Rumor has it that “a federal antitrust probe of Apple is days away” according to PCWorld. I do not want to see this. Even though I criticized Steve Jobs’ statements about Flash in my previous post, it’s the hypocrisy I find most offensive. I would respect Jobs if he said
Hey, it’s my platform. I can do whatever I want with it. If you don’t like it, buy someone else’s stuff. Or better yet, go make your own platform.
That might make me want go out and buy an iPad.
However, such a statement may not hold water legally. No, you can’t do whatever you want with your own platform. Perhaps you should be able to, but that’s not the law. Hank Williams makes an interesting argument this morning that Apple may guilty of illegal restraint of trade through their use of warranties.
I’m suspicious of antitrust cases. They are often a way for competitors to win in court what they were unable to win in the marketplace. I don’t want to see Apple go through the antitrust wringer just because Microsoft had to. On the other hand, given the Microsoft precedent, it would be almost impossible to overlook Apple. The discussion of whether Microsoft should have included its web browser as part of the operating system seems absolutely trivial compared to the control Apple exerts over its devices.