The latest demons to swarm all over mankind and gather governmental ire are a few members of FAANG. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google. To investors, FAANG seems to have been good investments. To government regulators who exist only to regulate, FAANG is an opportunity.
Let me take Netflix off the list because even though it dominates streaming TV, it isn’t much of a monopoly. Monopoly? That seems to be the monicker politicians have placed on Facebook, Amazon, Google, and… insert Mac360’s famous drum roll here… Apple.
Alright, I get it that Facebook has enormous power and that many politicians believe the company– along with Google and Amazon– should be cracked open, busted up, or at least regulated to a degree that satisfies elected officials.
Facebook dominates social media. Google dominates online search. Amazon dominates online retail sales. Combined, all three dominate and monopolize online advertising and e-commerce. That kind of domination cannot be good for anyone except GOOG, FB, AMZN, right?
How did Apple get into this mix of dominating monopolies?
The App Store.
Apple owns the iPhone’s App Store and sets the rules for how apps can be sold in the store. It’s Apple’s iPhone. It’s Apple’s store. It’s Apple’s rules.
Yes, haters gonna hate so a growing number of app developers and politicians and members of the anti-Apple and anti-technology crowd think Apple has monopoly control over what goes in and on in the App Store.
Here’s the problem. In the good old U.S. of A., a monopoly is not illegal. Monopoly abuse is illegal but needs to be proved in court. Apple sells a few apps in the Mac App Store, but gives away free software in various categories– calendar, contacts, messages, maps, notes reminders, and others. They are free and included with every Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch. Those free apps also compete with commercial apps that come with a price tag.
Apple’s rules give the company up to 30-percent commission on third party app revenue, but app developers set the app’s price tag (within 99-cent increments), not Apple. Music service Spotify has complained to members of the EU that Apple provides unfair competition because Apple Music does not have to pay a 30-percent commission; Spotify does.
Politicians see Apple as a big target for publicity but not one of them seems to understand what a monopoly is or how to handle FAANG (minus Netflix) other than through some kind of regulation or series of lawsuits or sticks and stones. With an election around the corner you can expect more noise from Washington over calls to break up high tech.
Good luck with that.
As it stands now, about the only ones who truly love those members of high tech are their customers and users.
I won’t vote for any politician that points a finger at Apple. I might donate some money to those who have a good idea about how to deal with FAG, though.