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back to article The hammer falls: Feds propose drastic controls on Apple's iTunes Store

The US Department of Justice, fresh from its ebook price-fixing victory over Apple, has proposed a sweeping array of restrictions on Cupertino's content-peddling iTunes Store, along with the appointment of a watchdog to keep an eye on Apple's compliance. "Under the department's proposed order, Apple's illegal conduct will cease …

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He who pays the piper....

<an "external monitor" – whose salary would be paid by Apple>

What guarantee is there that the monitor would report on compliance issues if paid by Apple?

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Re: He who pays the piper....

The monitor will be employed by the DoJ and Apple will pay the DoJ the costs of the monitor's salary plus any reasonable expenses. Even if Apple convince the DoJ that the monitor is the spawn of Satan and useless at monitoring, that person will still have a job with the DoJ and will be replaced by another DoJ appointed monitor.

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Pint

You're milking it wrong

Think different.

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Meh

Re: He who pays the piper....

"...that person will still have a job with the DoJ..."

How do you know that? I missed that in the article.

If position was filled for temporary, then after it ends, the person would have to wait for another (or post for another job all together). If the job was created specifically, then the position will go through "Reduction In Force" (RiF) and the person will have to post for another position, or take a walk. There are of course temporary assignments, so the best way to fill this job would be to take a temp. assignment to do it. If the person didn't take a temp. assignment to do it, but took it as their normal assignment, then there is no way to know if temporary workers will qualify for temporary assignments...so they would probably walk :-/

There is every reason to see how someone who knows their job is created and funded by Apple would become Apple's bitch. When you factor in the average government worker mentality, they become a sleeping bitch, and they won't wake until their tour is up.

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@MyBackDoor Re: He who pays the piper....

It does say an 'external monitor', i.e. not an employee of Apple. As soon as I'd posted my comment, I thought about adding a line that said, "That's what I'd do if I were the DoJ and I'm assuming the DoJ will be sensible and think about this in the same way." Maybe I've overated the DoJ thinking and forward ability?

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Re: @MyBackDoor He who pays the piper....

>It does say an 'external monitor', i.e. not an employee of Apple. As soon as I'd posted my comment, I thought about adding a line that said, "That's what I'd do if I were the DoJ and I'm assuming the DoJ will be sensible and think about this in the same way." Maybe I've overated the DoJ thinking and forward ability?

I suspect that the position would be filled by a third party lawyer, accountant, or similar professional who has the ability to do the job and the aptitude to not commit contempt of court which would be the authority to which it would report. Similarly, barring successful Apple appeals of such an order, it too would be bound to pay for said 'external monitor'.

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Childcatcher

Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

And now, Apple is the company that's stopped innovating, and that's trying to maintain Wall Street share value through backroom deals and aggressive litigation.

Kind of a shame really. They were supposed to be different. I guess the biggest shame of it all is that it was Steve Jobs who eventually decided to follow in Bill Gates' footsteps.

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Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

Don't kid yourself, they were never the fluffy love hippie collective they portrayed themselves as. Jobs has always been a ruthless megalomaniac. Ask Woz who did the clever computer stuff yet who got the big money.

The punishment for monopolistic behaviour is quite symbolic, it's meant to embarrass as well as break the monopoly which Apple so craves. It's like being made to do PE in their underpants.

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Meh

Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

Apple's business practices are no worse than any other large firm in any industry. The difference is prior to the iStuff product line they never had a product that got much traction on its own. Its bread and butter money were desktops for academia and they only sold those because of insanely generous financing. Now that they've got major traction the shittiness of their practices is apparent.

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Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

There are many criticisms you can level at Jobs, but Woz did fine out of Apple. Now compare and contrast that with how Gates tried to dilute Paul Allen's stock when he got cancer.

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Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

"Apple's business practices are no worse than any other large firm in any industry."

Nor are they any better than any other large firm in any industry, despite how much they and their adherents like to spin that they are.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

" Woz did fine out of Apple" as he refused to sell his shares to Jobs. The fact that Jobs tried to get them for "nothing" then still disturbs Woz. You should read a bit more.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

@Cliff - >"It's like being made to do PE in their underpants."

Awesome analogy. Not sure what it has to do with the matter at hand, but its funny as hell.

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Pirate

Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

@cheveron - >"compare and contrast that with how Gates tried to dilute Paul Allen's stock when he got cancer"

Yup. Tried to knock him down from mega-billionaire status to slightly-less-mega-billionaire status. The cold-hearted bastard! Left Allen with only $15 billion to spend on yachts and helicopters and professional sports teams.

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WTF?

Re: who got the big money

Well, Wozniak's net worth is about $100 million, and he's not done anything noteworthy after his time at Apple. Jobs made many, many smart decisions outside of Apple, and gambled his share up to some billions.

<Shrug> Can't say I really feel Woz got shafted in any real sense of the word.

GJC

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Think 'different'

Destined for decline ever since building grammatical ignorance into advertising slogans.

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Devil

Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

Apple has always been like this. Steve Jobs wanted the Mac 128k to use a proprietary floppy disk. History is slowly repeating itself with the iPhone, iPad and iPod.

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Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

... the Microsoft they envied...

As for being forced to do PE in their underpants, it's in the sense that (were their crime to forget their PE kit) the immediate problem is worked around, but in the most embarrassing way. Apple would prefer a fine 10x higher but being forced to let other children play with its toys in public will be causing meltdowns. They have institutionally always been about the walled garden so this must really hurt.

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Unhappy

Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

I up-voted this; but please, who would suffer more from seeing them in their underpants, them or those who saw them?

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Childcatcher

"shafted in any real sense"

How about shafted in principle?

Wouldn't matter if they were multi-billionaires at the time, what sort of evil bastard steals money from his supposed best friend?

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Childcatcher

"Left Allen with only $15 billion"

Well, again, just like Jobs shafting his best friend, what sort of evil bastard punishes someone for having cancer, regardless of the amounts involved or the final outcome?

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Unhappy

Re: "Left Allen with only $15 billion"

The US healthcare industry punishes you for having cancer...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

"I guess the biggest shame of it all is that it was Steve Jobs who eventually decided to follow in Bill Gates' footsteps.". Why? He was only another businessman.

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PJI
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Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

But the point is that he tried, which is reasonable if that is what he wants to do, and Woz had the ability to and did refuse. As we know just one version, perhaps we should all shut up and mind our own business.

As to the report according to this Register article:

1. Sounds as if the whole trial is rotten. If a juror started spouting their biassed opinion, they would be dismissed. If a judge does the same, it sounds like the old, Wild West hanging courts and the judge should be dismissed from their job, as being unable to judge the evidence presented to the court dispassionately, honestly and according to current laws on the subject. But then, USA is not strong on justice, just like so many Register commenters.

2. This sounds like a grudge by people in a position to pursue their grudge, a bit like sentencing a mortal man to 300 years in prison without remission. So, when will Google and others get their turn?

3. How does one know that Apple (or anyone else) has run out of new ideas etc.. Perhaps, just possibly, it is difficult to come up better mouse traps every month just because an easily bored public, who can not themselves do it, want it. Perhaps they are developing a brilliant idea, in confidence because they would rather like to get a working, decent version out to earn some money before some shyster takes the ideas, as Google and the iPhone.

4. Perhaps people have got very sad, limited lives if treating firms as if they are your favourite association football team is thought to be either reasonable or productive.

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Happy

Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

PJI» But then, USA is not strong on justice, just like so many Register commenters.

There is no justice, just us?

I do hope that you not confusing justice with fairness. The former deals with adherence to the law while the latter deals with the distribution of resources and the making of decisons thereof.

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Meh

Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

"Perhaps people have got very sad, limited lives if treating firms as if they are your favourite association football team is thought to be either reasonable or productive."

Hmmm.

What if you've never had a favourite association football team because you thought it to be indicative of a very sad, limited life and neither reasonable nor productive

Just pondering.

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Re: Eventually, they became the Microsoft they hated

Woz was the brains, Jobs was the front man. It really is that simple.

As far as the trial goes, looking at the proposed penalty I conclude I was right about the trial. This is a hatchet job from folks who are just pissed that Apple has all that money. I never really cared for their computers. I cared even less for Jobs' fascist way of running his company. But it was HIS company and I didn't have to work there or buy his stuff. But for all I dislike his equipment and his methodology, he made his money honestly. Nobody should be able to take money away from a man if he has made it honestly.

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cant resist

Wow sounds like Apple hasn't paid its protection money to the Obama administration lately. Wouldn't want something bad to happen to your tax dodging business and all.

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Re: Wow sounds like Apple hasn't paid its protection money to the Obama administration lately

And it sounds like Amazon has

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Pint

Re: cant resist

Neither would I. My very first thought. Another thought is that Tim doesn't know who needs to be bought and sold over at DoJ. Aside from the President, VP, and AG. Perhaps Steve kept that very close.

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Dream list by dreamers

If the DOJ get 1/3 of these things they will sing and drink champagne.

If only the DOJ would go after real criminals, like Wall Street & banks.

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Pirate

Re: Dream list by dreamers

They just did, and they won

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Re: Dream list by dreamers

Only a moron would compare what Apple did with the level of crimes being done by Wall Street and the banks.

I wonder how many Reg readers have ever bought a SINGLE e-book? I know I haven't, I prefer real books and fail to see the reason why I'd want an electronic book, since I tend to read them one or two at a time and when traveling I don't have to give any concern to whether my paperback is lost/stolen or gets wet or smeared with sunblock at the beach.

The people cheering this ruling on aren't doing so because they're enjoying that huge savings of a dollar or two per e-book (until Amazon successfully monopolizes the industry and raises prices back up) They're doing it because they hate Apple. Its funny how for a certain segment Apple has replaced Microsoft as the most loathed company on Earth. Nevermind what Goldman Sachs or BP does, Apple is worse in their eyes!

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Re: Dream list by dreamers

"I wonder how many Reg readers have ever bought a SINGLE e-book? I know I haven't"

But no one cares about your opinion of ebooks. Millions of people have bought them, are continuing to buy them, and will buy many more of them in the future.

You may well be right about the rest. Although I don't expect Amazon's neo-monopoly to last either.

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Re: Dream list by dreamers

Why do you not expect Amazon's monopoly to last? They were selling e-books below the price they paid the publisher, losing money on each one, owning 90%+ of the market, until Apple came in and spoiled their party. Even despite that their market share never dropped below 60%. Presumably now that the FTC has stepped in, Amazon is once again selling books at a loss to try to monopolize the market. Given that they sell e-readers essentially at cost as well, it is impossible for anyone to compete effectively with them unless they are also willing to lose money selling e-books.

Apple has a ton of cash, if they wanted to own the e-book market, they could have sold e-books for $1/each, massively undercutting Amazon and everyone else, as well as all the physical books. This might cost them a few billion a year, but against the tens of billions in profit they make per year, it would hardly be noticeable. This would be far more damaging to the market in the long run but would be entirely legal. Then in a decade once everyone who reads e-books owns an iPad whether they like it or not, Apple could bring the price back to $10/book and it would be too late for competitors to try to move in, since avid readers would already have thousands of books bought through Apple that would not work on competing devices.

This is basically what Amazon's plan is, except they can't afford to price very much below cost since they barely break even, and aren't as widely hated as Apple is.

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Childcatcher

"fail to see the reason why I'd want an electronic book"

No reason at all ... except for the fact that you can store an entire library-worth of books in your shirt pocket, then carry it around with you wherever you go, and add to your book collection instantly, without even standing up, much less travelling miles to the non-existent book shop (or waiting days for delivery).

Try doing that with my former book collection, ten tonne of dead trees, which took me over a week to pack last time I moved house (and probably contributed over a grand in removal costs).

Did I mention that tens of thousands of these books are out of copyright and thus obtainable legally for free, at Guttenberg and elsewhere, including Amazon? So when was the last time Amazon sent you a free dead-tree book?

But apart from that there's almost no reason to waste your time on these newfangled e-book thingies. You just stick to your parchment and stone tablets and you'll be fine.

Ah yes, I remember book shops. Vaguely. Actually I vaguely remember shops. And high streets - I think we had one of those too.

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Childcatcher

"Nevermind what Goldman Sachs or BP does, Apple is worse in their eyes"

No, see, give us a story about Sachs or BP or Monsanto or GlaxoSmithKline or Pfizer or Halliburton or Chevron, ad nauseam, and we'll rip the shit out of those evil bastards too.

Today it's Apple's turn, and very well deserved it is too.

See how it works?

Do evil, get burned. No exceptions, not even to keep iCultists happy.

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Re: Dream list by dreamers

"This is basically what Amazon's plan is, except they can't afford to price very much below cost since they barely break even, and aren't as widely hated as Apple is."

Which means what Apple SHOULD have done was go direct to the authorities and accuse Amazon of dumping. Why didn't Apple accuse Amazon of dumping to keep out competition?

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Holmes

Re: Dream list by dreamers

"Why do you not expect Amazon's monopoly to last? They were selling e-books below the price they paid the publisher, losing money on each one, owning 90%+ of the market, until Apple came in and spoiled their party. Even despite that their market share never dropped below 60%. Presumably now that the FTC has stepped in, Amazon is once again selling books at a loss to try to monopolize the market. Given that they sell e-readers essentially at cost as well, it is impossible for anyone to compete effectively with them unless they are also willing to lose money selling e-books."

Have to say that I'd rather Amazon won by driving prices down than Apple did by driving them up.

After all, e-books are quite cheap to print, store and dispatch so I kind of feel that the saving should result in lower prices rather than increased offshore Apple coffer-filling.

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IT Angle

Re: Dream list by dreamers

> The people cheering this ruling on ... They're doing it because they hate Apple.

Yep. But this is a tech site, and Apple is (sort of) a tech company. If we want to bash JP Morgue or Goldman Sack, or the rest of the Wall Street banksters, we'll go to somewhere like zerohedge.com or maxkeiser.com.

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Re: Dream list by dreamers

Yes but where is the incentive for authors if there's just a race to the bottom on price?

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Re: Dream list by dreamers

Do anti-dumping laws (in reality) ever get applied to domestic companies? Surely this is one of those irregular verbs: I have a promotion, you have a loss leader, s/he is dumping...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "fail to see the reason why I'd want an electronic book"

Try dropping your ebook in a puddle and see if just drying it out will make it readable and repair the broken glass. Try taking it away from a reliable electricity supply for more than a few days, when you forgot to charge it up fully before putting it in your rucsac. Try passing it on to your friend to read or putting it in the charity book sale. Try to imagine that being new, clever, a gadget does not guarantee that it is better in all respects for all people on all occasions.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Nevermind what Goldman Sachs or BP does, Apple is worse in their eyes"

That's your opinion, today. Thankfully, your not being in charge of doomsday is one of life's blessings.

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PJI
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Unhappy

Re: Dream list by dreamers

There is a strong argument (not proposed by me) that banks and other financial business firms are so beholden to informatics that they are really IT firms. You may have read about the financial market problems through computerisation.

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Re: Dream list by dreamers

"Have to say that I'd rather Amazon won by driving prices down than Apple did by driving them up."

Amazon's price war results in the death of bookshops. That's not a good thing.

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Facepalm

Re: Dream list by dreamers

"Its funny how for a certain segment Apple has replaced Microsoft as the most loathed company on Earth."

What on Earth could they have done to deserve it?

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Meh

Re: Dream list by dreamers

"Yes but where is the incentive for authors if there's just a race to the bottom on price?"

The best (*) authors do very well out of it, just like they did in the paper days.

There isn't a huge incentive for significantly sub-best, just like there wasn't in the paper days.

Some sub-best mistakenly thought that e-books guaranteed winnings, just like lottery tickets.

The problem is that they do. Just like. Which is how lottery companies make their profits.

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Meh

Re: Dream list by dreamers

'"Have to say that I'd rather Amazon won by driving prices down than Apple did by driving them up."

Amazon's price war results in the death of bookshops. That's not a good thing."

Yes. I think I agree. Sort of.

I used to shop at a big out-of-town Tecso. Now I shop at a small, high street Waitrose. Mostly because Tesco p***ed me off, but I've sort of felt better, slightly, for supporting a smaller, local shop.

I've got loads of paper books and a few e-ones. I sort of feel better for supporting either side, but for different reasons. I think I'll be buying more e-books in the future and partly feeling a bit bad about it.

Tricky.

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