Apple’s Orchard Under Scrutiny – Innovation Or Monopoly?

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I’m not a lawyer… but I sometimes play one on the Internet?

The U.S. Department of Justice‘s lawsuit against Apple has thrown a spotlight on a big question in tech:
When does pushing the envelope on innovation cross over into monopolistic territory?
This isn’t a new debate.
Remember the Microsoft antitrust case?
Well, Apple’s in a similar hot seat now, accused of playing gatekeeper a little too strictly in the smartphone world.

What did Apple do so right that makes the government see it as so wrong?

It reads like the DOJ thinks Apple’s been a bit too successful for its own good.

The issue?

Apple allegedly makes it tough for any other company to get a fair shot on the iPhone.
Slate and The Verge have reported that Apple might be keeping third-party apps from accessing key iPhone bits like its payment tech and GPS features, all while making sure its own products don’t face the same hurdles.

Is it a monopoly… and is that the same as operating a closed vs. open ecosystem?

Apple’s fondness for a closed ecosystem — where everything works seamlessly together because it’s all made by Apple — is a double-edged sword.
Sure, it means everything’s smooth and secure, but it also raises a big question:
Should one company have so much control?

It’s not an open and shut (or closed) debate.

On one hand, this closed system is part of why people love Apple.
On the other, there’s a fine line between being a successful company and being a monopoly that squashes competition (Google’s Android would be a prime example of how it’s not a monopoly?).

Figuring out if a company is just big and successful or actually a monopoly is key here.

Apple’s definitely got a lot of power, but does it cross the line into monopoly territory?
It’s worth asking if Apple’s really blocking competition or just competing head-to-head with the likes of Android.

Big Tech versus all comers.

This lawsuit isn’t happening in a bubble.
It’s part of a bigger picture where tech giants are under the microscope worldwide, with people questioning how their dominance affects us regular folks and the smaller companies trying to innovate.

So, is there a middle ground?

Maybe what we need are antitrust laws that fit the digital age — laws that let companies like Apple keep innovating, without shutting out everyone else.
But from where I stand, it doesn’t look like that’s what’s happening with this lawsuit.

What’s your take?

This is what Elias Makos and I discussed on CJAD 800 AM. Listen in right here.

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