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WSJ: Federal antitrust probe about Apple's iAd service, too

post #1 of 87
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In addition to changes to the iPhone developer agreement banning the use of third-party development tools, a potential inquiry from federal regulators into Apple has been prompted by iAd mobile advertising network, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Citing "people familiar with the situation," authors Thomas Catan and Yukari Iwatani Kane reported Tuesday that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department are both considering a formal inquiry into Apple for changes to its iPhone developer agreement. The potential antitrust inquiry was first reported Monday by the New York Post.

While the Post cited Apple's banning of intermediary development tools for App Store software, which has caught the ire of Adobe, the Journal said the interest from regulators has also stemmed from new language in the agreement that forbids iPhone software from transmitting analytical data. Existing mobile ad networks reportedly complained to regulators, and said the changes could give Apple's forthcoming iAd service a leg up by making it impossible for competitors to effectively target their advertisements.

The report said that Apple could "head off trouble" by revising the terms of its developer agreement and addressing the sections that have come under scrutiny, according to one person familiar with the situation.

Separately, the FTC has also inquired about iAd as it looks into Google's $750 million purchase of mobile advertising firm AdMob. Developers told the Journal that they were contacted by the FTC, and that the commission is looking into iAd as well as the Google-AdMob deal.

AdMob has also been asked about the iAd service in the course of the FTC investigation. In the last few months, Google has used iAd and Apple's $275 million acquisition of mobile ad firm Quattro Wireless as evidence that there is sufficient competition in the advertising market. The search giant has approached the strategy as rumors have suggested FTC staff will recommend the federal government block Google's purchase of AdMob for anticompetitive reasons.

Apple has seen increased scrutiny from the government in the last year, with the Securities and Exchange Commission having reviewed disclosures made by Apple about the health of its chief executive, Steve Jobs, and whether the company knowingly withheld information from shareholders.

The FTC also investigated potential antitrust ties between Google and Apple, an investigation that led Google CEO Eric Schmidt to resign from the Apple Board of Directors, while former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson, who previously served on both boards, resigned from the Google Board of Directors last October.
post #2 of 87
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post #3 of 87
Well, I guess if the WSJ is reporting it, then it must be true that they are looking into an inquiry. This is only using the logic applied by some that the original story had to be bogus because it was in the New York Post. Unless this means we are supposed to group think the WSJ is a disreputable rag now too.

The iAds issue does seem to be worth looking into. I know the typical defense will be that Apple runs a closed ecosystem so anything the choose to do within that ecosystem is automatically right and that they are not a monopoly so again, nothing they do can be wrong. But those both seem simplistic.

I am confident that they won't be found to have done anything illegal or wrong, but it just seem poor form for Apple to simply shut out competitors in distinct sectors instead of competing with them. Apple is best when competing on merit. Simply preventing competitors from competing in discrete areas within the platform by using their control over the platform as a whole seems literally anti-competitive, though not legally anti-competitive.

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post #4 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Well, I guess if the WSJ is reporting it, then it must be true that they are looking into an inquiry. This is only using the logic applied by some that the original story had to be bogus because it was in the New York Post. Unless this means we are supposed to group think the WSJ is a disreputable rag now too.

It's not a rag yet, but since falling into Rupert's smothering grasp, its once-proud flag has been fraying badly at the edges.

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post #5 of 87
"The FTC also investigated potential antitrust ties between Google and Apple, an investigation that led Google CEO Eric Schmidt to resign from the Apple Board of Directors, while former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson, who previously served on both boards, resigned from the Google Board of Directors last October."

I wonder had this not occurred what would have happened? I assume Google were already planning to ape everything Apple was doing on the iPhone front so the split would have occurred anyway. Or would everyone still be good friends and no Android ... I doubt that.
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post #6 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

It's not a rag yet, but since falling into Rupert's smothering grasp, its once-proud flag has been fraying badly at the edges.

Rupert certainly has a way with newspapers (and TV news come to that) doesn't he? I remember back when the Times in the UK, pre Rupert, was a respected newspaper! He brings a new meaning to phrase 'lowest common denominator".
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post #7 of 87
Well, the upshot is, if all these inquiries turn into investigations and cases, we might be able to pair Apple and the adjective "beleaguered" again and not be ironic.

Those were the days...
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post #8 of 87
Apple is doomed (TM)!
post #9 of 87
This is all a plot by google and apple to create a super-giant conglmerate partnership and take over the world... Soon, Apple will buy Google and Eric will become vice president of the world... And Jobs will be SCEO (Super Chief Executive Officer)...
post #10 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

Apple is doomed (TM)!

The only solution here is to shut the company down, sell off the pieces, and return the money to the shareholders. Apple causes too much trouble for its competitors. It is constantly disrupting their tried and true business models with its relentless innovations. This simply cannot be allowed to continue.
post #11 of 87
I am find with Apple being investigated as long as Google's monopoly in this area is investigated too.
post #12 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

The only solution here is to shut the company down, sell off the pieces, and return the money to the shareholders. Apple causes too much trouble for its competitors. It is constantly disrupting their tried and true business models with its relentless innovations. This simply cannot be allowed to continue.

You got it Mikey.
post #13 of 87
Smart Google Lawyers using an unreleased product to say hey there is competition. Anyway, yea iAd is obviousely anti competitive. As far as I understand it only apple can use it for in app ads, so unless you want those ugly ads that take you to safari you better pay up. I don't think that can really be fixed. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
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post #14 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

Well, the upshot is, if all these inquiries turn into investigations and cases, we might be able to pair Apple and the adjective "beleaguered" again and not be ironic.

Those were the days...

I think it's safe to say Apple already has the antitrust game figured out.

$40 billion in cash swishing around, with the best legal team in Silicon Valley, does not make anyone beleaguered. If anything, "Teflon" comes to mind.
post #15 of 87
Next, Apple is forced to allow Mac OS X on DELL boxes and the like. Apple is forced to allow a crappy Flash plugin into the iPhone OS... Apple is forced to allow Internet Explorer in the iPhone... what else can I do for you, sir?
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post #16 of 87
I wish the banking system had an organization overlooking it as closely as the FTC... oh wait they do, the SEC
post #17 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Smart Google Lawyers using an unreleased product to say hey there is competition. Anyway, yea iAd is obviousely anti competitive. As far as I understand it only apple can use it for in app ads, so unless you want those ugly ads that take you to safari you better pay up. I don't think that can really be fixed. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

Actually the last incarnation of AdMob stays inside the app (uses a WebView). I just found out when I started developing my first free game. I would rather use iAd but obviously it's not available yet
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post #18 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Smart Google Lawyers using an unreleased product to say hey there is competition. Anyway, yea iAd is obviousely anti competitive. As far as I understand it only apple can use it for in app ads, so unless you want those ugly ads that take you to safari you better pay up. I don't think that can really be fixed. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

Anyone can implement ads that don't switch over to Safari. Most don't. iAd is just a really easy way to do so.
post #19 of 87
Add iTunes to the list?
post #20 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Anyway, yea iAd is obviousely anti competitive. As far as I understand it only apple can use it for in app ads, so unless you want those ugly ads that take you to safari you better pay up. I don't think that can really be fixed. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

I disagree, it would be anti-competetive if only Apple could were allowed to place an ad. But anyone else can do the same. In-app ads are all over the place. Any there's nothing to stop anyone from implementing their own method of rich graphical ads that are more than just a text banner. OK, they might not be able to use the iAd system, but that's not anti-competetive - that's competetive!
post #21 of 87
In before trolls!

This will put apple and google in the same bed, google does the same as apple as far as mobile ads, so it will be apple and google, so we have this and flash, and M$ in apples corner as far as flash ... heh.

It's funny the FCC can tell you what you can watch over the airwaves on your tv or listen to on your radio sighting um moral concerns, but apple can't keep control over what you do on their devices
post #22 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuffe View Post

I disagree, it would be anti-competetive if only Apple could were allowed to place an ad. But anyone else can do the same. In-app ads are all over the place. Any there's nothing to stop anyone from implementing their own method of rich graphical ads that are more than just a text banner. OK, they might not be able to use the iAd system, but that's not anti-competetive - that's competetive!

Agreed. People seem to mistake Apple for Microsoft quite often - every move they make kicks off these rumors of anti-competitive lawsuits. I see zero about iAd that looks anti-competitive.

Was Apple convicted of abusing its monopoly power to hinder competition and I just missed it?
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post #23 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In addition to changes to the iPhone developer agreement banning the use of third-party development tools, a potential inquiry from federal regulators into Apple has been prompted by iAd mobile advertising network, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Citing "people familiar with the situation," authors Thomas Catan and Yukari Iwatani Kane reported Tuesday that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department are both considering a formal inquiry into Apple for changes to its iPhone developer agreement. The potential antitrust inquiry was first reported Monday by the New York Post.

While the Post cited Apple's banning of intermediary development tools for App Store software, which has caught the ire of Adobe, the Journal said the interest from regulators has also stemmed from new language in the agreement that forbids iPhone software from transmitting analytical data. Existing mobile ad networks reportedly complained to regulators, and said the changes could give Apple's forthcoming iAd service a leg up by making it impossible for competitors to effectively target their advertisements.

The report said that Apple could "head off trouble" by revising the terms of its developer agreement and addressing the sections that have come under scrutiny, according to one person familiar with the situation.

Separately, the FTC has also inquired about iAd as it looks into Google's $750 million purchase of mobile advertising firm AdMob. Developers told the Journal that they were contacted by the FTC, and that the commission is looking into iAd as well as the Google-AdMob deal.

AdMob has also been asked about the iAd service in the course of the FTC investigation. In the last few months, Google has used iAd and Apple's $275 million acquisition of mobile ad firm Quattro Wireless as evidence that there is sufficient competition in the advertising market. The search giant has approached the strategy as rumors have suggested FTC staff will recommend the federal government block Google's purchase of AdMob for anticompetitive reasons.

Apple has seen increased scrutiny from the government in the last year, with the Securities and Exchange Commission having reviewed disclosures made by Apple about the health of its chief executive, Steve Jobs, and whether the company knowingly withheld information from shareholders.

The FTC also investigated potential antitrust ties between Google and Apple, an investigation that led Google CEO Eric Schmidt to resign from the Apple Board of Directors, while former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson, who previously served on both boards, resigned from the Google Board of Directors last October.

Has anybody noticed the similarity between the WSJ and New York Post articles? I wonder who sourced who. Certainly wish they had to reference their claims.

On the same note, I have looked through all my developer agreements and although I know what it does read, I can't find the clause reading as claimed below.
Quote:
However, in iPhone 4, a clause in the developer license that until now only prohibited the use of private APIs (that is, development features that Apple has not completed, documented, and disclosed as being available for public use) has now been expanded to include prohibitions on developing iPhone apps in other languages or in other development environments that are then translated or cross-compiled into native iPhone apps. The clause, section 3.3.3, now reads:

"Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited)."

Obviously, I can't tell you what the clause, section 3.3.3 does say. However, if anybody can direct me to such, I would appreciate it. Note that at the end of the NDA, there is a file code and date which would be have as well.
post #24 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by msantti View Post

I am find with Apple being investigated as long as Google's monopoly in this area is investigated too.

In what area does Google have a monopoly?
post #25 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranReloaded View Post

Next, Apple is forced to allow Mac OS X on DELL boxes and the like. Apple is forced to allow a crappy Flash plugin into the iPhone OS... Apple is forced to allow Internet Explorer in the iPhone... what else can I do for you, sir?

If Apple had any kind of market power in the OS market, then tying the hardware to the OS would raise concerns. But given that Apple has no market power in the OS market, they will not be forced to allow it ot be installed on other hardware.
post #26 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onhka View Post

Has anybody noticed the similarity between the WSJ and New York Post articles? I wonder who sourced who. Certainly wish they had to reference their claims.

On the same note, I have looked through all my developer agreements and although I know what it does read, I can't find the clause reading as claimed below.


Obviously, I can't tell you what the clause, section 3.3.3 does say. However, if anybody can direct me to such, I would appreciate it. Note that at the end of the NDA, there is a file code and date which would be have as well.

I assume you are looking at the revision dated Jan 2010. They released a new one April 8, 2010 that is what the article is referencing. If you don't want to download it, Daringfireball has a snippet.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #27 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamIIGS View Post

It's funny the FCC can tell you what you can watch over the airwaves on your tv or listen to on your radio sighting um moral concerns, but apple can't keep control over what you do on their devices

The frequency spectrum is owned by the public, as a common good. That is why the government can regulate the frequency spectrum - it is like clean air, owned by everybody together.

And the devices do not belong to Apple. They belong to the customers who buy them.
post #28 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post

In what area does Google have a monopoly?

This has to be one of the most ridiculous questions, ever.
post #29 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Agreed. People seem to mistake Apple for Microsoft quite often - every move they make kicks off these rumors of anti-competitive lawsuits. I see zero about iAd that looks anti-competitive.

Was Apple convicted of abusing its monopoly power to hinder competition and I just missed it?

No, Apple has been convicted on nothing.

And it is not iAd per se that is the problem, it is the wording of the Developer Agreement. If Apple would compete for advertising, that would be best. If Apple prohibits data analytics flowing to other ad companies, in order to advantage themselves, it needs to be looked into.

None of this stuff is easy or obvious. It is as arcane as any area of the law. I don't know any answers, but I have some familiarity with the mode of analysis.
post #30 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wondering View Post

This has to be one of the most ridiculous questions, ever.

Then it should be easy to answer, if the answer is so obvious.
post #31 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Well, I guess if the WSJ is reporting it, then it must be true that they are looking into an inquiry.

but look at the language, it's all 'might may be' not that they are.

Quote:
The iAds issue does seem to be worth looking into.

Question on that one. The Feds won't let Google finish their purchase of AdMob out of concerns. So why did they let Apple go right away and finish the deal, announced the product etc. Why is it only now that anyone seems concerned.

Quote:
and that they are not a monopoly so again, nothing they do can be wrong

And that may be the end result here. That, although perhaps a monopoly, nothing they have done or are doing is abusing a strong power. keep in mind that although Apple is #1 in mobile devices the lead is small.

Quote:
I am confident that they won't be found to have done anything illegal or wrong, but it just seem poor form for Apple to simply shut out competitors in distinct sectors instead of competing with them.

you think those other companies don't do what they think is best in terms of tech they support, information they give out, prices they charge. Sure they do. That's part of the nature of competition

Also where have we seen language that anyone that makes iphone apps can't make them for another other platform (as the Post article tried to imply), that app developers must use iAd or have no ads at all etc. THAT would be blocking.
post #32 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post

Then it should be easy to answer, if the answer is so obvious.

Why don't you just Google it? Oh, wait...
post #33 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

but look at the language, it's all 'might may be' not that they are.

Because there isn't currently an inquiry. All they can report is that they are looking into it. When it was in the Post, it was 'obviously' untrue that they were considering it, because the Post is crap. Now that it is in the WSJ, is the story itself credible?


Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Question on that one. The Feds won't let Google finish their purchase of AdMob out of concerns. So why did they let Apple go right away and finish the deal, announced the product etc. Why is it only now that anyone seems concerned.

Because Apple getting into ads is no problem. Apple getting into ads and the using their control of the platform to shutout or cripple competing ad providers is anti-competitive (literally, not legally). By allowing metrics to be gathered only when using the Apple API cripples any other systems that are currently providing just that. It is a valuable addition for ad providers to provide and banning it cuts the legs out from under them. Instead of competing with them, Apple looks like they will just hobble them to prevent competition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

And that may be the end result here. That, although perhaps a monopoly, nothing they have done or are doing is abusing a strong power. keep in mind that although Apple is #1 in mobile devices the lead is small.

I am not claiming they are a monopoly. If they are not, that is what would prevent actions like these from being illegal. If they are found to be a monopoly, then using their control of the iPhone OS platform to pre-emptively cutout future competitors in distinct segments would be very questionable at best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

you think those other companies don't do what they think is best in terms of tech they support, information they give out, prices they charge. Sure they do. That's part of the nature of competition

Sure and Apple does the same and that is all fine and competitive. But, if those companies achieve dominace in one area and then use that to prevent competition in another, that is not comptitive, that is preventing competition..i.e. anti-competitive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Also where have we seen language that anyone that makes iphone apps can't make them for another other platform (as the Post article tried to imply), that app developers must use iAd or have no ads at all etc. THAT would be blocking.

Rewriting for a new platform is not the same as recompiling for another platform. But, that is not what I am concerned with. Apple dictating what IDE is used has some very valid arguments and could be reasonably argued to not be anti-competitive. Allowing competing ad services but requiring them to be cripple themselves to be allowed is not competitive. They might as well simply ban competing ad services and stop the pretense that they will compete in that space.

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...sometimes it's both
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post #34 of 87
Does anyone else wonder if blogs and comments on sites such as these alert FTC staff to possible investigations? I suppose the official story is that their attention is gotten through formal channels, but I suspect that younger, tech savvy staffers might get inspired by comments of ire and outrage posted by adherents of one camp or another. This makes me wonder if some of the Adobe v. Apple postings might be orchestrated for this purpose.
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post #35 of 87
Any talk of anti-competitive has to be judged against the competitors in the mobile space.

So if Apple refusing to allow cross-compilation could be shown to be damaging to Android and the like (Maybe it forces Adobe to bin their tools), and that Apple could be shown to be abusing their dominant position to the detriment of the competition we may have a discussion.

I doubt that could ever be proved.

And with ads, the same applies. If by removing the ability for ad providers to gain analytics on the iPhone could be shown to be anti-competitive to other ad providers in the mobile space, and that Apple could be shown to be abusing a dominant position, we may have a discussion.

As there isn't a single iAd out there, they hardly have a dominant position to abuse even if they wanted to.

The point is, the competition isn't other ad providers/dev tool providers competing on the iPhone OS. Apple can screw over who it likes on it's own platform. The competition is the rest of the mobile OS platforms, and ultimately the consumer. Whatever Apple decides is allowable on it's own kit, however they retain access to key resources such as user analytics etc on their own platform, so long as what they do does not cause detriment to the consumer by stifling competition in the marketplace for mobile OS development, they are clean.

Recent data have shown Android to have the largest share of internet traffic, and they'll be happy to see that. Once Windows Phone 7 is out also, I think anyone has to admit the competition for mobile platforms is in rude health, for developers, for advertisers, and for consumers.
post #36 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamIIGS View Post


This will put apple and google in the same bed,

Google doesn't lock other advertising agencies out of any hardware, only out of their online products, which are technically big advertisements themselves, with flashy shit like email, office apps, maps, and search to suck in shoppers...

Apple monopolizing advertisements on the iPhone, both via iAd exclusivity and by excluding developing platforms like Flash (which would give advertisers a back door onto the iPhone), is the main issue here...
post #37 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

Apple monopolizing advertisements on the iPhone, both via iAd exclusivity and by excluding developing platforms like Flash (which would give advertisers a back door onto the iPhone), is the main issue here...

Which is not an issue at all as there is no 'iPhone' market other than Apple's own products. The market is mobile phones and apps for mobile phones. And i think we can all agree that Apple does not have a monopoly on mobile phones or apps to go with them.
post #38 of 87
This whole iAd program gives me the creeps.

Do you think Apple will allow ad blocking software on the iPhone and iPad, when Apple itself makes money off the ads?

Will we be able to opt out of being tracked by advertisers?

Will we be warned before we download an app that it includes iAd tracking?

Will paid apps be allowed to shovel ads at us, and track us?

Creepy.
post #39 of 87
All of the innuendo and rumors regarding Apple and anti-trust smell more like someones attempt to manipulate stock prices than actual facts and circumstance. I'll be real interested to see where this goes.
post #40 of 87
a slow news day, or webpage hit counts are down.

Is it news that the FTC or DOJ is thinking about maybe investigating Apple on these issues - depends (and I'm not talking about adult incontinence either).

Usually talks about initiating investigations result from allegations being made (usually by competitors) referring to one of more issues they have with corporate behavior or policy. Usually it is fairly obvious that there either is, or is not an issue that needs to be addressed. As WilliamG has alluded to in other postings (for example) there could be some question as to whether Apple bears responsibility for "adversely impacting" developers ability to use 3rd party code construction products for building apps on the Apple device platforms. Inasmuch as the government usually requires fairly clear and strong evidence of anti-competitive behavior, there would be a lot of review to determine whether there is actual impact or not. The problem for Apple is that the App Store platform is wildly successful. A part of dealing with that success is dealing with it's impact in the market, especially when the market is not well defined - which Apple's representatives will, I'm sure be certain to call out.

There are some very interesting issues at stake here - how is the mobile device category defined, how is the smartphone category defined, what is (and is not) an application for a mobile device, how is the application space for mobile devices defined, and by whom, is there an actual mobile device applications market which can be directly referenced, or is the "market" hopelessly fragmented due to failure to standardize on hardware, OS and software/application definitions. These are all issues that the DOJ and FTC have to determine. And in doing so (unlike threads like this) they have to do so in a way that applies equitably and reasonably across the entire space, not just to Apple, Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian/Maemo, or WebOS in particular. The only common ground established so far has been a very generalized and almost totally useless subcategory of "smartphone" as a cellphone which allows the user to install and use applications for purposes other than (not necessarily exclusively not) point to point contact with other mobile devices and telephones. The rest is still being defined by Google, Apple, HP/Palm, Microsoft, Nokia, HTC, LG, Motorola, and others. The problem for Apple is, having entered the smartphone space with the iPhone/iPod Touch, and now the iPad mobile devices (as they did with the iPod devices), they have successfully altered the balance of power, and the definition of what constitutes a "smart" mobile device, and what that ecosystem should (or should not be). By being both disruptive and successful in driving both consumer demand and wide-spread acceptance of their redefinition of the mobile device space, they have created a powerful platform, and just like Nokia in the cellphone space, that has caused issues for those companies not well-prepared to address that disruption. The response by those companies is to resort to lawsuit to mitigate the impact and to slow-down the acceptance and mitigate the disruption, or to complain to governmental agencies to claim anti-competitive behaviors in the nature of the disruption, as most likely, Adobe has. Notice how quiet Microsoft has been through all of this - they have seen a huge erosion of their Windows Mobile marketshare. Yet no one has asked why they are so quiet. Likewise why are there not additional lawsuits from RIM, Motorola, HTC and others claiming anti-competitive behaviors.

Part of the problem may be (speculating here of course), that no one took Apple's entry into the smart mobile device category seriously. How could Apple, which had only recently built a successful market majority stake in the mp3/media player space with the iPod/iTunes framework, yet struggled to gain any appreciable marketshare in the (much more serious?) desktop/laptop computing space, bring any marketable advantage into what has been characterized as a cut-throat, low margin, ill-defined space like the cellphone market? And now here, scarcely three years (and only three models) later own the most lucrative and successful branding in the space outside of RIM/Blackberry? Against seasoned and hardened players like those I cited above. Was it because Apple built, not just a cellphone that could run applications, but built the easy-to-use SDK, the (sometimes problematic) approval process, the straight-forward delivery mechanism (iTunes/App Store) and a reasonable system of revenue management to developers who used it. That has to figure prominently into the picture because no one else had as strong end-to-end solution. The question we, as owners of our government should ask, is it necessary for our government to penalize such success, in order to ensure that diversity in the market is maintained, even though no other player in the market applied as much thought or effort into created a ecosystem as effective or successful?
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