Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 24th Jul 2009 22:52 UTC
Editorial Every few years we geeks have our own kind of popcorn show to watch: tech companies showing teeth to one another. This time around, it's Palm vs Apple. In all seriousness though, how ethical is the battle around iTunes?
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RE: Monopoly?
by galvanash on Sat 25th Jul 2009 18:38 UTC in reply to "Monopoly?"
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The author of the article misunderstands what monopoly means. He conflates monopoly with being a major success. A monopoly is when a company controls a particular market. Apple does not control the digital music market. They are merely successful in it.

That is entirely subjective, as is the definitive point at which a company would be considered a monopoly. The textbook definition is (from wikipedia):

"In economics, a monopoly (from Greek monos , alone or single + polein , to sell) exists when a specific individual or an enterprise has sufficient control over a particular product or service to determine significantly the terms on which other individuals shall have access to it."

The argument could be made that Apple has an effective monopoly over digital music distribution. I don't know the current numbers, but in 2006 iTunes sold 88% of all legally distributed digital music - and they are currently the number one distributor of music, including physical media - beating out the previous number one Walmart in April of this year. Imo, they have had a VERY effective monopoly for over 3 years now.

Microsoft was/is a monopoly on the internet browser for Windows because it did not allow other browsers within its OS to really be used successfully.

No. That is an example of abuse of monopoly position, not an example of being a monopoly. Microsoft was/is a monopoly purely on the grounds that they held better than 90% of the OS market for consumer PCs.

On Macs, you can clearly use other music players and other music browsing devices to browse other music stores (e.g., Amazon's own music store).

So what? What does that have to do with Apple's monopoly over music distribution? Apples computer business is an unrelated enterprise.

iTunes itself is proprietary software with its own music store. It does mean it should allow other programmes or non-Apple devices to use it.

No, they don't have to allow it - but them actively disallowing it is the issue...

Get your conceptions about what monopoly means. These days, a lot of techies equate monopoly with the idea of being a major success in a market.

If major success means holding nearly 90% of a market then YES, that is a monopoly. It may be a legal one, but it is a monopoly non-the-less.

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