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DoJ's probe into Apple expanding beyond music

post #1 of 248
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An inquiry by the US Department of Justice into how Apple conducts business with the music industry is reportedly expanding to include several of the electronics maker's other dealings.

The New York Post cited "several" unnamed sources who claim the DoJ is reaching out to "a handful of the country's biggest media and technology companies" to get their opinions on Apple, which is rapidly becoming the dominant force in several areas of new media.

"The [Justice Dept.] is doing outreach," one Hollywood industry source told the paper. "You can't dictate terms to the industry. The Adobe thing is just inviting the wrath of everybody."

"If Apple thinks it's going to increase its monopoly with the iPad, it should look at the history of other walled gardens," added another.

The expanded probe will reportedly see the DoJ ask questions about the terms Apple sets forth to developers who want to write applications for the iPad and the company's other iPhone OS devices.

The inquiry began earlier this month after investigators became interested in allegations that Apple used its market power in an effort to prevent music labels from participating in exclusive music distribution deals with rival Amazon.

Apple is also among the tech companies being investigated by the DoJ over hiring practices that allegedly conspired to prevent competitors from hiring each other's employees. That investigation also involves Google, IBM and Intel.
post #2 of 248
I feel safer already...
Hard-Core.
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Hard-Core.
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post #3 of 248
Knowing the Feds are on the job is such a comfort. Only good can come from this...
post #4 of 248
The music industry, the movie industry are nothing but walled gardens with attack dog lawyers on long leashes ready to go after anyone that dare make a copy of their products. These cartels like calling the kettle black and will do what ever it takes to leverage the law to do their bidding. Monopolies are legal abusive monopolies are not.
post #5 of 248
'Outreach'? This is overreach.

Next, Verzion -- Exhibit A from that other bastion of consumer-friendliness -- will be in line outside the offices of DoJ wailing about Apple's 'walled garden'.

What a joke. Sometimes you have to wonder why US companies even bother becoming successful.
post #6 of 248
"If Apple thinks it's going to increase its monopoly with the iPad, it should look at the history of other walled gardens," added another."

Then what's the problem? Wait till the other tablets hit the market and abandon the iPad. Enough people are already predicting the demise of the iPad because of the "walled garden". Why "help" Apple by forcing them to allow Flash on their devices. And as for having an iPad monopoly, where are the iPad "killers" anyway? You mean to say that because nobody else has yet chosen to produce a competing product a monopoly exists? So what's the solution then? Force Apple to stop production and distribution of the iPad until somebody puts something on the shelf at Best Buy, wait for them to sell a few, and then tell Apple it's okay to start selling the iPad again? I'm not so sure that's not how our screwed up government thinks about stuff like this.

I still think absolutely nothing is going to come of these so far rumored investigations. Remember we only have unnamed sources claiming there is an investigation. Those unnamed sources could be Adobe flacks for all we know. It doesn't even make any common sense. But then common sense is a rather rare commodity in the halls of the federal government.
post #7 of 248
fireballed.
GIGO. The truth in all of life.
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GIGO. The truth in all of life.
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post #8 of 248
I realise that anti-competitive practices are ultimately not good for the industry and consumers. However, I just don't get any of the issues the DoJ is exploring:

1. So what if Apple doesn't want to allow cruddy Flex apps on its products. Its Apple's platform, why shouldn't they do what they believe is better for their product and their business?

2. How can Apple be the focus of the DoJ for using its muscle against Amazon .. who were themselves using their muscle to get exclusive music deals. This is just business, isn't it? The music companies are free to make the most compelling commercial decisions.

3. Why shouldn't companies that invest heavily in their talent pools .. recruiting, developing, and sharing secrets ... contractually inhibit poaching by competitors? The idea of a cool down period of several months, and / or financial burdens, seems entirely reasonable to me.

So Really I don't get it. It would seem that the US Government want to burden and break the most successful US companies. They are insane.
post #9 of 248
Its a conspiracy by those who had missed the boat to delivery the next big game changer....aka smart phone aka Slate/tablet.
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post #10 of 248
Quote:
...[O]pinions on Apple, which is rapidly becoming the dominate force in several areas of new media.

dominant.
post #11 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"The Adobe thing is just inviting the wrath of everybody."

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.

Steve Jobs
April, 2010


How about Adobe using it's virtual monopoly to twist people's arms into paying for useless updates every year and a half?
post #12 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by evad View Post

1. So what if Apple doesn't want to allow cruddy ... apps on its products. Its Apple's platform, why shouldn't they...

2. How can Apple be the focus of the DoJ for using its muscle against Amazon .. who were themselves using their muscle to get exclusive music deals. This is just business, isn't it? The music companies are free to make the most compelling commercial decisions.

3. Why shouldn't companies that invest heavily in their talent pools ... inhibit poaching by competitors? The idea of a cool down period of several months, and / or financial burdens, seems entirely reasonable to me.

Non-compete clauses are standard things as well, right?
post #13 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by evad View Post

1. So what if Apple doesn't want to allow cruddy Flex apps on its products. Its Apple's platform, why shouldn't they do what they believe is better for their product and their business?

Replace Apple with Microsoft and 'cruddy Flex apps' with Netscape, and you might get some insight into their thinking...
post #14 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daarom... View Post

Replace Apple with Microsoft and 'cruddy Flex apps' with Netscape, and you might get some insight into their thinking...

Except that the situations are completely non-analogous.
post #15 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Except that the situations are completely non-analogous.

Really? Lemme see: DOJ, anti-trust, using dominance to dictate terms... No, you're right, totally non-analogous.
post #16 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"If Apple thinks it's going to increase its monopoly with the iPad, it should look at the history of other walled gardens," added another.

Depends on how well the garden is managed. Apple has had this strategy for a long time, and seems to be doing really well with it. Everyone knows what to expect, the apps on the appstore are really well designed, and until recently have been way better then those on Android. (now they are a little bit better.)

Compare android today to iPhone when the app store was launched and it would still be hard to pick a winner. What I'm saying is that apple knows how to manage its eco-system to deliver products that are superior precisely because they are well managed and controlled.
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--SHEFFmachine out
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post #17 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banalltv View Post

Non-compete clauses are standard things as well, right?

They are standard. That being said the enforceability and legality of most can be in question on a case by case basis. Many courts will rule them invalid as they can stand to prevent a person from earning a living in their trade.
post #18 of 248
Yeah -- pick on the successful people. That's the way to have a successful country.
post #19 of 248
According to Steve Jobs' letter, Apple asked Adobe for a demo of a working version of Flash on iPhone OS, and nothing...
So, then they go ahead without Flash, and become the bad guys. Who are the proprietary format folks in this? The HTML5 promotors or the Flash promotors????

I will agree that Steve Jobs's letter was a bit harsh, only because in the US you just can't publicly say things the way they are, you must always sugar coat. I for one, like the blunt honest approach.

I am sure the DOJ will find more problems in the Music, Film industry and at Adobe. If not, I think it would be quite absurd to try and punish a company for making a product that works well...
post #20 of 248
Maybe our government should work on the Gulf problem instead.
post #21 of 248
How is what apple is doing with their devices any different with what Sony does with the PS3, Microsoft does with is XBox, or Nintendo does with it's Wii. They are all closed ecosystems where the developer dictates what's available on the system. They also dictate what people can write and distribute on their systems. It's the same thing. They are all closed operating systems that choose what they want to support and don't want to support. An ipad, iPhone, etc are not computers. They are closed proptietary devices that a much more limited in scope as are traditional gaming systems
post #22 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

So what's the solution then? Force Apple to stop production and distribution of the iPad until somebody puts something on the shelf at Best Buy, wait for them to sell a few, and then tell Apple it's okay to start selling the iPad again?


The chances of that happening are near zero.
post #23 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banalltv View Post

How about Adobe using it's virtual monopoly to twist people's arms into paying for useless updates every year and a half?

Actually, that is perfectly legal.
post #24 of 248
First it would be more accurate of AI to make the headline say somewhere that all this is speculation on the part of that rag the Post.
Second, since it is the above and we have not had one peep of a statement to the fact that such an investigation is going on, and since such an investigation is sheer foolishness, .... I call bullshit!
post #25 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daarom... View Post

Really? Lemme see: DOJ, anti-trust, using dominance to dictate terms... No, you're right, totally non-analogous.

So where is Apple trying to kill Chrome? Or why did they allow Opera on the iphone? When did Apple blatantly steal the source code to something like Microsoft did for IE, and had to be sued for damages?

Apple doesn't allow Java, but they didn't try to derail it like Microsoft did so as to be sued over it, neither did they with Flash, and their alternative is something anyone can adapt.

And unlike Apple, if you don't like their OS or hardware, there are plenty of alternatives to chose from. Try that back in the late 90s to early 2000 with Win9x or XP.

So far all we have is Apple preventing Amazon from having a one day early start on selling music.
post #26 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by nervus View Post

How is what apple is doing with their devices any different with what Sony does with the PS3, Microsoft does with is XBox, or Nintendo does with it's Wii. They are all closed ecosystems where the developer dictates what's available on the system. They also dictate what people can write and distribute on their systems. It's the same thing. They are all closed operating systems that choose what they want to support and don't want to support. An ipad, iPhone, etc are not computers. They are closed proptietary devices that a much more limited in scope as are traditional gaming systems

Because "closed" has nothing to do with any of this. This is terminology with no real meaning anyhow.

If it can be found that Apple has enough power in a definable market to interfere with free competition, and it can be found that they've abused that power, then they might have a problem with the DoJ. Presumably the DoJ is looking at some complaints from competitors, and before anyone gripes about how the law is being used to "punish" Apple for being "successful," understand that antitrust laws are rarely put into play when nobody has complained. These laws are entirely about competition.

Anyhow, the bottom line is, this is just a preliminary investigation. Everybody needs to hold their water, especially if they are having a difficult time getting a handle on the basic concepts.
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post #27 of 248
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Originally Posted by Julio View Post

Maybe our government should work on the Gulf problem instead.

The Administration have left it up to BP so they have free time to worry about real problems now.
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post #28 of 248
Quote:
I will agree that Steve Jobs's letter was a bit harsh, only because in the US you just can't publicly say things the way they are, you must always sugar coat. I for one, like the blunt honest approach.

That's a trait of typical humans. I like you prefer the blunt approach thus saving all the happy horse stuff.

And that's because I have Asperger Syndrome, so that explains it for me.
post #29 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daarom... View Post

Really? Lemme see: DOJ, anti-trust, using dominance to dictate terms... No, you're right, totally non-analogous.

You seem to be playing fast and loose in order to make your argument.
Microsoft doesn't have dominance, it has a monopoly. I wasn't aware ms tried to dictate any terms to Netscape. They tried to use their monopoly in os to give away a browser in order to put Netscape out of business.
post #30 of 248
I am not American but I find it so funny how the federal government decides which company to investigate.

Apple is getting a taste of what Microsoft experienced in the last decade when the Feds wanted to break up the company in two. It cost the company money, they lost focus and look at the state of MS today.

At least back then, it was not done in a time of economic recession. Shouldn't the Feds focus their attention on something more important? Where were the regulators when the US had a housing bubble, an oil leak in the Gulf, a banking crisis and so on?

I say to the American people and their governing bodies: leave one of your last remaining great icons alone. You do not have much left in terms of really great companies like Apple.
post #31 of 248
I wonder if Pystar is watching this and thinks it's time to test the water with more clones again.

I say cut the crap Apple, put Flash on the iPad with a kill switch. let all the search engines in the door and let people choose what they want. And for Gawd's sake, open the phone to other carriers.

That should make everyone happy, including Apple who will get even richer.
post #32 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daarom... View Post

Really? Lemme see: DOJ, anti-trust, using dominance to dictate terms... No, you're right, totally non-analogous.

Exept the only instance of Apple dictating terms is with developers tools and Apple is far from dominant with smartphones.

With music it has been the music industry forcing higher song prices with Apple & Amazo gets to sell at lower prices. The music industry forced variable pricing on Apple.

And no the compariso with Microsoft/Explorer is total balderdash.
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Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
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just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
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post #33 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by replicant View Post

I am not American but I find it so funny how the federal government decides which company to investigate.

Apple is getting a taste of what Microsoft experienced in the last decade when the Feds wanted to break up the company in two. It cost the company money, they lost focus and look at the state of MS today.

Another common misunderstanding. The investigation into antitrust violations at Microsoft began with a complaint to the FTC. It didn't take a lot of investigation by the DoJ (which took up the matter after the FTC deadlocked) to determine that not only did Microsoft have the requisite market power, but also that they'd been abusing it left and right to the deliberate detriment of competitors. Still it took nearly ten years for this case to wend its way through the courts, primarily because Microsoft adamantly refused to acknowledge that any of its behavior was illegal and make any changes. It's a situation they could easily have avoided. They chose to go head-to-head with the government, and lost -- just as everyone who was paying attention at the time knew they would. Microsoft's approach was supremely arrogant and amazingly stupid.

In the vast majority of antitrust investigations, even assuming the DoJ finds something they don't like, the company in question agrees to make some changes to the way they operate, and life goes on. Unlike the Microsoft case, righteous indignation and a pointless fight until doomsday does not play a part.
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post #34 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post

So where is Apple trying to kill Chrome? Or why did they allow Opera on the iphone? When did Apple blatantly steal the source code to something like Microsoft did for IE, and had to be sued for damages?

Apple doesn't allow Java, but they didn't try to derail it like Microsoft did so as to be sued over it, neither did they with Flash, and their alternative is something anyone can adapt.

And unlike Apple, if you don't like their OS or hardware, there are plenty of alternatives to chose from. Try that back in the late 90s to early 2000 with Win9x or XP.

So far all we have is Apple preventing Amazon from having a one day early start on selling music.

I agree, except for nit pick on the last sentence. Apple isn't preventing Amazons deal of the day - Apple is only refusing to spend their hard work and money developing marketing and advertising for songs that Amazon wil capture hundreds of thousands of songs before Apple can even sell one of those songs.
just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
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just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
Reply
post #35 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicMac View Post

First it would be more accurate of AI to make the headline say somewhere that all this is speculation on the part of that rag the Post.
Second, since it is the above and we have not had one peep of a statement to the fact that such an investigation is going on, and since such an investigation is sheer foolishness, .... I call bullshit!

Well, the news happened during a 3-day weekend. It's not like the folks at DoJ are burning the midnight oil, esp. on Memorial Day weekend. Let's see what tomorrow brings.
post #36 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Julio View Post

Maybe our government should work on the Gulf problem instead.


Only none thing at a time?
post #37 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor David View Post

You seem to be playing fast and loose in order to make your argument.
Microsoft doesn't have dominance, it has a monopoly. I wasn't aware ms tried to dictate any terms to Netscape. They tried to use their monopoly in os to give away a browser in order to put Netscape out of business.

Actually, that isn't really accurate. MS used their dominance of the PC market to force OEMs to not promote Netscape. They 'encouraged' the OEMs to only place the IE icon on the desktop and to avoid placing the Netscape icon there. They further 'encouraged' some not to even install Netscape. Incentives, like financial subsidies for marketing, were generally reported, and the threat was that MS would pull these marketing dollars. There were also claims of MS threatening some OEMs with losing their Windows license for not playing ball.

This is not very different than Apple using their position to 'encourage' the labels from not taking part in Amazon's promotions. The reports are that Apple uses it's dominance in online music sales to encourage labels not to take part in Amazon's promotions. The reported threat would be Apple would refuse to provide marketing support through iTunes for those songs that were offered in Amazon's promotions. Sound familiar? Play ball with us, do not do freely do business with a competitor or you will suffer consequences.

As far as defining a monopoly, and whether Apple's dominance in online music is enough to be legally defined as a monopoly, it is clear that they certainly could be. A market monopoly doesn't have to have 100% of the market or even very close to 100%. It simply needs enough dominance to have significant influence on others access that market. If they was 'Steve's Corner Record Store' then a threat to pull marketing support if labels promoted with Amazon wouldn't be a threat. Only Apple's dominance makes it a threat.

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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
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post #38 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banalltv View Post

How about Adobe using it's virtual monopoly to twist people's arms into paying for useless updates every year and a half?

I may have some disappointments about Adobe but not with their upgrade policy. They do not force you to upgrade.

I'm a heavy user of the CS Design Suite. I used the first CS version and was free to skip the CS2 version. I upgraded straight to CS3 and wasn't penalized to do so. I skipped CS4 and will upgrade from CS3 to CS5 with no penalty.

The only upgrade I've had less choice on is for the latest Camera RAW--I can't upgrade to it with my current CS3. This is a justifiable exception as Camera RAW had a major overhaul in the underlying engine that can't be used with CS3.

If a product gets an upgrade and you feel compelled to buy it, are you blaming the publisher for improving their product? If you don't think the improvement is enough for you, don't buy it. If you can't do without the improvements, you can choose to buy it. Either way, I can see no way that Adobe has twisted my arms with useless updates. Don't buy what is useless to you -- there is no arm twisting to do so.

My biggest disappointment with Adobe is waiting 1 to 1.5 hours for tech support even when I've paid for a case. And then when I get someone, they are much less qualified than myself on the subject. Very sad to the point that I worry that Adobe is struggling to finance tech support. That seems more likely than the worse alternative-- that they are cavalierly abusing the market with terrible tech support.
post #39 of 248
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Originally Posted by Stevie View Post

Only none thing at a time?

Presumably a typo, but I think it works brilliantly as a Zen statement.
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post #40 of 248
You could argue that to an extent, consumers have benefited from monopolies in some ways. The MS Office standard might be something people generally hate, but can you imagine working without it?

I really don't want to have to sign up to 30 content providers and 5 hardware makers just to watch the content I enjoy. I want a one-stop-shop... if it's Apple, great. If it's Google, that's fine too, but I want the choice of not watching ads.

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Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others.
15" Matte MacBook Pro: 2.66Ghz i7, 8GB RAM, GT330m 512MB, 512GB SSD

iPhone 5 Black 32GB

iPad 3rd Generation, 32GB

Mac Mini Core2Duo 2.26ghz,...

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