Is Apple at risk of antitrust?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by al1cre, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. al1cre macrumors member

    May 31, 2008
    For those that love it when an Apple competitor goes down...

    If Apple

    1) Continues to maintain an 80% + market share for tablets

    2) As reported, Apple continues to contract for such a high volumes of parts that it makes them scarce for competitors

    3) Continues to sue every competitor to prevent them from releasing a product

    Can't a case start to be made for monopoly status against Apple? People screamed for Microsoft to be broken up and they didn't even make hardware.

    (Just trying to start a topic that isn't asking for next gen rumors, slamming Android, or just announcing how wonderful Apple is :) )

  2. HitchHykr macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2007
    Unless tablets become vital or an important part of the economy, any particular company having a monopoly is not an issue. I don't think that having to use an iPad to play Angry Birds keeps the regulators awake at night...:rolleyes:
  3. al1cre thread starter macrumors member

    May 31, 2008
    It depends on the administration and who their friends are more than any specific definition of how vital it is. Whoever is on top of a market is usually in the crosshairs.
  4. Bluemeanie1976 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 1, 2009
    Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
    Consumers are free to choose whichever tablet they wish to.
    Apple has to buy lots of stuff to make lots of tablets.
    They sue this who infringe on what they perceive to be their copyright, patents, etc, as they'd to apple.

    That is far from monopoly. They are not limiting the market of tablets.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I don't believe its against the law to be popular, even at 80% the consumer does have viable alternatives.

    They are suing only those competitors that have using Apple's intellectual property.

    The difference between apple and ms is that MS controlled the industry setting the price and acted in ways that prevented in competition. Right now apple is succeeding on the merit of their products and not due to dirty tricks.
  6. MathiasVH macrumors regular

    Nov 7, 2009
    Apple is definitely challenged by their increasing market share. I've had Apple-products for years, but only because so far, they have been able to "think differently". Even though I really admire Apple's ability to stay innovative, I think it's hard for any successful company to stay this way (Why change something that (really!!) works?).
  7. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    Apple is unlikely to face anti-trust action, either in Europe or the United States, so long as it does not engage in illegal behavior.

    Monopolies are generally not per se illegal. Conversely, if you had 5 competitors, each with a 20% marketshare, it would be illegal if they conspired or otherwise colluded on such things as pricing or distribution.

    Secondly, in no jurisdiction is it considered "anti-competitive" or "illegal" to assert one's IP rights in Court. (This is one of the fundamental errors made by the cabal of Applehaters who seem to haunt every Samsung thread on the forum.) If Apple made a habit of filing lawsuits that were adjudged to be frivolous that would be different. But "frivolous" has a fairly steep legal standard to prove.

    Apple's control over strategic components is, of all the things the OP mentioned, the one that might, possibly, lead to Anti-Trust or Anti-Competitive actions. Apple is certainly allowed to own stakes in, and make investments in, companies that supply things like batteries, screens, memory and the like. Where it could potentially lead to problems is if it could be shown that Apple had acted to restrict or withhold some items from competitors. If, for example, Apple bought the company that made Tegra processors and then shut it down, that would be an example of "anti-competitive" behavior. Simply getting a good price on screens or memory because they buy in very large quantity is most certainly NOT "anti-competitive."

    Both the US Justice Department and the EU Competition Commission look at factors such as the overall market firms operate in. While Apple certainly holds a very large share of the Tablet-computing market, consumers of such devices have many, many other options that provide a similar, if not identical function. A consumer may instead buy a laptop, or use a smartphone - neither of which are markets that Apple holds a dominant market position in.

    Lastly, I would make the observation that Apple can afford, and generally hires, lawyers who are the best in the world at what they do. Such counsel, while expensive, will generally advise their prominent clients to avoid actions that have even the suggestion of anti-competitive behavior.For example Apple has, for the most part, avoided growing by means of acquisitions. If Apple had achieved an 80% marketshare by buying RIM, Samsung, and Motorola's tablet businesses - they would face certain regulatory opposition. Achieving 80% marketshare by making the best tablet is a whole different situation - that is simply consumers choosing a better product.
  8. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    As long as Apple owns less than 10% of the PC market, they're not going to be subject to anti-trust action. Dominance of a the "market" for a particular consumer model is unlikely to trigger such action.
  9. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    The US and other governments sued Microsoft for antitrust and won because Microsoft held a monopoly in essential products. Furthermore, it maintained its monopoly position by engaging in illegal practices.

    Tablets may be popular, but they are hardly essential. Nothing in your list even remotely approaches illegal behavior on Apple's part.
    Popularity is not illegal. Even monopolies are not illegal if the monopoly position was not acquired or maintained by illegal means.

    There is nothing even remotely illegal about this. In the worst case, Apple's purchases increase the demand for the products and services that it buys. If the increased demand is real, then other manufacturers will enter the market to satisfy the needs of other customers.

    As maflynn said, there is nothing illegal about pursuing your legal rights in court.

    You clearly do not understand the theory of the case against Microsoft. It was precisely because Microsoft does not make its own computers that it was liable. It would not have been illegal for Microsoft to restrict Microsoft-manufactured computers to Microsoft operating systems. Microsoft illegally used its monopoly position to control the behavior of other Intel-based computer manufacturers that used its operating system. Its illegal behavior prevented competitors from entering the market for operating systems for Intel-based computers.

    If you want to produce a tablet, then Apple has absolutely no say in which OS you use except that you cannot use iOS.

    There is no need to run. I would suggest that you sit down and research the Microsoft antitrust case. You will see for yourself that Apple's legal dominant positions bear no resemblance to Microsoft's illegal monopoly positions.
  10. ditzy macrumors 68000


    Sep 28, 2007
    1) There is nothing illegal about having large market share. Wont lead to anti trust.

    2) As long as Apple isn't stopping the supply companies from supplying to other companies there would be no issue.

    3) Using the court systems is not illegal, no anti trust.
  11. al1cre thread starter macrumors member

    May 31, 2008
    I have to confess I was just having some fun with this antitrust thing. Truth be told, I'm not big on antitrust laws.
  12. HitchHykr macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2007
    or facts, or logic....
  13. ditzy macrumors 68000


    Sep 28, 2007
    Fair enough. I think that the thing that apple are actually risking is becoming unpopular with these moves. I think that it is unlikely though, those who don't like apple will dislike them even more. Most people won't care.

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