This is something I have been wondering since the iPhone was released.
Is Apple’s practice of only allowing iPhone use with AT&T against antitrust laws?
I do not own an iPhone. I would like to, but have not been able to justify the cost (at least to my wife). Is the way the iPhone is currently being marketed against antitrust laws? I am no lawyer (thankfully) but I have seen similar situations that would seem to make the current iPhone questionable.
The industry I am familiar with is the photography industry.
There have been some interesting antitrust laws that applied to the photo industry. Yet, the iPhone and many newer products and industries are far more restrictive to the consumer. I feel that Apple may be currently acting much worse than Microsoft.
I was amazed to find out how antitrust laws applied in the photo industry.
Did you know that a film manufacturer could not include film processing with a roll of film? You could not by a roll of film with an included mailer to have the film processed by Kodak or Fuji. The mailer would have to be sold separately.
Also, manufacturers had to sell the chemicals used to process the film.
Not only could they not include the processing with the film, but they had to make the chemicals to process it available.
Compare that to the iPhone.
I buy the iPhone from Apple. I can only use it with AT&T. In fact, attempts to make it work with other services have been countered by Apple updates.
This is far worse than the typical cell phone being locked to the cell phone carrier you buy it from.
In most cases, you can still get the same phone at another cell phone provider. There is also no problem getting the phone unlocked to use with another mobile phone provider if you want.
A locked cell phone is a bit like a film company including the processing.
But Apple has gone a lot farther than just locking the iPhone. It is very difficult to do. They have made it more difficult.
So, when I read the following article about a lawsuit and antitrust, my thought was "Why has it taken so long?"
In the lawsuit — the second in as many weeks involving the iPhone — Smith alleges that Apple violated several California antitrust statutes when it tied the smart phone to AT&T and prohibited customers from using other carriers. The result, read the lawsuit, was that Smith paid too much for the iPhone.
"Apple forced plaintiff and the class members to pay substantially more for the iPhone and cell phone service than they would have paid in a competitive marketplace either for the iPhone or for AT&T’s cell phone service," read the suit.
Unfortunately, Apple and the iPhone are not the only current examples typical of this practice.
Can you think of other products place similar restrictions on consumers?
BTW, I would still like to get an iPhone. I think it would be a very useful business tool. I am really interested in the calendar function as I need an easy way to keep track of appointments and set them while keeping it with me.
As always, I’d love to know how you think and feel about the subject.
You comments on the subject are highly valued.