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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.
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  • 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.
  • Smaller Mac Pro, 2021 iMac redesign with color options shown off by prolific leaker

    edac2 said:
    If these renderings are accurate, the "new" iMac is still basically the the same design as the old iMac, but with a bigger screen. The Surface Studio 2 is far more creative in its design, and it has a touch screen. All it needs is an M1 motherboard retrofit!
    As the former owner of a G4 lampshade iMac –– probably the single best iMac I’ve ever owned and which was still going strong right up until its original HDD gave up the clapper sometime in 2015 – I personally would welcome a reprise on that design. As tempting as the Surface Studio 2 might have been (it is an interesting design, I’ll grant it that), however, it still isn’t a Mac and, in my view, tries to do too many different things (with the result being that it doesn’t really excel at any of them). I mean, if an iPad Pro connected via Sidecar doesn’t do it for you, then a Wacom Cintiq Pro is a far better touch-enabled alternative for visual creatives than would be having an AiO try to do it all: software and hardware should be complimentary, but I can see the Surface Studio 2’s software getting in the way of its potential as a piece of hardware –– and vice versa.
  • Smaller Mac Pro, 2021 iMac redesign with color options shown off by prolific leaker

    MacQuadra840av said:
    Lots of chatting about mini Mac Pros and expandable iMacs.  Have you all not seen the writing on the wall with the M1 Macs?  Everything forward, except for the current Mac Pro Tower, will be non-expandable and non-upgradable.  The M Chip controls everything on the board, and controls way too much.  Memory is now on the chip so you will never see a Mac with user-upgradable memory, except for the current Mac Pro.  The M chip, like the T2, has way too much control of the flash storage, which Apple will keep it soldered on all Macs going forward.  That is dangerous because if a chip fails on the board, your data is history.  Gone are the days of pulling a drive or SSD blade and recovering data for anything not yet backed up.  So we will be stuck paying the Apple Tax with excessive prices for memory and storage.

    First of all, by way of preamble, let me just say that I’m a long-time reader, but that I have joined the site just to answer your claim above (in bold). A long, long time ago in a place far, far away, I used to be an Apple technician. I would actually counter your point here by observing that Apple has already laid the technical groundwork for this with TimeMachine. In my experience, the Apple SSDs tend not to fail so often, although there were some problems in the past with the Nvidia GPUs, and, in the early days, the truly rubbish SATA drives that came preinstalled by default on some of the Intel models. For what it’s worth, this was never a problem on the G4 models, both desktop and laptop, so I’m not really sure what happened there to make for that noticeable diminishment in quality. However, from the introduction of the Thunderbolt models onwards –– and earlier with the introduction of OS X Leopard –– Apple has made it really very simple to ensure all your data has been backed up and thoroughly catalogued. Even in those cases where a main logic board (MLB) had to be replaced, it was typically the GPU rather than the Intel CPU, that caused the failure; it was a relatively straightforward procedure to replace it. Provided users heed Apple’s advice (and like I said, Apple does make backing up your data so easy it is essentially an act of negligence not to use the tools included), replacing the MLB if the M1 chip does fault –– which, if their track record to date with their Ax chips is anything to go by, is a big ‘if’ –– then this really ought not to happen. And if it does, I would expect this to be as simple a procedure as ever it was to replace the MLB and restore the data using TimeMachine.

    All of which is to say, I do not think this is as big an issue as you seem to think it is, and personally, the compromise to be had in terms of user upgradability versus performance and security are worth it. User-upgradeable parts has never been Apple’s focus and it never will be as their entire philosophy has always been about making computers as simple and easy to use, that is, ‘transparent’ (speaking figuratively, and with one or two notable exceptions, literally), as any other device or appliance in the home. That is unlikely to change. Not everyone is as tech savvy as the people on fora such as this so if it’s a big deal for anyone, then it’s probably the case that Apple isn’t really the ecosystem for them. Only the Mac Pro really provides the scope for that, so it is a cost-prohibitive way to enter into that kind of hobby-enthusiast market, I reckon.