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  • Why Aren’t There Any Lawsuits About This?

    October 11th, 2007

    We all know that Apple receives its share of legal actions to defend itself against. Some are related to possible use of a patent without permission, or treating customers badly. There’s even a long-standing lawsuit from some Mac dealers who felt their businesses suffered big time because Apple favored its own retail outlets.

    More recently, people are upset because Apple dared to reduce the iPhone’s price by $200 after less than three months, and that it’s tied to AT&T. So they are involved in a class-action lawsuit that, if the past is a guide, will gain nothing more than a coupon for the consumers and a big payday for the lawyers. And that assumes the action will even succeed, which is doubtful. I mean, after all, wireless carriers and phone makers have been tying you in knots with contracts for years, so what makes the iPhone’s situation any different?

    The answer is, of course, that it’s Apple Inc., and they seem to function by a different set of rules and regulations, or at least that’s what some people seem to think.

    If you try to look at this situation in a reasonably fair fashion, you will find a strange disconnect between the complaints against Apple and how they might be applied to other big players in the tech business.

    Take the integration of the iPod and iTunes. Now, as you know, this is a matter that has been under investigation by individual European nations and even the European Union, which no doubt is now celebrating its huge victories over Microsoft.

    Now wouldn’t it be nice to be able to use iTunes without an iPod, and have it sync content with other music players out there, such as the Microsoft Zune.

    What about allowing the iPod to mate in a relatively seamless fashion with the Zune Marketplace.

    Wait a minute? Isn’t it also true that Microsoft doesn’t support any third party players in the Zune space? Even players that support Microsoft’s own PlaysForSure DRM scheme can’t get onboard. Forget about the iPod. So why aren’t more people complaining? Why haven’t we heard about class action lawsuits to open up Napster and Zune and other music stores so they work with the iPod?

    Worse, why is there no Mac version of the latest Windows Media Player technology or any of its other music products. If you use a Mac and want to use a Zune, or any other music player that supports one of Microsoft’s technologies, you have to buy a copy of Windows, and use Apple’s Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion.

    Sure they just want to sell product, but Microsoft is clearly discriminating against Mac users, who comprise millions and millions of the members of the personal computer universe.

    This being the case, since the U.S. Department of Justice clearly isn’t interested, why isn’t the European Union demanding that Microsoft do something about it? They nailed the company on other antitrust issues, so why not Mac compatibility?

    For that matter, if Microsoft is promising compatibility with the Windows version of Office when it delivers Mac Office 2008, shouldn’t they also be compelled to offer full support for Visual Basic for Applications? Is it fair for Mac users to be left behind? After all, there are cross-platform environments that use documents that contain macros absolutely required to perform certain tasks. Whether it’s an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document, what do they expect Mac users to do, other than stick with older versions of Office?

    Now consider all those folks who seem adept at suing Apple for the vertical integration of their products, exclusion of third parties and other grave offenses. Without commenting on the worth of those legal actions, why isn’t Microsoft getting the very same treatment for the things it does that exclude Apple?

    Sure, you can tell me that there’s no way you’ll ever allow a Zune in your home, or even a music player from Creative or one of the other makers of products that support Microsoft’s DRM. So bet it. That’s for you to decide, and I won’t argue with matters of preference.

    For the same reasons, let’s remember that the iPod works on Windows, and there is a version of iTunes on that platform that is, for all intents and purposes, a near-duplicate of the Mac edition. Apple has invaded Microsoft’s turf with iTunes, QuickTime and now even the Safari Web browser.

    But Microsoft has dropped development of Windows Media Player for the Mac, and has simply licensed older WMV codecs for use in the Flip4Mac products, which include a free player utility that integrates with QuickTime. A lot of multimedia content remains unsupported, and it’s an open question how much more technology Microsoft will pass on.

    Forget about Internet Explorer, which is being battered and bruised big time even on the Windows platform. Certainly, if Microsoft wanted to enforce some more of its own standards, the opportunity has passed. Mac users only use the old version of Internet Explorer fitfully these days, since it doesn’t work very well, except on a handful of sites that won’t render in other browsers.

    Basically, fair is fair. The people who complain about Apple ought to make similar complaints to Microsoft, but is anyone listening?



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    10 Responses to “Why Aren’t There Any Lawsuits About This?”

    1. Tom B says:

      We don’t know who’s paying people to file these frivolous suits against Apple, do we?

    2. We don’t who’s paying people to file these frivolous suits against Apple, do we?

      It may just be some ambulance-chasing attorneys who hope for a good payday, even if it’s just a quick settlement.

      Peace,
      Gene

    3. Uncle Paul says:

      While the lawsuits may seem frivolous on the surface, and no one is going to award a billion dollars to these folks, it may pave the way for Apple to sell the iPhone to other providers that much faster. The overwhelming complaint with the iPhone appears to be the ties to AT&T, whose customer service is on a level with that of cable companies.

    4. While the lawsuits may seem frivolous on the surface, and no one is going to award a billion dollars to these folks, it may pave the way for Apple to sell the iPhone to other providers that much faster. The overwhelming complaint with the iPhone appears to be the ties to AT&T, whose customer service is on a level with that of cable companies.

      I wouldn’t presume to defend AT&T, although I have friends who use them and seem to like them, as much as you can like any wireless carrier.

      However, AT&T is spending lots and lots of money to enhance its network, so it is taking itself seriously. One hopes they will also invest in improving customer service.

      For Apple it may have been about money and getting a carrier to follow their requirements, but it may also require that AT&T become a better company in return.

      Peace,
      Gene

    5. Britt says:

      My question is can I find an attourney to represent me (pro-bono) in bringing a class action lawsuit on behalf of myself and other Apple shareholder’s against all the law firms and people bringing these frivolous lawsuits? It is forcing Apple to pay all these attourney’s fees, taking their focus off of delivering a better product, and resulting in smaller earnings which keep the stock from moving up.

      Any takers…? That’s what I though…bunch of blood sucking parasites. Who f’ing lost a billion dollars as a result of purchasing an iPhone? They could have bought mine for a cool million.

      Legal Reform Now

      http://www.instituteforlegalreform.com/
      http://www.legalreformnow.com/

    6. My question is can I find an attourney to represent me (pro-bono) in bringing a class action lawsuit on behalf of myself and other Apple shareholder’s against all the law firms and people bringing these frivolous lawsuits? It is forcing Apple to pay all these attourney’s fees, taking their focus off of delivering a better product, and resulting in smaller earnings which keep the stock from moving up.

      Any takers…? That’s what I though…bunch of blood sucking parasites. Who f’ing lost a billion dollars as a result of purchasing an iPhone? They could have bought mine for a cool million.

      Legal Reform Now

      http://www.instituteforlegalreform.com/
      http://www.legalreformnow.com/

      Britt, I agree with you that this is the request that will forever go unanswered. 😀

    7. Britt says:

      Sorry forgot to mention Apple customers in the lawsuit. After all I am sure that we are paying a higher price on our products as a result of this crap…maybe even a $100 additonal per iPhone.

    8. John says:

      Most people make the assumption that Apple decided to go with one carrier and that they are big meanies for doing such. It is very possible that the decision was the other way around. It is likely that AT&T said that if we are going to do the work of getting our network to utilize visual voicemail we want to recap that technology investment before you take this product some place else. This restriction would be limited by the geographic reagion that AT&T covers.

      This is a much more plausable reason than Apple restricting the carrier. Be sure if Apple could sell an iPhone to anyone on any network that supported their technology advancements they would. My question to those people that unlocked the iPhone is, does their voicemail system allow you to choose which voicemail you can listen to first and which order you can play them in?

    9. Most people make the assumption that Apple decided to go with one carrier and that they are big meanies for doing such. It is very possible that the decision was the other way around. It is likely that AT&T said that if we are going to do the work of getting our network to utilize visual voicemail we want to recap that technology investment before you take this product some place else. This restriction would be limited by the geographic reagion that AT&T covers.

      This is a much more plausable reason than Apple restricting the carrier. Be sure if Apple could sell an iPhone to anyone on any network that supported their technology advancements they would. My question to those people that unlocked the iPhone is, does their voicemail system allow you to choose which voicemail you can listen to first and which order you can play them in?

      AT&T has an exclusive with Apple, at least for now. So that was indeed part of the deal. It may be a requirement from AT&T to upgrade their network to support visual voicemail and other stuff that may come in the future, but that doesn’t make Apple “big meanies” either. With a GSM phone, here in the states it’s just AT&T and T-Mobile. Is T-Mobile that much better than AT&T — or better at all?

      Peace,
      Gene

    10. artMonster says:

      There are thousands of phones, and hundreds of music players to pick from. Other than perhaps the iPhone is a better product in some ways, nothing prevents the consumer from shopping elsewhere. Apple has to work with the telecoms as well as the music industry as they exist today, not as Apple or the consumer might like them to be. Let’s not forget, other carriers turned down working with Apple and the iPhone.

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