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What Exactly Is At The Core Of Apple?

#1 User is offline   gracer 

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 11:04 AM

I'm sure you've all heard about the price-fixing controversy surrounding Apple and ebook publishers, who conspired to set prices higher in a bid to knock Amazon off its perch.

The news itself disgusts me, I'll be honest. Does Apple not receive a big enough cut that it needs to hike prices up and snatch extra dollars from consumers' wallets to add to its meagre US$600 billion market worth? More so, did it consider its actions would force the hand of other retailers to also increase costs? Their one action has inspired an entire wave of industry changes, all of which are to the detriment of buyers who have lined Apple's pockets since day one.

Keep in mind that the US Department of Justice is alleging that Apple held a tonne of secret meetings with top Publishers' CEOS (everyone from Penguin to Harper Collins) since 2008. That takes a lot of planning to exploit its loyal consumers and make literature even more inaccessible to those struggling to afford it.

NOW, it's come to our attention that to avoid ongoing court cases, federal law violations and open admissions of guilt, some publishers have reached out of court settlements and are going to 'compensate' US consumers who bought their publications at elevated prices. So, a discount off your next gullible purchase is going to make this alright? Why would anyone even consider throwing more money in their direction? The whole thing reeks of patronising.

Apple and the associated publishers of this price-hike need to be held accountable, accept guilty verdicts (if indeed, that is what is true) and accept the punishment and due consequences ordered by the courts.

Yet again, it's a case of businesses bartering their wealth in exchange for subsidised responsibility. And for all of Apple's waxing lyrical on offering content and educational resources at affordable prices, these investigations have really brought to the fore what the company prioritises (in this case) when it comes to profits versus right and wrong.

I guess no conglomerate gets as wealthy as Apple without some tricks of the trade?

Even still, it's made me cranky today. There'll be a frown engraved on my face for the rest of the week, I imagine.

How do you guys feel about all of this?

G
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#2 User is offline   Some Random Bloke 

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:30 PM

I feel mixed. An Amazon monopoly, which is what we practically had, is not good for anyone. The industry needs to adapt but Amazon's model is anti-competitive. This case will only penalise Hitler and help Stalin. Also, AFAIK, it's the publishers who had the secret meetings, Apple wasn't privy to them. Some speculation I've read suggests that puts Apple in a stronger position than the publishers.

Sure we have cheaper books with Amazon, but how long can the industry and Amazon sell books at a loss. If they're subsidising the Kindle with subsidised ebooks how do they make any money from this stream? Smacks of predatory practices to me and the DoJ should be investigating them next.

Not justifying Apple, but the playing field is not level and the DoJ (and ACCC for that matter) need to take a whole of industry approach.
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#3 User is offline   bitingmidge 

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 04:41 PM

It's a bunch of emotional claptrap!

Apple have one purpose in life as do Amazon and every other corporation, and this is not a rant about corporate greed, it's a simple fact: the purpose of all corporations is to separate us from as much money as they can.

To maximise their leverage, they invent products we have no need for, and convince us we do (ebook readers of all types for instance), then produce consumables (ebooks) to sell.

Why is Amazon not in the firing line for selling at a loss? Surely that is less sustainable as a business model than guaranteeing a profit for suppliers?

What is a "secret" meeting anyway? Has anyone ever heard of a company not conducting business in secret?

How would it be if for instance the bank were to conduct all its business in the open?

Imagine announcements like this:

"10:00 am - home loan application meeting with fred nerk, income $10, loan requested $20, net assets $00 " .....hmmmmm?

Secret meetings..... baah!

:rolleyes:

Cheers,

P
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#4 User is offline   Ken Gracey 

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:14 PM

They is an old rule in business, charge as much as you can, until your customers cry blue murder, and then knock a little bit off, and people think they are getting a bargain, so my guess is, that's what the publishers and apple are doing, the only true crime here is they all got caught.
Come on 20K




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#5 User is offline   bitingmidge 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:31 PM

View PostKen Gracey, on 13 April 2012 - 06:14 PM, said:

They is an old rule in business, charge as much as you can, until your customers cry blue murder, and then knock a little bit off, and people think they are getting a bargain, so my guess is, that's what the publishers and apple are doing, the only true crime here is they all got caught.


Actually, there's no judgement been made, many reports suggest there's no case to answer, if there is, it will be of a highly technical nature. You don't suppose all those companies would have acted without taking serious legal advice do you?

Of course the legislators like to knock off big Apples don't they... sort of like the ATO hunting down and perhaps even harassing high profile people to keep us all on the straight and narrow.

Cheers,

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#6 User is offline   Ken Gracey 

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:39 PM

Shh Shh Pete, dont mention that name, I have a desk audit on tuesday :P
Come on 20K




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#7 User is offline   bitingmidge 

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:23 AM

View PostKen Gracey, on 14 April 2012 - 05:39 PM, said:

Shh Shh Pete, dont mention that name, I have a desk audit on tuesday :P


Time to leave the country Ken. It works for me! :mosking:

Actually it didn't work all that well last year, but that's another story.

Cheers,

P
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#8 User is offline   BrianB 

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:25 PM

I get really confused with these types of allegations.

Please explain what Apple have done so wrong??

As consumers we have a choice to buy from whom we want to. And its obvious Apple charge more than Amazon. I always do research before I buy something, so I know Amazon is cheaper and therefore if I were to buy an ebook, I would buy it from the cheaper supplier.

So as you can see I have no clue what the issue is.

So please explain??
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#9 User is offline   bitingmidge 

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 07:30 AM

View PostBrianB, on 15 April 2012 - 07:25 PM, said:


Please explain what Apple have done so wrong??

As consumers we have a choice to buy from whom we want to. And its obvious Apple charge more than Amazon. I always do research before I buy something, so I know Amazon is cheaper and therefore if I were to buy an ebook, I would buy it from the cheaper supplier.

So as you can see I have no clue what the issue is.

So please explain??


Well Brian, until the courts have decided the matter, Apple have actually done nothing wrong. That's what members of the press these days seem to have a great deal of trouble understanding, and I reckon (sorry Grace) that gracer has done the same. Innocent until proven guilty used to be the premise by which the law worked, not any more, it's innocent until the press gets a hold of it and rams its conclusions down our throats!

Apple are accused (as are the publishers) of colluding on price. Let's see if their lawyers got it wrong before we jump to conclusions shall we?

Cheers,

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#10 User is offline   Some Random Bloke 

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:11 AM

'Allegedly' is the magic word. Alleged price collusion.

AFAIK the issue is the publishers met in some secret back room deal to collude on prices on the iBooks store. From what I've read, Apple wasn't part of these cartel-like discussions.

The other issue that may affect Apple is 'most favoured nation' status where Apple lets the publishers set book prices in iBooks Store in return for not selling their titles on Amazon. Or something like that. This of, or course, is anti-competitive.

However, it's debatable whether it's a bad thing to freeze out a virtual monopoly, especially when they're using their size for anti-competitive practices (selling ebooks below cost). I think whoever wins, everyone loses. Amazon needs to be brought down a few pegs IMO, but favoured nation status and cartel-like behaviour aren't good either.
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#11 User is offline   gracer 

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 05:27 PM

No need to apologise - the fact that Apple is already colluding with European investigators to settle the matter without legal proceedings speaks volumes to me. And while I love its products, Apple is not above examination or criticism. That's the first mistake of looking at a company as above the law.

Yes - top priority is to make big revenue, but don't separate that from the practice of right or wrong. If I want to buy a book from Apple to download onto my iPad - I don't have the option of shopping around for other 'iBooks'. The decision to hike up prices was a move that Apple was aware of - if they had no involvement don't you think they'd have been more openly fighting this though the legal system to clear their name and deny any wrongdoing?

To me, the premise of publishers determining retail prices crosses a line of integrity. As readers of Macworld, what would you think if editorially, we only wrote about top-paying clients?

Mixing content with consumerism makes everything a little muddy.

That's my opinion and I stick to it, despite the fact that I obviously love Apple and the many other ehtical decisions it's made in the past. Now isn't one of them.

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#12 User is offline   bitingmidge 

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:30 AM

I'm not entirely disagreeing with you here, but this IS an argument after all, so....

How many choices do you have if you want to download an ibook onto your Kindle?

I don't know any of the facts, but if:

Quote

the fact that Apple is already colluding with European investigators to settle the matter without legal proceedings
doesn't collusion mean co-operating by providing evidence against a third party? (presumably the publishers?)

As you know I am no Apple apologist, and I also have a view that running a company efficiently is not unlike driving a car as fast as the law allows. Major corporations as a rule try to stick to the limit, but occasionally they might pop over it on a long downhill stretch. (Newscorp might have forgotten to turn off cruise control when it hit the built up area).

How does Apple's deal with book publishers differ from its deal with the music labels, and why is that not under the same scrutiny?

Cheers,

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