Apple is Engaging in Monopolistic Practices that it Once Despised

Source: http://www.googleandroidblog.com/news/apple-is-engaging-in-monopolistic-practices-that-it-once-despised
Jason Calacanis writes a long but thoughtful article on why he is done with Apple and their monopolistic practices. He’s not alone as many other devoted iPhone users are speaking out as well like Michael Arrington of TechCrunch and Peter Rojas of GDGT.com and the founder of Engadget.

Summary: About six years and $20,000 ago, I made the switch to Apple products after a 20-year love affair with Microsoft. That love affair started with the humble PCjr and ended with an IBM ThinkPad. From DOS to the first version of Windows (the run-time version that only loaded one program), and on to Windows 95 and XP, I dealt with the viruses, driver incompatibilities and other assorted quirks of Microsoft’s wildly open ecosystem.

The Love Affair Ends

Steve’s a great guy, and the love affair has been wonderful, but I’m starting to look past him and back to Microsoft for a more healthy relationship that is less–wait for it–anti-competitive in nature.

The Case, The Five Parts

I’d like to discuss four major issues around Apple’s current product line that I believe are stifling the industry, consumer choice and pricing. Instead of just giving a simple solution to the problem, I thought long and hard about the opportunities for Apple to be less controlling and more open. For example, if the iPhone was available on more carriers, Apple would sell many, many more units, which would inevitably lead to people switching from Windows desktops to Macs (which is what happened with the iPod).

1. Destroying MP3 player innovation through anti-competitive practices

There is no technical reason why the iTunes ecosystem shouldn’t allow the ability to sync with any MP3 player (in fact, iTunes did support other players once upon a time), save furthering Apple’s dominance with their own over-priced players. Quickly answer the following question: who are the number two and three MP3 players in the market? Exactly. Most folks can’t name one, let alone two, brands of MP3 players.

2. Monopolistic practices in telecommunications

Apple’s iPhone is a revolutionary product that has devolved almost all of the progress made in cracking–wait for it–AT&T’s monoply in the ’70s and ’80s. We broke up the Bell Phone only to have it put back together by the iPhone. Telecommunications choice is gone for Apple users. If you buy an Apple and want to have a seemless experience with your iPhone, you must get in bed with AT&T, and as we like to say in the technology space, “AT&T is the suck.”

3. Draconian App Store policies that are, frankly, insulting

Like lemmings, we fell for your bar charts extolling the openness of the iPhone App platform and its massive array of applications. We over-paid for your phone–which you render obsolete every 13 months, like clockwork–and then signed our lives away to AT&T. The way you pay us back is by becoming the thought police, deciding what applications we can consume on the device we over-paid for!

4. Being a horrible hypocrite by banning other browsers on the iPhone

Opera is a fantastic browser built by a company in Oslo, Norway. In fact, a decade ago, I had a speaking gig there and got to interview the CEO of the company for Silicon Alley Reporter. (Sidebar: Man, do I miss being a journalist. I wish I could split 50% of my time being a journalist and 50% of my time being a CEO.) For over a decade, Opera has been making lighting-fast, lightweight and quirky browsers. Long before Apple launched Safari, with the goal of designing the fastest browswer on the Web, Opera was already there.

5. Blocking the Google Voice Application on the iPhone

Apple took Google’s innovative and absurdly priced phone offering, Google Voice, out of the App Store and is currently being investigated by the FCC for this action. This point is similar to the browser issue, in that Apple wants to own almost every extension of the iPhone platform. How long before Apple decides to ban a Twitter client in favor of an Apple Twitter-like product? Seems crazy, I know, but by following Apple’s logic you should not be able to use Firefox or Google Chrome on your desktop.

In Summary

I’m not a huge fan of government involvement in business, so I would rather see Apple resolve these issues for themselves.

[Read Full Story Here]

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