Could Apple eventually gain monopoly status in one or more businesses, and become as "evil" (or worse) as Microsoft was when regulators went after them in the 1990s? Windows pundit Paul Thurrott thinks so, and thinks it's time to act now before it's too late.
Now, Thurrott is an interesting dichotomy, well-balanced on his Windows Weekly podcast yet Dvorak'ian in link-baiting on his blog. He's pro Microsoft all the way, but has still been unable to find anything as compelling as the iPhone or iPod in their respective spaces. So, assuming we're dealing with the more even handed podcasting and iPhone-using Thurrott, and we're not just biting his baited link, his argument here is this:
until very recently, Apple was the underdog, and they've been the underdog for almost their entire existence. This creates a certain mindset, and under Steve Jobs especially, it's created a very aggressive competitive spirit. This aggressiveness is fine when you are literally the underdog, just as was the case with Microsoft early in its career and it was trying to wrest the PC industry from IBM, Lotus, WordPerfect, and other tech dinosaurs. But once you have a dominant market position, that aggressive behavior--so important for an up-and-comer--isn't just bad, it's illegal. It's just hard to turn it off when it's been part of the corporate psyche for so long.
With this obvious comparison of two very similarly belligerent companies--Microsoft of the mid-1990s and Apple of today--in mind, I think the time has come to rein Apple in. To examine Apple's exclusive relationships with wireless carriers. To force it to open up iTunes to competing players, and its iPhone and iPod devices to competing software and services. If we don't do this now, it will only be more difficult in the future. All you have to do is look at Microsoft's never-ending antitrust saga--which has now stretched on for 15 years, involved regulatory bodies on three continents, and gone on far longer than its actual bad behavior--to see why it's time.
Yesterday we asked you if Apple should 1) keep on improving the App Store, 2) eliminate the App Store and let people side-load applications from any source, or 3( do both by keeping the App Store but adding side-loading as an option.
As commenter Shallomon pointed out, however, we technically already have option 3, with the App Store and Jailbreaking.
TextExpander touch [$1.99 on sale, $4.99 after Sept. 9 - iTunes link], is the iPhone (and iPod touch) version of Mac favorite TextExpander, an app that takes short bursts of text and expands them (get the name?) into longer passages.
TUAW has the details, especially on how the lack of background multitasking for 3rd party apps means the iPhone versions works (and works around) a limitation it doesn't face on the desktop.
MobileCrunch has a huge post up detailing the latest, and potentially one of the most brazen cases of fake iPhone reviews (astroturfing) to date.
To sum up, MobileCrunch claims PR firm Reverb Communications has been using fake iTunes accounts to deliberately and strategically post fake App Store reviews for their clients -- some of which are fairly recognizable names in the iPhone and iPod touch development space. According to an anonymous tipster:
The NFL's regular season is fast approaching and what a better way to kick the season off then with some Madden 2010 on your iPhone (or iPod touch)?! EA has been promising us some Madden action on iPhone for a while and now they finally will deliver.
The game will contain real NFL rosters and, based upon the screen shots, will include Brett Favre and Michael Vick on both of their new respective teams. While EA is promising a release date of no later than opening day, September 10th, there is no official word on a price point. All of that aside, we think you can expect Madden 2010 to stiff arm it's way into the App Store at $9.99.
RealNetworks recently submitted their on-demand music streaming application for the iPhone and iPod Touch to Apple for review. Yes, this is the moment all of you Rhapsody subscribers have been waiting for.