Coffeehouse Post

Single Post Permalink

View Thread: Time for EU anti-trust regulators to chop Apple's phallus off?
  • User profile image

    , GoddersUK wrote


    See above.


    I take it you're referring to this bit:

    The app store essentially has a monopoly on selling apps to Apple devices (I'm not sure whether Cydia is legal over here; besides jailbreaking hardly constitutes a reasonable alternative regardless). In what other market sphere would a manufacturer of a product be able to control what you use a product for/what you use it with. If Apple (or Microsoft or Google or anyone else) are taking that approach then the grounds on which they can reject apps should be severely limited.

    If you were allowed to change the definition of a monopoly to suit the argument then you'd be right.

    Unfortunately, you can't, so your definition of a monopoly remains a problem.

    You cannot have 'a monopoly on selling apps on an Apple device' any more than you can have a monopoly of selling bottled air under my bed. And I suspect you know this because you used the word 'essentially' to describe your 'market'.

    The iPhone is a product in a market, and a component of the iPhone is the app store. Apple is not restricting anyone because if you don't like it then you can simply buy a different phone, or develop for a different platform. If Apple could somehow prevent other phones being sold in the market, then they would be breaking the law whether they had a monopoly or not (and I might as well mention at this point that there is absolutely nothing illegal about having a monopoly).

    What then was wrong with Microsoft bundling WMP with Windows? After all the market wasn't Windows - you could just have installed Linux. Or uninstalled WMP. Similarly for IE. What about Google's alleged manipulation of search results - you could just have used Bing? Surely actively preventing a competitors software functioning on an important and major platform is far, far worse than using a major platform of your own to promote your own products? (Of course I'm no anti trust lawyer... but if this isn't the law it should be.)

    I'm glad you mentioned that because the difference is what keeps Apple  on the right side of the law and makes Microsoft a convicted felon.

    Go back a couple of years.

    Microsoft developed an operating system for the PC. IBM also developed an operating system for the PC. DrDos also invented an operating system for the PC.

    See the difference? The 'market' was operating systems for the PC. 

    Apple makes the whole PC, so they are not in operating system for a PC market – they are in the PC market.

    Okay so far.

    Right, now there was absolutely nothing illegal about Microsoft having a monopoly in the operating systems for PCs market. Nothing at all. 

    No, it's not illegal to have a monopoly, but it is illegal to prevent entry into that market. By charging PC manufacturers for Windows licences whether folk wanted a Windows licence or not, Microsoft was barring Linux and OS/2 an entry into the operating system for PCs market. That is the difference.

    Google is not a market, it is a search engine in the market with other search engines. The fact that it has a monopoly position is not a problem unless they prevent other search engines from entering the market, which they're not doing, as far as I can tell.

    Why can't MS bundle apps? Because according to the courts, their illegal activities have already harmed a free market, so they're restricted in what they can do to prevent further damage. In short, they have something Google doesn't: previous form.

    A little unfair? Maybe, but there it is.

    No You're not allowed to link to outside webpages when money is potentially involved. You can buy SkyDrive subscriptions from the SkyDrive website therefore the app cannot link to the SkyDrive website. And I really doubt MS can be bothered to bring the live ID sign up process into an iOS app.

    Well, that's kinda their problem then. Other vendors are coughing up so I don't think Apple is going to give MS a free ride on this one.

    As an interesting side note Dropbox have faced similar problems (and resolved the problem by removing the ability to sign up for an account from iOS app login page). Doesn't lead to a nice UX for first time users.

    Mmm. Not sure this is still the case. The Dropbox app also has an option to buy additional storage which, as an in-app purchase, would cause them the same problem. (Yup, just checked it on my iPod Touch).

    There is, afaik, no other way to use SkyDrive.

    Then Microsoft should have built it with third parties in mind. Other services that use DropBox can access the sign-in as long as DropBox is installed.


    There was nothing inherent about what they did that broke the app store rules beyond, if you clicked through enough links from the sign in page, you could eventually arrive at a page at which you could make payments.

    You know, I'd quite like to have a Windows running on six hundred machines and only pay for one licence. I should be able to; there's nothing inherently wrong with doing it.


    And this does affect other services (dropbox, for instance). (Of course the fact that Apple offers their own competing service clearly can have NOTHING to do with this decision...)

    No it doesn't, because Dropbox pays up and so do other similar services. Microsoft didn't want to pay and decided to whine about it, because they're labouring under the misapprehension that their name carries as much weight as it did in the nineties.