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US DoJ looking at Apple's iTunes for antitrust issues in music - Page 3

post #81 of 106
What we have here is more visible activity on the part of our Socialist President and his minions to distract from the fact that all they want is everything...total control of you and everything you do...in your own best interest of course (to quote Karl Marx).

Think! Could the government possibly have more pressing issues to contend with? Why, then, pick on this one if not as a distraction from their true agenda?

There are very, very few things the Constitution allows the government to do. These it has done very poorly. What do you do when everything you do comes out wrong, and worse, the people start to find out about it? You generate furious activity in all other areas.
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post #82 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

They can't collude, by definition, since they are not in the same market. If the recording industry conspired together to fix prices, then that would be a cartel, which is illegal under the antitrust laws.

Good Dr., it is always possible for players in the value chain to collude to eliminate another channel within the value chain. That's what the comment was referring to, I believe.

If Intel were dumb (or desperate) enough to pull this (which it really won't be), consider the following:
Some (smaller but relevant) computer company asks Intel to give them access to a new chipset a quarter/month/whatever is the equivalent of 1 day in the online music biz so that it can get ahead of the bigger guys.
This would benefit Intel because the other bigger customers/channels have less of a say in how Intel should sell its product.They both know this and there is mutual benefit.

The above, while not a perfect analogy (if there ever was such a thing), illustrates collusion across different markets
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post #83 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky King View Post

What we have here is more visible activity on the part of our Socialist President and his minions to distract from the fact that all they want is everything...total control of you and everything you do...in your own best interest of course (to quote Karl Marx).

Think! Could the government possibly have more pressing issues to contend with? Why, then, pick on this one if not as a distraction from their true agenda?

There are very, very few things the Constitution allows the government to do. These it has done very poorly. What do you do when everything you do comes out wrong, and worse, the people start to find out about it? You generate furious activity in all other areas.

Get off this forum, there are plenty of forums to discuss these topics
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post #84 of 106
If the music labels get what they want from this intentional push from the DoJ, then I'm done buying music, I'm sure the music industry wants to charge for the full price of albums rather than sell individual songs. I am no fan of that old archaic system, I do not want to be forced into buying entire albums anymore. This clearly is a case of the music labels making a formal complaint against Apple's successful online music business.
post #85 of 106
So what exactly is the problem here? Music Labels want to give an exclusivity deal to Amazon.com. Apple disagrees and says they will pull the marketing push if that happens. So now the DOJ is potentially going to get involved... and do what? Force Apple to continue to promote and market the music that Label offers?

My question is, what type precedent would this set for not just Apple, but any music retailer?
post #86 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobility View Post

Good Dr., it is always possible for players in the value chain to collude to eliminate another channel within the value chain. That's what the comment was referring to, I believe.

If Intel were dumb (or desperate) enough to pull this (which it really won't be), consider the following:
Some (smaller but relevant) computer company asks Intel to give them access to a new chipset a quarter/month/whatever is the equivalent of 1 day in the online music biz so that it can get ahead of the bigger guys.
This would benefit Intel because the other bigger customers/channels have less of a say in how Intel should sell its product.They both know this and there is mutual benefit.

The above, while not a perfect analogy (if there ever was such a thing), illustrates collusion across different markets

I'll concede that it's possible, but even by your own analogy, not likely to result in unfair competition. If Intel provided one customer with product in advance of their other customers, then the competitive effect you'd want to look for is on Intel's competitors.
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post #87 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

They can't collude, by definition, since they are not in the same market. If the recording industry conspired together to fix prices, then that would be a cartel, which is illegal under the antitrust laws.

They aren't all in the music business?
post #88 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

They aren't all in the music business?

Amazon and the music industry? No, Amazon is a retailer. Antitrust law are based on definable markets.
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post #89 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Amazon and the music industry? No, Amazon is a retailer. Antitrust law are based on definable markets.

And one of the things they retail is music, they are definitely part of the music industry, just as much as Sony is, even though they have other business interests.
post #90 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

And one of the things they retail is music, they are definitely part of the music industry, just as much as Sony is, even though they have other business interests.

Not under antitrust law they would not. Amazon is a retailer, the industry is the manufacturer. I don't think you'd ever see an antitrust case built on the premise of a "music industry" which included the multiple aspects of manufacturing and retailing, unless they colluded together horizontally and vertically to fix prices. That would be an illegal cartel -- but nobody has made that charge.

Again, definable markets are the key. If online music retailing can be defined as a market (a theory), and Apple is using their dominant position in that market to punish manufacturers who deal with competing retailers (another theory), then this is precisely the kind of behavior the antitrust laws were designed to prevent. But all of this would have to be proven, in a logical order and on a factual basis.

Like I've said before, these investigations are usually instigated by a complaint -- which virtually obligates the government to look into it. It's really no different than if you went to your local DA and showed him evidence that a public employee was stealing. They'd have to at least look into it. From what we know (which isn't much) the complaint made against Apple (if true) does warrant some investigation. Not that this means the government will accept the complaint as a violation of the law and prosecute. Most of the time, they don't.
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post #91 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Not under antitrust law they would not. Amazon is a retailer, the industry is the manufacturer. I don't think you'd ever see an antitrust case built on the premise of a "music industry" which included the multiple aspects of manufacturing and retailing, unless they colluded together horizontally and vertically to fix prices. That would be an illegal cartel -- but nobody has made that charge.

Well, I think I just did.
post #92 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Well, I think I just did.

Backed up by what facts? Where is the evidence of collusion?

Maybe we've drifted so far afield in this discussion from what is actually going on here that some of us have lost track of it, but if only to bring us closer to reality -- this investigation is not about allegations of collusion.

In fact, it's about a very different sort of thing. It's about Apple allegedly attempting to disadvantage competing retailers.
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post #93 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

Sorry, but I think what's been reported is this: the DoJ is reportedly looking at Apple for asking the labels to not participate in Amazon's promotion, and its refusing to provide marketing support for songs that were provided to Amazon first.
AFAIK they weren't refusing to sell, only promote ... big difference.


Good point. I don't know all the details of what Apple was doing if/when a label used Amazon's promotion.
post #94 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

It looks an awful lot like collusion between Amazon and the recording industry to cement their respective positions and control.

So long as the position is not one of monopoly power, I don't think that is prohibited. I'm not sure, but it seems to me that companies do cross-promotions every day with just such an intent in mind, but with no legal consequences.
post #95 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

A minor (but I think important) clarification: Antitrust laws were not created to protect consumers. In the U.S. at least, they were created in an era before the word "consumer" was even used. They were designed to protect and encourage competition in markets. When for instance the government sued Standard Oil over their anticompetitive practices, the concern was not for how much consumers were paying for petroleum products (which was actually quite low), but for they way SO used their vertically and horizontally integrated business to muscle competitors out of their market.

Now, in the end of course the benefits of competitive markets should accrue to consumers, but that's not the driving force behind the laws. They are first and foremost about fostering a competitive business environment.


Thanks. I stand corrected.
post #96 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky King View Post

There are very, very few things the Constitution allows the government to do.


And of those very few, the authors chose to include "to regulate Commerce (SIC)". Article I, Section 8, Clause 3

Sounds like the government is taking its Constitutional duties very seriously.
post #97 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHarborGuy View Post

So what exactly is the problem here? Music Labels want to give an exclusivity deal to Amazon.com. Apple disagrees and says they will pull the marketing push if that happens. So now the DOJ is potentially going to get involved... and do what? Force Apple to continue to promote and market the music that Label offers?

My question is, what type precedent would this set for not just Apple, but any music retailer?


No precedent for music retailers in general. Big precedent for holders of monopoly power.

And my guess as to the remedy would be to enjoin Apple from refusing the same terms, deals and guidelines to those who make sweet deals with Apple's competitors. I think it unlikely that any positive injunction would be issued, one that forces Apple to act, but instead, an injunction AGAINST Apple taking certain actions might issue.
post #98 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Evidence abounds to support your position for sure. Unfortunately a knee jerk political move to the other extreme has been shown by history to suffer the same issues in one way or another. The problem seems to be IMHO the perpetual propensity of the democratic system to encourage extreme view points to sway the electorate. It is almost impossible for balanced, fair and honest governance to exist due to man's inability not to try to cheat the system. The old joke 'benevolent dictatorship is the best answer' has some merit if it were ever possible for it to last. Perhaps the answer will lie with handing over power to a computer one day! I just hope it's made by Apple

I certainly agree with most of your points. America tends to swing back and forth. I was simply responding to the idea that the problem is Government intervention. This is the same story since Reagan (government is the problem, not the solution) and we have repeatedly seen that the Markets do not know what they are doing (e.g. dot com bubble), and that a purest libertarian approach will result in the excesses, and collapse that we are living through, as well as the types of disasters we saw at Massey Mines and BP, where industry reprentatives were having sex with the government officials responsible for supervising them.

OTOH, over regulation will strangle business and hurt the economy. The issue is finding the correct balance - but that is not something we are particularly good at.
post #99 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


Again, definable markets are the key. If online music retailing can be defined as a market (a theory), and Apple is using their dominant position in that market to punish manufacturers who deal with competing retailers (another theory), then this is precisely the kind of behavior the antitrust laws were designed to prevent. But all of this would have to be proven, in a logical order and on a factual basis.


All good points.

The tricky part is often the definition of the relevant market. Many comments to this thread, and to other threads concerning apple's antitrust woes, assume that they know for sure which market is relevant.

But it is not an easy question.

It is debatable for example, whether "online music retailing" is the same or different from "music retailing" in general, as a market. The answer determines market share and market power.

And the answer depends on tight economic analysis using tools and techniques of which I am only vaguely aware.

None of this antitrust stuff is well-served by headline or bumper-sticker analysis. The questions are very deep and touch upon cutting-edge understandings of specialists.
post #100 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky King View Post

What we have here is more visible activity on the part of our Socialist President and his minions to distract from the fact that all they want is everything...total control of you and everything you do...in your own best interest of course (to quote Karl Marx).

Think! Could the government possibly have more pressing issues to contend with? Why, then, pick on this one if not as a distraction from their true agenda?

There are very, very few things the Constitution allows the government to do. These it has done very poorly. What do you do when everything you do comes out wrong, and worse, the people start to find out about it? You generate furious activity in all other areas.

You shouldn't be posting this irrelevant political conspiracy nonsense on a tech forum, but since you have ...

I have to say that listening to an American talking about "socialism" is like listening to a duck talk about physics.

It seems even from your comment above that you have no idea what "Socialism" even is. You reference Socialism, Communism, and Fascism all in a single sentence without even apparently being aware of the fact that they are completely separate and different things.
post #101 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie View Post

All good points.

The tricky part is often the definition of the relevant market. Many comments to this thread, and to other threads concerning apple's antitrust woes, assume that they know for sure which market is relevant.

But it is not an easy question.

It is debatable for example, whether "online music retailing" is the same or different from "music retailing" in general, as a market. The answer determines market share and market power.

And the answer depends on tight economic analysis using tools and techniques of which I am only vaguely aware.

None of this antitrust stuff is well-served by headline or bumper-sticker analysis. The questions are very deep and touch upon cutting-edge understandings of specialists.

Just so. Many people seem to believe that if a company does something they don't like, that it must also be illegal. On the other extreme, some believe that antitrust laws exist only for the purpose of penalizing success. Neither are true.

As you say, defining markets is not a trivial exercise, but progressing to step two requires it to be done. Arguments can be made for and against online music retailing being a separate and distinct market from the other kinds.
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post #102 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

Is that all you got? The main threat from Apple was that they would remove the artist off the main headlines on iTunes. Maybe you didn't read it. This does not equal a monopoly. All Apple asked for was equal treatment.

I do not need any more when you obviously cannot grasp what was said in the first place. or didnt read it.

But carry on and play, its entertaining.
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post #103 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Always a lot of confusion over the basic concepts when it comes to antitrust. It's not about monopoly, a state which rarely exists. If Apple has market power in a defined market (not a proven fact, but possible), and if they use that market power to disadvantage competitors (also not proven, but possible), then they may have violated the antitrust laws. In this case, if it can be shown that they have penalized a record label for dealing with a competitor then they might be in for a hearty hand-slap and a stern warning not to do it again. Again, if, if, if.

Always a lot of confusion when posters show a complete inability to comprehend what others are posting. In your case, reading would get in the way of ranting.
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post #104 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobility View Post

If you want your opinions to be taken seriously, you could do better than prefacing them with lolz.

I would argue that Apple is well within its rights to try and prevent exclusive deals with other retailers. Apple does not have a 70% position in the retail market for music, it has a 26% position. Separating online/offline sales is not logical.

Normally I would root for the underdog or the industry being underserved, but here we're talking about music executives. These music companies are the ones who failed to innovate and had to rely on Apple to sell their music. These are the same guys who sat on the same model for over 4-6 decades and did not change their business one bit.

As for competitors to Apple in the retail business, I would encourage them to participate. Apple created the online music business. If someone else decides to compete, it needs to know that the battle is going to be hard. You can't use the DoJ as your hired muscle to get a leg up in your business, which is what most people appear to be doing.

What is is about people here and reading? or is it a comprehension thing?

Next time, I will run my posts past my kid, just to make sure posters can understand.
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post #105 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by cycomiko View Post

Always a lot of confusion when posters show a complete inability to comprehend what others are posting. In your case, reading would get in the way of ranting.

Ha-ha, nice one. And the point you've made here is...?
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post #106 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie View Post

And of those very few, the authors chose to include "to regulate Commerce (SIC)". Article I, Section 8, Clause 3

Sounds like the government is taking its Constitutional duties very seriously.

You also forgot to mention Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18

\tThe Congress shall have Power - To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

also known as the "necessary and proper clause".

So depending on how one reads the clause, the government can do a lot of things, unless Sky King wants to selectively ignore portions of the Constitution.
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