Originally Posted by anantksundaram
I have to believe that this kind of dominance -- even though utterly wrongly -- will start to attract antitrust scrutiny. Competitors are going to start to moan and groan about Apple using its high-volume supply chain to keep industry prices low, and there'll be some genius at the DoJ that springs a new doctrine of "supply chain efficiency as a weapon of market power". Wait and see.
If you've considered this angle, I'm pretty sure an executive in a business suit getting paid big bucks has probably already though of it. They're not making big bucks for nothing. I'm willing to bet that someone has already given a complaint to the government. I'm also willing to bet that the investigation didn't go anywhere.
If Apple were buying up components solely with intent to block out competitors and/or drive up prices for them, that would be price manipulation and that would certainly attract antitrust scrutiny. But there is no evidence of that at all.
Apple has faced supply constraints in the past, which put pressure on their sales. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have enough components on hand to avoid supply constraints. From Apple's perspective, they want to avoid a backlog like that of the iPad 2 or the iPhone 4. Driving up prices for competitors is probably a welcome side effect for Apple but that's certainly not the only purpose.
The funny thing is that if competitors really are "moaning and groaning" about antitrust, they're being so hypocritical. When Apple defends their patents in court, competitors say that Apple would "litigate rather than innovate." Now here they are, crying foul over perfectly legal practices, rather than doing something about it. Of course, no one will see it that way, because no one gives Goliath a fair shake.