So where was the EFF when the android g1 shipped without a headphone jack??? (Now that I know this exciting fact, I’m even more dangerous than before. Mwuhaha.)
But I really don’t see how the headphone jack relates. They could also include a headphone jack but refuse to play protected content over it. Which is exactly what happens with computers that have VGA and HDMI outputs, they ban HD content over the VGA output.
Noticing all the legal competition that supplied Android phones with a headphone jack. Whereas those will not exist for iOS if Apple removes theirs. Having a monopoly on something means their actions affecting their users deserve a bit more attention.
Apple has like 15% market share. Not a monopoly.
They’re only selling 15% of iOS devices and some other company pulled in $80+ billion in profit? Whose the one dominating with iPhone sales then if not Apple?
Everyone has a monopoly if you define the market narrowly enough, so yes, Apple has a monopoly on smartphones made by Apple.
You’re missing the big picture probably since I wasnt clear. Whats going on in smartphones is an oligopoly where a small number of players dominate the market and dictate its conditions. In OS’s, all competition is effectively eliminated outside of two platforms. One of those has largest market share with diverse set of suppliers innovating all kinds of configurations and software with pricing reflecting a free market.
The other platform, iOS, is entirely different. One company dictates everything about it while preventing competition through a combo of controlling app supply and enforcememt of legal monopolies called patents and copyright. Despite a cut-throat market, they not only continue to be sole supplier and with lots of market but also are profitable more like a monopoly. A single company dictating $100 billion worth of activity in a market.
So, a single, Android vendor making a decision about a single phone withs tons of alternative Androids available in no way affects Android customers like Apple dictating what iOS customers can or cant have. It’s a non-event in Android land but iOS users are locked-in. Switching Android phones and switching ecosystems are two, different things.
I think lock in is a much better term here than monopoly. (And by extension, I don’t believe they are synonyms that can be used interchangeably.)
Maybe. Here we have one supplier, alternatives are illegal due to patents/copyrights (legal monopolies) on key traits of the product, lock-in techniques are in play, and they price like a monopoly. How much more do you need to consider them an effective monopoly on iOS-based products? Also, Microsoft didn’t have a monopoly on Windows OS’s by your standard at this point.
Like I said, this is the result of defining the market as ‘iOS based products’. One might also define the market as ‘phones with an Apple logo stamped on the back’ which is also protected by a legal force.
Historically, it’s been very unlikely, bordering on unpossible, for a monopoly to control 100% of a market. Standard Oil didn’t. AT&T didn’t. Thus, if you have an apparent monopolist who does control 100% of a market, it’s more likely you have misidentified the market.
Ok. I’ll cede that by your or a highly-technical definition that it’s not a monopoly. It’s just a business with no competition for anyone that wants iOS apps on Apple-grade hardware. Unless people are running iOS on Galaxies now. Whatever the term is for a business without real competition that can legally sue competition selling a particular type of good. I forgot the term if there’s another one.
Yes, I’m including the platform in the definition because the apps are tied to the platform. Many, third-party apps that depend on a single supplier without competition. If it wasn’t for network effects, I’d just say oligopoly but you loose whole ecosystem just by switching suppliers. Prevents most from switching. And what’s at root of people not just copying it for a new supplier? Legal monopolies owned by this entity.
Nintendo is a business with no competition for anyone who wants DS games on Nintendo hardware. Do they have a monopoly? Will the EFF be crying foul if Nintendo’s next handheld doesn’t have a headphone jack?
Google is a business with no competition for anyone who wants to watch Youtube videos. I can’t watch those videos on Vimeo or DailyMotion. Is that a monopoly?
Nintendo is one & legally enforce it against serious competition. YouTube is for content that was only uploaded there but that’s two-party: content owner’s copyrights + YouTube’s practices and sole supplier. They’re not for videos or games available from other suppliers.
I have no idea what EFF will cry foul of. I suspect the effect of a product on large number of people exercising their Constitutional rights and keeping democracy functioning affects their decision-making. Apple has that kind of sway with its ecosystem. Nintendo does not.
EFF also griped at times about Youtube and Google for various, bad practices that only mattered due to technological, copyright-based, and patent-based lock-in. All monopoly-forming techniques with two ground in U.S. law specifically as forming, legal monopolies. So, good call on those two being examples.
Note: So now we have Coca-Cola, FireOS, Nintendo, YouTube, Vimeo, and DailyMotion. All this and nobody arguing against Apple as sole, monopoly supplier of iOS ecosystem has given me a link to buy iOS phones from a second supplier. A monopoly… mono… means one. You all just needed a second, legal manufacturer and supplier to prove your point. I’m assuming you left off the link because you don’t have one either. Because Apple is a monopoly over iOS ecosystem. The End.
I don’t disagree with you on the oligopoly, but “monopoly” is a term which can only be used in the context of a market. A market is defined only by the demand for some specific utility. iOS devices do not form their own market as the utility they provide is also provided by other products. Quality is not it’s own utility but rather a description of how well some demand for utility is being met.
There is nothing which prevents companies from making hardware and software as good as Apple’s except lack of taste and expertise. If there was, then it would indeed be anti-competitive.
Regarding your last statement, Apple has patents on both look-and-feel plus key capabilities. They’ve already used them against competitors. Thanks to Oracle, API’s are also copywritten. Making compatible interface will be hard for iOS apps if they dont give permission.
So, iOS meets your criteria since Apple forces out any competitiob using legal instrumemts designed for enforcing monopolies. It’s not that people arent capable of cloning it. Tgey just arent legally allowed to.
So, Apple has a monopoly on iOS market as a result. Not mobile but iOS.
Look-and-feel and APIs are implementation details of providing utility. They aren’t utility in and of themselves and thus don’t define a market. Utility has to do with accomplishing a specific task. Other products provide the same utility as iOS, thus there is no “iOS market”. Personal preference may lead you to chose one product over another within a market, but it doesn’t define the market itself.
Look-and-feel is protected under trade dress for very good reasons and you should do some reading on the subject if you don’t know what they are.
Patents generally cover a technique or process to provide some utility, they don’t prevent others from providing that utility in a different way. There are certainly bad patents and I’m ambivalent on patents in general, but that’s a society-wide problem, not specific to Apple.
In what market does Apple have a monopoly?
Certainly in the market for developers wanting to sell applications to iPhone users.
“Coca Cola has a monopoly on the market for beverage manufacturers who want to sell cola to Coca Cola consumers! RC Cola should sue for access rights to Coca Cola bottles.”
Won’t anyone think of the customers who prefer the taste of Pepsi but the ergonomics of Coke bottles? They’re people too!
I don’t know about them. I’m thinking more of people that prefer the taste of Coca-Cola but want it from another supplier with differentiator like price, sizing, and quality. They can’t get it because Coca-Cola has an effective monopoly on the flavor they like via secrecy of the current recipe, long-term branding, marketing money, supply chains, and agreements with retailers to give them and a few others priority at key selling places.
You simply can’t buy a Coke from a different company. You’re choice is buy a product that tastes like Coke from original, incumbent supplier at sky-high rates or don’t have the experience at all. Use to be that way for oil and phone service for a lot of people.
That’s two who missed the concept. If Apple screws you, you cant just get another iPhone supplier to work with you. You have to give up your business or do a costly rewrite. Similar issues for customers with lots of data in iOS apps.
Coca-Cola succeeds with trade secrets and branding on a commodity built tl be destroyed after one use. Apples to oranges.
I just wanted to say, that was a missed opportunity to say “Apples to colas”.
You got me there haha
If Apple screws you, you cant just get another iPhone supplier to work with you. You have to give up your business or do a costly rewrite.
Yes, but there are other choices of smartphone APIs to use, Android even has the dominant market share (And probably still isn’t a monopoly). The problem is probably worse on desktop where Windows is/was a monopoly.
Similar issues for customers with lots of data in iOS apps.
That’s still not a monopoly, just vendor lock in, it is an issue with all cloud services at the moment, from Apple, Google, Facebook, etc.
If the only way those beverages could be consumed was through a Coca Cola controlled fridge (an expensive investment, of which you are likely to have just one at a time) then that might be an apt comparison.
Only 15% of people chose to purchase a Coca Cola controlled refrigerator, though. 85% of people have fridges that are completely capable of vending any other cola your heart desires - Pepsi, RC, store brand, etc.
Am I locked into my fridge if I chose to purchase it? Sure. But as the BBC notes, “other brands are available.” If they weren’t, Coca Cola indeed would have a monopoly. I’m free to chose the open fridge, or the fridge that is locked down if I prefer a curated cola refrigerator experience.
Does it suck if you make your living designing custom shelves for the Coca Cola fridge, while simultaneously knowing that they could change the design to make it incompatible at any second? Or, hell, that they could build your custom bottle shelves in from the beginning, making your work worthless? Absolutely. But that still doesn’t make them a monopoly.
“Only 15% of people chose to purchase a Coca Cola controlled refrigerator, though. 85% of people have fridges that are completely capable of vending any other cola your heart desires - Pepsi, RC, store brand, etc.”
That’s not what he said. Coca-Cola is what’s called a DSD vendor in retail. They reserve the right to dictate important stuff about how their product is priced, stocked, etc. Their account managers can shove bad terms down your throat because their brand is so strong a customer might not do business with you if you don’t carry them. Them getting a spot in vending machines and near cash registers used to be two things they’d use as leverage. I don’t know if they still do.
Of course, once again, we’re now having a discussion about Coca-Cola and their market which is mostly not like Apple’s. The only thing that’s the same is you can only get the flavor of Coca-Cola from them. This leads to a monopoly on that taste that they preserve with trade secrets. I know of one group that used their leaked recipe to get pretty close to their flavor. Like Coca-Cola told them, their marketing and distribution network means nobody is threatening them on their own product. You have to differentiate in a way that gets people to abandon Coca-Cola’s taste.
People wanting an iOS experience, Apple-grade hardware, alternative features they want, and mainstream, iOS apps are going to have trouble doing that. Because Apple’s the sole supplier of what they have a taste for.
Well, right, but there is a functioning competitive market for developers who want to sell applications to phone users, and a competitive market for phones.
The better Apple does selling phones into that market, the less well-functioning the developer side of the market becomes. This is not dissimilar to the need for Net Neutrality in the ISP market, given that providers there also have a pretty effective way to shut out businesses they don’t like.
I don’t see it, sorry.
ETA: I’m sympathetic to (if not persuaded by) the idea that Apple is abusing their position to extract rent from a captive base of consumers; but even if so, I still think that “monopoly” by any definition is ill-suited to describe their relationship with the market for phones, or apps, or indeed consumer electronics of any kind.
“I still think that “monopoly” by any definition is ill-suited to describe their relationship with the market for phones, or apps, or indeed consumer electronics of any kind.”
Where can I legally obtain a phone equivalent to an Apple phone’s specs running latest iOS with access to Apple’s App Store, alternatives of my choosing, and features Apple refuses to support? Not in China where they get away with counterfeiting either. US, UK, Germany, maybe South Korea given Samsung… these kinds of places. What stores will sell me a piece of hardware equivalent in specs/benefits to Apples that runs their software and apps? I have half a dozen to replace a given Android with at any given time. You give me that list and I’ll downgrade my claim.
The same place where you can buy a phone exactly like the Amazon Fire.
So far, we have Coca-Cola and FireOS. I’m talking a non-Apple supplier bringing you the iOS experience and apps on their comparable, but different, hardware. A competing, iOS product that’s actually sold in U.S.. Preferably a few but we’ll start with one link to their website.
Note: FireOS is Android… the one I said had competition. Great example supporting my point.
Can I get a Samsung phone with FireOS? No, I can’t, because Samsung has a monopoly on Samsung phones and Amazon has a monopoly on FireOS. Monopolies everywhere.
I don’t know what else to say. You’re (deliberately) confusing products and product categories.
You can get an Android phone and apps from someone other than Samsung. Many others in many prices and configurations. You cant get an iOS phone and apps from someone other than Apple for any reason or benefit. You arent legally allowed to either. That’s what Im calling an effective monopoly Apple has and enforces.
That’s great but words and terms - especially legal terms - have meanings.
You’re using “monopoly” in a way no one else uses it.
Monopolies can dictate prices and deny competitors in their product category. Ma Bell was a monopoly because they set the price for phone service and let no one else near.
A company with 15% market share that sells luxury goods is not a monopoly.
Do they lock you in? Sure. Are they a monopoly, under a legal or even colloquial understanding? No.
“Monopolies can dictate prices and deny competitors in their product category.”
Apple can dictate whatever price they want for iPhones, iOS and App Store plus deny competition. They did a few times in App Store itself. They do every time at OS and phone level.
“Ma Bell was a monopoly because they set the price for phone service and let no one else near.”
Apple sets the price for iOS, allows no competitive clones, and sues anyone (esp Samsung) who looks anything like it using legislation that’s called a legal monopoly.
“A company with 15% market share that sells luxury goods is not a monopoly.”
Meaningless. They’re not a monopoly on mobile phones: they’re a monopoly on iOS products. That’s a $80+ billion market that many want to enter and do in places like Shenzhen where Apple’s legal assaults don’t help them. The distinction matters. If you want iOS experience, you can’t legally buy from anyone else or build it yourself.
Now, that might not be a monopoly under an accepted definition. So, I look one up real quick to see what others are saying:
Yep, Apple and iOS products fit into many of those attributes nicely. Sole supplier, most profitable, barriers to entry, single seller, legal barriers… these by themselves would do. Apple has great marketing, too. The differences section also appears to describe Android market. Indirectly corroborates claim against Apple on top of what’s already there.
the G1 still had analogue audio out, the connector was just not TRS. it only took a few minutes of probing to determine which pins were the audio.
This just feels like tilting at windmills to me. Did the EFF publish a similar missive when Apple eliminated ethernet and required the use of their Lightning dongle?
The EFF completely lacks a coherent ideological stance besides “freedom and privacy!”, and it shows
I’ve been saying it since I started studying it a year or so ago. Analog has many benefits that justify continued investment in analog or hybrid solutions. Two important here are (a) ease of making compatible stuff and (b) verifiability. The latter comes from the fact that good, analog solutions can be made on the oldest process nodes. The solutions usually have few components. They’re also on nodes one can verify by eye. Lasting benefits of that combo in a day and age where nation states are trying to subvert everything.
Also, a few have done general-purpose analog to varying degrees with interesting results. One analog coprocessor for math calculations did it 100x faster than Intel CPU at 8th of the power. It’s also pretty good for making artificial brains. So, yeah, we need to keep investing in whatever analog solutions get the job done with minimal lock-in since there’s benefits over time.
I don’t disagree with you here, but it’s kind of a weird issue to take this stance up on, since all apple’s doing is moving the DAC from in the phone to in a dongle (and hey, a lot of audiophiles already use external DAC’s because of shielding and better circuit design+components). The analog conversion of the audio is still happening, and has to happen if it’s going to play on your speakers anything like how it should. The only additional “analog” part you might be able to add into this equation is… a record player? a tape deck?
Oh I agree the application is minimal here. I was just bringing it up. There’s still is some here on the broader topic where requiring a dedicated DAC could be used for lock-in depending on the digital encoding. Stuff like this is a stepping stone in that direction. Whereas, a typical analog jack won’t have that problem.
Do you mean like, locking in which DAC’s you use with proprietary encodings, signed handshakes, etc? Because that’s the only new lockin I could see happening now that wasn’t possible before.
Exactly. That’s what I’m referring to. Apple has a history of trying proprietary… anything… to force people to spend more or do it their way arbitrarily. Give them an inch on this issue and they may take a mile.
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“i wouldn’t count on extending that to “artificial brains” or whatever.”
Here’s three examples of analog components used for neural networks:
“looking at things with your eyes isn’t good enough”
It’s possible but you need pre-requisites to make that claim. Specifically, what a node is and how ASIC’s are implemented. A process node is basically size of features on chip. Older ones are visible in a microscope. You can decap a plastic chip, tear off layer by layer, photo them, and compare them to what should be there. I’m sure we’ll see new cat and mouse games but it’s a straight-forward solution to vet small designs. ChipWorks does it on advanced ones where they can see what’s in them down to the transistors.
The document below describes a lot about hardware reverse engineering. The Silicon section toward the end shows how they uncap them and what some look like. The second link has pictures of lots of them. That plastic you see is just a coating. Underneath it looks closer to a PCB with the repeating, symmetrical-looking structures being the digital logic. See “Die Shots.”
ah, so “artificial brain” was getting subbed in for “neural network”. very 90’s.
Fair critique. Yes, I even learned about NN’s in the 90’s. Fits more haha. Guess I’ll avoid that in near future.
“less so when you’re hooking one high frequency analog computing mechanism into another.”
Analog is way harder to do than digital in general. You’re not finding an argument from me there. Fortunately, the hard parts have mostly been worked out in things like audio jacks, video, cell libraries, ADC’s/DAC’s, and so on. Plenty of existing knowledge, work, and talent to draw on.
“analog circuitry gives the all the non-electrical engineers of the world no more verifiability than they’ve already got.”
You can actually see what’s on the chip layer when you decap it. Designer can verify it themselves to show what it should look like, what to connect where, and what range of values or behaviors to expect. Good chunk could be automated with software that runs on hardware of their choosing for diversification advantage. That’s way more than you can do right now. Especially deep sub-micron. It’s going to be some really esoteric, targeted attacks slipping past that.
I know when I’m looking for high quality audio equipment to rip mp3s from I use an Apple product, you know, the same company that makes Beats headphones. Wait, what?