Daniel Eran Dilger
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Adobe’s Flash monopoly game against Apple

Daniel Eran Dilger

Quick, name the vendor who claims 96% saturation of the market for dynamic media content. No, not just “market share,” but ubiquitous ownership of the means of distribution of nearly all Internet video, rich Internet apps, and Farmville. Answer: Adobe. Now name the company that is exercising its monopoly position to prevent competition within the market for dynamic web content. Answer: also Adobe.

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So why is Adobe, a shameless proprietary monopolist of the world’s noncommercial web platform (that was intended to be free and open through the use of openly documented standards any vendor can implement on the server or client side), complaining about Apple in antitrust investigations?

The case of the story that wasn’t there

Well it could be that is simply isn’t, and sloppy journalists have just ratcheted a rumor into a snowballing story about an antitrust investigation that simply never occurred.

It certainly wouldn’t make any sense for the DOJ to be investigating whether Apple owns so much of its own “market” for making apps for its smartphone that intervention is needed to make sure Adobe can inject its monopoly status into Apple’s business model in order to profit from work Apple has done, despite Adobe not ever having delivered a Flash player that could even work on Apple’s iPhone models.

Recall that the US government hasn’t seemed to be too worried about the fact that Microsoft still monopolizes the market for PC operating systems a decade after the company was found to be illegally abusing its position, and despite executive’s recent comments that they planned to use the company’s market position to raise prices across the industry for netbooks with the release of Windows 7.

Nor has the DOJ seemed too very concerned about Google’s near total ownership of the world’s paid search and web advertising market. Nor has it stepped in to do much about any other number of competition-threatening situations where one company controls the entire world’s markets for some product or service. So the idea seeded by the New York Post via comments attributed to ghosts seems very suspect.

Microsoft plans to use Windows 7 to raise netbook prices

The case of the monopoly that wasn’t there

Apple doesn’t even have a plurality of market share amongst smartphones, being the third largest platform by unit sales (behind Nokia and RIM). Even if that were to change, and Apple were to become the world’s largest smartphone maker, it would need to ramp up its production massively to gain the kind of market-dominating share that Microsoft and Adobe exercise over PCs and web content (and would have to destroy a number of entrenched competitors while also completely holding back new contenders such as Android and HP-Palm).

This is sort of like worrying that Honda is suddenly going to take over the entire world’s car market just because it is currently making some popular cars. There is rich and varied competition among smartphones, just as there is among automakers.

Even in markets where Apple has dominated sales, it has not done so in a way that prevents rivals from introducing new products to the market. So while the iPod has maintained a 70% or more share of all MP3 players for years, it didn’t (and couldn’t) stop Sony, Microsoft, and a variety of others from bringing alternatives to market and gaining shelf space, even if those rivals were not ultimately successful in selling their products.

The problem with monopoly platforms like Windows and Flash isn’t that they are popular, but that they prevent competition, due to significant barriers of entry that stop competition in its tracks. Apple does not spread its iPhone OS across the entire market; it’s only used in Apple’s own products. That means any other vendor can launch its own competitive product.

Apple also has no control over how smartphones are sold. It does not have bundling deals with the world’s mobile providers that prevent Palm or HTC or LG or anyone else from selling their products. In contrast, no alternative PC operating system vendor could ever manage to poke a hole through the OEM contracts Microsoft uses to prevent competition among PC makers, and even Microsoft is finding it difficult to duplicate (with Silverlight) the position of control Adobe has exercised over the web’s dynamic content. Flash is entrenched, and has been for nearly 15 years now. It is a monopoly.

Flash Wars: Adobe in the History and Future of Flash

What would competition look like?

Whether or not Adobe has actually tried to push regulators to force Apple to use Flash, the company has gone on a PR offensive that accuses Apple of standing in the way of choice and open competition. But really, how does one compete against a monopoly other than to offer an alternative?

Apple knows how to take on monopolies. It resurrected QuickTime in the late 90s (under criminal threats by Microsoft that demanded it take the product off the market to avoid competition with Microsoft’s own media playback ambitions) and then completely annihilated Microsoft’s plot to cover the world in Windows Media. It leveraged the iPod to slay Microsoft’s attempts to kill MP3 and replace it with a monoculture of DRM. It developed iTunes to create a vibrant marketplace that ate its way right into the heart of Microsoft’s Windows monopoly, displacing the company’s own media player. And it defended its new iPod turf against Microsoft’s efforts to tie the Zune to its Windows monopoly.

Apple broke the back of Microsoft’s monopoly (in a way no other vendor had managed to do) by refusing to license Microsoft’s technology and instead delivering an alternative that the market judged to be better. Windows Enthusiasts like to scream this is all a ruse and that Apple is really exercising some voodoo witchcraft through marketing that just fools people into buying its alternative products, but that’s because they can’t handle the painful truth that they’re all just shills for a mediocre monopolist they view as a hero for cheating its way to the top rather than winning in the market.

Apple then repeated the same strategy in introducing the iPhone and completely destroying any remaining interest in Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform. And over the past decade, Apple has also usurped Microsoft’s position as the leader in PC operating systems by revitalizing Mac sales and stealing all of the most profitable and attractive market segments away from PC makers. Nobody can now talk about Windows Vista/7 without mentioning Mac OS X.

Mac Office, $150 Million, and the Story Nobody Covered
Microsoft’s Plot to Kill QuickTime

Competition with Flash

How would one expect this company to take on Flash? By licensing Adobe’s technology and spreading it? No, by developing alternatives that expose Flash as being unnecessary and unworthy of its current status. Apple’s been doing this expertly since the iPhone was released in 2007. While there are still reasons why people might want to view Flash content, Apple has beaten Adobe’s monopoly position down to a frail competitor that is weak enough to garner pity from people who don’t really understand what’s going on.

That’s competition. Apple didn’t lock Adobe out of the market by colluding with other vendors in a non-competitive pact; it didn’t spread out a broadly licensed platform that robbed Adobe of outlets to market its product. In fact, Adobe still claims Flash support from all of the major smartphone vendors, from Nokia’s Symbian to Microsoft’s upcoming WP7 to Google’s Android 2.2 to RIM’s forthcoming BlackBerry OS 6 to Palm’s webOS.

Adobe’s crying that Apple should be forced by the government to not compete against it is absolutely absurd, and all of the pundits lining up to dish this particularly stupid story have stripped themselves of their own journalistic integrity.

Why Steve Jobs Loves Adobe Flash
Five Tremendous Apple vs. Adobe Flash Myths

  • petemonsy

    @ChuckO
    hahaha you’re right he is a troll. I am getting tired of this whole Adobe cry baby situation, Adobe you been banned, you still have other Android, Palm and WinMobile… move on…

  • donarb

    Oh look. This is the whole reason for Jobs’ post about Flash last week, and about preventing third parties from having control over your (Apple’s) platform. It also is the reason that I posted the clip from YouTube yesterday showing Flash crashing on an Android tablet “prototype”.

    http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/mobile-devices/2010/05/05/smartbooks-have-been-delayed-by-flash-issues-says-arm-40088854/

  • md5sum

    @Player-16

    In reference to post 39, it took you over 1.5 hrs to make your post? Post 28 was at 10:33p, your post was at 12:09a.

    Yes, you are under contract with Apple when you submit apps to the App Store, obviously what you’re missing is that there’s a question to the legality of that contract. It doesn’t matter who signs the contract, an illegal contract is still illegal. Your analogy is very twisted. I’m really not even sure how you might see that as any sort of valid comparison.

    @pa — It’s not about monopoly or market position, as I’ve repeatedly stated.

    @ChuckO — Thanks for the sentiment! :P

    @kerryb

    Apple has for a long time had a policy against interpreted languages (Flash, Perl, Python, etc.). Adobe’s CS5 didn’t produce interpreted script, but an actual compiled application that runs natively on the iPhone. It’s not running through the Flash interpreter.

    @even

    You’re thinking of a “government monopoly”, which is a specific set of monopolies created by the government for a specific purpose.

    @tundraboy

    I’ve not stated, and in fact have several times attempted to show that, they contract has not been shown to be illegal yet, but rather is under investigation for the possibility of such. If Apple can lay out specific quality guidelines, I know of no law that would stop them from specifically excluding a company’s products by name. However, by being so generic in their contract as to exclude any language for which they do not create a compiler, they’ve gone far enough to warrant an investigation. And with the quality issues, Apple has every right to deny Adobe the ability to place a plugin on the iPhoneOS. However, there are others, such as MonoTouch, which are also effected by this verbiage which do not run through an interpreter, and have always had the highest standards of code quality and efficiency.

  • Player-16

    @even “A monopoly is created by the government, when a company is made, by force of law, the exclusive provider of a product or service.”
    even, when you do such a large spill and you end it with a book author ‘Walter Block’s Defending the Undefendable’, you sound like a promotion (tool). The thing is, when you venture in life, you must expand your horizons more. Don’t be dependent on the writing of one book. Find out ‘why’ Mr. Block says the things he says. Look in the index. See if anyone else has similar views and where he got his info: you have the interweb… use it and the library.
    So, you do know Wiki is accessible and you can change/put things in it at your leisure. I’ll ask you this: did you go to Wiki and contribute and/or changed the definition of ‘Monopoly’ since it was ‘wrong’? Please let us know.

  • gslusher

    @even

    “Microsoft doesn’t have a monopoly in PC operating systems or in anything else (and never did have)…”

    The Federal court said that Microsoft not only had a monopoly, but an illegal monopoly.

    http://money.cnn.com/1999/11/05/technology/microsoft_finding/

    Of course, it’s possible that you are smarter and know more about the law than the judge in the Microsoft case. The point is that, here, “monopoly” is a LEGAL term and the definition that applies is that used by the US courts.

  • Steve Sabol

    Question of ignorance: Do the video game console companies (Nintendo, Sony, MS) allow multiple dev platforms for their consoles?

  • md5sum

    @Steve Sabol

    There are several platforms by which you can build games for consoles. I remember one, specifically that allowed cross compiling for 3 or 4 of the more popular game consoles (including on version of the xbox, playstation, pc, and I think it was n64, but I’m not sure), but I fail to recall the name. I believe it was the platform used to create GTA3 though, if anyone cares to verify.

  • addicted44

    @stormj: You nailed the crux of the issue. Defining what is a market. If the governments choose to define the App Store as a market unto itself, then Apple definitely has anti-trust issues (quite clearly, it has a monopoly there).

    However, that would put the anti-trust regulators in a very awkward position. Because companies like Sony, Nintendo, and MS will definitely bat for Apple, since that would mean they have been exercising illegal monopolistic practices in their gaming console markets for decades.

  • beanie

    Daniel Eran Dilger wrote:
    “Adobe, a shameless proprietary monopolist of the world’s noncommercial web platform”

    Daniel knows that in 1998 the Open Screen Project released the SWF aka Flash specification for unrestricted use. Anyone can make their own Flash player. If Apple wants to, they can make their own player or implement Flash into WebKit. If HTML5 is meant to replace Flash they should just implement the whole SWF specification.

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/05/07/flash_wars_adobe_fights_for_air_with_the_open_screen_project_part_3_of_3.html

    http://www.openscreenproject.org/about/publications.html

    [Allowing some limited access to the Flash file format does not mean that Adobe does not own Flash, nor that it is promoting an alternative to true open web standards that are approved by a group of companies, and not solely run by Adobe. The QuickTime file format is publicly documented, but that doesn’t mean QuickTime is an open standard that is not proprietary to Apple.

    Also, the main problem with Flash is that it is inappropriate for the modern web, so Apple doing all the work to implement its own version of Flash that could possibly render some portion of the existing Flash content in the wild would not do any good.

    Apple previously worked with Adobe to incorporate Flash into QuickTime 4, so it’s not like Apple does not know what is involved. It knows all too well what the problems are, which is why it is not falling for Adobe’s OSP trap and is working with legitimate web developers to create open standards for the web instead – Dan]

  • Player-16

    @md5sum:
    I do have another life down here in Aussieland. I can instantly put this machine to sleep and come back without a worry. Indeed, you are a troll if you’re commenting about a fuckin’ clock! Illegal contract? First you talk about Apple’s anti-competitive contracts, then you talk about the legality of Apple’s contract, now you’re saying it’s an illegal contract and you’re telling ‘tundra boy’ the “contract has not been shown to be illegal yet, but rather is under investigation for the possibility of such.” Look, I’m sorry that I responded to you. Your multiple innuendoes of ‘Apple’s out to kill Adobe hit-man gangsta Contracts which goes against the Sherman Antitrust Act (blah, blah, blah)’ just seemed too tempting to ignore; I responded (duh!) So all +200,000 almost 2 year old Apple Apps that no-one suspected (even the outfit that flipped $100 million towards Apple) are under an illegal contract or ‘not been shown to be illegal yet, but rather is under investigation for the possibility of such’ or anti-competitive contracts or the questionable legality of those contracts. And you say my analogy is very twisted?
    Respond if you like but one thing most of us do know…
    You’re so full of shit!

  • http://wanderbook.com eddieclay

    An excellent post.

  • MikieV

    @ md5sum

    Thank You, sir or madam, for taking the time to write such a lengthy replay to my comment. Seriously. No sarcasm. It is obvious to me you gave my question serious consideration, and I appreciate that.

    I just disagree with your assertion: “This prevents a large number of developers from being able to deploy their applications to the largest mobile application market place. ”

    I keep seeing the word “prevent” or “prevents” used when people are trying to explain why they believe Apple’s actions in this matter are – or should be – grounds for the authorities to intervene.

    I just checked the online Merriam-Webster definition of the word, and it doesn’t conflict with what I thought the word meant. :)

    I don’t think Apple is “preventing” anyone from writing apps, they are just making it more difficult to do so – for those who don’t already have experience with the authorized tools/formats, at any rate.

    I see it more as they have raised a “barrier to entry” for software authors, so that the ones who are dependent on 3rd-party tools are at a definite disadvantage in bringing their products into Apple’s market.

    The only way I can see the investigation going in Adobe’s favor is if it is found that Apple is being found to be selective in its enforcement of the agreement: as in rejecting apps written with CS5 Flash, but accepting apps written with other frameworks that don’t meet the stated standars of acceptance.

  • JohnWatkins

    md5sum
    –“I’m happy for you learning to program. You’ll fit right in, seeing that you can’t spell.”–
    (Spelling errors? None in my post (surprisingly!))

    –“Maybe you’ll make some more spam apps that serve no purpose and crash frequently for the App Store that Apple will happily accept because they were written in an approved language.”–
    Recent projects have centered on research for rehabilitation applications — iPhone/iPod/Mac/Wii apps that assist disabled people in various ways (from rehab to daily activities.)

    –“I would like to apologize. While it may have been amusing, my statement was very much out of line, and that’s not the reason that I comment here. I applaud you for learning something new, and wish you the best of luck at it. At a very minimum you’re at least attempting something that likely few who post here have.”–
    Perhaps you are easily amused?
    While an apology might be appropriate, I think you have the wrong idea about me. I’m not a coder, but I’ve actually been planning UI and UX for applications on a variety platforms for a about 10 years. My involvement with software isn’t new, I just work from a broad and user-centered, rather than from a code-centered, point of view.

  • JohnWatkins

    Obiwan,
    My point is that using Objective-C and X-Tools on the rapidly evolving iPhone platform makes it much easier to quickly and efficiently negotiate updates of the application, the OS, and the hardware.

    Apple has a strategy of focusing their efforts for efficiency. This is especially true for their development tools. They can’t optimize every technology development for every choice of programming language. Developers can follow their own path, but only at the risk of losing out on technologies like Grand Central Dispatch, Core animation, etc. or becoming reliant on third parties to deliver fixes or access to features.

    This benefits all developers, not just the 11-year-olds. :-)

  • Zeta2099

    Again guys… stop feeding the troll… ><

  • Zeta2099

    It’s like when “oh no Obama isn’t even a born american!!” Showing the Birth certificate won’t change their minds… (is a monopoly cause i BELIEVE in it)…. Rats I’m doing the same, am I not? XD

  • http://www.yale.edu/chinesemac/index.html TenThousandThings

    @md5sum, et al.

    There is a lot of confusion above about this, and I can’t say I’ve read every word of every comment. But doesn’t it come down to the “Adobe® Flash® Builder™ 4” application (bundled with CS5) itself and what it does?

    As I understand it, it is (or, rather, was, since Adobe will not continue to develop it) a compiler. You write your application using the Flash tools and languages and then Adobe compiles your code for the iPhone/iPad (cross-platform, my ass). Apple simply doesn’t want third-party compilers being used. I’m not sure why that is, but I tend to think it is meaningful when Jobs says Apple has decades of experience with this problem (third-party compilers) that it doesn’t want to repeat. I sense that is shorthand for an entire legal argument in support of this restriction.

    I doubt that anything will come of this — it would seem that Adobe requested a review of the law from the appropriate branch of the government, but it’s very a dubious proposition to suggest the New York Post knows any more than that.

  • NormM

    @Daniel, excellent article. It would be very ironic for Adobe to try to use their “importance to developers” (read, monopoly position) to get the government to coerce Apple to help maintain that monopoly — using antitrust law as the vehicle.

    @md5sum, I interpret your declining to claim any legal expertise in antitrust law to mean that you are simply highly opinionated. I am not any sort of a lawyer, but I don’t understand how it could be illegal for a publisher (or even for the biggest publisher in the world) to say they only publish books written in English, and refuse to accept works that are mechanically translated from other languages. This is a contract term that their authors are forced to agree to to do business with them, but has a clear and understandable business rationale.

  • gslusher

    @md5sum

    “No thanks, I’ll decline to produce my credentials at this time.”

    Which, of course, means that you have none to produce. If you WERE an attorney, you would 1) admit it and 2) have written your “arguments” very differently. (Most attorneys are not so definite/absolute in their opinions.)

    The dead giveaway, though, about your lack of expertise (even less than many laymen) is that you talk only about the Sherman Antitrust act (in part, cherry-picking what you like), but seem totally unaware that, in the US, the law isn’t just what Congress wrote but what the courts have said it is. Did you review all–or even ANY–court decisions relating to antitrust law, especially where the court defined “monopoly,” “market,” “anti-competitive,” etc? I didn’t think so.

  • commun5

    Thank you, gslusher, for correcting md5sum’s outrageous interpretation of the scope of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Now here is some legal discussion from the US 2nd Circuit Court decision in K.M.B. Warehouse Distributors v. Walker Manufacturing, 1995: I. Actual Adverse Effect on Competition

    Under § 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, “[e]very contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal.” 15 U.S.C. § 1. KMB alleges that defendants violated § 1 by stifling service and price competition in the Tri-state market for exhaust products. We analyze this sort of allegedly anticompetitive practice — a vertical conspiracy that does not involve price-fixing — according to the “rule of reason.” See Continental T.V., Inc. v. GTE Sylvania, Inc. , 433 U.S. 36, 59 (1977). Under this rule, “the factfinder weighs all of the circumstances of a case in deciding whether a restrictive practice should be prohibited.” Id. at 49.

    Establishing a violation of the rule of reason involves three steps. “[P]laintiff bears the initial burden of showing that the challenged action has had an actual adverse effect on competition as a whole in the relevant market . . . .” Capital Imaging Assocs., P.C. v. Mohawk Valley Medical Assocs. , 996 F.2d 537, 543 (2d Cir.), cert. denied , 114 S. Ct. 388 (1993). If the plaintiff succeeds, the burden shifts to the defendant to establish the “pro-competitive ´redeeming virtues'” of the action. Id. Should the defendant carry this burden, the plaintiff must then show that the same pro-competitive effect could be achieved through an alternative means that is less restrictive of competition. Id. ; Bhan v. NME Hosps., Inc. , 929 F.2d 1404, 1413 (9th Cir.), cert. denied , 502 U.S. 994 (1991).

    A. The Test for Proving Adverse Effect

    The district court in this case concluded that KMB failed to meet its initial burden of showing an “actual adverse effect on competition as a whole in the relevant market.” In order to fulfill this requirement, the plaintiff must show more than just that he was harmed by defendants’ conduct. See Oreck Corp. v. Whirlpool Corp. , 579 F.2d 126, 133-34 (2d Cir.) (That another customer of the defendant convinced the defendant to cease dealings with plaintiff did not suffice to show anti-competitive effect.), cert. denied , 439 U.S. 946 (1978); Brunswick Corp. v. Pueblo Bowl-O-Mat, Inc. , 429 U.S. 477, 488 (1977) (“The antitrust laws . . . were enacted for ´the protection of competition not competitors .'” (citation omitted)). Therefore, that KMB may have lost a potentially lucrative contract with Walker is not sufficient to state a cognizable antitrust claim.

    To prevail on a § 1 claim, a plaintiff must also show more than just an adverse effect on competition among different sellers of the same product (“intrabrand” competition), in this case Walker exhaust equipment. See Borger v. Yamaha Int’l Corp. , 625 F.2d 390, 397 (2d Cir. 1980) (reversible error to instruct the jury to find defendant liable “solely on the basis of a purpose to restrict intrabrand competition, without any finding of either a purpose or effect related to interbrand competition”). Restrictions on intrabrand competition can actually enhance market-wide competition by fostering vertical efficiency and maintaining the desired quality of a product. See Continental T.V. , 433 U.S. at 54 -55 & n.23; Eiberger v. Sony Corp. of Am. , 622 F.2d 1068, 1075-76 (2d Cir. 1980). Because the focus of our inquiry is the relevant market as a whole, restriction of intrabrand competition must be balanced against any increases in interbrand competition. Eiberger , 622 F.2d at 1076; Copy-Data Sys., Inc. v. Toshiba Am., Inc. , 663 F.2d 405, 411 (2d Cir. 1981). The overarching standard is whether defendants’ actions “diminish overall competition, and hence consumer welfare.” Graphic Prods. Distribs. v. Itek Corp. , 717 F.2d 1560, 1571, 1573 (11th Cir. 1983).

  • Ringgo

    @ 69gslusher
    @70commun5

    Very good.

    Never mind, trolls. Ask yourself this: do you care about innovation, about law, about fairness, or is it just about—somehow—YOU winning in some way?

    Just wondering.

  • Player-16

    @Ringgo
    Innovation is good, fairness and laws go hand-in-hand somewhat. But when that’s done I win!

  • ShabbaRanks

    Thank you to Commun5 and TundraBoy. I found your posts enlightening and well considered.

    The fact is we don’t know if this is anti-competitive or not (even though I find it hard to see how defining a development environment for the benefit of the platform could be).

    The burden is on those with interest to show it is AND is unreasonable. I know US Law is laughed at by those over here in the old world (for reasons I’m too lazy to go into) but it’s great to see common sense law like this exists.

  • G4Dualie

    Thank you, Daniel.

  • http://www.asia2home.com IndeFactable

    @shadash
    “The only thing Apple is preventing is Flash on their own phone. ”

    Once Apple have sold the phone to me, then I should be able to add the applications that I wish. Instead, using Apples poor we are defending your Apple experience excuse, I can only have what Steve Jobs or his minions declare is suitable for me. I am gen 1 Touch owner, but as the Apple rules get more restrictive, I cannot see myself upgrading any time soon.

    [Sorry buddy, but your 1st Generation iPod touch won’t run the beta-level, Flash 10.1 because Adobe needs at least a 2009 or later Cortex A8 to run their mobile Flash platform. You’ll need to upgrade in order to play Farmville – Dan]

  • mrakhoover

    What everyone seems to be forgetting is it’s Apple’s Store. They can stock whatever they want. They can refuse some software for whatever reason they choose. They don’t have to give a reason. Just like any other shop/store on the high street.

    I could work for months/years on a new product, put my house up for security etc. But then find I cannot get a major dept. store or supermarket to stock it. I have no right to make them stock it it they don’t want to and they don’t even have to give me a reason. Have I wasted my time? May be, if I give up on it. However I have other choices if I believe in my product. My I could try some local store, car boot sales, open my own store, ebay etc.

    In exactly the same way that software developers have other platforms they could develop for if they can’t get into the Apple Store. It may be more work for them, not what they initially wanted, but life’s tough sometimes. Remember there is a huge market for iPhone apps on jailbroken iPhones.

    Also. If you are an iPhone owner and don’t like Apple “restricting” your choice of software or carrier, jailbreak it. It’s not difficult and it’s your phone after all.

    I don’t get why people think the market for software should be any different to the market for other goods.

  • even

    @Daniel re comment 45

    “A monopoly is simply control of a market by a single party.”

    Yes, and that control is only possible with government intervention. Who else can make it unlawful for competitors interested in that market to offer their wares to the public?

    [No it’s not. Are you unaware of the concept of fraud? That’s what individuals and companies do when there’s no rule of law to prevent them from doing it. Anyone with enough power uses it to prevent others from gaining power. In some cases, it is necessary for the people (that is, their government) to stop this from happening. The government acts as a power to check corporate power. This contention is as necessary and essential as competition among companies, and is necessary and essential to maintain competitive markets. – Dan]

    If by control of a market you mean anything less than the power to keep competitors out, then that control is no control at all. Take Adobe, you say it claims 96% of the market for dynamic media content, and has a monopoly position. How does this alleged “monopoly position” help Adobe prevent competition, when it doesn’t prevent the rise of HTML5 or others? It doesn’t seem to be helping at all, and Adobe’s market share must be shrinking by the day. Perhaps that is why Adobe apparently ran crying to the government and asked it to clobber Apple for them.

    So how exactly is Adobe “exercising its monopoly position to prevent competition”?

    [Having a monopoly doesn’t mean you necessarily have the brains and or desire to maintain it. It means you have the power to abuse your position to prevent competitive markets from functioning. And if you exercise that power to prevent competition, the government is obliged in some cases to stop you. That’s why we have anti-trust laws. Duh.]

    ps. your articles used to point out the fallacies concocted by Apple’s competitors to mislead the public. Now you’re mostly repeating the twisted nonsense that the people running the state use to keep us confused and fighting one another while they pick our pockets. This doesn’t benefit anyone, not even the parasites when the economy finally dies.

    [Well I don’t subscribe to the post-Obama government panic because I’m not a racist rich old person fearing change. The government was far more of a threat when Cheney was in charge and citizens were being tortured rather than being accorded Constitutional due process. It is the deregulation you appear to be advocating that resulted in the banks collapsing, the coal mines collapsing, and the offshore oil rigs collapsing. The lack of government you appear to be advocating is also the reason for FEMA collapsing, freeway bridges collapsing, and any progress on energy sources (other than oil enriching Venezualan Communists and Saudi fundamentalist extremists) collapsing under Bush. Stop fearing, start thinking critically. – Dan]

  • stormj

    @even

    No, it isn’t. You’re confusing a utility, something that the government historically created to handle natural monopolies and non-natural monopolies.

    I know you’re a troll, but you’re also talking out of your ass.

    A natural monopoly has to do with entry barriers. It just costs too much money to even get in. Historical examples include bridges, grain elevators, and landline telephone. Getting the easements to put wire to everyone’s house is prohibitive, so the government regulates the situtation since no one can compete.

    This is an entirely different species than what antitrust law usually deals with. But one party controlling something you’ve arbitrarily dubbed a market doesn’t make it subject to that law.

    This distinction is the tell when an IT guy is posing as a lawyer.

    Fwiw, I am licensed to practice law in California, Minnesota, and England & Wales. I have practiced trade secret and state-level unfair competition law, but not antitrust, my entire career. So, I’m not an expert, but I know a shmuck when i see one.

  • gslusher

    @even, comment 77

    “Yes, and that control is only possible with government intervention.”

    That bit of sophistry (like md5sum’s) clearly shows that you don’t know what you’re talking about. In this context, “monopoly” is a legal term, subject to the definition and interpretations found in laws and court decisions. Perhaps you were asleep when it was announced that a Federal judge had declared that Microsoft was an “illegal monopoly.”

  • http://mrbitch.tumblr.com/ mrBitch

    @ Dan, RE:
    [Sorry buddy, but your 1st Generation iPod touch won’t run the beta-level, Flash 10.1 because Adobe needs at least a 2009 or later Cortex A8 to run their mobile Flash platform. You’ll need to upgrade in order to play Farmville – Dan]

    Very good point.

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  • GeorgeFromNY

    Dan,

    “Windows Enthusiasts like to scream this is all a ruse and that Apple is really exercising some voodoo witchcraft through marketing that just fools people into buying its alternative products, but that’s because they can’t handle the painful truth that they’re all just shills for a mediocre monopolist they view as a hero for cheating its way to the top rather than winning in the market.”

    Heh. Well put.

    Thought you might enjoy – in a so-bad-it’s-good way – this little bit from Paul Thurrott:

    http://community.winsupersite.com/blogs/paul/archive/2010/04/26/dvorak-is-right-and-microsoft-is-wrong.aspx

    I quote:

    “And if you’re looking to copy Apple’s success — and you are — then at least do it right. It’s not about the products at all. What Apple does right is marketing.”

    Wow. How could any tech-savvy industry watcher write such nonsense? Following on your remarks, I have an idea.

    MS Windows runs 90+ percent of PCs. It is to desktop computing what the Bell System was to telephony.

    There are various reasons for this which hardly need reviewing here. What is significant is that design and functional excellence are not and never were among them.

    Windows wasn’t very good back when MS cranked it out in the early 80s as a panicked response to work at Apple & Digital Research (GEM).
    While it has gotten better, it has always been inferior to contemporary GUI alternatives. Well, inferior except in one regard: Installed base and the attendant availability of software.

    “We make better stuff. Our stuff is better!”
    (Steve Jobs, Pirates of Silicon Valley)

    “That. Doesn’t. Matter.”
    (Bill Gates, same movie)

    Bill was right. It didn’t. MS defeated Apple for reasons other than, indeed in spite of, technical merit.

    Thus did the making of “better stuff” come to be seen as tangential or even irrelevant to software and OS success. MS would go on to demonstrate this time and again. MS used DOS (no technical masterpiece, either) to boost Windows and then leveraged the dominance of Windows for Office, IE, etc.

    At no point did MS earn any of this through making, as it were, “better stuff.” Shrewd business dealing, outmaneuvering competitors, volume licensing, knowing when to jump ship away from IBM… sure, plenty of that. (Also lawbreaking, but that’s another post.)

    So here we are, 2010, and Apple has roared back from its darkest days in the mid 1990s to enjoy tremendous success, with no end in sight.

    Windows folks like Thurrott look at this and think, “Well, it can’t be because they’re making ‘better stuff.’ Redmond has been grinding challengers into powder for decades; ‘better stuff’ never helped any of them. What is Jobs’ secret? What is Apple doing right THIS time?”

    “Aha,” he concludes, “‘Marketing!”

    And so it goes.

  • enzos

    Excellent post, George (which is to say, my thoughts exactly! ). From your sign off I’m guessing another fan of the late, great Kurt Vonnegut (?)

    Enz

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