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Apple CEO Steve Jobs has brazenly rejected calls to open his company's gates to competitors like Flash. And he reportedly has used threats to crush competitors' deals in the digital content industry.
Apple may face its day of reckoning for its bullying on music, Flash, and more

Apple has long played itself up as the cool outsider, making fun of rivals like Microsoft as stodgy, uptight business people.  However, Apple's success has transformed it into exactly the type of company it mocks -- a giant with effective monopolies in several markets.  And according to many observers, the company -- one of the tech industry's largest firms -- has become increasingly brazen in its violation of antitrust laws.

Last week, government investigators began to probe whether Apple broke the law by bullying music companies into dropping a major deal with digital music provider Amazon.com.  Exclusive deals are a common promotional tool and Amazon.com scored a win by convincing major music labels to put certain tracks on sale through Amazon's service one full day before their broad release.

Apple caught wind of the deal and reportedly tried to kill it.  Apple, whose iTunes service controls roughly 69 percent of the digital music market, reportedly told music labels that it would penalize them if they carried through with the plan (penalties included refusing to sell the applicable tracks in iTunes). 

Now, according to 
The New York Post, the DOJ investigators are looking to probe Apple even deeper.  It is asking media companies whether Apple is using its position in the market to bully them on a variety of issues including Flash and digital content sales.  And an angry Hollywood appears more than happy to comply with the investigation.  Remarks one source, "The [Justice Dept.] is doing outreach.  You can't dictate terms to the industry. The Adobe thing is just inviting the wrath of everybody."

The investigation follows the decision of several of Hollywood's biggest players, including NBC and Time Warner, to move towards rejecting Apple's iPad because of its restrictive terms.  They instead will be looking to offer Flash-driven products on platforms like Android or webOS tablets.

Is the government overstepping its bounds in digging up dirt on Apple?  Or did Apple purchase its own ticket to trouble by brazenly stomping on competitors and trying to dictate what "freedoms" its customers are allowed to enjoy?  Regardless of your opinion, the government investigation appears to be expanding as it silently marches ahead.



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RE: Karma
By sprockkets on 5/31/2010 11:18:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Apple is monopolizing the online music market and locking their customers into iTunes.Making it hard for the end user to take their bought music, movies, and apps from Apple products (ipad/iphone) to another such as an android or windows powered device.


How, since day one they allowed you to burn your music to CD, thus bypassing the DRM to begin with? Allowing anyone to use their CD player sounds very non tie in to me. And now all the music is DRM free and is playable on any modern device, Android included. And your music is saved in a logical place, your Documents folder in Music by default.

Movies are a different story, but you are welcome to tell me what movies are sold sans DRM. DVDs, BD, mandates DRM due to the MPAA, not Apple. Why aren't they being sued for their crap with BD taking over a minute to even get to the first screen due to their DRM crap, mandatory updates, and even more restrictions on what you can do?

Of course, the whole using your 69% marketshare to kill the Amazon deal is a different story.


RE: Karma
By dark matter on 5/31/2010 3:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
You're saying having to burn maybe 5-10 gigabytes of music to CD and then convert that back to Mp3s and enter all the associated meta data isn't a barrier...


RE: Karma
By LordanSS on 5/31/2010 4:20:59 PM , Rating: 2
And by doing that, you're getting yet another drop in sound quality:

Compressed MP3 -> CD Audio -> 2nd Compression to MP3

Unless of course you used a lossless format to rip from your CD, then supposedly you'd keep the same quality of the original MP3 file. But still way too much hassle. =/


RE: Karma
By sefsefsefsef on 5/31/2010 6:54:15 PM , Rating: 2
Are you guys not reading the part where music downloaded off iTunes has 0 DRM and can be played on all music devices?


RE: Karma
By sebmel on 5/31/2010 7:55:47 PM , Rating: 2
Not only that but it's going to be pretty hard to argue that Apple used it's 30% of music sales as a monopolistic position.

And then continue by arguing that the anti-competitive stance Apple took was to oppose an anti-competitive, exclusive deal by Amazon.

The prevention of the exclusion of iTunes from new releases increases competition, not reduces it.

Now, because Mick has a hard time reading something straight when the word Apple occurs in the phase I'll give him a simple analogy to point out the issue:

Imagine, Mick, that Apple signed a deal in which all movies were released exclusively through iTunes for a month before any other store could sell them. Now think hard, Mick. Would that promote competition or would it be anti-competitive?

That's what Amazon did.


RE: Karma
By S3anister on 5/31/2010 5:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
To start, I said Apple is making it hard, not impossible to take bought media from one place to another. Would you really want to burn your gigs of music onto compact discs? I sure don't. As for the non DRM tracks, last time that I used iTunes they cost more than the non-DRM ones, if that isn't the case anymore then that is excellent.

As for movies, I find almost all current mediums are poorly implemented. Netflix, xbox live, and on demand are all great for getting movies but you can't take them anywhere but the home device/service, it's annoying. Now, take bittorrent for example, it has a massive installed user base due to the freedom that comes with being able to take a file that isn't locked down and easily move it from one device to another.

For clarification, when I say bittorrent i do not say piracy, that is something I do not condone. I'm simply saying the media giants and services that are popular need to be reinvented a bit. give some control back to the users that are doing the buying.


RE: Karma
By sprockkets on 5/31/2010 9:28:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As for the non DRM tracks, last time that I used iTunes they cost more than the non-DRM ones, if that isn't the case anymore then that is excellent.


Nope, all the same price now. I prefer Amazon anyhow as far as getting music now. But you can't beat used CDs, which is what I did when I heard Creed redid a Stones song.


"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation














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