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  1.    #1  
    Pending EU Law Could Force Apple to Allow Flash, Rivals to Sync With iTunes

    DailyTech - Pending EU Law Could Force Apple to Allow Flash, Rivals to Sync With iTunes

    Change in antitrust laws could have serious implications for many other companies as well

    The European Union's European Commission, under the guidance of commissioner Neelie Kroes, has had no qualms with slamming U.S firms with massive antitrust fines. Now it's preparing a massive new initiative which just may have a major effect on some U.S. firms.

    The new measure, called the Digital Agenda, raises many points, but one of the most significant is to redefine what companies can be subject to scrutiny over abuse of their market position. The Agenda looks to change the necessary language from "dominant" to "significant". Its text, found here, includes the passage:

    Since not all pervasive technologies are based on standards the benefits of interoperability risk being lost in such areas. The Commission will examine the feasibility of measures that could lead significant market players to license interoperability information while at the same time promoting innovation and competition.

    This proclamation may affect a number of key players in the tech industry by forcing them to open their gates or face massive fines.

    Perhaps the biggest example is Apple, Inc. Apple is being probed by U.S. government antitrust investigators over its decision to ban Flash from its iPad and iPhone. The problem is that Apple can easily argue that it does not have a "dominant" position to abuse when it comes to the iPhone. And even the iPad, the new clear leader in the tablet industry could stake make similar claims -- after all the term "dominance" is loosely defined.

    However, there's little doubt that it plays a "significant" role in the tablet and smartphone industries.

    Under the new measure, if the language is approved, the EU may gain the power to force Apple to allow Flash onboard. It may also be able to finally force Apple to allow third-party devices -- like Android smartphones, the Palm Pre, or rival MP3 players – to sync with iTunes. The EU has long complained about Apple's efforts to block such syncing.

    If the measure forces the hands of companies like Apple, they may feel compelled to eventually embrace similar measures in the U.S. The U.S. is slowly trending towards a policy of stricter antitrust enforcement, following in the EU's line.

    Ultimately the issue boils down to whether the market's largest players have a responsibility to "leave the door open" when it comes to interoperability. This may come at a small expense to firms to publish documentation, which they could likely cover with licensing fees. However, what they ultimately truly stand to lose is a tool against their competitors.

    By tightly controlling their platforms and various products' ties, companies like Apple can build their brand in the eyes of the consume -- a key part of the so-called "halo effect" which has driven purchasers of one Apple product to pick up more Apple gadgets. It's remarkably similar to the inside track that Microsoft Word and Microsoft Internet Explorer were given with Windows -- which landed Microsoft in hot water with U.S. antitrust investigators around the turn of the millennia. Ultimately, such maneuvers don't even need a monopoly -- as Apple's extensive use of them has proven. They merely require a significant market share to start; hence the EU's claim.

    So is interoperability something that should be mandatory? Or should companies be allowed to close their platforms tightly? Advocates of a more laissez faire government would certainly argue the latter, but the EU and Kroes seem convinced of the former, a platform that may have a big impact on some of the tech industry's top firms in the U.S. and abroad.

    Comment:
    Do you think in Europe the antitrust laws work for the benefit of the consumers ?

    Apple will finally allow any brand device to sync with itunes? and worldwide, some day?
  2. #2  
    nice find. the US has benefited from EU efforts against microsoft in the past, so this should be a great help to us again.
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  3. #3  
    Yes, Neelie Smit Kroes kicks ***. She's one tough cookie.
  4. #4  
    Isn't part of this argument exactly backwards?

    So what if Apple decides not to allow Flash on its hardware and its OS? Now, if it were Adobe specifically targeting Apple saying you are not allowed to load flash on the iPhone and iPad then there should be a problem.

    I agree with the syncing -- using it's dominant position to stifle competition it not right. But, how is not implementing Flash stifling competition? If I want Flash content, I don't got the Apple route...

    What if Apple decided to create a new markup language called "AML" and they decided to only allow AML onto iDevices and not to allow HTML? Would that be stifling competition?
  5. #5  
    <<Thread Moved and Renamed>>
    Sprint|Samsung Epic
  6. #6  
    Yes, it would. You can argue that MS' battle over IE would be the same, since MS never stopped you from installing another browser, or prevented you from finding one. You just couldn't remove the IE that came with your computer, is all. The EU took that to mean that the majority of computer users wouldn't look any farther for a different piece of software, leaving the competition in the dust. Apple has traditionally done the same thing, and not allowing Flash, or syncing of other devices via iTunes, is anti-competitive, and bad for their customers. The idea of "significant" is important, given that the iPhone is one of the most popular pieces of hardware in recent history, and the iTunes store, along with the iPod, can't be denied as a cultural icon, to the point that even non-iPod/iPhone apps and hardware stick an "i" in front of the name. The iOS also has nearly eight times the combined market share of Windows Mobile and Android at the moment, and that doesn't even include the iPad. Apple not allowing Flash is a surefire way to prevent mobile programmers from supporting it on other platforms, in favor of HTML5. It's a surefire moneymaker if Apple says it's the future. The way things are now, if you break your iDevice, and can't afford to replace it, your iTunes library is useless on anything else. You HAVE to buy Apple's product to use iTunes properly. Sure, anybody with some knowledge can figure out how to do it other ways, but Apple counts on the majority of end users NOT knowing, cementing sales by ignorance. I'm surprised that nobody has been terribly interested in the fact you can buy Windows, and put it on anything that can support it, even Macs, while legally getting OSX requires the purchase of the expensive computer to go along with it. You can't buy OSX from Apple and install it on a Dell, they won't sell it to you.

    I'll be glad to see syncing available on WebOS, as well as other devices. You can't claim Apple is the good guy, when just that one example shows they're strictly out for the cash, and basically require you to purchase an expensive product, only from them, to use previous music purchases. You're simply not allowed to use it on the product of your choice.
    Last edited by fussnfeathers; 07/08/2010 at 12:28 PM.
  7. #7  
    Seems to me that if you buy a Nintendo game disk, you can't play it in a Playstation game console. There is no interoperability. You also can't plug a Playstation controller into an Xbox console. Why is that? Xbox Live is a significant ecosystem, yet your scores, games, and avatars from other ecosystems will not transfer.

    There is nothing wrong, either corporately or morally about developing a closed, vertical ecosystem. Rim is a good example of that in the mobile space. The only thing that seems to make it wrong is if that system is successful, and makes other systems, by comparison, look bad. Funny, that.
  8. #9  
    "There’s no real talk at all about forcing Apple “to allow third-party devices — like Android smartphones, the Palm Pre, or rival MP3 players – to sync with iTunes,” as Mick writes. “The EU has long complained about Apple’s efforts to block such syncing,” he complains. That is a valid complaint, but the real barrier to syncing is not iTunes, but rather the licensing rules pushed upon Apple by the studios and labels that prevent content (other than music) from being usable on other devices."

    Is this true? I'm not sure I buy that excuse because DRM free stuff could easily be synced. I just think Apple doesn't want to be stuck supporting other devices, which believe it or not, I agree with them on that. Look at other programs that sync all devices, they have to offer all kinds of .dlls and codecs. iTunes is certainly dominant, but there are other sync options out there(better ones too).

    Although they could let stuff sync in MSM, that's pretty simple.
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  9. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by dandbj13 View Post

    There is nothing wrong, either corporately or morally about developing a closed, vertical ecosystem. Rim is a good example of that in the mobile space. The only thing that seems to make it wrong is if that system is successful, and makes other systems, by comparison, look bad. Funny, that.
    I agree to a point. Every company has some exclusivity, they have to. Competition isn't a bad thing, and I have no problems with a company having signature products. Mario is Nintendo's signature character, it's well known that if you want to play a Mario game, you have to have the game system that made the game popular in the first place. Where Apple is going too far is by making things that aren't signature products, designed and licensed exclusively for their proiduct, impossible to use on another product. I may want to put my music on iTunes, it's the current most popular way to get it out there to the general public. I won't, though, because I don't want my fans to be tied to one portable player, without jumping through hoops.

    I find it unfair that MS, evil or not, was forced to allow removal of one of their signature products, on their own closed ecosystem, while Apple has their users locked down far, far tighter, and has gotten away with it for years. They've even been defended for their actions, although realistically, their system is far more restrictive than a simple browser issue. It's a contradiction of your last sentence. There is nothing intristically wrong with wanting to include a signature product, or even a product designed by the same company, in the main piece of software or hardware, but you're absolutely right. The more successful a company is, the more "evil" it is when they do exactly that. I'm hoping the EU goes through with this, if nothing else other than to send a clear message to Apple that they can't do the exact same thing they've complained about other companies doing in the past.
  10. #11  
    Really? Who cares what Apple does with their hardware/software. I have none of their products, as most people. Do I care whether they allow flash or that abomination called iTunes?

    Just use another device.
  11. #12  
    Who cares? The consumer should. Apple is a dominant force and locking out the competition.

    One move in the right direction though, is making iTunes DRM free for most music and music video(although some is still not). fussnfeathers, you can take your library with you to another device, but it must support AAC m4a. Though you can't sync with iTunes. And true, only iPods use AAC m4p(DRM). But I'm not sure I'd want to make Apple support other devices either. They simply do not know how to manage music properly. If you use Media Monkey, you'll see just how bad iTunes really is. If they're forced to support other devices, they're really going to need to rewrite iTunes from the ground up IMO. Then again, that'd be a good thing, because they sorely need to.

    No FLAC, no ogg, no LAME encoder, bad file structure, can't edit tags properly, does not support mass storage, cut off file names, weird file names while on the iPod, etc, etc. They will probably mess up your other device the way iTunes is now, LOL!
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  12. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by The Phone Diva View Post
    Who cares? The consumer should. Apple is a dominant force and locking out the competition.

    One move in the right direction though, is making iTunes DRM free for most music and music video(although some is still not). fussnfeathers, you can take your library with you to another device, but it must support AAC m4a. Though you can't sync with iTunes. And true, only iPods use AAC m4p(DRM). But I'm not sure I'd want to make Apple support other devices either. They simply do not know how to manage music properly. If you use Media Monkey, you'll see just how bad iTunes really is. If they're forced to support other devices, they're really going to need to rewrite iTunes from the ground up IMO. Then again, that'd be a good thing, because they sorely need to.

    No FLAC, no ogg, no LAME encoder, bad file structure, can't edit tags properly, does not support mass storage, cut off file names, weird file names while on the iPod, etc, etc. They will probably mess up your other device the way iTunes is now, LOL!
    Well, that may be the case but as an example i'm using Rhapsody on my Evo with no problems. I just stream, not downloading tracks yet.

    I'm really indifferent to the entire Apple is over dominating argument. I don't use them and suggest people look at other alternatives. Native itunes support on my handset isn't a requirement.
  13. #14  
    They're practically attempting to dictate the market in terms of Flash. Even if Flash isn't perfect, should everyone be forced to HTML5 or h.264 faster, just because Apple says so?

    And like it or not, Apple with iTunes did change digital music and they were the dominant digital force for a long time. And I think they still are. That's the reason they're getting looked at for locking out other devices. I do think the thing that saves them is the library can now be DRM free and moved to other devices. And their software is so bad anyway, like I said above, lol. That doesn't stop people wanting to sync with them though, apparently. But their file structure is too weird. And proper folder management is non-existent.
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  14. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by The Phone Diva View Post
    ]They're practically attempting to dictate the market in terms of Flash. Even if Flash isn't perfect, should everyone be forced to HTML5 or h.264 faster, just because Apple says so?
    Odd that a company that controls less than 10% of the worldwide computer market, ~5% of the worldwide Browser market, and ~15% of the worldwide smartphone market is dictating terms to a company that owns 100% of the worldwide flash market. I would think that if it's all so great, then it's Apple's loss if they choose to ignore Adobe. What I don't understand is how an EU bureaucratic policy is somehow going to make things better for everyone.
  15. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by The Phone Diva View Post
    They're practically attempting to dictate the market in terms of Flash. Even if Flash isn't perfect, should everyone be forced to HTML5 or h.264 faster, just because Apple says so?

    And like it or not, Apple with iTunes did change digital music and they were the dominant digital force for a long time. And I think they still are. That's the reason they're getting looked at for locking out other devices. I do think the thing that saves them is the library can now be DRM free and moved to other devices. And their software is so bad anyway, like I said above, lol. That doesn't stop people wanting to sync with them though, apparently. But their file structure is too weird. And proper folder management is non-existent.
    Yeah, the dictating part IS a laugher. Though I think flash sucks and HTML5 will be the way to go why is it a problem to provide support for both? I'm guessing Apple is trying to force the hand of web developers. Who knows, maybe Apple is afraid of something flash attempts to do if loaded on their phones.

    Yes, itunes is abysmal but King Steve mandates you use it so you better comply

    Rhapsody is DRM free too. But I am also not a rabid downloader of music anymore.
  16. #17  
    @Kupe. The EU has stricter anti-trust and pro-consumer policies than the US, it seems. It may prompt Apple to reconsider on it's own before they get stuck in the situation MSFT got stuck in. The EU seems relentless about suing or fining.
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  17. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by Odd-Ball View Post
    Yeah, the dictating part IS a laugher. Though I think flash sucks and HTML5 will be the way to go why is it a problem to provide support for both? I'm guessing Apple is trying to force the hand of web developers. Who knows, maybe Apple is afraid of something flash attempts to do if loaded on their phones.

    Yes, itunes is abysmal but King Steve mandates you use it so you better comply

    Rhapsody is DRM free too. But I am also not a rabid downloader of music anymore.
    They're throwing their market share weight around concerning Flash and that's why they're getting looked at by both the US and the EU.

    Jobs has claimed Flash runs terrible on all their devices. Maybe he's right, but the mandates against developers are going to far. Blocking Flash sites outright without consumer choice, also not good. On Android, I'm pretty certain Skyfire gives you the option to load the video player or not. It's probably a do so at your battery life's expense, but at least you make the decision. And Flash is supposed to be supported on 2.2.
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  18. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by The Phone Diva View Post
    Who cares? The consumer should. Apple is a dominant force and locking out the competition.

    One move in the right direction though, is making iTunes DRM free for most music and music video(although some is still not). fussnfeathers, you can take your library with you to another device, but it must support AAC m4a. Though you can't sync with iTunes. And true, only iPods use AAC m4p(DRM). But I'm not sure I'd want to make Apple support other devices either. They simply do not know how to manage music properly. If you use Media Monkey, you'll see just how bad iTunes really is. If they're forced to support other devices, they're really going to need to rewrite iTunes from the ground up IMO. Then again, that'd be a good thing, because they sorely need to.

    No FLAC, no ogg, no LAME encoder, bad file structure, can't edit tags properly, does not support mass storage, cut off file names, weird file names while on the iPod, etc, etc. They will probably mess up your other device the way iTunes is now, LOL!
    The iTunes vs MediaMonkey (or insert media manager) is really just yet another extension of everything Apple. Apple has significant limitations in many of their products... but because they market so well and design a VERY comfortable and inviting UI... the average consumer is drawn to their products.
  19. #20  
    I've never had any issue syncing my Pre with my iTunes on my Macbook
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