[LINK] Steve Jobs: Great unwashed don't need PCs
stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Thu Jun 3 22:10:15 EST 2010
Sensible and interesting Link debate .. and on a topic somewhat mirrored
elsewhere. This New York Times editorial today appears if anything to be,
perhaps surprizingly, somewhat anti-Apple .. or at least pro-competition.
Personally i've been swayed by each of the more lucid Link posts all day.
New York Times Editorial Published: June 2, 2010
Mobile computers like Apples iPhone and iPad are among the most
transformative information devices since the personal computer.
So it makes sense for the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice
Department to review Apples policies governing programmers access to
its devices to see if they violate antitrust laws.
When it introduced the iPad, Apple rewrote its agreement with developers
of computer applications known as apps that run on its devices.
Before, programmers could write apps using third-party platforms like the
one made by Adobe, which are compatible with different operating systems.
Apple now wants developers to write apps specifically for its gadgets,
using approved computer languages. The company also changed its terms of
agreement with developers to prohibit them from using software from third
parties to "send Device Data to a third party for processing or analysis."
Apple argues that these changes are legitimate efforts to offer consumers
a flawless experience on its devices. This week, Apples Steve Jobs
declared that Adobes widely used Flash platform "has had its day."
Apple said the ban on sharing data with other programs was a way to
protect the privacy of iPhone and iPad users.
Yet regulators are concerned about Apples pattern of behavior.
The Justice Department is also investigating whether Apple is abusing its
dominance in the digital music market to punish labels that do business
deals with rivals like Amazon.
The question is whether Apples policies lock rivals out of fast-growing
The bans on sharing data from iPhone and iPad users could impair the
ability of advertising networks like AdMob to place ads on apps. And
that would give an edge to Apples new advertising platform iAd, which
will have access to much more information from Apple devices. (The F.T.C.
cited competitive concerns about Apple in giving a green light recently
to Googles purchase of AdMob.)
Regulators have to decide whether the ban on third-party programming
platforms is an effort to hinder development of apps for systems like
For its tactics to violate antitrust laws, Apple would need to possess
what is known as a "dominant" market share. But Apple controls only about
a quarter of the smart-phone market. There are more phones on the market
using the Android operating system. If Apple is not the dominant player,
developers could ignore its new requirements and go write apps for the
It is not obvious how the market should be defined, however.
There are about four times as many applications written for Apple as for
Android devices. And experts estimate that Apple accounted for virtually
all the roughly 2.5 billion app downloads last year. Antitrust regulators
are right to look into whether the company is leveraging this clout to
stymie the development of applications for its rivals, closing the door
While it is perfectly reasonable for Apple to make lots of money from the
iPhone and the iPad, no company should be allowed to simply wall off a
market. It is up to antitrust regulators to ensure that competition
A version of this editorial appeared in print on June 3, 2010, on page
A34 of the New York edition.
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