      1. No different than a grocery store deciding what lines to carry, or whether they carry their house brand instead of a national brand. You are free to go to a different grocery store if you don’t like the selection.

        There is no good or service in which Apple doesn’t have sizable, if incompetent, competition.

        1. First if all, as a user I don’t care about the grocery store’s interest.

          Neither do I deny a grocery stores right to carry whatever they want in their own store.

          If I buy a car from an affiliated dealer I expect to be able to drive to any other store, not forbidding other stores from existing.

  2. Interesting that the source article cites Playstation and Xbox as examples of why Apple is not a monopoly for controlling their ecosystem. It’s true that you can’t play iOS Apps on Android (or vice versa) just as you are unable to do so between Playstation and Xbox. And it is true that unless it is exclusive to the platform the same title may be available on multiple platforms. The place where the similarity breaks down however, is that Sony, Microsoft, nor Android monopolize control over the means to acquire that game/App. You are able to buy software that runs on each of the three’s platforms from multiple outlets that compete on price and services to sell you the same product. Apple kills that marketplace by being the sole arbiter of what is for sale for their iOS platform. I doubt the antitrust investigators continue to overlook that difference.

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