EU to charge Apple over anti-competitive App Store fees this week

Apple is going to need the best lawyers they can get.

Interesting article. In my opinion, Antitrust laws are good for us consumers. I still remember the breakup of AT&T’s Bell System in the early 1980’s and the competitive marketplace it created. Sprint, MCI and later Verizon were born of that. If it weren’t for AT&T’s breakup, we would have been pretty much stuck in the U.S. with 1 dominant national service which could have gouged consumers for decades.

Then there is the more sinister aspect of a Monopoly or Oligopoly and that is the type of thing we have witnessed with Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon web services: All of these giants have demonstrated a frightening ability to suddenly silence any voice - even if that voice speaks to millions of followers. And Apple is just as culpable as we recently witnessed their sudden and vaguely explained removal of the Parler App from the App Store. I believe it has now since returned though, but the display of raw power is very clear. To balance this power, antitrust laws are necessary.

Again, just my opinion, but I’ve been around a while and I’ve seen them work with my own eyes. There was a time I remember when MCI would pay you $50 just to switch over to Sprint and vice versa ($50 back then was like $150 today). Competition is great for the consumer and it also spurs innovation and cost reduction as one provider seeks to gain an edge in the marketplace. Not to say that Apple hasn’t been innovative. They sure have, but innovation at the expense of market dominance and the ability to wield unmatched political power from one side hasn’t proven itself in history to ever produce any long-term good.

Didn’t Sprint merge with T-Mobile recently?

Also, wasn’t Parler removed from the App Store because it violated many guidelines?

Oligopoly would be more proper, as none of them are definitionally a monopoly. Apple certainly isn’t unless you’re going to tell me that they don’t have the right to regulate their own technology.

Of course. According to Apple and to the mainline American Media - Parler was removed because it violated their terms of service. Let’s take that at face value for now for the sake of argument.

There are a significant number of other apps that violate these same exact terms of service on a daily basis that are not being removed. This is called “selective enforcement”.

The point is, Apple wields power that is unchecked and in the absence of a governing authority they may use that power to selectively enforce their policy on those whom they deem unworthy. As a private company, they have a right to do this - but as a Monopoly or Oligopoly they do not. Why? Because as a Monopoly or Oligopoly, a consumer doesn’t have the freedom or ability to “take their business elsewhere” if they don’t like the terms of service or what they perceive of as unequal treatment. This is why we have antitrust laws.

It’s sort of like this: Suppose in Blockheads that I have a rule on my server that no one is allowed to use foul language. But many people use foul language and I don’t enforce the rule. Then one day, I decide to enforce the rule, but I only enforce it for those who are from India. This would be immediately perceived as unfair, but technically, as a server owner I could do as I please. And unless it violates the overarching terms of service for Majic Jungle cloud worlds (perhaps it does, but that’s not my point), then players from India (who use foul language) would be powerless to stop me.

Now imagine that my server is the only server on the cloud. Now Players from India who swear would be essentially locked out of the multi-player game, while others who swear would still be free to participate. Using this analogy - one can see how wrong “selective enforcement” of my rules would be.

Essentially, Selective Enforcement is a back-door means of discrimination. It can be used to discriminate against a person’s nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or even political preference. It’s more subtle, but it’s there. And Giants like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon have already demonstrated that they can and will use it - and even some accusations of collusion between them is not entirely unfounded.

These tech giants are not called out on this practice for one over-arching reason: The group primarily being targeted as an enemy happens to also be the enemy of the American mainline Media. And I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend…”

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There are millions of apps in the App Store. How is Apple supposed to check up on every single one?

What if it’s a voice that’s saying inherently bad things?

Even Australia is getting involved!

Well, they did it!

Now the United Kingdom is getting involved!