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Discussion Starter #1
Microsoft is regularly accused, and rightly so, of carrying on anti-competitive monopolistic behaviour.

Apple has very strict policies for apps and app development on the iPod/iPhone/iPad.

Can you imagine the uproar if MS announced that all Windows apps must be sold through the MS online store, they must be approved by MS and they must be developed on MS approved devlopment tools? Yet isn't this exactly what Apple is doing?

Does Apple run the risk of anti-trust litigation, particularly in Europe.

It may sound like I am anti-Apple but I love their products and have bought several iPods and I am a very early adopter on the iPad. But I wonder if they are setting themselves up for some legal troubles.
 

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Last I looked Apple and Microsoft are competitors so by definition, neither is "monopolistic"
 

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The "Who is more monopolistic Microsoft or Apple?" title of the thread is a bit misleading, so if we're talking about anti-trust monopolist I would just point to the vast volume of internal corporate emails found in court documents to say that the former certainly is, as judges and juries have already found. The latter company may dodge such anti-trust bullets due to Linux-based OSes that are appearing on an increasingly great number of devices across a wide variety of architectures and consumer goods:
  • Google Android
  • Intel/Nokia Meego
Many people see Microsoft losing ground quite quickly on several fronts (particularly in mobile) while Apple seems to be enjoying a period of great growth despite its consumer and developer "lock in" habits. I personally believe that sooner or later the EU will call Apple on the carpet regarding those practices, but Apple will just point to the other platforms and skate free.

Just a P.S.: while I can understand the allure of Apple devices to consumers, I would say that independent small developers are nuts to try to develop for such a closed environment. Android and Meego might end up too limiting too, but there hasn't been nearly the danger signs on them as have been seen due to Apple's arbitrary decisions.
 

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How is Apple a monopoly?

Last I looked Apple was in three major businesses: wireless phones, portable media players, and personal computers.

In the wireless phone business they are competing against Nokia, Samsung, LG, Google, Palm and Microsoft. Where is the monopoly?

In portable media players, they are competing against Microsoft, Archos Creative, Sandisk and others. In addition, there is nothing stopping any sizable company from building an music or video player tomorrow and selling it.

In computers, Apple competes against HP, Dell, IBM, Lenovo, and more.

Because their products run on proprietary software is not monopolistic. Most consumer electronics operate that way. My cable and satellite boxes are a closed system as is my printer, my telephone, my dvd player, my bu-ray player and so on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Buying applications for an iPhone/iPod/iPad is a monopoly since your only option is the iTunes App store.

Why is Microsoft monopolistic when they bundle IE as part of their OS? There are options for OSes- you can buy a Mac or run one of dozens of flavours of Linux on that PC. And you could use browsers other than IE on your PC.
 

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MS is much closer to a monopoly than Apple. MS marketing practices show that they want to force competitors out of business to gain a true monopoly and they have almost succeeded in certain areas. That is why they have been taken to court and have been penalized for anti-competitive practices. MS tried to manipulate the market by controlling supply chains and eliminating competing companies by means that are considered illegal in many countries. That's monopolistic in nature and is wrong on many levels.

Apple is more focused on keeping their systems closed and protecting their patents. That's good business for two reasons. It keeps competitors from cloning their products and cutting into their profit margins and marketing share. It also allows them to provide more stable, easier to maintain products that are easier to use. Apple would not be described as monopolistic since they have many competitors and win market share with product appeal.
 

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Buying applications for an iPhone/iPod/iPad is a monopoly since your only option is the iTunes App store.
No it is not a monopoly. A monopoly would exist if there was only one seller of wireless phones, one seller of computers or one seller of media players.

Licensing or controlling the sale of add-on accessories to a competitive product you own is not a monopoly.
 

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Buying applications for an iPhone/iPod/iPad is a monopoly since your only option is the iTunes App store.
You have a choice of hundreds (maybe thousands) of phones, media players and laptop/tablet PCs. They all come with proprietary software as well. Try buying a PC without Windows from Dell, HP or almost all stores. It usually cannot be done and the reason is because MS has used it's market share to force other operating systems out of the supply chain with illegal practices. That's a monopoly. Compared to phones and media players, there are very few choices in PC operating systems. There was once many, some of which were considered to be better than Windows. The only real competitors left are Apple and Linux which have a small market share compared to Windows. Part of the reason is because MS told PC vendors that they would basically put them out of business if they didn't install Windows on all their PCs or if they offered a competing product.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No it is not a monopoly. A monopoly would exist if there was only one seller of wireless phones, one seller of computers or one seller of media players.

Licensing the sale of add-on accessories to your product is not a monopoly.
So if MS announced tomorrow that all applications that run on Windows would henceforth have to be approved by MS and could only be bought on MS' online store then that would be fine?

After all these are simply add-on accessories to MS' Windows product.

It's like the good old days - "DOS ain't done until Lotus won't run!"
 

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I was thinking about this over the weekend and had the same thoughts about Apple.

I don't like the amount of control they have over their devices and the lack of flexibility (i.e. usb and sd drives).

All that being said, once all the tablets roll out this summer, I will be seriously considering the Ipad. I just need to read reviews of the other machines first.
 

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Wayne, you totally missed the point.

Apple does not hold a monopoly on wireless phones, portable media players or personal computers. They do however, license products that run on their products.

Once again, "Licensing the sale of add-on accessories to your competitive product is not a monopoly."


If Apple had never allowed third party apps to run on the iPhone or iPad would that have made them a monopoly. No, of course not. It just would have meant it was a standalone product.


If Apple were the ONLY wireless manufacturer in the world then you could argue it has a monopoly but as a consumer I can goto a Symbian, Blackberry, Android, Palm, Samsung or LG device.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Compared to phones and media players, there are very few choices in PC operating systems. There was once many, some of which were considered to be better than Windows.
What were the other OSes that were available for PCs? I remember OS/2 but I don't remember too many others since Windows 3.1 was released in 92. Once upon a time there was CP/M but I believe that had pretty much died out before Windows became pre-eminent and I don't believe that Windows was even a full OS until Win 95 came along - previous versions of Windows were just GUIs on top of the DOS operation system.
 

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Licensing or controlling the sale of add-on accessories to a competitive product you own is not a monopoly.
I get that, and because of that I choose other devices.

But the point is it kind of stinks that Apple devices are locked to the Apple store (without hacking anyways), and Apple's whims of what applications they let on the store. Then again, that control is what makes the Apple expierience so good.
 

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classicsat, I agree that Apple can be heavy handed but as long as I can buy a Blackberry, Android, Palm, MS mobile, Android or Symbian phone then they are simply another competitor in what I would consider to be a fairly competitive marketplace.
 

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As a developer for both the Mac and programs for the iPhone, I can say both systems (open market for the Mac and closed ecosystem for the iPhone) have their advantages and disadvantages.

As a Mac developer I could make anything I wanted without restrictions. This is good because I can get as inventive as I wanted. I'm not sure if this made me any extra money as getting the general public knowledgeable about shareware applications from small developers is difficult. Spending money on advertising doesn't generally return much. So it's a difficult business to make a lot of money, unless you get lucky and get a million dollar idea - which I haven't yet.

As an iPhone Developer I am restricted to what I can build. However, the market is more aware of small time developers making little apps so it's easier to get to your market - cause they already know about it. Sure it's frustrating at times staying within the sandbox that Apple has created, however I'm getting older and I'm not that interested in getting ultra-innovative with development. I'm generally satisfied with the limits (I do have my own iPhone apps that I use personally that would never make it into the app store).

I believe the closed ecosystem model will make more money for small time developers such as myself. Especially with the iAd addition to the iTunes music store. I have worked on 3 titles for the iPhone with other companies on contract and they were pleased with the end product and the reach the iTunes music store has given them.

I look forward to releasing my first title for the iPad later this year. Time will tell if this system makes me more money - which is the ultimate goal for me anyways.
 

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Staying on topic, the availability of various toolkits for all the new platforms and OSes is playing a huge role in preventing the bad old days of developer lock-in.

hkay, which toolkit(s) are you using for Mac and iPhone development? Have you been able to compare with those offered for Microsoft mobile devices, Google Android, Palm, or others? It would be interesting to get opinions on whether there is a monopoly out there on development, although I certainly don't believe it to be true.
 

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I've been using XCode/Objective C for my development. The tools are good, debugging on the iPhone works very well. The SDK's are generally good, although I wish Apple would document stuff better.

I have no plans on making stuff for other platforms. I think all-in-one development systems that would make an app for multiple platforms would just produce poor products in general. I have zero expectation that what I code for the Mac/iPhone could be easily ported by pressing a build button on another system.

Apple's market in numbers (numbers of Macs, iPhones, iPads) is large enough for any serious developer to make a product specific for that platform. And if a developer thinks otherwise for their product, then maybe they just don't have a product that will reach a wide enough base to begin with. For example, a product that calculates the optimum length of a whip that a jockey on horseback should use, just is not a product - it's a hobby - enjoyable to make this app, but no one should expect to make money from it.

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so back on topic. Is Apple a monopoly because you can only get apps from their store. No. The only apps that would be available would be the apps that developers make. As a developer I like the iTunes store because it makes it easy to reach my market. And if a developer doesn't want to make proper apps for the product than they are not much of a developer. That's my opinion.
 

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Apple is not a monopoly. They may have closed systems, but there's nothing illegal about that. Microsoft, on the other hand has often used and been convicted of using illegal methods to force market share. They use their dominant position to try to block competition, which Apple doesn't use. Also, MS's unethical behaviour goes right back to the start, when Bill Gates used Harvard computers to develop a BASIC interpreter for the MITS Altair 8800 computer. The Harvard computers were not supposed to be used for commercial purposes. Bottom line, Microsoft is a convicted monopolist, Apple isn't.

neither is "monopolistic"
Microsoft has been convicted for it. They are a very unethical company that regularly uses illegal or near illegal tactics to force market share. For a recent example, take a look at how they rammed their OOXML through as an ISO standard. Then look at cases like the recent one with i4i, where they deliberately violated patents, after pretending to enter a deal with i4i.

Back in the DOS days, there was also DR-DOS, from Digital Research, which had features that MS-DOS didn't. However, MS leaned on computer suppliers to not install it. They also put a test in Windows to see if it was running on DR-DOS and then threw up a bogus error message if it was. Digital Research also had GEM for a graphical desktop. There were others, but I don't recall them at the moment.
 

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No company can establish a monoply until it is successful. I've often said I find childish the anti-Microsft hysteria perpetuated here and elsewhere - MS did and does what every other business in the world tiries to do - establish more market share, promote its products through incentives for its vendors, distributors and third party developers. The only difference is that it succeeded and everyone else failed. Hence the sudden "revelation" among hurt competitors, their fanboys and governement lobbyists that the some of its practices are illegal. MS became a cashcow for governments all over the world - "you are too rich, pay up". And they did and went on around their business, just like many other lower profile companies - RIM comes to mind, they payed $600 mln for alleged patent infringements a few years back. They would have probably won the litigation in the end, but decided that the possible injunction in the meantime would hurt their business more, and payed up. I don't remember anyone calling that an act of confession, but so many of you regard MS as admitting guilt by settling some of the big lawsuits.
Anyway, Apple is about to be in the same position soon. It is just not that big yet. As soon as it takes 50% of the smartphone market or a substantial share from the computer OS market, all bitter rivals will unite in their cries for help to the government racketeers, and the latter will be more than happy to oblige.
And, finally, why do any companies establish market dominance in the presence of so many alternatives - because people like their products and are willing to pay for them. Period. Everything else is wishful thinking by sore losers.
 

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Please stop using "Monopoly" to describe "Anti-Trust"

A monopoly and an anti-trust violation are different things, but some people in this thread are trying to use the terms interchangeably. A monopoly is not illegal, per se, but if anti-trust violations occur in the establishment or maintenance of said monopoly it is certainly illegal.

Arthur, as per the above confusion of terminology, look up the legal evidence (i.e. their own internal email chains going back to their beginning) that has gotten MS convicted on anti-trust violations many times. Time to move on, friend, and see the new reality. :) As one of the executives of the multi-national company I work for once said at a corporate conference regarding business practices: "We will never do business like Microsoft!"

I think we've established here quite clearly that Apple is not a monopoly, although many of us believe that they are almost fascistic in their control issues. With that I'm bowing out of this thread. :)
 
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