11 June 2010

More iProblems For Steve - This Time The FTC

Be careful who you pick your fights with Steve... now it seems that the Feds have iPhone well and truly in their sights. According to the Wall Street Journal, The FTC - US Federal Trade Commission are investigating Apple's Advertising system for the iPhone.

And the Feds are not being slow about jumping into the fray. Within literally hours of the AT&T security breach involving iPads becoming public - the FBI jumps in and announces a criminal probe. I guess exposing the White House Chief of Staff's email address was not a particularly good thing to happen

But wait - there's more.

Apple's attempts at opening up a whole new avenue of cash cow milking machinery - iAd- (aka Apple forcing advertising into the iPhone infrastructure) only a few days old and Google coming out swinging on that front (because they can't stand competition) the FTC steps in.

What seems to be so weird about this is that it took a long time - literally years - before the Feds stepped into the whole bundling thing at Microsoft for bundling the OS with the web browser - is that this is about hard cash. Whereas the Microsoft Windows/IE battle was about harming potential competition (as in whose free product was disadvantaged) , this is about how fat the spigot should be. And boy do they move faster now.

These are definitely not your father's Feds. The government cash sniffer nose has become a little more sensitive.

Now who/what else could they investigate. Here are some examples:

Apple vs Adobe over Flash
Google vs Just about Everything

I could make some comments about certain companies in the travel distribution food chain but I am keeping this more focused on Apple at the moment.

Apple's normally vaunted reputation for "it just works" also seems to be coming in for some scrutiny.

Steve Job's WiFi troubles in announcing the iPhone are just one of a host of issues that apple's smaller (but wildly more profitable) services are having. The iPad has significant issues on WiFi - just troll the web for some of this. For example this one.

Those of you who were early iPhone adopters will recall that when it first came out - the device seemed to have a teensy weenie problem with making - phone calls!

So now the world's second most valuable tech company (after Google) is going to understand what it means to have a degree of scrutiny.

I bet Obama is laughing all the way home. His special Blackberry doesn't have to be called the Devil's Instrument...


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