×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Apple the No. 1 Danger To Net Freedom

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-we-like-the-shiny dept.

The Internet 354

CWmike writes "Columbia law professor Tim Wu, who coined the term 'net neutrality,' now says that Apple is the company that most endangers the freedom of the Internet. Wu recently published the book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, in which he details what he calls 'information empires' such as AT&T, NBC, Facebook, and Google. He told The New York Times, 'It's largely a story of the American affection for information monopolists and the consequences of that fondness.' When asked whether the Internet could similarly be controlled by large companies, he told the Times: 'I know the Internet was designed to resist integration, designed to resist centralized control, and that design defeated firms like AOL and Time Warner. But firms today, like Apple, make it unclear if the Internet is something lasting or just another cycle.' Asked which companies he feared most, Wu replied: 'Right now, I'd have to say Apple.'" Wu has been in the news a bit lately.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

354 comments

You Information Socialists Make Me Sick! (5, Funny)

SeriouslyNoClue (1842116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232606)

Information is the new capital! It should be bought and sold on markets, it should have rates associated with it and Perato Law should be applied!

All hail the new information emporer -- he that knowth what is right and wrong by virtue of his vast information resources! We should herald our new turtlenecked emporer and congratulate him on his victory with abjection, not this slime written by a clearly Oriental socialist [amazon.com]!

Oh my god is there anything we can do?!?! (5, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232616)

The entire threat posed by Apple comes to nought if people don't buy Apple products. I'm doing my bit.

Re:Oh my god is there anything we can do?!?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232652)

"naught"

Re:Oh my god is there anything we can do?!?! (3, Funny)

Benosaurus (1100067) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232736)

He clearly meant "Nougat".

Re:Oh my god is there anything we can do?!?! (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233152)

You know - the candy sector hasn't seemed to really get behind apple nougat - something about price I believe. But I bet if you got the right marketing behind it, apple nougat could go viral.

Re:Oh my god is there anything we can do?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232778)

Both are valid

Re:Oh my god is there anything we can do?!?! (1)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232780)

nought or naught, both spellings are correct.

Re:Oh my god is there anything we can do?!?! (4, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232908)

Of course, if you buy Android you'll be using the extremely standards-compliant WebKit engine Apple put together to view the HTML5 content that Apple has been pushing over proprietary Flash/Applet models...

Re:Oh my god is there anything we can do?!?! (2, Insightful)

degeneratemonkey (1405019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233094)

Apple might be pushing HTML5 support ahead, and I certainly wouldn't deny them due credit for those efforts, but they are not solely responsible for the advent of or continued development and refinement of an HTML5 standard. Their reasons for supporting HTML5 are most certainly not to be more open (or whatever happy fairy tale one might conceive of), but to stifle their competition. There is nothing wrong with that, but let's not use it to justify some belief that Apple isn't a threat to the free Internet.

oh seriously just shut the fuck up (0, Flamebait)

Brannon (221550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233342)

Your argument is that Apple may be doing the right thing, but they are probably doing it for the wrong reasons and who knows what they've got planned once they get us all hooked on a free internet based on open standards?

I mean seriously shut the fuck up and stop existing.

Re:Oh my god is there anything we can do?!?! (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233376)

Their reasons for supporting HTML5 are most certainly not to be more open (or whatever happy fairy tale one might conceive of), but to stifle their competition.

Stifle competition? Don't be daft. They support HTML5 because it aligns with their business goals. Having an open standard for the Web that is capable and not tied to any other company simply provides Apple with a better position to sell devices without worrying about other companies blocking them. If neither Adobe nor Microsoft controls the tools and formats and players needed to view the Web, then they can't be roadblocks to technological changes Apple implements as a way to differentiate their hardware offerings.

There is nothing wrong with that, but let's not use it to justify some belief that Apple isn't a threat to the free Internet.

Apple or any other large company could do things that threaten freedom on the internet. Blackwater could threaten to kill executives of any company that doesn't lock down all their offerings with DRM. But that's no reason to label Blackwater the number one threat to the free internet. You have to look at what companies are actually doing and why and how it fits into their business plans. Apple right now and for the foreseeable future makes their money selling hardware. They create software and services to make that hardware more attractive. So how does locking down the internet make Apple more money and sell more devices? Oh yeah, it doesn't. Until you have a compelling business plan that will make Apple more money and some reason to think Apple is moving towards that business plan, you're just spreading FUD, which is really what this article is.

Re:Oh my god is there anything we can do?!?! (1, Funny)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233106)

Shhh! Apple doesn't give everything away for free, clearly they are evil and must be stopped!

Re:Oh my god is there anything we can do?!?! (5, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233340)

>Of course, if you buy Android you'll be using the extremely standards-compliant WebKit engine Apple put together

Err, webkit is a fork of KHTML, which Apple forked in 2002 and rebadged "webkit." Thank the KDE guys who wrote KHTML under a license that allows such things.

Re:Oh my god is there anything we can do?!?! (1, Flamebait)

Latinhypercube (935707) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233378)

Agreed ! Apple are fascists. Enjoying your Blu-ray Apple users ? How about mobile Flash ? Jeez, just think how long it took you guys to get RIGHT CLICK ! Hahahahahahahah

Follow the money (4, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232622)

Anyone would think he had an agenda, maybe trying to drum up some publicity for a book or something. Oh, wait...

Re:Follow the money (4, Insightful)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232800)

Bingo. He's playing the John C Dvorak strategy.

If you say Google or Facebook are the biggest threat to freedom on Internet: everyone yawns and says "well, duh!" and goes back to playing Farmville. If you say anything bad at all about Apple, the rabid haters (see: all the comments here so far) and the frothing fanboys (wait until this gets posted on TUAW or DaringFireball) show up in droves and drive your ad impressions (or book sales) through the roof.

Re:Follow the money (-1, Flamebait)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232934)

Interesting that you neglected to mention the Apple-haters in your formula for increased sales...

Re:Follow the money (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34233460)

Google and Facebook are the biggest threats to privacy on the Internet. Apple is the biggest threat to freedom.

dom

Re:Follow the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34233000)

Writing books is not an efficient way to make money.
People write books because they want people to read them.

stating the obvious (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232624)

It's obvious to all but the most flamboyant homosexuals that Apple is the greatest threat to freedom outside the republican party.

Religious fundamentalists like tea baggers and macfags are an menace to free people everywhere.

Designed to resist centralized control (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232632)

It was designed to resist centralized control that users don't choose.

We choose to search google, post on facebook and buy apple. We can choose something different just as quickly.

he just says Jobs is powerful (4, Interesting)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232638)

And he wants the power.

But he gives no inkling as to how Apple is actually dangerous to the net. I would think internet-focused companies like Google, Cisco or a raft of ISPs like Comcast would be much higher on the list.

This guy just comes off as paranoid.

Re:he just says Jobs is powerful (5, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232860)

There are a lot of companies where accusations can be leveled at for limiting Net freedom. Apple is scary to some because it hits people at the endpoints; a place that is normally open. However, if you lock down the endpoints where people can access the Net, it is a lot easier to get revenue streams in and in the future, censor those who are not liked.

However, it is like no one snowflake saying it caused the avalanche -- name a cellular device maker who has made devices less restrictive than 1-2 years ago? Motorola has the eFuses, The HTC G2 reinstalls, Apple's and Microsoft's offerings are closed. In fact, there is really only one open phone out there available in the US (Nokia N900).

So, I wouldn't just blame Apple. I'd blame the cellular carriers forcing phone makers to add more and more user hostility into their devices.

Most iPhoners don't consider their phones hostile (4, Funny)

Brannon (221550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233274)

Most like that they don't have to run anti-virus/malware programs on them.

It's only the belligerent technorati who insist that everyone should either acquire l33t expertise on every device they use, or be afraid of those devices and forced to enlist the aid of some smug expert.

Mega ISPs already are (4, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233028)

. I would think internet-focused companies like Google, Cisco or a raft of ISPs like Comcast would be much higher on the list.

Uh, they already are. Check your terms of service. Comcast's, several years ago, had paragraphs outlining how you agreed to be a content CONSUMER, not a content PRODUCER. They banned webservers, mail servers, FTP sites, and most frighteningly: "discussion" systems, aka, web boards, chat systems, etc. Home internet connections long ago went from being a pipe you could do whatever (non-network-abusive) things you wanted to with, to a pipe you're expected to use to read your email hosted somewhere else and watch Netflix.

I also find it laughable that anyone but Google could be #1. They're the largest webmail provider, the largest search engine, the largest advertising network, and the largest video/blog hosting company. For fuck's sakes, they're photographically mapping the world and wardriving while doing so. About the only thing they haven't managed to secure is photo-hosting; I'm pretty sure Flickr (yahoo) still dominates that.

Re:Mega ISPs already are (3, Insightful)

thethibs (882667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233430)

But Google does nothing to restrict how you use their products. In fact, they encourage novel use; that's why all of their services have APIs.

Apple insists on owning your whole experience and is lobbying for legislation to turn their wants into law.

Re:he just says Jobs is powerful (1)

lemmis_86 (1135345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233032)

Well, he mentions that Apple wants to have more control over the internet, like when inventing their own App stores etc..., now even their own App store for Mac in the next OS X release. Maybe he is afraid that they will not allow any other Apps for Mac's other than those found in the app store (like they did with their iPhone...) He is afraid that Apple will choose the contents for the users, as opposed to now when the internet is still free (except for places like China etc.. where they sadly have heavy censorship). If you compare TV to the internet, we have basically two completely opposite edges. TV chooses the contents for the user, and on the internet, the user chooses the contents (at least up until now). When apple is e.g. going to release their own App store, they are starting to lean more toe behavior of the classic TV set, thus limiting the choices for the user, ultimately limiting his/her freedom.

Re:he just says Jobs is powerful (1)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233420)

Apple has like 3-7% of the Desktop market. Even limiting the channels for new applications for all of their desktop computers to the App Store is not going to make a dent in the Internet's overall freedom.

Quite frankly I'm not sure how Wu is justifying his opinion. Basically he seems to be saying, "Jobs isn't evil right now, but eventually he will be." But Apple's business, which is not internet-content driven but hardware driven, isn't fundamental enough to the Internet's infrastructure to allow them to exert basic control over the Internet itself. If they did have such control they would be dangerous, but they don't.

Re:he just says Jobs is powerful (3, Informative)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233118)

There are two places where someone can gain that power.

He who controls the servers.
and
He who controls the clients.

If one party controls a high portion one side, and no one party controls the opposing side, the opposing side has to adapt to the side under a monopoly. If one side is controlled by one party, and the opposing side is controlled by a conflicting party, then they either need to come to a compromise (where both win and the consumers, usually, lose) or one/both of them will be wrestled out by third parties who can work with the other side.

Basically, if the decline of the desktop/laptop comes into play and Apple gets the iGadgets (Phone, Pod, Pad, etc.), into a high level of dominance, or Apple continues it's popularity upswing too far, then Apple will have the client side under it's belt, and suddenly, it has a very strong control of the internet - If Apple prevents Flash players on it's clients for HTML5, Flash is gone, if Apple prevents HTML5 on it's client for ProprietaryAppleWebMarkupLanguage, HTML5 is gone, if Apple says AmazingAwesomeNewTech isn't allowed, AmazingAwesomeNewTech is gone, etc.

Mind you, I don't think it's remotely reasonable that Apple will get this kind of power, they have a habit of shaking their iron fists a little too soon. Still, surprises sometimes happen.

Re:he just says Jobs is powerful (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233260)

This guy just comes off as paranoid.

In stark contrast to Steve Jobs, known for his gentle, giving, open-minded nature, overflowing with the milk of human kindness.

No, not google (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233396)

Google thrives on the open internet... well sorta open. Google is a danger but only in that their restrictions on which sites they sponsor, oops advertise on, creates a pressure for sites to comply with their rules on content or risk loosing advertising revenue to pay for their site. It is the same risk that has made TV/Radio/Newspapers such tools of the money market, he that pays the piper (through advertising) calls the song.

Apple on the hand sees the internet as little more then a data network, it itself has no connection to the open internet. No small sites. If the open internet with its unsafe content, piracy and free software was gone, then Apple would not mind one bit. It sells the AOL experience not just in a browser but baked into its hardware. Mind you, the open internet is so pervasive right now it is hard to imagine this changing but IF the move to closed devices like the iPhone continues, it might happen by stealth. Not because Apple directly steers the open internet to become closed but because there is nobody left to fund, power the open internet.

If all the money flows through the app store, all the internet is seen through the iPhone, then a lot of what makes the net, the net will be gone. To understand this, you have to understand that once, TV was made by hobbyists who broadcasted from their own homes, making TV purely for the love of it. Hard to imagine in these days of ad riddled broadcasting where ads are between in programs in progams overlaid on programs and even the programs themselves are ads. How did this change? I am sure that at the time it was changing, you wouldn't be able to spot it.

The internet has already changed. In 1995 running a site was cheap, if you setup slashdot you would have maybe a dozen subscribers, mostly English. Now you have to cater to millions and deal with attacks from all over the world. That changes the landscape, just see how many hobby sites are completly taken over by crackers to spam search engines with fake pages. I ran hobby sites in the past with the worst attack being a person reloading the page to fast for my poor "server". Now? Security is a full time job. Granted it pays but geez.

The humble PC, the Compaq clone more so then the IBM, the IBM-compatible became the device anyone could produce and anyone could use. NOT the closed Apple. Sure, you might look at Microsofts control of the PC OS and see nothing but domination but MS never managed to close or control the hardware, although they did try, read up on its battle with Creative. This has kept the hardware open, extremely open to the point just anyone can install any software. When was the lastime you had to jailbreak a PC? MS doesn't stop me in anyway from using Windows to create a Linux bootdisk and happily launched it. I can run Linux inside Windows. Can I do the same in iOS?

No, and there is the risk. Just because people have consistently managed to jailbreak the iphone doesn't mean the iPhone is open. And when closed computing platforms have become the norm, so does a closed source environment were a single company, a single person gets to say what should exist on it and what shouldn't.

AH, but people are free to choose differently. Yes indeed, people are free to choose wisely. They just rarely do. Especially when shinies are involved.

But what if 99% of the internet users are on a closed system, does that mean the rest can't be free? No, not in theory. In practice, consider this:

Is TV free? Yes, it is. I am free to start a TV station, I only need the massives amount of money to buy a channel, fund the costs for powering an antenna. Where do I get that money? Either from rich donors or advertisers. But WHO are these people and will they support any message I wish to air? See what happened to Oprah when she critized the beef industry. You don't bit the hand that feeds you.

What if all music becomes the iTunes store, which censors what it carries. All tv becomes subject to approval by Steve Jobs? It is possible NOT because people are banned from using other channels but because those other channels are just not economical.

Want a bit of evidence? The SyFy channel. Why did it change? Because geeks are not a big enough market, so the geek market was absorbed into the mass market. Bye bye geek shows. No, this isn't censorship or even a desire for power. The SyFy channel just made a move towards the biggest return on investment, but in doing so, narrowed the market. Apple could do pretty much the same thing. And it shows just how little influence determined protestors have. So, you switched of SyFy and never watched it again. And? ZERO effect.

So, I just replaced Windows 7 on my laptop with Ubuntu. ZERO effect. MS won't notice, nor will the laptop maker. To small a movement to upset the move to mass market.

The mass market has taken over radio, print, newspapers and tv. What makes people think the internet will be more resiliant? Especially when internationally, the free internet has bitter enemies in some Islamic nations and places like China?

If 100 years ago you had predicted that all radio would be controlled by Clear Channel, people would have laughed. I predict that in 10 years the internet stands a real chance of not being the same at all. Hope I am wrong. But it needs more then hope. Sometimes it needs paranoid people to see the hidden dangers.

Only affects isheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232644)

Well I think it only affects the isheep which in turn it might clean lots of the internet, is like a form of digital Darwinism

Re:Only affects isheep (2, Informative)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233434)

Except that the group of people you call "isheep" do a lot of purchasing. Economics are going to drive this, and the economics (influenced by marketing) suggest that the consumer is very much ok with proprietary systems, DRM (of varying degree), and other things which really lock them into the first company's system. You could make a decent argument that the greatest threat to the internet isn't the total volume controlled, but rather the degree of success had at preventing or obfuscating open standards. I'm not talking about open or closed source - but the ability to buy interchangeable cords to jack in with, or transfer the data you purchased from company A to a device made by company B at a later point in time. If you don't have that, you don't have the option of jumping ship with your assets - and that is a serious threat indeed.

take a bite of the shiny Apple... (3, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232700)

What worries you about Apple?

As I discuss in the book, Steve Jobs has the charisma, vision and instincts of every great information emperor. The man who helped create the personal computer 40 years ago is probably the leading candidate to help exterminate it. His vision has an undeniable appeal, but he wants too much control.

Is this supposed to be a revelation that a omnipotent, profitable monopoly like Apple is too controlling?

Godwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232822)

So, basically what he's saying is that Jobs is the Hitler of the internet?

Re:Godwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232862)

That was quick

Re:take a bite of the shiny Apple... (4, Insightful)

doconnor (134648) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232996)

I think it's that most omnipotent, profitable monopolies only care about money. Jobs has a specific vision about how people should be using the devices he makes and he doesn't want people using it any other way.

Most companies wouldn't care if people use apps that are ugly and doesn't conform to UI specs, but Jobs does, so those apps are blocked from the iPhone and iPad. This also mean some apps with innovative UI will be blocked as well.

User interface is only one example of the restrictions he has imposed.

Re:take a bite of the shiny Apple... (1)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233458)

he doesn't want people using it any other way.

Bullshit. Jobs doesn't want to sell certain kinds of products. He expects to sell plenty doing it his way and he's proven right. However, he's done nothing to keep people from buying from his competitors. Apple's PC market share is just now at 10% in the U.S. IPhone is very successful and yet it is around 20% of the smartphone market. IPads dominate the tablet or "media device" space because the competition hasn't shown up yet. They got caught flatfooted and are at least 6 months away from mounting a serious competitor. Only among music player is Apple dominating in market share and that is a market increasingly cannibalized by the smart phones. So where is the monopoly and where are the Microsoft style monopolistic behaviors? What has Apple done to keep you from buying an Android, RIM or Symbian device? Has Apple somehow sabotaged MSWindows? No, Microsoft has done that itself. Apple supports MSWindows for all of its services.

Steve Jobs wants his company to do things his way and if you don't like it he doesn't want you as a customer. You are free to go elsewhere. That's not trying to control you. That's trying to implement his own vision. That's why he doesn't go after the enterprise (business) market either. Too boring and too conservative. He doesn't want to just manufacture for the masses. In other words, if anything he's worked hard to insure Apple is not a monopoly.

Re:take a bite of the shiny Apple... (3, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233116)

The only thing Apple has a monopoly on is its own products.

Re:take a bite of the shiny Apple... (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233122)

Is this supposed to be a revelation that a omnipotent, profitable monopoly like Apple is too controlling?

No, it's a trailer for his book. That is all.

Why is noone talking about the biggest threat? (5, Insightful)

Brannon (221550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233132)

I'm still not able to run arbitrary code on the processor in my microwave or my refrigerator. Why can't I manually deploy the airbag in my car? How come there's no flash client for my wristwatch.

Apple is small potatoes--this goes all the way to the top.

Re:take a bite of the shiny Apple... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233186)

Steve Jobs has the charisma, vision and instincts of every great information emperor.

Steve Jobs has the charisma of Money Burns after a few Singapore Slings. And will someone name any great information emperor let alone every one.

The man who helped create the personal computer 40 years ago is probably the leading candidate to help exterminate it. His vision has an undeniable appeal, but he wants too much control.

So the man who caused the problem finally wants to fix it? Excellent

Re:take a bite of the shiny Apple... (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233202)

Is this supposed to be a revelation that a omnipotent, profitable monopoly like Apple is too controlling?

So, that makes Microsoft the underdog now?

Monopoly? (4, Insightful)

IP_Troll (1097511) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232724)

Don't you need to dominate the market to be considered a monopoly? Last time I checked Apple only dominates the hipster/ trust-afarian/ techno-snob markets. Plenty of other markets for fledgling entrepreneurs.

Mr. Wu seems to be saying inflammatory things to increase book sales.

Re:Monopoly? (4, Informative)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232810)

Its a oligopoly, like Coke and Pepsi. Bad for consumers, but not quite as bad as a Monopoly. Its a very hard market failure to correct however, because actually breaking up Microsoft and Apple would cripple computing for 5-10 years. Kind of like At&t. In a decade we would all be better off, but in the short term it would be rough. It'll never happen anyway because the lobby system has become so powerful, and I don't think any politician wants to lose all that sweet money.

Re:Monopoly? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232984)

Don't you need to dominate the market to be considered a monopoly?

Its a oligopoly, like Coke and Pepsi.

Okay then, to be an oligopoly you still need to control a market, just in collusion with another company. What market are you alleging Apple is colluding to control? I mean there are a few candidates where they have a lot of influence, but I don't know any where collusion is really significant.

What market(s)?

Re:Monopoly? (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233006)

Actually an oligopoly doesn't necessarily imply price fixing, it just means there is a general lack of choices. And that is exactly what we have.

Re:Monopoly? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233184)

Actually an oligopoly doesn't necessarily imply price fixing...

No, it doesn't but it does require control of the market.

...it just means there is a general lack of choices. And that is exactly what we have.

I already asked twice. For the third and final time, what market? Oligopolies refer to markets. If you can't specify a market, your comment makes no sense at all. You say, "we" have no choices. So are you referring to a market where consumers are doing the purchasing directly? Please be specific. What market, dominated by Apple and what other parties?

Re:Monopoly? (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233316)

The only market that Apple competes in that this wouldn't apply to is smart-phones. Music sales, personal computers and music players would all count, but I would call the market I'm referring to "general computing". The oligopoly is between Microsoft and Apple, and although it is close to a monopoly for Microsoft I would still consider it a oligopoly because the only choices most consumers consider are Apple and Microsoft, and most consumers do consider both. The reason I haven't been answering this specific question is because it should be obvious to most people.

Re:Monopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34233088)

... actually breaking up Microsoft and Apple would cripple computing for 5-10 years. Kind of like At&t.

That's just preposterous.

You need to quit drinking the bong water.

Re:Monopoly? (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233098)

Not sure I agree. Given these options: force MS to actually use an open format for Word, Excel, and server protocols OR break them up, I'm sure that everyone would be better off with the former (except maybe MS). Similar for Apple, if they had to publish their server protocols and couldn't have the EULA exclude jail breaking, then others could setup environments similar to theirs and compete. Breaking these companies up would just make little firms that jealously guarded these same bits of market force.

But if you do this, their incentive to innovate will be broken. The next iPhone will not be produced and we would be WORSE off in 10 years. AT&T had already made all the big leaps--high availability connections to everywhere in the world that also had phone lines. All that was left was price. So breaking them up helped that.

But the claims about Apple killing PCs are just baseless--unless everyone switches to ipads... which does not appear to be likely.

Re:Monopoly? (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232824)

What's "the market"? Markets have been very tightly defined at times. I recall one case where the market was defined by the judge as something like "juice products containing at least 10% apple juice and contained in plastic bottles of a specific size" (think it was Odwala they where after, cant fully recall).

It's in iTunes (2, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232952)

Apple is the dominant music download service. It also has over 90% of the app market in that most paid for apps exist in the iTunes App store. These markets are a little less impactful than say a Monopoly on the desktop OS or telephone service, and I might say that iTunes dominance has been, in comparatively good for users in this one instance because they have driven down music prices, given users more choices to download only single songs, and created a huge diverse market for consumers to download apps for, but there is no denying that Apple does now have some form of monopoly presence, it's just not in hardware.

Big announcement tomorrow? (2, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232726)

Apple's website says there's going to be a big announcement tomorrow.

I wonder what it could be.

Re:Big announcement tomorrow? (4, Funny)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232836)

Another ipod update that erases all of my music and I have to pay for?

Re:Big announcement tomorrow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232896)

I'm gonna guess.... Beatles. That's the kind of thing Jobs and crew would get excited over.

Anon due to mod points

Re:Big announcement tomorrow? (2, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232956)

iBrainImplant. Now you can enjoy music the right way.... the way Jobs dictates it. That's right Job's own playlist is constantly played in your head!

Note: side effects include a overwhelming compulsion to buy anything released from apple. This is a minor bug.

Re:Big announcement tomorrow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34233210)

Note: side effects include a overwhelming compulsion to buy anything released from apple. This is a minor bug.

Au contraire, mon ami, it's a feature. And a key feature, at that.

Greenpeace (5, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232728)

Greenpeace recently (a year-ish ago) admitted that they picked on Apple, despite there being significantly more egregious examples of companies manufacturing products that weren't friendly to the environment because they knew that talking about Apple would get their name mentioned in the news. This guy is doing the same thing - talk about Apple, in any way, and people will see what he has to say, even if he's completely full of it and wrong.

And, in this case, he's wrong. There are very few significant tech companies that push open internet standards as much as Apple does. Apple was the first major tech company to significantly push for DRM-free music purchases. They strongly support open standards in many ways. Are they perfect? No. No company is so why would anyone expect them to be? But, regardless of their imperfections, there are actually few companies of their significance that are as pro-open standards as they are. Claiming that they are the biggest threat to internet freedom is simply an attempt to get people to pay attention to what you have to say, similar to what Greenpeace did.

Re:Greenpeace (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232906)

nd, in this case, he's wrong. There are very few significant tech companies that push open internet standards as much as Apple does. Apple was the first major tech company to significantly push for DRM-free music purchases. They strongly support open standards in many ways. Are they perfect? No. No company is so why would anyone expect them to be? But, regardless of their imperfections, there are actually few companies of their significance that are as pro-open standards as they are. Claiming that they are the biggest threat to internet freedom is simply an attempt to get people to pay attention to what you have to say, similar to what Greenpeace did.

Apple pushed for DRM-free music purchases after it had abused the hell out of their position in the online music store business. They had a huge number of exclusives and if you wanted to listen to it away from your computer or laptop you were stuck using an iPod or degrading the sound quality further by burning it to CD and ripping it.

It's easy to be in favor of opening things up once you've managed your way into a stranglehold on the market. Quite a bit harder to get there if you do it the right way.

Re:Greenpeace (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233114)

It's easy to be in favor of opening things up once you've managed your way into a stranglehold on the market.

Actually, no it isn't. You see keeping things closed makes it harder to acquire market share because it makes your offering less attractive to users. Keeping things closed is an advantage only after you've dominated a market, because it prevents you from having to work hard to compete in that space to maintain your dominance. So by your version of events, Apple did the exact opposite of what an abusive monopoly normally does or what would make sense if Apple was concentrating on the online music market instead of using it as a way to push their hardware business.

if you wanted to listen to it away from your computer or laptop you were stuck using an iPod or degrading the sound quality further by burning it to CD and ripping it.

Yeah, but that was the case with every offering at the time because if you wanted to sell digital music you had to abide by the rules of the RIAA, you know an actual illegal trust convicted multiple time of colluding to undermine the free market. Apple played by the RIAA's rules until they had enough influence to make changes. Now don't get me wrong. There was nothing altruistic about Apple's actions. They just weren't interested in the online music business except as a way to make money selling devices. That's the business model they thought would profit them most and it is only coincidence that their business plans aligned with the best interests of consumers in weakening and getting rid of DRM. They still did more good than most any other single company in making things better for consumers.

Re:Greenpeace (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233408)

Apple pushed for DRM-free music purchases after it had abused the hell out of their position in the online music store business.

You do remember the bit about the record companies fighting tooth and nail over both pricing and DRM, right? It's fashionable to say Apple had some sort of stranglehold over the music industry from the moment it delivered iTunes 1.0, but that's wildly off the mark.

Re:Greenpeace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232942)

I tried to look up the quote you're referencing, but it seems that Greenpeace's app hasn't yet been approved on the app store.

Re:Greenpeace (3, Interesting)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232968)

Exactly! If I had to pick the biggest threats, I'd say most any telecom company or the recording/media companies would be up there. How can someone who coined the word "net neutrality" conveniently ignore the threat that these companies pose by wanting to control who gets to have access?

I also count Facebook among the more significant threats to internet freedom, simply because they have achieved an enormous amount of power through the data its users have stupidly provided them. Google has done similar, but Facebook is especially strident in the way they exploit their users. That the internet has evolved so that Facebook has become so big is enough reason to consider them a threat.

Re:Greenpeace (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233306)

Greenpeace recently (a year-ish ago) admitted that they picked on Apple, despite there being significantly more egregious examples of companies manufacturing products that weren't friendly to the environment because they knew that talking about Apple would get their name mentioned in the news.

Out of interest, could you post a link for that?

Wait...wut? (5, Informative)

Kashell (896893) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232772)

As far as I've observed, Apple has done a great job of contributing to a number of open source projects and has used their muscle to force the RIAA/MPAA into the digital space.

Personally, I'd put the RIAA / MPAA / Copyright Monglers at the top of this list. They're the ones trying to shove the COICA through Congress.

Which, by the way, they're trying to sneak through by this Thursday.

So let me get this right... (5, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232774)

So let me get this right, the greatest threat to net neutrality isn't you know, Comcast which violated it, Microsoft which runs the majority of desktop PCs, Google which is approaching number 1 in smartphone OS marketshare, and is number one in a multitude of areas, but instead is Apple which has a decent, but falling smartphone marketshare, has a very low amount of marketshare with desktops/laptops, doesn't cater to the masses, and sells expensive stuff that the average person can't afford.

Of course Apple would want to control everyone's computers, Apple loves control but Apple doesn't like selling cheap stuff. When the choice is between a $450 laptop that can do everything you want to do for the average person or a $350 desktop, an Android handset free on contract on any carrier, etc. or a laptop line -starting- at $999, a tablet -starting- at the price higher than most laptops with less features, desktops -starting- at around $500-600, iPhone on AT&T only for $99-200 on contract, etc.

Apple isn't a threat to net freedom because Apple doesn't produce cheap enough things for most people to buy.

Wrong. (4, Insightful)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232784)

Wrong. No. 1 danger to net freedom is the increasing amount of its users that don't understand its nature and thus fall into the lock-in trap of corporations. The problem here is that you can force people who can't drive and want to to make a drivers licence, but sadly no one is forcing them to learn about computers if they constantly confuse G**gle with the Web.

Re:Wrong. (3, Insightful)

David Gould (4938) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233058)

...but sadly no one is forcing them to learn about computers if they constantly confuse G**gle with the Web.

Or, for that matter, "the Web" with "the Internet".

I don't get it (1)

ieatcookies (1490517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232806)

Some big claims in that article but no where does he explain what the problem is. Apple isn't stifling competition, it's fostering it. Apple is not a monopoly, it's just the leader in some industries. Other companies are free to compete and challenge In those industries and you're free to support them. Steve jobs likes to control...because it's made a massive success for him and apple, why would he change what works and why is that bad.

Re:I don't get it (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233418)

Steve jobs likes to control...because it's made a massive success for him and apple

I think it's more likely that he likes control because he's a control freak. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but I don't think he does it just so he can succeed. He's probably not capable of doing it any other way.

Really? (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232852)

I know we all like to hate Apple but... really? They're fighting against Flash! Yes, they support DRM, but they also pushed for $1 song downloads. I'm not saying their great, but they can't be the number 1 danger.

I think the idea of the Comcast/NBC merger is far more dangerous. That would be one company with control from content creation all the way to distribution. They could block your access to Fox.com streaming. They could prevent Time Warner customers from viewing NBC shows on Hulu or NBC.com. They would have their own news media outlets to spin the stories about how that blocking is good for customers.

Is the net REALLY in danger? (2, Interesting)

LS1 Brains (1054672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232884)

Paranoid much, or is this anti-fanboyism of a higher caliber? Apple couldn't control the 'net any more than Microsoft or any other large could, which is to say ... they really can't. Sure, there can be bandwidth shaping terms and conditions thrown around, there can be prioritization of packets, and all the other things that have been happening on various network segments since the "good old days." I guess it's just more fun to demonize large corporations for taking part in doing business with whatever tools are available to them. Apple, Microsoft, etc. don't own the backbone. Nobody (singly) owns the backbone. Google is moving towards putting a LOT of fiber in the ground, so if you were to throw conspiracy theories around don't you think Mountain View would be more "dangerous" than Cupertino? That's not to say I believe Google is doing anything nefarious, because ultimately they're doing what is in their power to further their own brand, on their own dime. The 'net will operate with or without them - that's the beauty of it. Don't want to use Google's glass? Then don't establish a peering relationship with 'em. Simple.

Duh... (1)

Mark19960 (539856) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232900)

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
I think he wants to control as much as he can before he leaves.

The problem is: people will let him...

FreedomWorks is a bigger danger (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232904)

They're funded by Verizon and convince people to support them because they favor "less taxes" and "smaller government", but they mainly want to get rid of net neutrality.

Re:FreedomWorks is a bigger danger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34233244)

Interestingly, Freedomworks is also funded by Billionaire brothers Koch, who also fund global warming denial, and in the past have amongst others funded Big Tobacco's "smoking isn't harmful" campaign.

Information emperor? (5, Insightful)

SteeldrivingJon (842919) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232912)

"As I discuss in the book, Steve Jobs has the charisma, vision and instincts of every great information emperor."

Every great information emperor?

Just how many have there been? Remember the great global Hollerith card empire of the 30s? Or the Napoleonic empire based on the data-storage capacity of jaquard looms.

This is vapid business book bullshit. What a twat.

Re:Information emperor? (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233282)

Just how many (great information emperors) have there been?

Several. William Randoph Hearst [wikipedia.org] (newspapers) and David Sarnoff [wikipedia.org] (RCA, NBC) definitely qualify. Not only did they dominate their respective industries for years, they had the arrogance to go with it. Hearst, of course, actually built a castle [hearstcastle.org]. Sarnoff made his people call him "The General". Thomas J. Watson Jr. [wikipedia.org] (IBM) was certainly a "great information emperor", although he wasn't as personally arrogant. He moved IBM into electronic computers and ruled computing for three decades. Today, Rupert Murdoch [wikipedia.org] qualifies.

Incorrect.... (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232918)

Congress is the #1 danger to internet freedom. AS long as people keep voting in these undereducated old fogeys that are only there to help their personal interests, Freedom in general will continue to erode.

Re:Incorrect.... (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233380)

Congress is the #1 danger to internet freedom.

Nope, it's those owning the Congress that are.

He might be right. (4, Insightful)

theghost (156240) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233050)

Apple is more dangerous because the other villains are obvious. Apple makes people want to lock themselves into nice cozy cells. Sure the window is small, but what you can see through the bars is pretty and the chairs are comfy.

Blah blah blah overused quote about safety, security, liberty, yada yada.

Nonsense (0, Troll)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233134)

Apple was, is and will continue to be a hardware company that benefits from open standards. They exert a lot of control over their products, but it only goes as far as their products. Apple will never have monopoly control because they only operate in high-end markets.

Why wasn't MS even mentioned? (2, Interesting)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233140)

AT&T and Google were mentioned, but not MS. Hmm.

It surely isn't because Microsoft is good, not with such things to remember them by as OOXML, which was merely one of the more recent of many attempts at lock in, forced upgrades through contrived changes with their proprietary file formats, and perhaps most of all, the "Microsoft tax". Has Microsoft become that feeble? Strip away Windows and MS Office, and more than half the company is gone. One doesn't hear about the Xbox, and their music players, e-book readers, phones, and other software offerings being that significant.

stop apple's Nazi like censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34233258)

stop apple's Nazi like censorship

Oh, another threat to freedom? (2, Insightful)

thanasakis (225405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233398)

In the best /. tradition, I won't even bother to RTFA.

Since the loss of Sun Microsystems, which in retrospect seems to have been one the most open companies ever and with open source contributions surpassing those of almost any other organization's in the world, I have grown extremely suspicious of people dictating to me that this or that is evil, all in the name of "freedom". All those guys that had been bashing Sun must be really happy now that Oracle has taken over.

I can think of several companies that by /. standards can easily rival the "evilness" of Apple, but almost magically they seldom get mentioned as threats to net freedom. Until I see everyone else get their fair share of bashing and flames, I'll assume articles (and comments) of this class as astroturfing.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...