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Apple Facing New Antitrust Investigation

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the depends-who-you-trust-in-the-first-place dept.

Businesses 241

mantis2009 writes "After recent complaints of anti-competitive behavior, the US Department of Justice has opened an inquiry into Apple's business practices for selling music. Investigators have specifically asked whether Apple colluded with record labels to thwart Amazon.com's music download store, according to the ever-present anonymous 'people briefed on the situation.' Allegedly, Apple threatened to retaliate if any music label participated in Amazon's 'MP3 Daily Deal' promotion, which offered early access to some MP3 tracks." So it looks like the Justice Department won the DoJ vs. FTC fight for the regulation bully pulpit.

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Maybe (2, Informative)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353324)

Today wasn't the best day to become the highest-valued IT company in the world - edging out MSFT [google.com] (219.18B) by having a market cap [google.com] of 222.07B.

To give an idea of the scale of that achievement, Apple's share price has climbed about 560% in the past five years. Microsoft's is up 4%. Sure, market cap isn't a hugely useful measure (beyond bragging rights) of the value a company brings, but the trend is an interesting one, at least for Apple shareholders

Simon.

Re:Maybe (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32353354)

A couple weeks ago, while taking my asian girlfriend shopping at the local mall, I had to take a piss. As I entered the john, Steve Jobs -- the messiah himself -- came out of one of the booths. I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was busy and in any case I was sure the Apple Corporation security guards wouldn't even let me shake his hand.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated, hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still warm from his sturdy ass. I found not only the smell but the shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat, stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd -- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as his cock -- or at least as I imagined it!

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd always been a liberal thinker and had been an Apple customer since 1984. Of course I'd had fantasies of meeting Jobs, sucking his cock and balls, not to mention sucking his asshole clean, but I never imagined I would have the chance. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of Steve Jobs, the chosen one.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it smelled.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big half nigger cock, beating my meat like a madman, and thrusting my pink iPod Shuffle into my ass. I wanted to completely engulf it and bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily, sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My only regret was that Steve Jobs wasn't there to see my loyalty and wash it down with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with the rich bitterness of shit. It's even better than reading an Apple press release!

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six orgasms in the process.

I often think of Steve Jobs dropping solid gold out of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could, and at least once did, bring to a grateful Apple customer.

Re:Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32354442)

is that you whisper_jeff...?

Re:Maybe (1)

Strudelkugel (594414) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353540)


As a consumer, and owner of several Apple products, I find their behavior to be far monopolistic than Microsoft's ever was. (Want to run Apple software? Buy Apple hardware. Want Apple hardware? It will always be loaded with Apple software. Want to load something on your iP*? Use ITMS, etc...) Do I think Apple really is a monopoly? No. But I never thought Microsoft was a monopoly, either.

Apple fans should hope Apple has better attorneys than Microsoft had when dealing with the DoJ. If Apple doesn't play ball with the DoJ, it will become a hamstrung corporate slushy, just like Microsoft did.

Re:Maybe (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353730)

it will become a hamstrung corporate slushy, just like Microsoft did.

All the DOJ did was say "yep MS, you are a monopoly", the damage was already done. Microsoft managed to squash Netscape, BeOS, and all of their established competitors from the '90s.

Other than making MS more subtle in their EEE tactics, the ruling didn't do too much. Microsoft managed to come out on top with the DOJ hearings, yeah they got a stern talking to and some bad PR, but look at post-hearing MS, it was doing remarkably well and not losing marketshare till the disaster of Vista.

Apple has a lot more to fear than MS did. Apple doesn't supply the OS for most of the government's computers, MS does.

Re:Maybe (2, Interesting)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353908)

Err, why not get the Europeans to sort out this mess? They actually manage to do something* about Microsoft... *It could have been better, I grant you but they have effectively forced their hand on opening up protocols and standards. There is however more time which needs to pass, not quite sure how much though.

Re:Maybe (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32354094)

As a consumer, and owner of several Apple products, I find their behavior to be far monopolistic than Microsoft's ever was. (Want to run Apple software? Buy Apple hardware. Want Apple hardware? It will always be loaded with Apple software. Want to load something on your iP*? Use ITMS, etc...)

The word you're looking for is 'proprietary' not 'monopoly'. You'll notice in the FS that it's about putting a competitor out of business as opposed to keeping people on their platform, which is what you just described.

Re:Maybe (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32354346)

Amazing. Apple hasn't been found guilty of anything yet. DOJ is opening an investigation. Apple didn't tell the labels not to sell to amazon, it allegedley pressured them to not give exclusives to Amazon. I see a big distinction there. If Apple has a monopoly, it is in music marketing (but walmart and amazon are still pretty formidable) and in music players only. RIM is still a bigger player than Apple in Smartphones so no monopoly there. Microsoft still holds the monopoly on Desktop operating systems, and in office productivity software. And Microsoft was not found guilty of being a monopoly but of using monopoly power to squeeze competitiors out. It's a long reach to put Apple in the same place. Or even as bad as what Intel did to AMD.

Re:Maybe (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354638)

Uhhh...You DO know that Apple owns over 90% [wikipedia.org] of the HDD based PMPs and more than 70% of ALL PMPs, yes? And since we are talking about music I'd find it hard for anyone to say that Apple was anything BUT a monopoly in that field.

I don't see how their lock in with iTMS and using that lock in to hamstring competitors is ANY different than MSFT using Windows to kill Netscape. So I'm sorry Apple fanboys if old Steve is using iTMS to screw over competitors they need to be busted. How is this any different from MSFT or Intel screwing those that refuse to play ball? MSFT said "Want good prices on windows? Screw BeOS and anybody else that wants to sell a desktop" while Intel said "Want a good deal on chips? Screw AMD and take this Netburst and like it" while Apple is saying "Want to be on iTMS? Screw Amazon". I don't see ANY difference in the tactics.

Just because old Steve has good taste doesn't mean he can screw his competitors with monopolistic behavior, hence the investigation. If the allegations are true it seems pretty open and shut to me. And before any fanboys scream "MSFT shill!" I would point out that to this day I STILL think MSFT should have been broken up. Too much power concentrated into a single company is never good for the market.

Re:Maybe (2, Interesting)

WankersRevenge (452399) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353630)

Reminds of Forest Gump when Forest says he invested in a "fruit" company that turns out to be Apple. If people invested their money into Apple right after that movie came out, they'd be living like Gump themselves right now.

Re:Maybe (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353844)

Yeah, and had the scare of their lives in the mid to late '90s when Apple was failing.

From the launch of Windows 95 till the success of the iPod and OS X in 2003, Apple was a joke. No one would have been advised to invest in it.

Yeah, the iPod and OS X and switching to x86 and iTunes have made Apple fashionable again, but for a while in the mid '90s, Apple was worthless. It lacked a decent OS, Windows was gaining, etc.

Re:Maybe (4, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354134)

Reminds of Forest Gump when Forest says he invested in a "fruit" company that turns out to be Apple. If people invested their money into Apple right after that movie came out, they'd be living like Gump themselves right now.

It's just mind-blowing what you could do if you had 20 years of hindsight 20 years ago.

Re:Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32354136)

they'd be living just like Gump themselves

Retarded?

Re:Maybe (3, Interesting)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353712)

Today wasn't the best day to become the highest-valued IT company in the world - edging out MSFT [google.com] (219.18B) by having a market cap [google.com] of 222.07B.

That also gives Apple the second largest market cap period, behind only Exxon Mobil (278.64B). Rather incredible, since Apple only nudged into the top five last quarter and the top ten the quarter before that.

Bully? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32353344)

Since when is stopping companies from breaking the law bullying?

Re:Bully? (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353388)

Since the country was run by corporations.

Re:Bully? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353436)

It's not, its more like when the kid who finally stands up to the bully and punches him in the face gets called to the principal's office for fighting in school.

Re:Bully? (0, Flamebait)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353544)

Um, how is Amazon breaking the law? They are running a competing DRM free music store that doesn't have artificially inflated prices like iTunes.

Re:Bully? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32353598)

They are standing in the way of Apple. They obviously must be corrected. Such is the will of GOD, as decreed by the LORD Jobs.

Re:Bully? (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354216)

Reading comprehension man:

So it looks like the Justice Department won the DoJ vs. FTC fight for the regulation bully pulpit.

DoJ is the "bully" that the GP is referring to.

To the GP:

It's bully pulpit, i.e. that thing speakers stand in front of when they speak. A bully pulpit means you get to speak (usually you're preaching at someone), for no other reason than you said so, and apparently you're bigger (or are more important) than anybody else.

Generally, when you have a bully pulpit, you verbally beat the shit out of someone (rake them against the coals, put their feet to the fire, whatever metaphor you want to use), and they have to take it. That's what the OP is saying. Having a bully pulpit doesn't make you a bully, it just means you're going to tell someone what-for, and they have to listen.

Re:Bully? (1)

Vahokif (1292866) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353648)

Since they went after Apple.

Re:Bully? (2, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353704)

Engaging in anti-competitive practices is completely justified by the improvements in shininess of the next toy such a practice would bring if Apple's doing it.

Re:Bully? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32353762)

"Bully pulpit" doesn't mean what you seem to think it does.

Bully Pulpit (2, Interesting)

SlashDotDotDot (1356809) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353786)

It says bully pulpit [wikipedia.org] . Which is something else entirely.

I don't understand this FTA (2, Funny)

pgmrdlm (1642279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353400)

The Justice Department has also reportedly been investigating the hiring practices at Apple and other top technology companies, including Intel, I.B.M. and Google, asking whether the companies have improperly agreed to avoid hiring each other’s employees.

I would like to see specifically what this investigation is about. I don't see why companies can't make this type of agreement. It sounds like an agreement to respect each others trade secretes by not hiring each others employees.

Re:I don't understand this FTA (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353464)

Or a friendly agreement not to snipe each other's talent, but on the other hand, it makes someone at Apple kind of trapped at Apple, since they might not be able to get a job at the other big corporations who would use them.

Re:I don't understand this FTA (4, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353608)

Because it reduces competition. If I work with software at Apple, I'm essentially barred from entering the job market at other similarly-sized corporations in the same field.

If I'm unhappy at Apple for some reason I have to stick with them because the other companies won't hire me, not because I'm not qualified but because of my previous employer.

If this was Burger King don't hiring former McDonalds employees, we wouldn't see the point, but when its software companies its ok?

Re:I don't understand this FTA (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353750)

If this was Burger King not hiring former McDonalds employees, we wouldn't see the point, but when its software companies its ok?

I guess lack of coffee today has made me oblivious to blindingly obvious typos in my posts.

Re:I don't understand this FTA (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354118)

Is it a nice hot McDonalds coffee you might be looking for?

Re:I don't understand this FTA (1)

pgmrdlm (1642279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353794)

If it was the scientists at Micky d's and burger king, the ones that come up with the recipes. I think the same type of agreement would be completely acceptable. Protection of trade secretes, protection of each companies expensive talent. Your argument doesn't stand the test of review. I'm not even sure I believe the argument of not being able to move from company to company is a valid argument. If I have any of those companies on my resume, I can go anywhere looking for a job. And, I might ad. It would be to my advantage to do so, go elsewhere. More freedom of my talents.

Re:I don't understand this FTA (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353918)

But lets face it, Google, Apple, IBM, etc. are all very stable employers. Chances are they will exist in some form in 5 years. Why should I not have the right to move to a stable employer? Yeah, I can go to "anywhere" looking for a job but Google, Apple and IBM all pay very high wages and benefits. Why should I be locked out of the other 2 because I worked for one?

Re:I don't understand this FTA (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354138)

Protection of trade secretes, protection of each companies expensive talent.

Hold on there, pardner. The trade secrets belong to the company, but the talent belongs to the employees.

Re:I don't understand this FTA (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354278)

I think the same type of agreement would be completely acceptable.

You know the best way to keep your employees?

Pay them what they are worth, and treat them like human beings.

Apple has a bad habit of doing neither for some employees (most companies do actually), which is why they create these agreements. It saves the corporations money, while completely screwing their employees.

Why is that OK? Ever? You can have an NDA, and if the employee breaks it after they go to another company (you can work somewhere else and still keep an NDA), you can sue them into bankruptcy. That's all that is needed. The no-hire policies are anti-competitive and should be made illegal.

Re:I don't understand this FTA (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354108)

Because it reduces competition. If I work with software at Apple, I'm essentially barred from entering the job market at other similarly-sized corporations in the same field.

Well, you could always go work for Microsoft...

Re:I don't understand this FTA (5, Interesting)

melted (227442) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353674)

I'm sorry, this is retarded. Agreements like this amount to indentured servitude for the employees. In my experience, moving from one company to another was the surest way to boost my pay. Had I stayed with the same company for a decade, my merit rises would merely beat inflation. I would also be worth a lot less to a prospective employer due to not having a varied background.

I would like not only these pacts to be outlawed, but non-competes as well. For trade secrets, there's the court of law where trade secret disputes can be adjudicated.

Re:I don't understand this FTA (1)

pgmrdlm (1642279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353854)

How are you locked in? You saying that having these companies on your resume restricts you in your job search? You saying that taking that type of experience to a startup company or other multi national company would not do you any good in your salary negotiations? sorry, don't see it. Your not restricted in any way of finding a job of the same pay or better. You are underestimating who would be interested in your talents and what you can make.

Re:I don't understand this FTA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32354018)

you should stick to your native language before you tell ppl what you think you know k

Re:I don't understand this FTA (1)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354098)

Yeah, that's actually exactly what he's saying. Look into non-compete agreements. Then look at the paperwork you signed when you took your job to see if you have one or not. Finally, check and see if the terms end immediately upon leaving your current employer, or 1/2/5/10 years later.

Re:I don't understand this FTA (1)

melted (227442) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354264)

There are only a few worthwhile companies which build operating systems, for instance. Tablets, mobile phone OS's, search engines, ads -- these are just a few highly competitive areas with few big players. If those players strike a pact, you'll have to change your career. This is shitty and unfair.

Re:I don't understand this FTA (2, Informative)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353716)

I don't see why companies can't make this type of agreement

For the same reason Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft cannot sit down and coordinate the prices of consoles, games and accessories: cartels are bad. Therefore the regulation of an oligopoly is considered okay. In a oligopsony, similar affects arise from collusion: the buyers of services gain huge price setting power, because they no longer have to out-bid one another.

Re:I don't understand this FTA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32353816)

In California, non-compete clauses are invalid. If I work at Apple and then leave, they have no legal reason to prevent me from accepting any job. Companies making agreements that are outside of the law are colluding, which is an antitrust violation.

Re:I don't understand this FTA (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353842)

Because it damages the ability of individuals to find work.

Serves you right you fucking apple zealots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32353412)

Apple zealots like getting fucked up the ass by Steve Jobs's hard iCock and then swallowing his semen.

so wait (0, Troll)

DeadJesusRodeo (1813846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353452)

So it's illegal if a company fails to promote an artist or product? Really DoJ? Really? Oh shit - I'm going to club fed for sure. I didn't shill for Lady Gaga today. Crap!

Re:so wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32353494)

Do you have to try to be this stupid or does it come naturally?

Re:so wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32353688)

Read his post history, it definitely seems to come naturally. Would you expect someone going by the name DeadJesusRodea to be a rocket scientist?

Keep hating Microsoft though... (2, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353458)

As i've been ranting about for a while now... It's time to either let Microsoft run its business in the same manner Apple does... or force Apple to deal with the same nonsense all of you impose on Microsoft.

When will we end the hypocrisy? Leave Microsoft alone, and go after the real evil... Apple.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (1, Troll)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353542)

Apologists for Microsoft always rush to the "bbbbut Apple!" defense but there's a distinct difference here:

- Microsoft held and continues to hold a -de facto- monopoly on desktop operating systems. Were they to revoke OEM pricing for Windows they could easily send a PC manufacturer into unprofitable territory.
- Microsoft did just that over Netscape, BeOS, and likely others to retain their position and push their products.
- They were convicted of this in Federal court.

So as it stands, Microsoft has to play by different rules. The comparisons are not fair.

Unless, perhaps, Apple gains dominance in a market to the point that their denial of services or manipulation of terms would be detrimental to the targeted party unless complied with. At which an investigation could begin and if found to be a monopoly, Apple would have to start playing under those same rules. Chances are this would follow with a trial and if convicted Apple would end up under the government's thumb for some time.

Again, they don't (yet) play under the same rules. Can't pull that argument yet though.

Leave Microsoft alone, and go after the real evil... Apple.

Microsoft would be just as evil as Apple, they just got caught.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (0, Troll)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353834)

So as it stands, Microsoft has to play by different rules. The comparisons are not fair.

That's right. Apple's simply better at it. They disguised their monopoly, and profited off it longer. Why do you think Apple's always pushed its elitist standard? To make it seem more niche, to avoid exactly what happened to Microsoft. There is absolutely no legitimate reason to lock an iPod or iPhone or iAnything to only use iTunes, except to promote hegemony. Sure, they could *optimize* their stuff to work best with their software. That's how it should be. But if I want to use Windows Media Player, or VLC, then I should be able to.

So, you can call me a Microsoft apologist, and I can call you Jobs' personal fluffer, but in the end, I just want companies playing by the same rules, and you'll still be a cocksucker.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353878)

They disguised their monopoly, and profited off it longer.

Which monopoly did they have? What market did they have such a hold on that they could kill a customer on a whim?

So, you can call me a Microsoft apologist, and I can call you Jobs' personal fluffer, but in the end, I just want companies playing by the same rules, and you'll still be a cocksucker.

A vulgar one, aren't you. Go back to /g/.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (1)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354060)

"Why do you think Apple's always pushed its elitist standard? To make it seem more niche, to avoid exactly what happened to Microsoft."
- that doesn't even survive a basic test of logic. How exactly does being elitist avoid what happened to MS?

"There is absolutely no legitimate reason to lock an iPod or iPhone or iAnything to only use iTunes, except to promote hegemony."
- There a lots of legitimate reasons, like quality control, control of an eco-system that "just works". It is exactly this control that is giving it such huge success now, because they exercise control over the experience and thus make it consistent.

Learn what you're talking about before dribbling this crap out of your mouth.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354182)

But the only thing Apple has a monopoly over is Apple products. Microsoft had a monopoly that controlled an entire industry - other people's companies, not just Microsoft stuff. It would be different if Microsoft only made Windows for Microsoft computers.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354224)

There is absolutely no legitimate reason to lock an iPod or iPhone or iAnything to only use iTunes, except to promote hegemony.

iPods and such also play MP3's, without any DRM at all. Anyone is free to sell in this format (if the record companies agree, or if the indie band allows selling in that format). Now the iTunes software generally only works with Apple products, but you can pretty well blame that one on the RIAA and similar entities for shoving a DRM scheme down our throats.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (4, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354342)

That's right. Apple's simply better at it. They disguised their monopoly, and profited off it longer. Why do you think Apple's always pushed its elitist standard? To make it seem more niche, to avoid exactly what happened to Microsoft. There is absolutely no legitimate reason to lock an iPod or iPhone or iAnything to only use iTunes, except to promote hegemony. Sure, they could *optimize* their stuff to work best with their software. That's how it should be. But if I want to use Windows Media Player, or VLC, then I should be able to.

Actually, it is not illegal to have a monopoly. Natural monopolies aside, if someone is able to garner enough goodwill and purchasing power to be a monopoly in one area, it's not illegal. The only illegality comes when a monopoly is abused.

Microsoft took their Windows monopoly to put IE on the desktop. There was no need for any third-party browser now, and that desktop monopoly became an web browser monopoly as well, something we all are fighting to this day. IE6 will not die, and IE in general still holds a commanding share of web browser "marketshare".

Apple had a monopoly on selling music on iPods, but Amazon came up and took away that monopoly (because iPods play MP3s). In fact, the closest Apple had was when they were leveraging iPod sales and iTunes - this was why the EU was doing investigations into Apple. Now that Apple has gone DRM free, those concerns disappeared (because Apple sold music that only worked on iPods, thus limiting third party MP3 players from being able to play purchased music).

This case is that Apple is using it's "monopoly" on music sales to limit Amazon's ability to sell music. Namely, by demanding that the music labels cannot give preferential pricing to a third party without offering it on Apple's store as well. If a music label wants to make a track of the week 70 cents on Amazon, it also becomes 70 cents on iTunes.

Which seems bad, but remember that Apple and Amazon are also doing the exact same thing with each other on the ebook market. Apple gave publishers an option they liked better than Amazon's option, so publishers went with Apple, and Amazon relented. Apple's agreement with publishers is they don't give anyone but Apple preferential pricing. Amazon caved and went with the same agency model, and also demands that publishers cannot give preferential pricing to anyone else other than Amazon.

And Amazon's not exactly the innocent party as well - having "dealt with" publishers that refuse to go along with its pricing model by trying to "devalue" books from that publisher, or even worse, not offering to sell the book on its marketplace.

Apple's only real leverage is marketshare, and all it takes is someone to make a better iPod and all that advantage disappears. So Apple may have a monopoly on music sales, but it's far from a certain one and the iPod has to compete with everything else out there. Even music sold on Apple's store isn't locked to an iPod anymore, and modern MP3 players will play it just fine as well (say, Microsoft's Zune).

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (1)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354130)

Unless, perhaps, Apple gains dominance in a market to the point that their denial of services or manipulation of terms would be detrimental to the targeted party unless complied with.

Is this some sort of joke? Apple is ALREADY in that position. You just seem to be blinded to anything not having to do with PC OSes.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (-1, Flamebait)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354384)

I'm an apologist for Microsoft. I'm a "You're all full of shit, now be FAIR to microsoft"...

Everyone one of you zealots loves to hate Microsoft for selfishly unfair reasons, usually formed by a religious holy war of Linux vs Microsoft.

You'd rather see Microsoft die, than see them provide good software. Admit it finally, once and for all!

I personally dislike Microsoft for many reasons... but a lot of the complains I have could be solved by letting them actually make software that isnt gimped because they're scared of anti trust US/EU lawsuits.

Apple has no such fear. They go balls to the wall, do it all.... and you fucking hypocrites let them.

The time is now to simply allow MS to play Apple's game... or force APPLE to comply with the same bullshit you force on Microsoft.

That way we can all pretend that Linux will win the desktop market because we've squashed them both. sigh.

I'm for open standards absolutely... but lets be fucking real.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354396)

So as it stands, Microsoft has to play by different rules. The comparisons are not fair.

Actually, Microsoft has to play by the same rules as everyone else, even though they have a potential monopoly. That's the whole point of anti-trust laws. The monopoly allows them to do things that they could not do with strong competition (as you pointed out). The law forces them to act as though they are simply the biggest competitor in the market, not a monopoly.

Apple, oddly enough, must abide by the same rules. So does everyone who does business in the United States, in fact. Apple has been treading in dangerous water with the way the treat iPods and iTunes (I believe they sued or threatened to sue someone recently for reverse engineering their iPod format to allow their software interoperate with the iPod, which is perfectly legal), and if they don't make some quick changes they're about to be slapped down hard, just like Microsoft was.

Microsoft would be just as evil as Apple, they just got caught.

The difference is, Microsoft has already been punished, and have not be behaving the same way they did before. Leave them alone unless (until more likely) they do it again, or break the specific rules of their punishment.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353864)

When will we end the hypocrisy? Leave Microsoft alone, and go after the real evil... Apple.

This is the same logic that got us involved in Iraq, when the big problem was in Afghanistan. If Microsoft were left to its own devices, every computer maker would still be paying for a copy of a Windows license, even on computers that didn't have a copy of Windows on it. Like they already did before DOJ got on them. And yes, they would also be spending those billions in cash to sue Linux software makers for "patent infringing", just to put them out of business, and lock the server side up even tighter than the desktop side.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354412)

No, what you just wrote was the same bullshit nonsense that got us involved in iraq. You did not state any fact. You fear mongered. Congrats... you are your very own argument.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353966)

Why can't I just despise both?

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354422)

See now that is an honest answer. I admire that. I agree.. lets hate them both so that we get what we want out of them... but one day we have to admit "this stuff is pretty good". If it warrants it of course.

Apple right now is far more controlling than MS has EVER BEEN.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32354068)

> When will we end the hypocrisy? Leave Microsoft alone, and go after the real evil... Apple.

Hypocrisy? I hate them both, will never buy any product from either and would like the DOJ and like organisations to go after *both*.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32354184)

As i've been ranting about for a while now... It's time to either let Microsoft run its business in the same manner Apple does... or force Apple to deal with the same nonsense all of you impose on Microsoft.

When will we end the hypocrisy? Leave Microsoft alone, and go after the real evil... Apple.

And in what markets does Apple have a monopoly that they can exploit (like MS did with operating systems)?

Computers? Smart phones?

They do have a large market share of portable music players, but you can purchase music from anywhere (CD, MP3, AAC) and play it on your iPad. There is no forced linkage to the iTunes (Music) Store. As Gruber notes:

“Withdrawing marketing support” for songs which were given exclusive marketing deals to Amazon — Apple’s biggest rival — seems like weak sauce.

http://daringfireball.net/linked/2010/05/26/nyt-justice-dept-itunes

I doubt the DoJ / FTC will find anything, but at least the investigation will help to keep Apple (and others) on their toes and remain honest.

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (4, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354312)

Leave Microsoft alone, and go after the real evil... Apple.

Seriously, evil? We neuter words when we use them casually in a way they are not intended. We rail against politicians and marketers for bandying about certain words in the wrong situation while people here on Slashdot call Apple evil! You may not like them; you may not like their products; you may not like their policies; you may not like their procedures but, let's be serious, the company is not evil.

Gawd. "I don't like them" is not the same thing as "evil!"

I know. I know. I must be new here...

Re:Keep hating Microsoft though... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32354610)

wow - its slashdots most predictable cupertino spambot

what the fuck is wrong with you that you have to support every little thing that fucking cunt jobs says and does?

what happened with your psychological development that you become such a fucking pathetic excuse for a human being.

how fucking sad are you dude?

Thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32353474)

I wonder when Steve Jobs woke up and thought to himself "I'm tired of Microsoft having a monopoly on being the "most hated assholes in the industry" market segment, we should be those assholes!"

Bah- Music industry sour grapes (2, Insightful)

acomj (20611) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353530)

The Music industry is probably still mad that Apple fought their 0.30 $ increase in prices and has the leverage to do so.

This doesn't seem like a big deal. The barrier to entry in creating an online music store seems pretty low, plus the files are now DRM free and playable on any player. Apple just seems to not want Amazon to get music before it does.

Not the mention it was a minor miracle that Steve Jobs got the major labels to sell their music online in the first place. I think that head start put itunes music store in the position it is in today.

Re:Bah- Music industry sour grapes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32353616)

What? I had the understanding that the increase was because they wanted to remove DRM, but the music industry wanted them to charge more if they did so.

Re:Bah- Music industry sour grapes (5, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354272)

Not the mention it was a minor miracle that Steve Jobs got the major labels to sell their music online in the first place.

This is one of the most fascinating things in recent tech/media history to me. I believe the labels' thinking at the time was that this was a test, and experimental roll-out. Because this new-fangled iPod and iTunes was a Mac-only thing at the time, and Macs had a tiny share of the computer market. So, they'd see if it worked. If it failed, no big deal, it's only a few Mac users. But to everybody's surprise, the iPod was insanely successful and Apple made the unprecedented move of releasing iTunes for Windows and adding USB support (early models were Firewire-only).

Basically, what the labels thought was a minor experiment turned into the future of their industry.

Re:Bah- Music industry sour grapes (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354476)

Yeah, small miracle that a prominent member of the Board of Directors for the world's largest media conglomerate would get media companies to sell their music online through his new service.

Only marginally less shocking than the news of guys behind Bing getting the MSN portal to use their search service.

Cartel (3, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353552)

Heh, investigating Apple for leveraging dominance against the RIAA, A cartel convicted of antitrust abuses several times? How about dealing with them effectively first?

Re:Cartel (1)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353662)

They weren't leveraging their dominance against the RIAA, they were leveraging their dominance OF the RIAA against potential competitors.

Allegedly, Apple threatened to retaliate if any music label participated in Amazon's 'MP3 Daily Deal' promotion, which offered early access to some MP3 tracks.

Re:Cartel (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353822)

They weren't leveraging their dominance against the RIAA, they were leveraging their dominance OF the RIAA against potential competitors.

Allegedly, Apple threatened to retaliate if any music label participated in Amazon's 'MP3 Daily Deal' promotion, which offered early access to some MP3 tracks.

Which is great and all, except Amazon is already being charged differentially less than Apple in music royalties by the RIAA as a way of intentionally decreasing Apple's market share so they have less influence compared to the RIAA. Amazon is a stalking horse as much as a competitor here.

Bad headline - not antitrust (1)

mveloso (325617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353568)

What, do the copy editors come from the Weekly World News now? Even fark has better, more accurate headlines.

Re:Bad headline - not antitrust (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353900)

Um, you have that almost entirely wrong.

Collusion and other anticompetitive behaviors are exactly what is meant when the "antitrust" investigators get involved.

Perhaps you'll enlighten us as to how you've misread the title.

Re:Bad headline - not antitrust (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354420)

It's a precursor to an antitrust investigation. The complaint is definitely antitrust. Unless you don't understand what "antitrust" means.

Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32353578)

It's about time Apple gets slapped. There shall be more anti-trusts to step forward.

- PC

Will You Leave AAPL Alone Already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32353666)

What did it ever do to you, huh? Go suck on a Google tit if it makes you feel good, but just leave us the hell alone already!

Re:Will You Leave AAPL Alone Already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32353992)

What did it ever do to you, huh? Go suck on a Google tit if it makes you feel good, but just leave us the hell alone already!

What's the matter sweetie? You afraid the Feds are going to come up to the Apple campus and slap Steve Jobs' dick out of your mouth?

Re:Will You Leave AAPL Alone Already (-1, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354006)

What did it ever do to me?

It perpetuates DRM in music, movies, audio books and books.

It tries to balkanize the web with half-assed browsers that need to be propped up with proprietary "apps".

It wants to create a future where I can't even install an app to use my legacy content.

It's trying to subvert free software and my ability to even install the proprietary software of my choice.

The "subverting free software" thing is what the OP is about.

Re:Will You Leave AAPL Alone Already (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354316)

Wait, I thought you didn't use Apple products. So how does it affect you?

Re:Will You Leave AAPL Alone Already (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354628)

It affects me because despite being an honest, CD-buying music lover who laughs at the fools who pay good money for lossy downloads, I still suffer the ramifications of DRM which companies like Apple fully back.

And on a wider issue, it supports the distribution of "pick and mix sweety" music because a minority of people who call themselves music fans haven't got the patience or enough time in their day to research their music properly and *SIT DOWN AND LISTEN TO A GOOD ALBUM* (of which, despite opinions to the contrary, there are many thousands if you look beyond the cheap plasticized music thrown at you in marketing and over-hype).

This in turn ultimately means that proper musicians who *DO* have the capability of putting together albums that are good from start to finish will be forced out of making music because it will be much cheaper for record companies to catapult some talentless moistened bint to the public's attention, despite her only skill being the ability to wiggle her backside at a video camera.

Consequently the music I love so dearly will be destroyed and that's why it affects me.

In other news... (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353838)

Bill Gates was quoted as saying "Muhahaha! How the tables have turned!"

Apple also needs to open osx to all pc's (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353902)

Apple also needs to open osx to all pc's as well.

As it they get bigger then M$ they they may be forced to.

Re:Apple also needs to open osx to all pc's (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354210)

Apple also needs to open osx to all pc's as well. As it they get bigger then[sic] M$ they they may be forced to.

Apple might be forced to separate their desktop OS and desktop computer businesses, but not until they have dominance in one of those markets, we're talking 70% or so as a general guideline. It's unlikely they will ever reach such levels.

Re:Apple also needs to open osx to all pc's (3, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354380)

Apple also needs to open osx to all pc's as well. As it they get bigger then M$ they they may be forced to.

That's a very strange logic, because if Apple licensed the Mac OS to generic hardware manufacturers, that would put them at greater risk of becoming an actual monopoly, because it would increase other companies' dependence on Apple.

If you could easily (and more importantly, officially) run Mac OS on cheap generic hardware, Windows might actually face a significant decline in marketshare, putting Apple in the same position that got Microsoft slapped with anti-trust suits.

Seems like a strange way to fight a supposed monopolist, by making it more monopoly-like.

Go to hell, DoJ (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32353914)

Apple used its dominant market position to persuade music labels to refuse to give the online retailer Amazon.com exclusive access to music about to be released.

If that's all there is to the accusation, then Apple deserve kudos - in this one isolated instance - for forcing wider access to the works. Exclusive is the antithetis of the purpose of copyrights.

Re:Go to hell, DoJ (1)

Pop69 (700500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354004)

Exclusive is the antithetis of the purpose of copyrights.

Actually, exclusive is EXACTLY what copyrights are about, you should look up the definition sometime.

Re:Go to hell, DoJ (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354544)

Why does it force wider access to the works?

You can buy MP3 tracks from Amazon and put them on your App£e device, or if your old and boring like me and determined not to be ripped off by paying more for lossy music, just go buy the CD.

Some facts, some figures, and some hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354058)

Just from a quick google search on itunes music market share:

According to Wikipedia, as of 2006 Stevie said iTunes had 88% of the market for downloadable music
According to Cnet, that percentage was 70% in 2009.

Okay so Apple appears to have market dominance in downloadable music. Confirm monopoly stamp.

Now, from the article:

"But people briefed on the inquiries also said investigators had asked in particular about recent allegations that Apple used its dominant market position to persuade music labels to refuse to give the online retailer Amazon.com exclusive access to music about to be released."

So... Amazon got first and only dibs to specific songs, thus restricting competition, and Apple is using monopoly power to tell music distributors not to do that?

*brain explodes*

I'm sure I'm going to sniff some RIAA lobbiest involvement in this once I reassemble my head.

Re:Some facts, some figures, and some hypocrisy (1, Troll)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354354)

So... Amazon got first and only dibs to specific songs, thus restricting competition, and Apple is using monopoly power to tell music distributors not to do that?

Yeah. Since Amazon doesn't hold a controlling share of the digital music market, they're free to do that. Apple isn't.

Kinda how Apple is able to shove their browser and video player down your throat when you install their music player, but Microsoft can't bundle IE with Windows.

lala.com (1)

toxonix (1793960) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354170)

I miss lala.com. oh wait, its still there for a few days. If I do the same thing lala did, will Apple buy me out and shut it down?

So Apple is now bigger than Microsoft (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354178)

Anybody wanna tell me again how lockdown is bad for business?

Fucking get it right.... (2, Informative)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354258)

It's an inquiry, NOT an investigation. An inquiry may or may not lead to an investigation.

Guess MSFT doesn't like being Number Two (0, Troll)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354266)

Interesting what happens when Microsoft loses the top spot.

They get lawyers to go sue other, more successful, more innovative firms.

Sore losers.

MOD PARENT OFF-TOPIC (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354364)

...as this is an anti-trust investigation against App£e and has nothing to do with Microsoft.

Please try to stay on topic, thanks.

MOD CHILD OF GRANDPARENT OFF-TOPIC (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354534)

As this is how conspiracy theories start, when people not familiar with anti-trust investigations in the USA fail to understand how things work in this country.

(caveat - I have owned and worked for MSFT and owned Apple - not holding either stock at the moment)

Hypocrisy (1)

Fishbulb (32296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354350)

Soooo...

Amazon was trying to work a deal where it got to sell mp3s earlier than Apple? Isn't that anti-competitive too?

Now Apple is being investigated for being anti-competitive to a competitors anti-competitiveness.

Isn't that just competition?

Riiiiight! (3, Insightful)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354360)

So now its uncompetitive for Apple to complain about other companies trying to gain an unfair advantage. Amazon's program gave Amazon a monopoly since they would be the only ones selling the tracks early. I can only imagine what a sh*t storm Amazon would throw if Borders was able to sell select books a week before them or anyone else. Personally I feel all retail exclusivity agreements should be illegal. Including Cell phones and album/tracks. The only stuff that should be "available only at wal-mart" is bad taste and bad judgment.

Re:Riiiiight! (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32354472)

Read the article more carefully.

The issue is not about either Amazon or Apple trying vying to sell stuff first but Apple trying to persuade the labels *not* to sell to Amazon - a big difference.

Please try to stay on topic, thanks.

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