Kroes vs. Jobs. Apple be warned…

Apple is the biggest tech firm in the world. Thanks to the ‘iPod, iPhone, iPad’ success, the share prices have gone up so much that Steve Jobs and co. have overtaken Microsoft. Not that they are anywhere near as profitable yet, but apparently the expectation is that they will be so in the foreseeable future For some reason up untill now Apple has managed to maintain it’s ‘not windows’ image. The likeable challenger instead of the not-so-much-likeable arrogant market leader with monopolistic tendencies. Unfortunately, it appears that that’s just what Apple is turning into. In 2008, tech magazine Wired ran a cover that read Apple = Evil/Genius a couple of months ago. The meter seems to lean towards evil.

Apple religion
Apple does not appear to have customers. It has ambassadors almost religious followers. Ever tried to have an open discussion with a Macbook owner about his/her hardware? It’s almost impossible. They might leave a small opening in the discussion, admitting that it can be a little inconvenient that their laptop (which is what it is) only works with Apple products and can only be fixed (those things break  a lot don’t they?) by certain -slow & expensive- specialized resellers but at least it’s not Windows (at which point they start foaming at the mouth a bit). An Apple product still seems to send out the message “I am free, I am creative, I am not just a member of the flock’. Not that Apple has done much to back any of those claims lately.

Monopolistic traits
The two things Apple users hate about pc’s are: 1. Windows sucks and 2. Microsoft is abusing it’s dominant market position. We may argue about that first claim, but the second one is/was undeniably true. Which is why the European commission under the leadership of Competition commissioner Neelie Kroes, slapped Microsoft on the wrist with a fine of over 700 million euros: If you were buying a pc with Windows, customers were also forced to buy the Microsoft internet browser Explorer. That was deemed unfair competition.

Apple is doing the same thing with their iPad. If you wish to buy an iPad you are also forced to install iTunes and you can only work with Apple approved software and apps. And from every app and product you buy a large percentage goes to Apple or else they won’t approve it (want to read a magazine on your iPad? About 30% of the price goes straight into Apple’s pockets).  So actually Apple is preventing it’s customers to make free use of their purchased product. They’re squeezing more money from your pockets even thought they’re not actually delivering you any more products or service (you already bought the hardware and the data traffic comes from other companies). so Apple can expect a call from the European Digital Agenda Commission. And guess who has switched from the Competetion post to the Digital Agenda commissioner job? if Neelie Kries can bring one Steve (Ballmer) to his knees, you can be sure she can get the other one (Jobs) to bow before as well. Apple be warned.

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