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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: apple
By Helbore on 5/31/2010 1:26:32 PM , Rating: 2
You don't work for Apple's PR department, by any chance?

This is exactly the same sort of behaviour that got Intel into trouble. If you sell a PC with an AMD chip in it, we won't give you our usual OEM discounts. Cue OEMs not buying from AMD to avoid paying through the nose for the Intel chips.

Here we have Apple threatening to stop selling songs from labels that sign deals with other retailers. In both cases, the big players were using their market share to dictate the business practices of other companies. You either play by their rules, or you lose money.

Obviously in doing so, these companies act to stifle the opportunities of their competitors and artifically maintain their market lead. It amazes me how people can claim to be pro-free market and yet totally fail to understand how allowing big businesses to manipulate the market is not a free market.

A free market is where businesses compete for the custom of the consumers. When a single business can uses it's market presence to stop other companies offering better deals to the consumers, it is in no way in our interests.


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