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Korean FTC May Investigate Apple/Samsung

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the should-have-thought-that-through dept.

Businesses 148

freaktheclown writes "Samsung may have sold Apple flash memory chips at below-market prices, possibly violating the country's competition laws. From the article: 'According to a report by Yonhap News, Korean Fair Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Kang Chul-kyu said that his agency could look into allegations that Samsung sold the memory chips to Apple at below-market rates. Apple reportedly grabbed a significant share of Samsung's flash capacity in order to introduce its new iPod Nano. Analysts also speculate the computer maker got a significant discount from Samsung in order to hit the Nano's $199 and $249 prices.'" Adds a new layer to a previous story, eh?

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Jerkz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754736)

I remember in the 70's and 80's when being a geek or a nerd was to be made fun of, laughed at, looked down upon, and generally harrassed.Being a jock was cool.No matter how hard geeks and nerds tried, they couldn't fit in.They bought all the wrong clothes, were not very good at sports, and were basically ignored socially as they were considered abnormal. Well, now it's the millenium, and being a geek or a nerd is cool.We are so cool in fact, that the jocks want to be like us. They buy wal-mart computers, subscribe to AOL, socialize at such hotspots as msn chat, aim, and ICQ,.They paste their pitifully boring lives at such places like livejournal. Jocks want to be cool like geeks and nerds, as this digg proves. To all you jocks, go back to ball-handling and patting your buddies on the ass, as you will never fit in with us, you don't have the mental capabilities to, and it shows. You're not cool, and you don't belong with us, Go away, you are boring. The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth.

Re:Jerkz (0, Flamebait)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754844)

Just shut the fuck up, and bath your smelly and hairy body. Nobody wants to be you, you're just embarassing your parents.

Pretty iffy (5, Insightful)

Silvrmane (773720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754737)

The "article" on the blog this story points to is full of "may" "could have" "possibly" and other weasle-word disclaimers. Nothing to see here.

Re:Pretty iffy (4, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754817)

Obviously, I haven't RTFA yet... but I hope the article summary is a typo. Wouldn't it make more sense for FTC regulators to get involved when someone sells something below production-cost instead of market value? I mean, selling for something cheaper than your competitor is part of being in a free market. I'd be more concerned if it was being sold at a loss because that is anti-competitive.

There are good reasons for this (1, Insightful)

CdBee (742846) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755085)

How would you feel if you were an IT technician, and a big corporation started supplying IT services in your home town for $5 an hour.. then after you were driven into bankruptcy, started raising its prices back to industry norms?

Firms are required not to subsidise their products as allowing goods to be sold below cost gives the big industry players a chance to bankrupt their competitors: You know, like what Microsoft did to Netscape....

Re:There are good reasons for this (1)

Fallen_Knight (635373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755118)

umm thats exactly what he said, production cost == cost != market value.

selling below cost is not allowed most of the time i would hope
and selling below market value but above cost is perfectly ok and that is compitition and part of a free market.

Re:There are good reasons for this (1)

yabos (719499) | more than 8 years ago | (#13756534)

Except if you're Microsoft. Then you can loose over a hundred dollars per XBox 360 and not have anything done to you.

Re:There are good reasons for this (1)

hublan (197388) | more than 8 years ago | (#13756089)

How would you feel if you were an IT technician, and a big corporation started supplying IT services in your home town for $5 an hour.. then after you were driven into bankruptcy, started raising its prices back to industry norms?

Er. This is pretty much how Home Depot operates. They build a super-store with super-low prices, wait until all the neihgbourhood hardware stores have gone under and then raise the prices again. Happened in my area. Pretty pissed off at them since their products are almost uniformly very shoddy.

Re:There are good reasons for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13756490)

I doubt that is really true at all. People claim this about Wal-Mart as well. I know lumber/concrete and a few other contruction materials are priced at local market and change daily. This happens at all lumber yards across the country. You'll also find that many lumber yards sell more far more raw contruction materials then Home Depot and Lowes do because contractors and builders buy very large quantities of custom and pre fabbed things and the HD and Lowes sells mainly standard stock materials to consumers. If the specific place you may be refering too got out sold in contruction materials compared to HD, they had prices really far out of whack or they already sucked at selling and people and builders were only going there because they had no choice.
Construction materials aside. General retail price of other things at HD cost the same as any HD in an entire region. A box of 2.5 inch deck screws cost the same in Pittsburgh as in Northern VA as they do in mid Ohio. Do you think HD is adjusting an entire regions price based on putting Johns supply shop in Small Town, WV out of business and when he does go out of business, raise the price in that entire region? Switching gears here but same with Wal-Mart. I can buy the same battery for my car for $39.99 at any Wal-Mart in the entire US (Hawaii slightly higher). They are not going to change the price country wide when some small battery retailer goes out of business in your town.

Re:Pretty iffy (2, Insightful)

tabbser (560130) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755214)

Then, before posting, why don't you actually go ahead and RTFA, maybe you could answer your own questions.
This place is full of too many armchair econmists, armchair politicians, armchair etc...

Not aiming at you individually, but I do wish people would actually read the fucking article before talking about it.

Re:Pretty iffy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13755274)

if it was being sold at a loss because that is anti-competitive.

Who are you to say that selling at a loss is "anti-competitive"? What exactly is that word supposed to mean anyway? I'll bet you can't come up with a definition that isn't competely arbitrary.

selling for something cheaper than your competitor is part of being in a free market

Engaging in voluntary trade of any type is what being part of the free market is about. If it's voluntary with respect to all parties involved, then guess what? It's none of your damn business to interfere by force, and if you do, then YOU are the one in the wrong.

THAT is the only way to define anti-competitive behavior without being completely arbitrary -- if it's coercive, it's anti-competitive. If it's voluntary, it's not. Simple, precise, conclusive, unambiguous.

So who is really in the moral wrong here? The traders, who do business by voluntary association, or the government, who does business by force?

Re:Pretty iffy (2, Insightful)

xgamer04 (248962) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755412)

I would suggest familiarizing yourself with Korean business law before making such a statement...

Re:Pretty iffy (1)

ehlo (578765) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755445)

Yeah.
In free market, price mechanism is market.
The market sets the price.
Thats like the first rule of supply and demand.

Re:Pretty iffy (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754964)

"The "article" on the blog this story points to is full of "may" "could have" "possibly" and other weasle-word disclaimers. Nothing to see here."/i.

Yeah. It's too bad this story wasn't about Microsoft. We'd have so much more to talk about!

Re:Pretty iffy (1)

NotWorkSafe (891638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755056)

Meh it really doesn't matter. Everyone knows that in Korea only old people use flash memory.

Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754739)

> Analysts also speculate the computer maker got a significant discount from Samsung in order to hit the Nano's $199 and $249 prices.'"

They can speculate that all they like, but the $199 2GB nano has Toshiba chips, not samsung.

Try again.

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (4, Informative)

baryon351 (626717) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754753)

Correct. this picture shows the flash chips in a 2GB nano [arstechnica.com] . Linked directly from arstechnica's nano autopsy [arstechnica.com]

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (-1, Troll)

rebeka thomas (673264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754785)

Maybe you have a better monitor than me that can see invisible things but sorry, there is no indication in that photo which manufacturer made the chips, whether toshiba samsung or ibm.

Care to give a better source than a story on some mac fan site?

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754799)

Are you completely blind? Its right there...ON THE CHIP! Its upside down so maybe thats a bit much for you to handle.

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (2, Informative)

Vann_v2 (213760) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754803)

Huh? The picture is upside down, but on each chip it clearly says "Toshiba XD9936."

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (1)

Kasracer (865931) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754809)

Damn, are you blind?

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (3, Informative)

Hast (24833) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754815)

First off, the chips are clearly marked TOSHIBA in the first photo. It's on the lower side and upside down, but still easy to see.

Second, Ars is not an Apple fansite. In fact it is in many ways a lot better than Slashdot. In particular their articles on CPU tech are often linked from Slashdot and are of extremely high quality. (As in "the best you'll find online".)

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (0, Troll)

rebeka thomas (673264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754837)

> Second, Ars is not an Apple fansite. In fact it is in many ways a lot better than Slashdot.

Any site that tries to combat the known problems with iPod nano's lack of reliability, screen cracking and bad scratching problems with a fluff piece showing how "well" it handles abuse is a mac fan site in my books.

The rest of the world is seeing nano screens cracking at a touch and scratching like nobody's business and this one lone site tries to show they're tough? I think you have to be pretty naive not to see the link, or who might be sponsoring the arstechnica article.

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754872)

Maybe they should ignore the criticism altogether - they way you have when notified of your own inability to read clear-as-day (though upside-down) text.

You lose credibility when your own bias is so apparent.

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754921)

So to avoid the fact that you've demonstrated your inability to read simple (though upside-down) text, you're pretending that Ars published that article AFTER people started complaining about the screens, not before?

Clever.

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754977)

It's obvious Ars nano got scratched before they started to throw it out of windows. To cover up the fact they start the beating no sane people would ever do. And their conclusion is that if you stomp on electronics it eventually will break is like saying water is wet.

Ars is a Mac site.

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754987)

Well done for hitting the Anonymous Coward checkbox for that one Rebeka to make it look like you're not the only one with an insane look on how Ars Technica is biased.

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (1)

aliensporebomb (1433) | more than 8 years ago | (#13756181)

I thought the Ars "beating" of the Nano could have been a bit better.

I would have liked to see it tossed down the stairs into a catbox.

Now that would have been cool, especially if it was able to still
play "kids cereal" by Z afterwards.

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (2, Informative)

DeafByBeheading (881815) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754829)

Maybe you have a better monitor than me that can see invisible things...

Grandparent and I both, apparently. Or if you'd bothered to take a look at the article linked by grandparents, you would've seen they discuss the Toshiba chips. I can't imagine why you migh think that arstechnica is making up facts about the nano's flash memory, but it's easier to give another source [yahoo.com] than try to dispute that...

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (1)

m4dm4n (888871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754907)

Your monitor must really suck. The Toshiba, while upside down, is clearly visible.

Re:Toshiba RAM in $199 nanos, NOT SAMSUNG (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754995)

Incorrect. This article [theinquirer.net] shows the flash chips in a 2GB nano [theinquirer.com]. Linked directly from iSuppli's nano autopsy.

From the article:

"The attached photo of a PCB from the 2Gbyte iPod nano dissected by iSuppli shows the Samsung name and part number listed on the NAND flash devices.

As with most products that employ commodity memory parts, the iPod nano is capable of using and sometimes does utilize comparable products from alternative suppliers--a practice known as "second-sourcing." "

Market value (1)

opencity (582224) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754743)

Does this imply the memory chips are being sold at an inflated rate?
Price supports for memory chips in Korea?

Re:Market value (1)

SCVirus (774240) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754762)

I suppose that makes sense when your in an environment of products retailing $100 being maanufactured for pennys.

Re:Market value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754834)

it takes billions investment to build the foundry and the team and millions to run foundry each day.

Re:Market value (2, Funny)

Tezkah (771144) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754835)

Price supports for memory chips in Korea?

In Korea, only old people understand your comment!

Re:Market value (2, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754953)

it wouldn't be unheard of if they were actually dumping it on apple at or below production cost for the moment.

why? to ensure that they get at least something and that they get a huge cut of the market while still being able to run the factories while losing the least amount of money(what's the point in running a factory like that? to keep it in business so you can reap the rewards later when competition is less fierce and product cheaper to make, same thing happening with flat panels now).

of course this would make it hard for competitors who have to pay full price + profit margin for the memory chips because they can't buy so much that they can ensure the factorys existance alone.

now this might or might not violate competion laws in korea. usually flooding the market with loss doing products to get others out from the market is illegal, though it might be unsure if this is that kind of a thing even.

Dumping vs. "selling under market price" (2, Insightful)

Pius II. (525191) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755070)

Dumping is illegal. IMHO, rightly so, because it can easily be used as a means for a well-funded operation to stifle their competition.
"Selling under market price" OTOH is what the free market is all about: if Samsung can produce more cheaply, they should be allowed to sell for less, too. It wouldn't be their fault if their competitors where too expensive.

The thing here is, these articles about Samsungs competitors' complaining have been going round almost since the launch of the Nano. And never did they contain anything about "dumping", only about "Samsung selling at too low prices for us". This sounds like they
a) sold their flash drives etc. at inflated prices and
b) are now asking for help to continue doing that.
If that's the case, I cannot find any sympathy for them.

Bulk purchases? (5, Insightful)

lightyear4 (852813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754746)

Don't most - indeed, if not all - electronics suppliers give substantial volume discounts? I'd say buying up 40% of stock would qualify for a discount. IANAL, but I don't see why that is an issue.

Re:Bulk purchases? (4, Insightful)

sam_paris (919837) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754757)

Yeah it seems that apple is the only MP3 player manufacturer that is buying in such large quantities. Thus it makes sense that they should get the biggest discounts.

I get the feeling that this is simply due to all the other MP3 makers shouting "unfair" and putting pressure on the government to carry out this investigation. And this is basically due to sour grapes as every other company that makes MP3 players is wishing they were Apple or at least had as good products as Apple does.

Re:Bulk purchases? (1)

bwalling (195998) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755421)

IANAL, but I don't see why that is an issue.

More importantly, YANAKL (you are not a Korean lawyer). This is happening in Korea, and if you're like me, you don't know anything about Korean law at all.

Re:Bulk purchases? (1)

Stian Engen (758718) | more than 8 years ago | (#13756215)

Volume discounts are OK because the producer still sells the product for more than the cost of producing it. Big sells often results in less fluctuation in factory output, and thus leads to lower production costs (less overtime work, more efficient machinery) The problem is when producers "dump" (sells with losses over time) their products on the market to strangle competitors.

New layer? (3, Insightful)

ceeam (39911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754747)

I may be stupid, but how does it "add a new layer"? If Apple is to buy a very substantial amount of Samsung flash chips (40%?) then what's in it for Samsung to sell it at "below-market prices"?

Also - WTF is "below-market prices"? I believe that does not mean that Samsung is gonna sell it at below the cost to produce, no?

Re:New layer? (2, Funny)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754774)

I actually thought it said "Adds a new Lawyer" , Which would of worked well

Re:New layer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754865)

If Apple is to buy a very substantial amount of Samsung flash chips (40%?) then what's in it for Samsung to sell it at "below-market prices"?

Volume, baby!

Marginal Cost plus+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13755104)

A sale defines market price - pure and simple. Buy a shitload, and the marginal cost decreases - a bulk discount - just like Dell gets everyday. As Toshiba is in the equation, they must be neck and neck, price wise, so no issue - go home. Could it be Samsung is just passing on technological savings, rather than pocketing the difference - which is the whole reason why Intel decided to stay out of the cutthroat memory manufacturing game.
   

well the analysts (5, Informative)

shrewd (830067) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754751)

have gotten at leas one thing wrong

"Analysts also speculate the computer maker got a significant discount from Samsung in order to hit the Nano's $199 and $249 prices"

the $199 model uses flash chips from toshiba (2* 1gb) whereas the $249 model uses flash from samsung (2* 2gb)

Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (1, Interesting)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754767)

When the ipod first came out they used their buying clout/muscle to ensure they were the only ones able to buy Hitachi's supply of 1.8 inch hard drives. Sure there were other companies that could have made products to compete with the ipod. There's a reason Apple was the only one to put out a small/sleek player when everyone else was still putting out clunky nightmares and its not becuase Apple is the only company to employ competent engineers -- no one else simply had access to Hitachi's hard drives to make it possible.

Legal? Probably, I am not a laywer. Dirty? Hell yeah. That's business. What baffles me is that some of you out there seem to think that Apple is somehow above the fray. That while every other large coorperation will lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead -- Apple is somehow different.

I'm sure I will get moderated down by some of the rabid Apple fanboys out there, but the fact of the matter is that Apple is NOT different. They make some lovely products, but at the end of the day they run their business just like everyone else. If Mac OS had become the dominant platform back in the day instead of Windows, you'd all be talking about Microsoft's superior engineering and decrying Apples anti-competetive tactics.

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754789)

Wow.

What a miserable little fuck you are.

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (5, Insightful)

cthellis (733202) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754790)

If Mac OS had become the dominant platform back in the day instead of Windows, you'd all be talking about Microsoft's superior engineering and decrying Apples anti-competetive tactics.

You got that right. ;-) But I wouldn't put too much behind a statement like "There's a reason Apple was the only one to put out a small/sleek player when everyone else was still putting out clunky nightmares"... The original iPods still looked, felt, and functioned much better than the competition, and after those 1.8" drives hit wider availability said competition STILL hadn't whipped up anything much that's par, let alone a few swings under.

Those talking about Apple's superior engineering and aesthetics still have quite the point. ;-)

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (4, Insightful)

Forbman (794277) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754814)

Dirty? About as dirty as any restaurant that only sells Coke or Pepsi products.

Apple got Hitachi to sole-source the HDs it used in the iPod. Big woop. Not necessarily dirty. Others had their chances at a slice of the 1.8" drive, too.

And Apple agreed to buy a big-ass load of NAND chips for the Nano to very favorable terms. Again, big woop.

If you are selling a commodity product, and someone comes along and says, "Hey, I'll buy all of your production for the next 18 months," and you still make money on it, you tend to bite on it.

Since we don't know what pricing level the KTC is looking into, it could be that Apple just committed to a magnitude larger memory buy than other buyers had done up until that point. Instead of selling several lots of 1 million SKUs, maybe, at varying price points over time, Apple says, "Hey, we'll buy 10 million SKUs over the next year at $5.00/10000 (when "the market price" tends to be $5.5/1000, or whatever) with half of the total up-front, and the rest delivered monthly upon delivery...", which is guaranteed money for Samsung (and pissing off AMD, Intel, Xylinx et al).

Again, not a big deal.

Want to buy a couple of animals from a farmer, but it'll take a week or two? OK. But if someone comes along and offers to buy everything he has for sale a couple of days after you talk to him, too bad!

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (2, Interesting)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755218)

I take it you don't know that coke and pepsi supply fridges to cafes ect. The deal is we give you a fridge and you don't put our competitors products in it.

it's like the myth of a pub being a free house in the uk. yes the brewery doesn't own the pub but quite often they do help finance a mortgage to allow the owner to buy the pub usually with a proviso that so much beer is bought from the brewery.

these are cases which are supplier controlled.

on the otherhand supermarkets usually control the deal they get from farmers and packhouses.

how many suppliers do you think are told to produce x for a supermarket produce it and then get told actually we don't want so much. the production is done and often its a case of unload the truck and either rework it or dump it. rework means relabel so your best by date was the 17th that product now gets packaged in best by the 18th.

who's master in this deal hitachi or appple i dont know but if hitachi can't supply much more than apple require without building more lines. then apple will get the production. commonsense really especially if the other customer is trying to compete with apple.

Toshiba... (4, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754878)

It's Toshiba, not Hitachi.

Apple has never used Hitachi 1.8" drives in iPods. Rio did, in the Karma.

And there were no other drives available because Apple was buying them as fast as they could be made. That's the only reason. The drives were available before the iPod came out (in 2.5 and 5 gig configurations), so anyone could have got them. And anyone perhaps could have gone for an exclusive. But they didn't, Apple did. Toshiba could have made an mp3 player of their before Apple made the iPod (they made one later instead).

You're off your rocker. Even if Apple is the only one who could get these drives, that's not even Apple's fault. Any company would like an exclusive. It's Toshiba's fault for granting them one.

Apple innovated a lot with the iPod. A company that was there before Apple like Creative or Archos could have made a device with the 1.8" drive before the iPod even came out. They didn't. That's the Apple difference.

Anyway, I thought this horse got beat to death when Apple killed Mac clones. Is there really anything left to be said about Apple's willingness to compete as a commodity after that?

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (3, Informative)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754893)

Nevermind the Toshiba (not IBM/Hitachi) 1.8-inch hard drives had existed for quite some time [toshiba.co.jp] before Apple made the iPod. Hell, IBM/Hitachi's Microdrive (later used in the Mini) had been out for years [pocketpcfaq.com] . No one else saw their potential, so prior to the iPod the best you could get was a Nomad, which used 2.5-inch hard drives. After all, capacity was everything [slashdot.org] , right? Apple took a huge risk on a completely new and unproven product and bought their remaining stock. What is "anti-competitive" here?

As for your last paragraph, Microsoft's "superior engineering"? Nevermind that Apple's entire history back to the Apple II [apple2history.org] (and the Wozniak-designed controllers) has been about superior engineering, and Microsoft's has always been about purchasing/licensing/controlling other software and making it "good enough", all the way back to Microsoft BASIC [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (2, Insightful)

cthellis (733202) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754962)

As for your last paragraph, Microsoft's "superior engineering"?

I do believe he's just making wry commentary on the likelihood of their positions swapping in ALL cases. And there's certainly something to be said for that, as an unchallengable market leader tends to stagnate while the up-and-coming try to compete on whatever grounds they can.

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (2, Insightful)

Swift2001 (874553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754898)

They're a monopolist with a 3-5% market share? It may come as a surprise to you, but a company in that position cannot be a monopolist. Legally. Unfair trade practices? Yes, that could be. If Samsung sold below cost to sink a competitor? Unfair. Dumping, or something like that. If Apple somehow dictated the price to Samsung, that might be wrong. If Apple, say, threatened Samsung with being excluded from future iPods, that could be wrong. None of which is, as lawyers say, "in evidence" here. As for Apple being "just the same," well, it may come as a surprise to you, but Apple is a corporation, not an order of monks. Without profitable computers and software, they're gone. So, yeah, the computer business is very tough. But I can just tell, you mean, "Microsoft isn't so bad, Apple is just the same," and there you're wrong. Learn what monopoly is. See why the courts found it guilty of being a monopoly, and suggested its breakup into three parts, I believe. Then see if you can still say, "Apple is just like Microsoft." Genghis Khan isn't just like Microsoft. Both Stalin and Roosevelt were on the left -- was FDR just the same as Joe Stalin? Just a small contemporary example: the MSNBC channel and website. I can, on my Mac, watch CBS, ABC, AP, BBC, CNN -- all kinds of web-based video. The only one I can't watch? MSNBC. I have the Mac version of WMP. I have Flash, javascript, all kinds of stuff. But somehow, the geniuses at MS put up a a notice that their video is "incompatible with my OS." That's monopolistic behavior. By the way, the latest reorg by MS seems suspiciously like a mammoth company preparing bite-sized bits to... split up and sell. So maybe Judge Jackson was on to something.

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (1, Flamebait)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754963)

As for Apple being "just the same," well, it may come as a surprise to you, but Apple is a corporation, not an order of monks. Without profitable computers and software, they're gone. So, yeah, the computer business is very tough.

You wouldn't know it from the way people here talk about them. Apple gets so much rabid adulation it's not even funny.

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755084)

Apple gets so much rabid adulation it's not even funny.

As opposed to rabid, baseless hate? Yeah, you Apple haters sure are a humorless bunch.

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755872)

I don't hate them, or if I do a bit it's only because of their fans. Why would you see them any differently than, say, HP? I don't buy their products myself, they're not value for money for what I want, but if I did I wouldn't particularly love or hate them. I don't see why they have this holy status among their fans.

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (1)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755015)

They have a 3-5% share of the desktop computer market NOW. But before MS came along? They were making the only desktop computers back then. And wasn't it recently proven that OSX will run on a unix-type computer but they had deliberating programmed it not to? I don't have a link now but the news isn't even 3 weeks old, google it. So doesn't that seem like they were trying to establish a sort of OS and hardware monopoly back in those days? God knows they felt they could charge whatever they wanted as the only desktop computer system around. Unfortunately for the world, they're still pursuing that tactic by making out their OS will only run on their hardware. They were price gouging then and they still are.

Yes, Apple makes a great OS - or so people tell me, as I'm too poor to have used one since DOS was new. But if Microsoft hadn't come along, Apple would be Microsoft. And just because they do tend to be more honest than MS, one shouldn't assume they would still be so if they had that kind of power. Don't get me wrong, I think MS is one of the most dishonest companies ever and they make a crappy OS, but if there had never been Windows, Apple would probably still be the only makers of desktop computers and only the rich would be using them, just as it was when I was a kid. Linux might still be around, but that would set it back several years simply because desktop computers would be less common. Solaris would most likely be servers only, not desktop. Hell, there might not even be a Slashdot; not enough nerds would have computers at all. I know I wouldn't. And that is what Apple did try to do, but they simply failed.

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755157)

But before MS came along? They were making the only desktop computers back then.

Suuure.

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (2, Interesting)

lmlloyd (867110) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755647)

So the iPod only has a 3-5% market share? Funny, I thought it was more successful than that.

You know, at the time they were ruled as a monopoly, Microsoft only had 3-5% of the PDA market, so how could they be a monopoly? For that matter, IBM has always had a 0% share of the home video game console market, yet they operated under an anti-trust decree for many years. I wonder why that is? Oh, right, because a monopoly is decided on a per-market basis! It may come as a surprise to you, but I think that a company with over 90% of the DAP market, just might be in contention for investigation as a monopoly in the DAP market, regardless of their dismal performance in the desktop OS market.

By the way, I love how on /. Apple is an unstoppable juggernaught, constantly gaining desktop market share, right up until it is convenient for the current argument for them to be the beleaguered underdog, at which point their market share drops to the very low single digits.

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (4, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754999)

Dirty? Hell yeah.

Hell, no. Apple made a deal to buy all the drives they could make. They placed a big enough order that Toshiba brought up a second factory just for those drives. Nobody put a gun to Toshiba's head, and if someone else wanted to buy those drives, so what? Every deal has two sides, and if Toshiba would rather deal with a single customer for the first year (or more), that's their prerogative.

That while every other large coorperation will lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead -- Apple is somehow different.

Show me an example of Apple lying, cheating or stealing, cause this isn't it.

-jcr

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (4, Insightful)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755204)

First of all, I was incorrect. It was toshiba. It wasn't until hitachi started making 1.8 drives that someone was ABLE To compete with apple. My appologies for that mix up.

Second of all, my point isn't that this was some awful thing that Apple did. This is how business is played. It's not nice and friendly, its down and dirty, and Apple plays the same game as everyone else.

If Microsoft had used their clout to buy up all of Toshibas drive to make a slim mp3 player that took the market by storm, and companies like Apple were uanble to get any 1.8 drives to make players with your collective outrage would know no bounds. You would bitch and moan to no end that Microsoft was not playing fair. While I fully expected my original post to be unfairly moderated down (my karma can take the hit), it surprises me that so many of you could be so hypocritical.

I don't take issue, really, with how Apple condudcts itself, simply with the ultra-unrealistic impression that many of you seem to have about it. Apple is not some peace-loving commune where flower children lovingly hand-craft gadgets for your enjoyment. It's a business and it's run just like every other business.

Everytime they're accused of breaking the rules (as businesses will often do), there's a torrent of people anxious to rush to Apple's defense to tell us why it was "totally ok" for Apple to cheat. It's not ok for ANYONE, no matter how sexy their latest toy may be, to cheat wether it's Microsoft, Apple, or anyone else.

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (0)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755355)

your collective outrage would know no bounds.

Not being a collective, the only outrage I have ever experienced has been individual outrage.

You would bitch and moan to no end that Microsoft was not playing fair.

Don't try to tell me what I would do in a hypothetical situation. I bash MS when they commit crimes, not when they merely pursue legal business strategies.

-jcr

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13755364)

Bravo. But NONE of this applies to the current situation. You still have not addressed the original reply's point. What did Apple do wrong HERE. They did not cheat or lie or anything so your rant is total moot for this situation. The next time you feel like going off about how people defend Apple's actions, you might might to pick a case where it is apropos... if you can.

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13755351)

Exactly. It floors me that anyone would think an act of voluntary association could be considered lying, cheating, or stealing. Have we entered some parallel universe where the basic principles of human interaction are null?

If we can't define lying, cheating, and stealing by the principle of voluntary association (as exact opposites, i.e. involuntary association), then how in the hell can they be defined?

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13755671)

Well if history serves me correctly, Apple and M$ both STOLE the "windowed" environment and mouse from Xerox...

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13756152)

If you haven't patented something and you show it to people, how can those people possibly steal it when you've given it to them?

Re:Not the First Anti-competiveness from Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13755720)

Show me an example of Apple lying, cheating or stealing, cause this isn't it.

How about Apple and the Unix debacle, where Apple almost call OS X a Unix, but only almost since they can't as it isn't certified (or within specs).
How about the cracking in the g4 cube, what was they called it? Molding lines? Yeah sure.
How about the subpar quality of the iPod nano. like scratches do you? apple denies.
How abuot Apple suing MS because they think tey invented the GUI.
How about Apples inability do share code with khtml developers (After much and much of preasure I think this has been fixed now).

And I'm not even very familiar with Apple, but clearly they have there share of skeletons in the closet.

A new study reports the Korean FTC (3, Funny)

hobotron (891379) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754779)


Is just as out of touch and unlikeable as the other FTC

Re:A new study reports the Korean FTC (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754951)

In Korea, only old people like the FTC!

How is this Apple's foul? (4, Interesting)

JoeGrind (324053) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754825)

Can someone explain to me how this is reflects badly upon Apple? I'm asking sincerely. When I go shopping I look to find the cheapest price. Seems as if Apple was just doing the same. If they can negotiate a better rate from Samsung, I'd consider it foolish not to. It more sounds as if Samsung might have broken some Korean law, no?

kiss saves santa (0, Offtopic)

todd10k (889348) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754826)

hurry up boys, the eggs are hatching! wait a minute, everyone knows that pterodactyls cant withstand the sound of a screeching guitar!

What's the problem? (3, Insightful)

Swift2001 (874553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754845)

Aside from Apple's competitors complaining, where exactly is the monopoly behavior, or the unfair business practice? I'm no expert on Korean antitrust law -- I know zero -- but if it's like our monopoly law, then nothing wrong happened. A successful maker of mp3 players went to the maker of a new kind of memory -- or at least, very good memory -- and asked for a huge purchase. Samsung sold it at a discount, by which I infer there were competitors to whom Apple could also have gone, and they wanted the big sale. Samsung will make more of this memory, and I imagine the other 60% of the stock is also for sale to the other companies. So, what's the monopolistic practice? MS was nabbed because they told computer makers, install our OS and you must also take IE and keep Netscape, etc., off of your computers, or we will stop giving you a price break on Windows. This is using market power to compel another company to exclude your competitor. Apple buys a heck of a lot of memory and will no doubt be back for more, because the nano is selling like, er, nanos. Did they say, "And don't you dare sell any to Creative?" Another instance of possible monopolistic practice is what AMD alleges: that Intel forces Dell and other makers to sell only Intel-based computers, or lose their discount. See? Less competition. Unfair practices. But unless there's some secret coercion involved, and it's not obvious here, then Apple and Samsung have just committed capitalism. The company at the top of sales bought up a sizable number of chips. They had the money to plunk down, and the maker of the chips said, here, thank you. Competitors are upset, I suspect, because they can't keep up with the big dog. Boo-hoo.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

lmlloyd (867110) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755485)

Well, I am not investigating the case, nor do I have any special knowledge about it. Of course by the sound of your post neither do you. I would, however, like to point out a possible scenario where there could be legitimate anti-trust concerns from the point of the South Korean government.

South Korea just happens to be the place where the iPod has the smallest share of the DAP market, mainly because so many of the competing products are made there. Now imagine a meeting between several people at Apple where the idea came about to buy up as much as they possibly could of the available flash memory in the nation of South Korea, thus driving up the price due to limited availability. This would most likely force South Korean manufactures to buy memory from Malaysian, Taiwanese, Chinese, or Japanese manufactures, where they would not get as good a price, and give Apple a market edge in South Korea, where they had previously had none.

Now, this is an entirely hypothetical proposition, and might not have anything at all to do with what has happened. However, this is exactly what several Japanese companies tried to do in the '80s with US steel, to give Japanese cars an edge in the US market, and the US government stepped in to stop it. This is also what some Saudi Arabian companies tried to do with Texas oil in the '70s, and the US government stepped in. This sort of tactic is also EXACTLY why in this country we have special protections for small farmers, so that they can not be put out of business by large aribusiness who has the power and financial muscle to over-buy supplies at prices that make it impossible for the little guy to stay in business. Does this practice constitute an "unfair business practice" or just "good capitalism?" I suppose that would depend on the government and market in question. All I know for sure, is that faced with similar threats to US businesses by foreign competitors, our government stepped in and protected domestic companies as best they could. Why shouldn't the South Korean government be allowed to do the same?

Huh? Selling below market rates is a crime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754862)

Who cares what rate you sell at, just as long as you don't sell at a loss. At least that's what I thought was how you made profits: lower prices than your competitor. Or have we entered the world of Atlas Shrugged, where one cannot compete on quality or price?

Probably more to this story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754876)

Funny how something paraphrased can become watered down..

Nothing will happen anyway. No country is going to be stepping on a big company like Apple. They will bend over backwards to Apple's patronage.

It's all in the eyes... (1, Funny)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754883)

Remember, everything looks different in the eyes of a Korean. Literally. They see everything in 16:9, as opposed to 4:3.

Oriental women have slanted pussies. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754896)

It's true. You have to penetrate them kind of sideways, because of the angle of their slit.

It's the market economics for you (2, Informative)

melted (227442) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754891)

It's the market economics for you, as simple as that. SJ probably called up Samsung and said, OK folks, I'm ready to buy a shitload of 2GB chips, and I do mean A SHITLOAD (ten million), what's the price you can offer to me so that I don't go to Toshiba. And they made an offer SJ could not refuse.

Now imagine Cowon audio (BTW, what's up with their company name? "Cowon"? Hello?) calls up and says, we're ready to buy ten thousand chips. Of course there will be a different price than for ten million chips! And it of course will be a lot higher, because 10K chips is like a single batch, whereas 10M chips is two years of non-stop production.

And, what's the problem about this? (3, Insightful)

Ulrich Hobelmann (861309) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754905)

Samsung sold lots of chips to Apple. If it was price-dumping, they lost lots of money.

Nobody else was willing to sell chips at that cut-throat price, so nobody else should care.

Lots of people bought an iPod for a good price. They are happy now.

If any company should in the future sell chips for another price, where's the problem? It's not that the sale by Samsung will forever result in Samsung having a monopoly or anything. Seriously, maybe they even LOST money...

"below market prices" (5, Insightful)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754912)

Not below cost, "below market prices"?

If selling below market prices is illegal, how do market prices ever fall?

Re:"below market prices" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13755305)

...They need approval from government.

Whoops, looks like we're not talking about free trade anymore. In a free society, obviously, no man is prohibited from selling "below market prices", just as no man is prohibited from selling "above market prices". Likewise, no free man is prohibited from buying "below market prices" or buying "above market prices".

How in the hell do we think market prices are determined in the first place? By picking a number out of a hat and sticking with it until the end of time?

Re:"below market prices" (1)

sofakingon (610999) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755440)

I live in Korea.
The Electronics Market here is the biggest in the world.
The prices are all fixed.
There will be 10 stores right next to each other, all selling the same brand of the same item.
Not a single one will be 1 Won less (1/10th of a cent).
Hell, the price for any specfic electronic item at any store is the same ALL THROUGOUT THE COUNTRY.
Some of them might be more, or may quote me a higher price, as I am a foreigner, BUT will NEVER be lower than the set price.
How does competition work here? Who knows! It's probably the reason why having a business for over 6 months without going under is a major accomplishment. It's really funny when you see someone putting up a new sign and it says, "Since 2004."

the 4G Nano is amazingly cheap (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754937)

I was actually wondering about this. If you look around, you'll find that the 4G Nano is amazingly cheap--cheaper than 2G flash players from manufacturers that are usually much cheaper than Apple.

However, Apple may have been able to get such a discount legitimately: usually, the price of chips like this falls because manufacturers need to recover their initial costs; if Apple's contract lets them do that through a sufficiently large initial volume, it may have made sense for them to go for it.

Still, if Apple gets conditions that are much better than those for other manufacturers, that is a concern. If Apple manages to grab a big chunk of the production of high capacity flash chips at a low price, then it may be hard for other manufacturers to stay in the market. You may like iPods a lot, but it would still be good to have competition. Some of the other manufacturers of flash players offer better battery life, real-time MP3 recording, MPEG4 playback, and many other features that Apple just doesn't have in the Nano.

Cost Of Materials (2, Interesting)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754942)

When you buy enough of the chips, you are essentially paying for the raw materials only, plus whatever wear and tear you've got on the factory. This is because another way to get the same thing would be to rent a factory for the time period, buy the raw materials, and run the equipment to produce the finished goods. If the price asked for diverges much from the alternative, you'd take the alternative -- e.g. you'd see Apple renting a factory for a few years, and renting staff and IP in order to produce the goods.

However, I can't for the life of me figure out why the Korean FTC would have a problem with Samsung. I have to figure that Samsung peeved someone in the Korean govt. (or US govt.) and someone with a political beef with Samsung is making up some ridiculous charges. Because it boggles the mind why Samsung would do something so awful for business like selling crap below market.

The only scenario like this that I can see is that having a guarantee of massive volume from Apple allowed Samsung to invest even more heavily into their production, putting them ahead of their competitors. So they figured, "even if we lose a bit on Apple, we'll get our costs per item lower so we'll survive the coming price war."

Someone's Peeved (1)

Chaset (552418) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755185)

Actually, there may be something to what you wrote. I was reading in the paper (LA times... print edition, so I don't have a link) the other day that a lot of everyday Koreans are getting wary of Samsung because they have obscene amount of power there.

The typical Korean household wakes up in Samsung furniture, cook breakfast on Samsung appliances, drive to work in Samsung cars (insured by Samsung insurance) to office buildings owned by Samsung, and use Samsung equipment to get work done. They may take vacations at a Samsung theme park and stay at a Samsung Hotel...etc. etc. etc.

I can see how politicians can be afraid of this situation as well.

Obligatory ref. (1)

ins0m (584887) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754943)

In Korea, only old people use discounted iPods!

Forget it... (1)

outz (448278) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754972)

Kim Jong-il changed his mind.

Economics 101 (3, Insightful)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755190)

"...allegations that Samsung sold the memory chips to Apple at below-market rates"

Doesn't the fact that a company was prepared to sell 10 million chips at that price make that price the "market price" for 10 million chips? How else do you define a market price except as what a seller and a buyer agree on?

Unless Steve Jobs used a focused Reality Distortion Field or blackmail to get the deal, I don't really see the problem. Unless (shock horror), CNet is misrepresenting the story again.

Why talk about this????? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13755229)

when we can talk about how there customer service is so screwed up. Least of all their obnoxious artificial operator on their customer service line...

now that is worthy of a slashdot article...

I love their computers, but man does their service suck... it sucks at their stores, it sucks on the phone, it sucks on their website... I suppose the slug pace they work is fine if you have a spare computer... but if your primary production unit goes down... game over... you may be looking at weeks for repair...

now that.. that is worth a slashdot article...

Korean christmas, liquid lunch and options. (3, Interesting)

tabbser (560130) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755241)

Perhaps the issue at heart here is not that Apple bought chips at below market levels (Yes, I've seen the Toshiba posts), but perhaps that some Korean company has complained (lobbied the government) that they now are having to buy chips at an increased rate and the christmas goodies are not in jeopardy.

This seems more likely to me.
I'm sure apple has bought futures on flash and can ride out any price differential, just like the smart airline companies (should) have done with jet fuel (not American, United, Southwest etc).

I'd be surprised if apple does not have people that work global analysis of such purchases and buy up options.
I know I would if I were buying up 40% stock of flash from some companies.

If it were me (and I'm not a finance person) I'd buy up options on more than I needed and sell those options at many times the face value once the world realized (as we approach christmas) that there is a shortage of flash because "apple" is buying them all. I bet Apple is not only making $199 on your ipod nano purchase, but also a few extra bucks per nano on the futures market just because your ipod is sucking up flash.

I wish I'd taken finance at school instead of dicking around with a liquid lunch and an irrational particle accelerator.

Re:Korean christmas, liquid lunch and options. (1)

Thrudheim (910314) | more than 8 years ago | (#13756096)

Of course this is what is happening. The idea that it is an "antitrust" violation for a large customer to negotiate a good price with a supplier is absurd. What happened is that the iRiver manufacturer complained that it was unfair and is trying to use the power of its government to intervene in the marketplace on its behalf. They even pulled the nationalism card, saying that Samsung shouldn't be giving such good prices to a non-Korean manufacturer. Samsung, rightly, responded like a corporation that has moved beyond thinking in nationalistic terms. It does not have to give favor to domestic firms over any other firm.

This is politics. Simple and clear. American firms do this kind of stuff all the time, using "anti-dumping" laws to get trade protection against competitors from China and elsewhere that can supply cheaper products. It just so happens that the anti-dumping laws are one of the few legal avenues that remain to win trade restrictions given our participation in various trade agreements. So, we see lots of anti-dumpting claims.

Anybody remember .... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755310)

This story? [slashdot.org] The article contained within simply points out the fact that it still costs Apple only $90.18 to make the Nano. And I'm going to assume that this price is based on "analysts" cost review at "market" pricing.

So now for "analysts" to speculate that Samsung sold Apple flash memory at a discount, couldn't they have speculated the converse -- that Apple reduced its profit margins to enter a different market that's held pretty well by iRiver's and other flash MP3 players?

It makes room for one of two things. That "analysts" are right in both cases, or they are fucking morons. I am leaning to the latter, myself.

Is this news? (2, Insightful)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755584)

Article test:
Korea's top antitrust regulator reportedly said on a local radio show that authorities there may look into whether Apple's purchase of flash memory from Samsung Electronics may have violated any of that country's competition laws.

According to a report by Yonhap News, Korean Fair Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Kang Chul-kyu said that his agency could look into allegations that Samsung sold the memory chips to Apple at below-market rates.

Apple reportedly grabbed a significant share of Samsung's flash capacity in order to introduce its new iPod Nano. Analysts also speculate the computer maker got a significant discount from Samsung in order to hit the Nano's $199 and $249 prices.

An Apple representative did not immediately have a comment on the report.
Now, forgive me, but what is newsworthy about this? Not only is it heresy published on a blog, but it's not even saying anything definite.
I (and I'm not alone here) would hope that Apple got a damn good break on the price for buying the flash in the kinds of quantities that they will need to satisfy demand for the Nano.

The Competition That Lost Filed A Complaint (1)

Junior Samples (550792) | more than 8 years ago | (#13755797)

My guess is that US based memory maker Micron filed a complaint because they lost the bid. They've done this in the past.

Re:The Competition That Lost Filed A Complaint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13755925)

Why shouldn't they, if they believe there's been a violation of the law? If you're losing money because your competitors are using illegal tactics, wouldn't you file a complaint?

Regardless, Micron is a minor player in the flash market and likely wasn't getting much of Apple's business to begin with. Hard drive manufacturers would have been the ones getting the business if Samsung hadn't stepped in and made flash price-competitive. Whether that price competitiveness is real or artificial is the question at stake here.

Re:The Competition That Lost Filed A Complaint (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 8 years ago | (#13756526)

Even if Micron was able to provide able with a good price, would they have been have been able to produce NAND chips in the amounts that Apple needed. Apple has been bitten many times by supply issues, because of suppliers not being able to keep up. The three things that are important, IMO are:
    - price
    - yield
    - product evolution, ie what upgrade is the product going to get

Andre

Wrong monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13755867)

The complaint isn't against Apple. They are allowed have a discount if they want. The potential monopoly is Samsung. Their position within the market is strong enough to start a price war. By cuttings margins (but still covering R&D costs) they can achieve significant economies of scale and price their competitors out of the market for flash. Pretty soon the competitors won't be able to keep up with Samsung and they will cease investing in improving flash to the same extent.

Apple are guarenteeing Samsung sales and removing investment uncertainty. Means that Samsung don't have to worry as much about oversupply. Neither Apple nor Samsung will get into trouble about this but the publicity is doing them great. Anyone who tries arguing that the nano is pricey is gonna look foolish with Apple supposedly selling TOO CHEAPLY.

You can't buy that kind of press!

If this is wong... (1)

stienman (51024) | more than 8 years ago | (#13756092)


If buying flash memory at $10/GB is wrong, I don't want to be right!

Chances are good that it's not Apple that's in trouble with the Korean FTC, it's Samsung. Chances are also good that it's not just this one deal, but this is one deal in many that show Samsung's anticompetitive (as defined by the Korean FTC, keep in mind) practices. And at this point, Apple probably doesn't (and shouldn't) care, other than to make appropiate second sourcing options available to prevent supply line issues. These should already be in place anyway, and perhaps they need to do nothing but wait for the hammer to fall.

-Adam
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