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By Thomas Baekdal - February 2011

Apple thy name is Ebenezer Scrooge

The first article in my stream this morning was "Apple Moves to Tighten Control of App Store." It explains how "Apple rejected Sony's iPhone application, which would have let people buy and read e-books bought from the Sony Reader Store."

This is following the very clear trend that Apple is closing down their app store. We have seen it with how they reject apps that in some way compete with Apple, how they are demanding that the media industry pay Apple a 30% tax, and how they impose restrictions that limit media companies to just one platform. And now this.

I'm sorry Apple, I love your products. I own pretty much every thing you have ever made. I been using Apple computers since 1997. Compared to other platforms, they are fricking awesome. But what you are doing with the App store is insane, mind boggling, monopolistic greedy behavior.

And it is illegal! least in this part of the world, but probably also in the US.

You are not allowed to use your monopoly to enhance your own product. Keep in mind that by blocking direct purchases via 3rd party app stores, Apple's own eBookstore will be the only app store where you can buy books with one click. That is anti-competitive to the extreme.

It is even worse for the media industry, whose very future depends on a multi-device strategy. People are not going to like being restricted to just the iPad. That is the old world, before the internet. People use 2.4 devices, and only some of them are from Apple. Requiring that you buy a separate subscription for the iPad, would be a disastrous move for media companies.

Apple needs to be sued by the Department of Justice. I have no problem with Apple creating the app store and forcing some restrictions within it. The problem is that they force us to use it and prevents other app stores (or direct app installs). It is fine that App developers have to pay Apple a 30% tax on all apps in the App store, but it is anti-competitive, when they, at the same time, block other distribution channels.

Try this. Head over to Wikipedia, and find the article about the anti-trust lawsuit between the US Government and Microsoft (over the anti-competitive nature of Microsoft vs. Netscape), and then replace the words with Apple.

Here is the converted introduction:

Apple abused monopoly power on Mac OS based phones and tablets in its handling of device sales and application sales. The issue central to the case was whether Apple was allowed to bundle its flagship iTunes App Store software with its iOS operating system. Bundling them together is alleged to have been responsible for Apple's victory in the mobile application wars as every iPad user and developer were required to use the App Store.
It was further alleged that this unfairly restricted the market for competing app stores. Underlying these disputes were questions over whether Apple altered or manipulated its application programming interfaces (APIs) to restrict the iTunes App Store over third party App stores, Apple's conduct in forming restrictive licensing agreements with 3rd party developers, and Apple's intent in its course of conduct."
"Apple stated that the merging of iTunes App Store was the result of innovation and competition, that the two were now the same product and were inextricably linked together and that consumers were now getting all the benefits of iTunes. Those who opposed Apple's position countered that the App Store was still a distinct and separate product which did not need to be tied to the operating system, since a separate version of the App Store was available for jailbreaked devices.

With Microsoft vs. Netscape we still had a choice. It was still a disaster for Netscape, but we could always just download Netscape. We see the same pattern with the iPad, but we are not given a choice. We can't download Sony's ebookstore directly.

Apple's lust for money has turned them into Ebenezer Scrooge. Where are the three Ghosts when you need them?

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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