Time To Upset The Apple Cart?

Time To Upset The Apple Cart?

Tech companies have grown to such proportions that many behave like monopolies. We look at how Americans feel about this development and what is likely in store for the tech giants starting with Apple, Inc.

Anjali Krishnan

A handful of companies hold the lion’s share of the market when it comes to certain technologies. As governments across the globe scamper to moderate their monopolistic tendencies and draft new regulations for fair practices, we found that the American people are well aware of the issue and have strong opinions on the subject.

In a TIPP Poll conducted in April, we asked whether Americans supported or opposed the breaking up of the four Big Tech companies to prevent them from becoming a potential monopoly.

Fifty percent and more said they supported the move.

When it comes to the ‘Apple’ of the tech world, half were in favor of breaking up the company to prevent it from becoming a monopoly. Almost a third, 30%, were opposed to the move, and the rest were not sure.

TIPP Poll Results American Support For Breaking UP Apple - Chart
TIPP Poll Results Americans in Support Of Breaking Up Apple - Chart

While Apple’s hardware continues to hold sway among gadget lovers, its ‘walled garden’ approach has often drawn criticism. The almost seamless connection between its devices and the advantage of interoperability, while enhancing user experience, subtly ties customers down to its own products and excludes its competitors.

Besides tying in Apple devices, the company is accused of choking competition on its App Store. Entities that do business with the tech giant, like third-party app developers, are forced to agree to Apple’s overbearing terms or risk being shut off from the platform, thus losing a chunk of potential customers.

The company makes up to a thirty percent cut on all purchases made through its app. By forcing vendors to use its payment processing systems, Apple keeps a tight rein on all facets of the business.

It’s not just the small, indie developers who are at a disadvantage.  Music streaming platform Spotify’s complaint, a few months back, has resulted in an official antitrust probe by the European Commission. The executive vice-president at the European Commission noted, “Apple has a monopoly in the Apple App Store.”

Such monopoly/market dominance would likely lead to short-changing the customer.  Apple can get away with charging higher prices while keeping the customers in the dark regarding cheaper options. What is on offer and what is not falls to the sole discretion of the company. Inflated commissions and harsh rules for conducting business with Apple would keep many small-time businesses and nascent tech companies away from its ecosystem and thus the iOS users.

The TIPP Poll found that consumers are informed and concerned about the risks.

  • 71% are concerned that they will pay higher prices for the services
  • 66% are worried that they will have fewer choices
  • 73% are concerned that smaller businesses will be at a disadvantage
TIPP Poll Consumer Concerns With Apple - Chart

What’s In Store?

Apple has been battling antitrust litigations, investigation, and class action suits on various counts. The lawsuit brought by Epic Games against the company is just the latest one to challenge the way the company operates and conducts business.

While governments play catch up to the tech titans with updated laws and new regulations, we may see a vastly different tech ecosystem in the future. A company may no longer be allowed to run the tech platform and participate or sell on it. Apple may have to completely change its business model, i.e., separate its hardware arm from its iOS. A more equitable ground that does not shut out competitors, benefits customers, and businesses like app developers is likely to emerge.

The internet exploded more than a decade ago; our laws are just catching up. It’s unfair to solely blame the tech companies for making the most of the ambiguities and loopholes in the current system.

No one wants to see the innovative giant stymied. Americans want to see it grow into a monopoly even less.

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TIPP Takes

Iran Says UN Watchdog Can No Longer Access Nuclear Data

Iranian Nuclear Facility Rods
Iranian Nuclear Facility Rods
  • The IAEA will not be able to monitor Iran's nuclear activity after the end of a three-month arrangement. The development comes as world powers continue to make attempts at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal.
  • Tehran's parliament speaker said a three-month monitoring deal between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has expired.
  • As part of the arrangement, the IAEA could gather and analyze "hundreds of thousands of images captured daily by its sophisticated surveillance cameras."
  • In December, Iran's parliament passed a bill that would suspend part of UN inspections of its nuclear facilities if European signatories did not provide sanctions relief on its oil and banking sectors by February.
  • The expiration of the arrangement means the UN watchdog will no longer have access to Iran's nuclear data held at atomic sites across the country.

DR Congo: Goma ‘Spared’ As Lava From Volcano Halts Outside City

City Of Goma Democratic Republic Of Congo, Post Mount Nyiragongo Eruption
City Of Goma Democratic Republic Of Congo, Post Mount Nyiragongo Eruption
  • Region’s military governor says the lava flow stopped on the outskirts of the eastern city as thousands evacuated Goma.
  • A river of boiling lava from the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo has come to a halt outside Goma, sparing the city in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • According to a provisional estimate, five people were killed in related accidents.
  • Residents said there was little warning before the dark sky turned a fiery red, leading to fears that the eruption could cause the same kind of devastation as the last time in 2002 when hundreds died.
  • The last time Nyiragongo erupted was January 17, 2002, killing 250 people, displacing 120,000 others, and covering almost all of the eastern part of Goma with lava, including half of the airport’s landing strip.

Iran Rejects Canadian Court's Decision On Responsibility For Downed Passenger Plane

Downed Ukrainian Passenger Plane PS752
Downed Ukrainian Passenger Plane PS752
  • Iran has rejected a Canadian court's ruling that it is responsible for the downing of a passenger plane carrying Canadian citizens last year.
  • The top court in the Canadian province of Ontario ruled on Thursday that the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 was an act of terrorism committed by the Iranian state.
  • According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the ruling allows victims' families to seek restitution from the Islamic Republic.
  • Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps shortly after takeoff from Tehran on January 8, 2020.
  • The Iranian government said the tragedy resulted from a human error in which air defense forces mistook the aircraft for a military target during the conflict with the U.S.

Belarus 'Diverts Ryanair Flight To Arrest Journalist', Opposition Says

Diverted Ryanair Flight By Belarus, Flight Path
  • A Ryanair plane from Greece to Lithuania was diverted to Belarus for several hours, with activists saying it was done to arrest a dissident journalist on board.
  • European nations reacted with outrage, accusing Belarus of "state terrorism."
  • The ex-editor of the Nexta group, Roman Protasevich, was detained before the plane was allowed to resume its flight.
  • Belarus media said a MiG-29 escorted the jet to Minsk because of a bomb scare, but no explosives were found.
  • Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was beaten by Alexander Lukashenko in presidential polls last year widely denounced as rigged, was among those demanding Mr. Protasevich's release.
  • The U.S. ambassador to Belarus, Julie Fisher, tweeted that it was "abhorrent" Mr. Lukashenko had faked a bomb threat and sent fighter jets to arrest a journalist.
  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said this was a "serious and dangerous incident." Both Latvia and Lithuania said the airspace over Belarus should be recognized as unsafe.

Aung San Suu Kyi To Appear In A Myanmar Court On Monday, Junta Leader Says

President Of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi
President Of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi
  • Myanmar's junta leader Min Aung Hlaing says deposed elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi was healthy at home and would appear in court in a few days, in his first interview since overthrowing her in a February 1 coup.
  • A Nobel Peace Prize laureate for her long struggle against previous military rulers, Suu Kyi is among more than 4,000 people detained since the coup.
  • Suu Kyi's next court appearance is due on Monday in the capital, Naypyidaw. So far, she has appeared only by video link and has yet to be allowed to speak directly to her lawyers.
  • She faces charges that range from illegally possessing walkie-talkie radios to violating a state secrets law.
  • The junta has cited security reasons for not allowing her to speak to her lawyers in private at a time when the military authorities have not yet established control of the country.
  • The junta faces daily protests, strikes, and renewed insurgencies.


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