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The Internet Apple Technology

Apple the No. 1 Danger To Net Freedom 354

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the but-we-like-the-shiny dept.
CWmike writes "Columbia law professor Tim Wu, who coined the term 'net neutrality,' now says that Apple is the company that most endangers the freedom of the Internet. Wu recently published the book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, in which he details what he calls 'information empires' such as AT&T, NBC, Facebook, and Google. He told The New York Times, 'It's largely a story of the American affection for information monopolists and the consequences of that fondness.' When asked whether the Internet could similarly be controlled by large companies, he told the Times: 'I know the Internet was designed to resist integration, designed to resist centralized control, and that design defeated firms like AOL and Time Warner. But firms today, like Apple, make it unclear if the Internet is something lasting or just another cycle.' Asked which companies he feared most, Wu replied: 'Right now, I'd have to say Apple.'" Wu has been in the news a bit lately.
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Apple the No. 1 Danger To Net Freedom

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  • by Andy Smith (55346) on Monday November 15, 2010 @12:42PM (#34232616) Homepage

    The entire threat posed by Apple comes to nought if people don't buy Apple products. I'm doing my bit.

  • Follow the money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Space cowboy (13680) on Monday November 15, 2010 @12:43PM (#34232622) Journal
    Anyone would think he had an agenda, maybe trying to drum up some publicity for a book or something. Oh, wait...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 15, 2010 @12:43PM (#34232632)

    It was designed to resist centralized control that users don't choose.

    We choose to search google, post on facebook and buy apple. We can choose something different just as quickly.

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Monday November 15, 2010 @12:47PM (#34232700)
    What worries you about Apple?

    As I discuss in the book, Steve Jobs has the charisma, vision and instincts of every great information emperor. The man who helped create the personal computer 40 years ago is probably the leading candidate to help exterminate it. His vision has an undeniable appeal, but he wants too much control.

    Is this supposed to be a revelation that a omnipotent, profitable monopoly like Apple is too controlling?
  • Monopoly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IP_Troll (1097511) on Monday November 15, 2010 @12:49PM (#34232724)
    Don't you need to dominate the market to be considered a monopoly? Last time I checked Apple only dominates the hipster/ trust-afarian/ techno-snob markets. Plenty of other markets for fledgling entrepreneurs.

    Mr. Wu seems to be saying inflammatory things to increase book sales.
  • Greenpeace (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Monday November 15, 2010 @12:49PM (#34232728)
    Greenpeace recently (a year-ish ago) admitted that they picked on Apple, despite there being significantly more egregious examples of companies manufacturing products that weren't friendly to the environment because they knew that talking about Apple would get their name mentioned in the news. This guy is doing the same thing - talk about Apple, in any way, and people will see what he has to say, even if he's completely full of it and wrong.

    And, in this case, he's wrong. There are very few significant tech companies that push open internet standards as much as Apple does. Apple was the first major tech company to significantly push for DRM-free music purchases. They strongly support open standards in many ways. Are they perfect? No. No company is so why would anyone expect them to be? But, regardless of their imperfections, there are actually few companies of their significance that are as pro-open standards as they are. Claiming that they are the biggest threat to internet freedom is simply an attempt to get people to pay attention to what you have to say, similar to what Greenpeace did.
  • Wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Qbertino (265505) on Monday November 15, 2010 @12:53PM (#34232784)

    Wrong. No. 1 danger to net freedom is the increasing amount of its users that don't understand its nature and thus fall into the lock-in trap of corporations. The problem here is that you can force people who can't drive and want to to make a drivers licence, but sadly no one is forcing them to learn about computers if they constantly confuse G**gle with the Web.

  • by Cid Highwind (9258) on Monday November 15, 2010 @12:54PM (#34232800) Homepage
    Bingo. He's playing the John C Dvorak strategy.

    If you say Google or Facebook are the biggest threat to freedom on Internet: everyone yawns and says "well, duh!" and goes back to playing Farmville. If you say anything bad at all about Apple, the rabid haters (see: all the comments here so far) and the frothing fanboys (wait until this gets posted on TUAW or DaringFireball) show up in droves and drive your ad impressions (or book sales) through the roof.
  • Re:Greenpeace (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:01PM (#34232906)

    nd, in this case, he's wrong. There are very few significant tech companies that push open internet standards as much as Apple does. Apple was the first major tech company to significantly push for DRM-free music purchases. They strongly support open standards in many ways. Are they perfect? No. No company is so why would anyone expect them to be? But, regardless of their imperfections, there are actually few companies of their significance that are as pro-open standards as they are. Claiming that they are the biggest threat to internet freedom is simply an attempt to get people to pay attention to what you have to say, similar to what Greenpeace did.

    Apple pushed for DRM-free music purchases after it had abused the hell out of their position in the online music store business. They had a huge number of exclusives and if you wanted to listen to it away from your computer or laptop you were stuck using an iPod or degrading the sound quality further by burning it to CD and ripping it.

    It's easy to be in favor of opening things up once you've managed your way into a stranglehold on the market. Quite a bit harder to get there if you do it the right way.

  • by samkass (174571) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:01PM (#34232908) Homepage Journal

    Of course, if you buy Android you'll be using the extremely standards-compliant WebKit engine Apple put together to view the HTML5 content that Apple has been pushing over proprietary Flash/Applet models...

  • by SteeldrivingJon (842919) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:02PM (#34232912) Homepage Journal

    "As I discuss in the book, Steve Jobs has the charisma, vision and instincts of every great information emperor."

    Every great information emperor?

    Just how many have there been? Remember the great global Hollerith card empire of the 30s? Or the Napoleonic empire based on the data-storage capacity of jaquard looms.

    This is vapid business book bullshit. What a twat.

  • Incorrect.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:02PM (#34232918) Homepage

    Congress is the #1 danger to internet freedom. AS long as people keep voting in these undereducated old fogeys that are only there to help their personal interests, Freedom in general will continue to erode.

  • It's in iTunes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hellfire (86129) <(deviladv) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:04PM (#34232952) Homepage

    Apple is the dominant music download service. It also has over 90% of the app market in that most paid for apps exist in the iTunes App store. These markets are a little less impactful than say a Monopoly on the desktop OS or telephone service, and I might say that iTunes dominance has been, in comparatively good for users in this one instance because they have driven down music prices, given users more choices to download only single songs, and created a huge diverse market for consumers to download apps for, but there is no denying that Apple does now have some form of monopoly presence, it's just not in hardware.

  • by doconnor (134648) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:07PM (#34232996) Homepage

    I think it's that most omnipotent, profitable monopolies only care about money. Jobs has a specific vision about how people should be using the devices he makes and he doesn't want people using it any other way.

    Most companies wouldn't care if people use apps that are ugly and doesn't conform to UI specs, but Jobs does, so those apps are blocked from the iPhone and iPad. This also mean some apps with innovative UI will be blocked as well.

    User interface is only one example of the restrictions he has imposed.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:10PM (#34233028)

    . I would think internet-focused companies like Google, Cisco or a raft of ISPs like Comcast would be much higher on the list.

    Uh, they already are. Check your terms of service. Comcast's, several years ago, had paragraphs outlining how you agreed to be a content CONSUMER, not a content PRODUCER. They banned webservers, mail servers, FTP sites, and most frighteningly: "discussion" systems, aka, web boards, chat systems, etc. Home internet connections long ago went from being a pipe you could do whatever (non-network-abusive) things you wanted to with, to a pipe you're expected to use to read your email hosted somewhere else and watch Netflix.

    I also find it laughable that anyone but Google could be #1. They're the largest webmail provider, the largest search engine, the largest advertising network, and the largest video/blog hosting company. For fuck's sakes, they're photographically mapping the world and wardriving while doing so. About the only thing they haven't managed to secure is photo-hosting; I'm pretty sure Flickr (yahoo) still dominates that.

  • He might be right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theghost (156240) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:11PM (#34233050)

    Apple is more dangerous because the other villains are obvious. Apple makes people want to lock themselves into nice cozy cells. Sure the window is small, but what you can see through the bars is pretty and the chairs are comfy.

    Blah blah blah overused quote about safety, security, liberty, yada yada.

  • Re:Wrong. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by David Gould (4938) <david@dgould.org> on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:11PM (#34233058) Homepage

    ...but sadly no one is forcing them to learn about computers if they constantly confuse G**gle with the Web.

    Or, for that matter, "the Web" with "the Internet".

  • by degeneratemonkey (1405019) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:13PM (#34233094)
    Apple might be pushing HTML5 support ahead, and I certainly wouldn't deny them due credit for those efforts, but they are not solely responsible for the advent of or continued development and refinement of an HTML5 standard. Their reasons for supporting HTML5 are most certainly not to be more open (or whatever happy fairy tale one might conceive of), but to stifle their competition. There is nothing wrong with that, but let's not use it to justify some belief that Apple isn't a threat to the free Internet.
  • Re:Greenpeace (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:14PM (#34233114)

    It's easy to be in favor of opening things up once you've managed your way into a stranglehold on the market.

    Actually, no it isn't. You see keeping things closed makes it harder to acquire market share because it makes your offering less attractive to users. Keeping things closed is an advantage only after you've dominated a market, because it prevents you from having to work hard to compete in that space to maintain your dominance. So by your version of events, Apple did the exact opposite of what an abusive monopoly normally does or what would make sense if Apple was concentrating on the online music market instead of using it as a way to push their hardware business.

    if you wanted to listen to it away from your computer or laptop you were stuck using an iPod or degrading the sound quality further by burning it to CD and ripping it.

    Yeah, but that was the case with every offering at the time because if you wanted to sell digital music you had to abide by the rules of the RIAA, you know an actual illegal trust convicted multiple time of colluding to undermine the free market. Apple played by the RIAA's rules until they had enough influence to make changes. Now don't get me wrong. There was nothing altruistic about Apple's actions. They just weren't interested in the online music business except as a way to make money selling devices. That's the business model they thought would profit them most and it is only coincidence that their business plans aligned with the best interests of consumers in weakening and getting rid of DRM. They still did more good than most any other single company in making things better for consumers.

  • by blair1q (305137) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:14PM (#34233116) Journal

    The only thing Apple has a monopoly on is its own products.

  • by Brannon (221550) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:15PM (#34233132)

    I'm still not able to run arbitrary code on the processor in my microwave or my refrigerator. Why can't I manually deploy the airbag in my car? How come there's no flash client for my wristwatch.

    Apple is small potatoes--this goes all the way to the top.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:27PM (#34233376)

    Their reasons for supporting HTML5 are most certainly not to be more open (or whatever happy fairy tale one might conceive of), but to stifle their competition.

    Stifle competition? Don't be daft. They support HTML5 because it aligns with their business goals. Having an open standard for the Web that is capable and not tied to any other company simply provides Apple with a better position to sell devices without worrying about other companies blocking them. If neither Adobe nor Microsoft controls the tools and formats and players needed to view the Web, then they can't be roadblocks to technological changes Apple implements as a way to differentiate their hardware offerings.

    There is nothing wrong with that, but let's not use it to justify some belief that Apple isn't a threat to the free Internet.

    Apple or any other large company could do things that threaten freedom on the internet. Blackwater could threaten to kill executives of any company that doesn't lock down all their offerings with DRM. But that's no reason to label Blackwater the number one threat to the free internet. You have to look at what companies are actually doing and why and how it fits into their business plans. Apple right now and for the foreseeable future makes their money selling hardware. They create software and services to make that hardware more attractive. So how does locking down the internet make Apple more money and sell more devices? Oh yeah, it doesn't. Until you have a compelling business plan that will make Apple more money and some reason to think Apple is moving towards that business plan, you're just spreading FUD, which is really what this article is.

  • by thanasakis (225405) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:29PM (#34233398)

    In the best /. tradition, I won't even bother to RTFA.

    Since the loss of Sun Microsystems, which in retrospect seems to have been one the most open companies ever and with open source contributions surpassing those of almost any other organization's in the world, I have grown extremely suspicious of people dictating to me that this or that is evil, all in the name of "freedom". All those guys that had been bashing Sun must be really happy now that Oracle has taken over.

    I can think of several companies that by /. standards can easily rival the "evilness" of Apple, but almost magically they seldom get mentioned as threats to net freedom. Until I see everyone else get their fair share of bashing and flames, I'll assume articles (and comments) of this class as astroturfing.

  • by thethibs (882667) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:30PM (#34233430) Homepage

    But Google does nothing to restrict how you use their products. In fact, they encourage novel use; that's why all of their services have APIs.

    Apple insists on owning your whole experience and is lobbying for legislation to turn their wants into law.

  • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:39PM (#34233562)

    As I discuss in the book, Steve Jobs has the charisma, vision and instincts of every great information emperor. The man who helped create the personal computer 40 years ago is probably the leading candidate to help exterminate it. His vision has an undeniable appeal, but he wants too much control.

    I went ahead and bolded the relevant part (which I happen to agree with). Steve Jobs is a charismatic leader who desires more control than is good for us. Regardless, the guy is clearly just trying to sell his book, so if you want to know what he really thinks, and why he thinks it, you know what to do. It's not real fair to judge his reasoning based on the transcript blurbs that the newspaper chose to use. The reason he has a book is because he has a lot to say about it.

    As for why anyone having "too much control" over the internet is not a good thing for the internet, that should be fairly obvious. The main reason the internet is as powerful as it is is because no one controls it.

  • Re:Incorrect.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sprouticus (1503545) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:47PM (#34233708)

    Congress is the #1 danger to freedom.

    Fixed that for you.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:48PM (#34233716) Homepage

    No. The "belligerent technorati" point out that PhoneOS is hardly remarkably in being malware free. You don't have to lock down the platform like a tyrant in order to secure it.

    MacOS is a great counter-example to the notion that you need PhoneOS to be safe.

    Apple (Fanboy) rhetoric is such NewSpeak.

    "Forget about last years ads. Only believe what this years ads tell you."

  • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Monday November 15, 2010 @01:51PM (#34233774)

    Apple right now and for the foreseeable future makes their money selling hardware.

    This is less true as time goes on. Apple's traditional business model is to sell Apple software tied to expensive hardware with high margins. But now they're getting a cut of everything sold in their App Stores. Once there are Android phones available for $150 or less, Apple has to decide whether compete at that price point. The old Apple would say no. The new Apple has to weigh the lower margins on hardware against all the revenue they would lose by having fewer iOS devices out in the world to sell apps for, plus the network effects when they sell more devices and therefore people write more and better apps for them and therefore they sell more devices and more apps.

    But the trouble for freedom with that model is that it's predicated on Apple getting a cut of all the software that anyone sells for an Apple device. Which means you can't just make software and distribute it on your own, you have to sell it through Apple. And then Apple gets to break out the ban hammer whenever they want if your app is disruptive to the business model of Apple or Hollywood or the phone company or the Chinese government or anybody else who can exercise more leverage over Apple than Apple benefits from selling your app.

  • by causality (777677) on Monday November 15, 2010 @02:02PM (#34233956)

    Your argument is that Apple may be doing the right thing, but they are probably doing it for the wrong reasons and who knows what they've got planned once they get us all hooked on a free internet based on open standards?

    I mean seriously shut the fuck up and stop existing.

    It means that once those wrong reasons are fulfilled they may decide that open standards are no longer in their business interests. The great deal of control they have over their platforms makes this a potential problem for their users. Then there are network effects that mean people other than Apple's customers could be affected. So yes, the reason why something is done is important.

    I'm curious, did you think that being rude and mistreating the GP somehow negates this concern? It is a legitimate issue and will remain such as long as single vendors have enough power in the marketplace to decide whether open standards will be used. That, in turn, won't change until average users are educated and understand why vendorlock and proprietary standards are not in their interests. When that happens devices that don't support open standards simply won't sell. Until then, potential loss of freedom is a very real problem.

  • Re:Wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by takowl (905807) on Monday November 15, 2010 @02:11PM (#34234106)

    sadly no one is forcing them to learn about computers if they constantly confuse G**gle with the Web.

    I disagree. Computers and the internet (and Google) are tools. People shouldn't have to understand how it all works in order to use it, because it's fantastically useful even if you think it's powered by magic pixies. We force people to get drivers licences before they're put in charge of half a ton of steel capable of travelling at 100 mph because it's easy to kill people if you get it wrong. If you 'get it wrong' with a computer, you end up with some data in a proprietary format. Which is usually nothing more than an annoyance.

    By all means try to educate people, but banning them from the internet until they pass some test is a terrible idea.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Monday November 15, 2010 @02:14PM (#34234142)

    It goes back a lot further than Hearst. How about the churches, for example? They controlled a lot of the information flow, well before the printing press was invented.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday November 15, 2010 @02:14PM (#34234150)

    Apple right now and for the foreseeable future makes their money selling hardware.

    This is less true as time goes on.

    That's an interesting hypothesis.

    But now they're getting a cut of everything sold in their App Stores.

    Yes, but it accounts for an insignificant portion of their profits and Steve Jobs has repeatedly told shareholders it is not a money maker for Apple and they're running the store as a way to sell hardware. Since it would be criminal for him to lie to shareholders, I think it's pretty reasonable to assume this is true.

    Once there are Android phones available for $150 or less, Apple has to decide whether compete at that price point. The old Apple would say no.

    Umm, we've been through this with the iPod market and the PC market. Apple builds offering on the high end, moves into the midrange and uses volume to keep the added services and differentiators they use to make sales a non-issue. They leave the low-end to other players.

    The new Apple has to weigh the lower margins on hardware against all the revenue they would lose by having fewer iOS devices out in the world to sell apps for, plus the network effects when they sell more devices and therefore people write more and better apps for them and therefore they sell more devices and more apps.

    They don't really make money selling apps, at least not enough to account for more than a few percent of Apple's revenue. Losing those sales and not completely dominating a market are familiar territory for Apple. It makes them more money to ignore the low end as demonstrated by how much money Apple has been making.

    But the trouble for freedom with that model is that it's predicated on Apple getting a cut of all the software that anyone sells for an Apple device.

    Your hypothesis IS interesting, but doesn't seem supported by the facts. Apple does wield a lot of control over apps on iPhones, but they do it as a differentiator to make customers happy and sell more hardware. Apple doesn't limit apps because app sales are so profitable. They do it because people who aren't geeks don't want to have to go multiple places to get apps, don't want to deal with malware apps, don't want to worry about security, don't want their kids having access to porn apps, etc. It's a way to make iPhones more attractive to buyers. Apple isn't pulling in piles of cash from their share of app sales. They have very thin margins there. If they were, would they offer free apps? No, they're raking in the cash by selling iPhones because people like them, partly because of the store lock in effects. It might not seem that public opinion is in favor of it if you just read Slashdot and listen to geeks, but we're a tiny segment of the market. I just don't see the money in app sales considering how small a share Apple is taking compared to hosting costs, overhead, payment processing, and tech support.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday November 15, 2010 @02:22PM (#34234286) Homepage Journal

    So you didn't get the sarcasm from his username which you actually used that name in your reply? Or notice that it was modded funny, even though you didn't get the joke?

    Honestly, people like you are scary. Lots scarier than clowns, anyway.

  • Re:Incorrect.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by c++0xFF (1758032) on Monday November 15, 2010 @02:40PM (#34234536)

    Congress is the #1 danger to freedom.

    Fixed that for you.

    Your edit is generally correct. Fortunately, we have two other branches of government to keep them in check.

    That's the theory, anyway. Political parties have blurred the lines between branches a bit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 15, 2010 @02:48PM (#34234640)

    And they are doing (apart from a single glitch) a damn good job of protecting your freedom. While a big share of control by a single entity rightfully makes us nervous, I can't imagine another company of the size of Google doing better at their position. Moreover, what a dreadful thought if Apple were in Google's shoes...

  • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Monday November 15, 2010 @03:13PM (#34234942)

    Apple doesn't limit apps because app sales are so profitable.

    That wasn't really my point. It doesn't really matter whether they're making megabucks from selling apps, or even why they're limiting what apps can be installed. The point about network effects is valid: They need to maintain a high volume of sales in order to make sure developers have a large installed base and therefore an incentive to make apps for their devices, since nobody is going to pay 3X the price for a device that does mostly the same thing as the cheaper one and has fewer good apps. Which implies they may have to compete no price in a way they don't elsewhere, which means apps could become a larger part of their revenue.

    But none of that really changes the result anyway, which is that they control what apps people can make for their devices. Even if consumers want a curated experience, it still puts the curator up as a choke point for other players to kill disruptive innovation. Hollywood can say they don't want P2P apps or Slingbox clients. Telecoms can say they don't want VOIP apps. Governments can prohibit applications that don't have back doors built in.

    The best argument you're impliedly making is that Apple is going to willingly relegate itself to the high end, therefore not achieve market dominance and therefore ensure that there is a choice of open platforms at the low end. But that is not guaranteed. If "everyone but geeks" wants the curated experience, what matters isn't market dominance of a single company, it's market dominance of that business model. No one can write a disruptive app if Apple owns the entire market and rejects the app, but neither can anyone write one if two or three "competitors" with the same business model together own the market and each rejects the disruptive app.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 15, 2010 @03:38PM (#34235248)

    Did you seriously just argue that Apple pushing for "open standards" would suddenly lead to them controlling everything on the Web? Pray tell, what nefarious sequence of events would accomplish this, when HTML5, and "open standards" are, by definition, open for people to implement on their own?

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday November 15, 2010 @03:38PM (#34235264)

    That wasn't really my point. It doesn't really matter whether they're making megabucks from selling apps, or even why they're limiting what apps can be installed. The point about network effects is valid: They need to maintain a high volume of sales

    Yes, but for "high volume" they do fine with 10% of the US PC market. Most major apps have Mac versions, sometimes slightly delayed. For the iPod they maintain plenty of sales volume without targeting the low end. None of this has anything to do with Apple needing to lock things down to make a profit using DRM.

    ...since nobody is going to pay 3X the price for a device...

    This is just hyperbole. Apple devices don't cost 3x comparable products. They're usually 15% more expensive in non-responsive markets, at least according to the last professional analysis I saw. People absolutely are willing to pay more for premium products which is why Apple is so profitable.

    But none of that really changes the result anyway, which is that they control what apps people can make for their devices.

    Yes they do. How does that make it less true that they make money of of hardware, you know the original point you contested? How does it make it more likely Apple will not support HTML5 and open internet standards, but will instead try to lock down the internet?

    Even if consumers want a curated experience, it still puts the curator up as a choke point for other players to kill disruptive innovation.

    Yes, it's called choice. But until they gain dominance in the market, if they "choke" the internet people just move elsewhere. Moreover, where's the motivation for Apple to "choke" the internet? How does that make them more money?

    Hollywood can say they don't want P2P apps or Slingbox clients. Telecoms can say they don't want VOIP apps. Governments can prohibit applications that don't have back doors built in.

    Yes and how is that any different between Apple and other vendors? Telecos can still ban phones they don't want on their network. The only difference with Apple is, they don't want to lose the money from iPhones so when Apple pushes back on behalf of the consumer (which also sells more Apple devices) the telcos actually back down, just like the RIAA did.

    The best argument you're impliedly making is that Apple is going to willingly relegate itself to the high end...

    Historically they have, but that is both academic and irrelevant. If Apple were to dominate the market, then we might have a problem if they changed their business model. But Apple is nowhere near dominating the market nor is that likely in the foreseeable future. I mean they have 14% of the smartphone market and barely make a dent in the phone market. I don't see a lot of danger there.

    If "everyone but geeks" wants the curated experience, what matters isn't market dominance of a single company, it's market dominance of that business model.

    The danger of market dominance of a single company is abuse. The danger of market dominance of a business model is umm, well there really isn't one. Does your vendor lock you down too much? Get a different vendor. So long as there are options there has to be standards for interoperability and that means choices for end users, just like the internet now. It's called the free market and it works for the most part.

    No one can write a disruptive app if Apple owns the entire market and rejects the app, but neither can anyone write one if two or three "competitors" with the same business model together own the market and each rejects the disruptive app.

    Ahh, but they can. With multiple vendors that means there is interoperability and if one doesn't pick up a disruptive new app, a new player can enter the market suing it as a differentiator and start to take market share. That's how the free market works. I guess I don't even understand what alternative you're proposing.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday November 15, 2010 @03:48PM (#34235388)

    This is ALREADY happening, as people who've bought iPods and iPhones and purchased content are forced to buy MORE Apple devices as they upgrade and evolve. Essentially it's the same thing we saw for years with MS, but on a much larger scale sine it's now beginning to consume every type of media you use (music, movies, etc.).

    Umm, I don't see it. I have plenty of friends with smartphones and I've seen most migrate between devices, including away from an iPhone at least once. The music is portable. Not many people buy reusable video content. Many apps have versions for multiple platforms and often even provide them free to switchers. For portable apps, Apple and Google are pushing HTML5 and it's gained significant traction not only on smartphones but now for Web apps on those Microsoft computers you mention.

    Apple's "profit motive" is to slowly pull the different pieces of your day to day experience into a DRM, protected, entitled world that requires you purchase one of their devices to access said information.

    Umm, the only way to do that is for you to already have bought one, and Apple hasn't been problematic for interoperability in any way. They've been pretty good about standards and protocols. Having 14% of the market, that makes sense as breaking cross platform interoperability hurts them more than helps.

    Sure, you can argue that "some stuff" can be moved to another platform, but if the level of technical knowledge required to do it is prohibitive no one will.

    And your evidence that this is the case?

    all empowered and enabled by Apple who makes money: 1) Selling hardware to do it 2) Taking 30% off the top

    Except according to all the credible market analysis, 30% off the top covers the hosting costs, management, overhead for free apps, credit card processing, and a tiny profit that barely shows up on Apple's bottom line. They make money on hardware. Hell, they make more money selling premium apps for OS X than they do selling iPhone apps to date.

    Not seeing this and not seeing the frightening power of a walled garden is "daft" to say the least.

    No, it's daft to assume Apple is going to take an action that will make things harder for their customers and lose them hardware sales while chasing a mythical profit using a business model they've not only never used, but specifically told their shareholders they aren't using.

    It's daft to say a company with a fairly small market share that has driven most of the recent innovation and growth in a market is "stifling" competition without supporting that assertion with anything.

  • Re:Greenpeace (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 15, 2010 @04:55PM (#34236142)

    Steve Jobs asked for DRM free music from the begininning. I suppose you can rewrite history if it makes it align better with your flawed world view, but it does not make your re-write true.

    Honest question: Can you reference where Steve Jobs has tried to free Disney's movies of DRM? He is the largest shareholder (IIRC). I think his desire for DRM-free music was to make their digital sale more appealing. The (potential) downside is large on the RIAA side and small on Apples. Contrast that with Disney and unskippable previews and DRM up the wahzoo, and I think you are where Jobs is at with regards to IP. Also, here is a reference stating Amazon was first to offer DRM-free music from the 'big 4'. So there were market forces in play that made DRM-free music inevitable.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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