Robert Reich: Leave Apple Alone and Investigate the Banks

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich weighed in yesterday on the FTC's investigation into Apple, and he's not on board with it. His reason? They should be looking into banks instead. It's hard to argue with!

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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.

On the other hand, the four largest U.S. financial institutions are so big and the rest of the economy so dependent on them that if one of them makes a bad decision it can take us all down. Between them they hold more than $7 trillion in assets, over half the size of the entire U.S. economy.

The entire piece is worth reading. And if you're unfamiliar with Mr. Reich, I invite you to check out the classic video of him and Conan from Late Night above. If that's not a man who's opinion you can trust, I don't know who is. [Robert Reich]

DISCUSSION

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Peter Shultz

If apple made a cross platform development suite and then said that you had to use that suite to develop for the iphone and not use anyone else's, then that would be anti-competitive. In this fictional case they would be using their smartphone dominance to unfairly push out other cross platform development suite makers and make their suite more successful then it would otherwise be.

BUT, that is not what is happening here. Apple isn't leveraging the iphone's success to gain a foot hold in cross platform development suites. They are just saying if you want to make software for our hardware do it this way. Just like MS, Sony, and Nintendo does for their consoles.

To sum up, anti-competitive and monopoly laws are written to prevent someone from leveraging their dominance in one area to take control of another area. Apple is not doing that and this investigation will show that.