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  • European Commission says Apple is in breach of EU competition law

    mcdave said:

    By disallowing vertical market options and forcing open market options, the EU is reducing genuine choice.

    The second paragraph is idealistic and echos Vestager’s comment. The success of the App Store vs others is direct evidence against this.

    The EU is pushing choice & informed consent, the most disgraceful way of exploiting people as most can’t resist it’s seduction. What fate do the architects & advocates of this deception deserve?
    1. I think your first statement is a non sequitur. Regulation, in and of itself, need not reduce choice; rather, there is a point of view in some theories of capitalist economics that careful regulation is precisely what is required to ensure the function of the capitalistic system itself. That is because the fair and smooth functioning of the capitalistic system is the precondition for there to be a choice in the first place.

    2. On the contrary. Many people are creatures of habit, and the fact that Apple's App Store is successful could either be: a) An example of customer loyalty; or, b) An example of customer habit. As a former Apple employee myself, I can categorically state that Apple does a remarkable job of building and maintaining its customers' loyalty. Their repeated business is in keeping with the service-profit (satisfaction-profit chain) model of business. That being the case, there should be no fear of informing their customers of alternatives. If the App Store truly does provide the best end-user experience, then customers will inevitably choose it to the competition, but the key point here is that they cannot make that choice under the current model because they lack both the means and the information to make that choice for themselves; this fact alone pushes them into the category of habit as opposed to loyalty, since Apple actually doesn't have to do anything to keep the customer. Supermarkets function in the same way.

    3. How exactly is informed consent and choice a bad thing? Far from it, these are the two bedrocks of capitalism (assuming one isn't a monopolist), and the EU should rather be lauded for its efforts to provide a beneficial and fair regulatory, trading, and consumption model in the Single Market. Political economy* is a messy business in which competing interests must constantly be weighed and evaluated against the common benefit. In general, the EU does this very well, and the best way to know this for sure is rather straightforward: If every stakeholder within the system is equally unhappy, then that system is fair; if one particular stakeholder is absolutely happy, then every other stakeholder is likely being exploited, which therefore damages the system.

    * I dislike the term "economics" as it is an attempt to assert the discipline as an "objective" science akin to physics rather than a "subjective" social science that is itself properly an extension of political philosophy.
    avon b7nubusPezaxyzzy01muthuk_vanalingam
  • European Commission says Apple is in breach of EU competition law

    mbdrake76 said:
     What a load of old twaddle from the EU commission.  Almost everybody hates them.
    I don't think it is necessarily twaddle "as such," but I do think it is inconsistent. At its best, the European Commission functions as any good market regulator does: through the adoption of a regulatory framework that applies without exception, a level playing field is created wherein no one company can function as a de facto monopoly. Via its App Store, and the vertical integration of iOS itself, Apple is arguably in such a position. If that is the view of the Commission, then provided the framework applies across the sector or industry as a whole (any App Store, in other words, including on Android, PlayStation, XBox, and et cetera), then I don't really see what exactly is wrong with it.

    From a consumer's point of view, the more transparency about the available products and services, the better, since it is the availability of information which best enables a consumer to make an informed purchasing decision. This is the ideal in any capitalistic system. Think of it this way: in a game of football (European not American), there are two teams to play the game (Let's say "Apple" vs "Spotify"), some rules (the regulatory and legal environment), and a referee (the Commission). Whilst both teams play the same game, clearly it would not be a fair game if the referee wasn't there to ensure the rules were being adhered to, in which case Apple would win in a free-for-all –– as well as making for a very one-sided, hence boring, game. It is the contest that is interesting. With the referee officiating, the rules are enforced equally, in which case both teams have a fair and equal chance –– more or less –– to compete in the hope of getting the win. I say "more or less" because in sport, there is also such a thing as home advantage, so I don't think anyone should be surprised if the EU's institutions act in the self-interest of European companies (Does anyone seriously expect the United States, or its institutions, to act or function any differently?). As with the big clubs of European football (bastards!), Apple could still expect to win most of the time. However, and this is really the key point, by being clever and nimble, as well as resilient, sometimes the smaller and less well-resourced team wins. That is the very definition of a fair contest and if Apple gets to decide upon the rules as well as play the game, then clearly it is no such thing.

    Whether or not this initial ruling is definitive still needs to be decided in court; if the ECJ determines that there is a case to answer, then it becomes enforceable. This is a vital step since there remains the possibility, however remote, that the European Commission may have made a category-object error, i.e., that they have confused the effect with the cause. By my reading, they haven't, but it is for the European Court of Justice to determine. You might hate them, and big corporations also, but whatever else they might be, for a capitalist system to function without distortion (because there is no such thing as a perfect capitalist system, still less a self-regulating one; that's a myth), regulators such as the European Commission are an absolutely required and necessary evil.
  • Zuckerberg changes tune, says Apple's iOS 14 privacy feature might benefit Facebook

    Geez, The Zuck doesn't look well. All this pressure has made him start to look a lot like his alien alter-ego, Roger Smith, from Seth Macfarlane's "American Dad!"
  • WhatsApp won't limit accounts that don't accept new privacy policy

    Too little, too late. I’ve already gone to Signal (not that the world revolves around me, mind) and shan’t be back.
  • Apple's Eddy Cue says Spatial Audio is a 'game-changer' for music

    In my opinion, headphones for lossless and speakers for Atmos. I’m very lucky to be able to afford both. The thing is, it’s just no good investing only in the headphones or the speakers without the right kit to drive it all. For that, I usually recommend to my fam-fams the Hi-Fi line-up from Cambridge Audio, which I’ve system-matched to Fyne Audio speakers and a pair of Beyerdynamic T1 headphones, but if you’ve got North American ears (and the budget), you might prefer to start with McIntosh and Grado and build your system from there.
  • WhatsApp won't limit accounts that don't accept new privacy policy

    lkrupp said:
    For all their protestations about consumers being harmed by Apple’s privacy policies the consumers are flipping them the bird. Following Apple’s requirements means less advertising revenue.

    That’s probably the single best thing Apple ever did for consumers (in a longish kind of queue of things they’ve already accomplished), and I’m pleased they did. Most consumers are somewhat passive, but making the sharing of their private data an opt-in really shows what the value of these companies is in actuality; they are built upon shifting sands washed by the tides, and as castles built upon the shore, they too shall eventually crumble and decay. Companies like this simply shouldn’t even exist by rights.

  • Classic Mac game 'Myst' comes to Apple Silicon

    Oh, man…this game was amazing; as addictive as Civ, harder than heroin. Perfect re-playability. Granted, I had it when I was still using Windows 95 –– alongside Command & Conquer: Red Alert –– so there’s a bit of a nostalgia kick right there. Downloading now for my M1 MacBook Air.