I don’t own any Apple products, and I really don’t ever expect to because there isn’t a product out there that I can’t find a more reasonable priced version of and I don’t have to worry about their increasing platform lock down.
It has always amazed me how everyone continues to target Microsoft as the big bad monster of proprietary platform when in fact Apple is proving over and over again that it is much more tyrannical when it comes to their platform.
The interesting thing is that while Microsoft did deserve to get beat up on in the past for its anti-competitive actions Apple has done much the same thing and yet everyone continues to give them a pass. Even with the news today regarding the Sony e-reader app being rejected from the Apple App Store people continue to give the company a pass.
It was along these lines that Thomas Baekal raised an interesting point in a post today where he suggested that what apple is doing is profoundly illegal at worst but anti-competitive at best. He goes on to point out how if you took the same documents used to haul Microsoft before the DoJ and substituted Apple, and their products, for Microsoft there isn’t much of a difference.
Try this. Head over to Wikipedia, and find the article about the anti-trust lawsuit between the US Government and Microsoft (over the anti-competitive nature of Microsoft vs. Netscape), and then replace the words with Apple.
Here is the converted introduction:
Apple abused monopoly power on Mac OS based phones and tablets in its handling of device sales and application sales. The issue central to the case was whether Apple was allowed to bundle its flagship iTunes App Store software with its iOS operating system. Bundling them together is alleged to have been responsible for Apple’s victory in the mobile application wars as every iPad user and developer were required to use the App Store.
It was further alleged that this unfairly restricted the market for competing app stores. Underlying these disputes were questions over whether Apple altered or manipulated its application programming interfaces (APIs) to restrict the iTunes App Store over third party App stores, Apple’s conduct in forming restrictive licensing agreements with 3rd party developers, and Apple’s intent in its course of conduct.”
“Apple stated that the merging of iTunes App Store was the result of innovation and competition, that the two were now the same product and were inextricably linked together and that consumers were now getting all the benefits of iTunes. Those who opposed Apple’s position countered that the App Store was still a distinct and separate product which did not need to be tied to the operating system, since a separate version of the App Store was available for jailbreaked devices.
With Microsoft vs. Netscape we still had a choice. It was still a disaster for Netscape, but we could always just download Netscape. We see the same pattern with the iPad, but we are not given a choice. We can’t download Sony’s ebookstore directly.
One has to wonder just at what point apple will have pushed too far and suffer a backlash that could drastically hurt the company.