Former U.S. Labor Secretary Defends Apple on Antitrust Issues

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In a widely-publicized blog post today, Robert Reich, who served as U.S. Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, offers his thoughts on the rumored antitrust inquiry being considered by federal regulators over Apple's exclusion of cross-compilers for creation of applications running on its iPhone OS devices. Reich argues that the Federal Trade Commission's efforts targeting Apple could be better spent on investigating Wall Street banks, but federal law excludes the financial industry from the FTC's purview.
Our future well being depends more on people like Steve Jobs who invent real products that can improve our lives, than it does on people like [JPMorgan Chase CEO] Jamie Dimon who invent financial products that do little other than threaten our economy.
Reich's position is that Apple's move is not anti-competitive, with many other companies rapidly innovating in the sector, and if Apple's decision results in less competition on the iPhone platform, Apple itself will be the one to suffer.
Apple's supposed sin was to tell software developers that if they want to make apps for iPhones and iPads they have to use Apple programming tools. No more outside tools (like Adobe's Flash format) that can run on rival devices like Google's Android phones and RIM's BlackBerrys.

What's wrong with that? Apple says it's necessary to maintain quality. If consumers disagree they can buy platforms elsewhere. Apple was the world’s #3 smartphone supplier in 2009, with 16.2 percent of worldwide market share. RIM was #2, with 18.8 percent. Google isn't exactly a wallflower. These and other firms are innovating like mad, as are tens of thousands of independent developers. If Apple's decision reduces the number of future apps that can run on its products, Apple will suffer and presumably change its mind.
While Reich is not the first to make this argument, his public statement comes with the perspective of an academic and political insider who has spent considerable time in the upper reaches of government.

Article Link: Former U.S. Labor Secretary Defends Apple on Antitrust Issues
 

vant

macrumors 65816
Jul 1, 2009
1,231
1
I hate it when people try to regulate.

EX: IE on Windows. You don't like IE? Download FF/Opera/Chrome. Don't force a company to include competitors. Last time I bought it car, I wasn't offered the choice of different engines from different manufacturers.
 

ouimetnick

macrumors 68030
Aug 28, 2008
2,705
2,589
Beverly, Massachusetts
I agree completly. The developers can always make android apps instead. Apple will suffer, because of their rules. But I doubt that will ever happen anyway. By a lot of the apps on the App Store are terrible anyways, so we can blame xcode for that right?
 

pdjudd

macrumors 601
Jun 19, 2007
4,037
65
Plymouth, MN
I hate it when people try to regulate.

EX: IE on Windows. You don't like IE? Download FF/Opera/Chrome. Don't force a company to include competitors. Last time I bought it car, I wasn't offered the choice of different engines from different manufacturers.
The scenario with IT and Windows was a very different situation and is much more complex than that. MS was forcing other OEM vendors with it's OS monopoly from making any private deals with other browser companies and made it impossible to remove IE. That was the basis for the MS anti-trust case. MS was a convicted monopolist.
 

Mattie Num Nums

macrumors 68030
Mar 5, 2009
2,834
0
USA
I hate it when people try to regulate.

EX: IE on Windows. You don't like IE? Download FF/Opera/Chrome. Don't force a company to include competitors. Last time I bought it car, I wasn't offered the choice of different engines from different manufacturers.
Agreed. While I think Apples move is childish, I feel like oh well. At the same time though Apple is a major player and I feel they should be regulated the same as its competitors, or else, deregulate. As humans we can make choices. Don't want iPhone, go by an Android, don't want IE, download FF, want OSX on your PC insta.... whoops.
 

wackymacky

macrumors 68000
Sep 20, 2007
1,535
43
38°39′20″N 27°13′10″W
Gee, I really don't get the American love for anti-trust cases.

For God's sake, if you don't want to play by Apple's rules do something else productive with your life rather than writing iPhone Apps.

If you don't like the iPhone, don't buy one.

If all the world's iPhones vanished overnight, the world wouldn't really be a different place. Our sense of joy and wellbeing would be no less.

(Sent from my iPhone)
 

brownieguy19

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2007
160
0
Why can't we sue Adobe over the fact that you have to use their program to create Flash, anything?!?!?!
 

Mjmar

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2008
1,179
419
I totally agree. There's no case here... If Apple had 99% of the smartphone industry they'd have the power to really ruin adobes business, but they don't! If you're gonna bitch about apples policy then switch. Be glad you have the option.
 

backdraft

macrumors 6502
Nov 4, 2002
329
1
USA
Make Flash without Adobe?

Just out of curiosity but is it possible to make Flash files/animations/air apps without using Adobe Flash/Flash Builder/Flex? Or do I need to use Adobe's Tools for that? Hmm... It is OPEN right? :rolleyes:
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,173
1,181
I hate it when people try to regulate.

EX: IE on Windows. You don't like IE? Download FF/Opera/Chrome. Don't force a company to include competitors. Last time I bought it car, I wasn't offered the choice of different engines from different manufacturers.
There's a lot of misunderstandings on this issue.

Back in the day, web browsers used to be actual boxed products in a store you paid for. This was Netscape's entire business. Most computer companies would bundle Netscape onto their computers. Someone like Dell would pay Netscape $5 a machine or whatever and bundle Netscape. Microsoft decided to compete this by bundling IE with the OS.

None of the above was illegal.

The problem started when Microsoft started to refuse to allow computer manufacturers to sell machines with Windows if they bundled Netscape. For example, if Dell still decided to make a deal to bundle Netscape with their machines even with IE being bundled, Microsoft would threaten to yank their Windows license. This was illegal. Microsoft was trying to use their position as an OS vendor to put Netscape out of business, not just compete with it.

(As a side complaint, Netscape could no longer make deals with computer makers to bundle Netscape as the only pre-installed browser because IE could not be removed, but this was not the main complaint.)
 

MrMcLargeHuge

macrumors newbie
Apr 21, 2010
10
0
What's he talking about?

Ummm...JP Morgan Chase's CEO (Jamie Dimon) is one of the leaders in the financial industry. His company is one of the few who actually became MORE successful during this downturn, as they had nothing to do with it since they made sensible, reasonable investments. He actually swooped in and saved Chase bank, buying them out when they went under. He's one of the best examples of leadership in the financial industry (along with Wells Fargo), so don't trash him, trash the others he bailed out.
 

NebulaClash

macrumors 68000
Feb 4, 2010
1,810
0
Don't worry, Robert Reich will quickly be contradicted by the true anti-trust experts on the Web: MacRumors posters...

...all of whom are merely cheerleading for their side since Apple has not done anything illegal here despite Adobe running to the government to complain.
 

broken-chaos

macrumors regular
Sep 2, 2009
189
0
Toronto, Ontario
Apple's supposed sin was to tell software developers that if they want to make apps for iPhones and iPads they have to use Apple programming tools. No more outside tools (like Adobe's Flash format) that can run on rival devices like Google's Android phones and RIM's BlackBerrys.

What's wrong with that? Apple says it's necessary to maintain quality. If consumers disagree they can buy platforms elsewhere.
Completely missing the point.

First, it's not an issue of consumers being able to buy platforms elsewhere -- this behaviour is disliked because it's anti-developer (multiplying the workload to create a cross-platform application) and anti-competitive (removing some, or all, developers from being able to effectively work on more than a single platform -- Apple's platform), not because of anything directly to do with consumers or consumer choice (only indirectly through the anti-competitive edge).

It's also not necessary to maintain quality. That's a bald-faced lie on Apple's part (and someone formerly in such a position should know better than to take something like that at face value), as they already have stringent requirements on accepting applications (including quality requirements, which are all-too-often disregarded even with 'natively-coded' applications to have quality used as any sort of justification), and due to the ease of creating low-quality applications no matter what tools are used. Quality cannot be measured by choice of programming language.
 

gtsipad

macrumors member
Apr 12, 2010
93
0
Why can't we sue Adobe over the fact that you have to use their program to create Flash, anything?!?!?!
^---- exactly. Pot calling the kettle black. Luv surfing now that i hv the flash blocker on my laptops/desktops and no flash on my ipad
 

Shin3r

macrumors regular
Oct 4, 2007
126
0
Ummm...JP Morgan Chase's CEO (Jamie Dimon) is one of the leaders in the financial industry. His company is one of the few who actually became MORE successful during this downturn, as they had nothing to do with it since they made sensible, reasonable investments. He actually swooped in and saved Chase bank, buying them out when they went under. He's one of the best examples of leadership in the financial industry (along with Wells Fargo), so don't trash him, trash the others he bailed out.
Maybe you should research a bit more. They are the ones who sold their toxic assets under the pretense that they weren't or that there would be a return, which there wasn't. All the while, they knew what they were doing. That's why they have the money to "help" others out, if you want to call it that.
 

Moonjumper

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2009
2,316
2,020
Lincoln, UK
Gee, I really don't get the American love for anti-trust cases.

For God's sake, if you don't want to play by Apple's rules do something else productive with your life rather than writing iPhone Apps.

If you don't like the iPhone, don't buy one.

If all the world's iPhones vanished overnight, the world wouldn't really be a different place. Our sense of joy and wellbeing would be no less.

(Sent from my iPhone)
My iPhone 3G is a brilliant piece of kit, the 3GS even better, and I'm hope the next model will be even more amazing. But that doesn't mean it is perfect. By voicing our opinion we can hopefully get to help Apple make the right decisions for us, their customers.

I am currently developing a game for the iPhone using Unity 3D. Currently I am not sure if that will be allowed to be released.

Unity can be used to make very good games (Apple regularly feature Unity games on the App Store) and very bad games, the same as if doing it with Xcode.

The big difference is that many months and a lot of money writing can be spent on creating a game engine that wouldn't be as good as one that can be bought from Unity for a few hundred dollars, allowing developers to concentrate on being creative.

Apple doesn't need to lock out 3rd party platforms, they can just judge on quality and compatibility. If a particular development platform isn't strong enough, all apps using it would potentially be rejected.
 

scottness

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2009
1,368
3
Room 101
broken-chaos said:
Completely missing the point.

First, it's not an issue of consumers being able to buy platforms elsewhere -- this behaviour is disliked because it's anti-developer (multiplying the workload to create a cross-platform application) and anti-competitive (removing some, or all, developers from being able to effectively work on more than a single platform -- Apple's platform), not because of anything directly to do with consumers or consumer choice (only indirectly through the anti-competitive edge).

It's also not necessary to maintain quality. That's a bald-faced lie on Apple's part (and someone formerly in such a position should know better than to take something like that at face value), as they already have stringent requirements on accepting applications (including quality requirements, which are all-too-often disregarded even with 'natively-coded' applications to have quality used as any sort of justification), and due to the ease of creating low-quality applications no matter what tools are used. Quality cannot be measured by choice of programming language.
Developers don't have to develop for this platform... :rolleyes:
 

theBB

macrumors 68020
Jan 3, 2006
2,453
3
Completely missing the point.

First, it's not an issue of consumers being able to buy platforms elsewhere -- this behaviour is disliked because it's anti-developer (multiplying the workload to create a cross-platform application) and anti-competitive (removing some, or all, developers from being able to effectively work on more than a single platform -- Apple's platform), not because of anything directly to do with consumers or consumer choice (only indirectly through the anti-competitive edge).

It's also not necessary to maintain quality. That's a bald-faced lie on Apple's part (and someone formerly in such a position should know better than to take something like that at face value), as they already have stringent requirements on accepting applications (including quality requirements, which are all-too-often disregarded even with 'natively-coded' applications to have quality used as any sort of justification), and due to the ease of creating low-quality applications no matter what tools are used. Quality cannot be measured by choice of programming language.
No, you are the one missing the point. First of all, the law is designed to protect the customers, not to help some middle man. Besides, iPhone marketshare is small, it is not anywhere close to dominant. If the developers do not have time work on more than one platform, they are free to develop for the more than 80% of the market instead. In addition, the developers who know how to use Apple's development tools will now be more valuable, so it is not anti-developer in general. It is win for some, lose for some.

Let's see about your "bold faced" lie claim: Mobile OS is a fast developing area. Once iPhone OS implements new features, the apps that take advantage of these new features can make a big improvement in quality. If the developers wait another year before Adobe gets around to implementing those features in its development platform, the quality of the apps on iPhone will suffer, in the meantime, does it not? It will also make it much harder for any OS company to make its product distinctive from others if Adobe does not take advantage of new features until most other OS vendors support them. This will reduce the drive to innovate not just for Apple, but for other OS companies as well. The gatekeeper becomes Adobe, not OS vendors. Well, maybe it was not such a lie, was it?
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
People rush to Apple’s defense because of issues like quality and performance of apps. Yes, that’s a factor. (Flash isn’t the only way to make a slow, crashy, battery-hungry mobile app with a non-standard UI, but it could certainly become a major one!)

But people often ignore BIGGEST reason for Apple’s move: because Flash harms Apple’s ability to update their OS, the developer tools (and thus, end-user features) and even the hardware that is tied to the above. This isn’t just a wild fear from Apple: many examples exist in Apple’s past where an outside company delayed or prevented innovations Apple wanted to make.

If Apple can make those innovations freely, we users benefit. If Apple wants to introduce some cool new iPhone feature and can’t because Flash isn’t compatible with it for 3 years, we users lose out.

Would we benefit more from those future innovations? Or from having lots of Flash apps? I tend to prefer the former, but I don’t know. But I do know that I like being able to CHOOSE a platform that opts for the former. I don’t want ALL platforms to be bogged down by Adobe, or I will lose that choice. I hope that choice isn’t taken away from me.

At the same time, I hope Apple’s terms can be flexible when it comes to game engines, because games are not “apps in general.” And looking beyond Flash there are some vital game-development tools that might be lost according to the wording of the new terms. Apple has been flexible in the past, and hopefully will be again here. Hopefully tools like Unity (without which some awesome iPhone games would not exist) will remain.
 

theBB

macrumors 68020
Jan 3, 2006
2,453
3
Ummm...JP Morgan Chase's CEO (Jamie Dimon) is one of the leaders in the financial industry. His company is one of the few who actually became MORE successful during this downturn, as they had nothing to do with it since they made sensible, reasonable investments. He actually swooped in and saved Chase bank, buying them out when they went under. He's one of the best examples of leadership in the financial industry (along with Wells Fargo), so don't trash him, trash the others he bailed out.
JP Morgan and Chase merged a long time ago, not during the last downturn. I don't think Chase was in trouble when they merged. If you know a source that says otherwise, please provide a link. They bought Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns during the last recession, maybe you are thinking of them.

Based on a Fortune magazine article I've read, JP Morgan CEO was smart enough to see that real estate market was crashing and managed to get out in time unlike many others. It was good management and he should be applauded for that. Still, there were many investors and publications publicly proclaiming that the prices were unsustainable during that time, so he was not the only smart dude in the field. In any case, I don't think he bailed out anybody, in most cases the government supplied vast guarantees against the losses of the banks going under.
 
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