Sunday, June 13, 2010

First they came...

I complain a lot about government regulations surrounding drugs and gay marriage, which I guess is a little strange because I don't do drugs and I am not gay. But now it's personal because the long arm of government is coming for my iPhone:

Some industry representatives are coming to Apple's defense.

"The iPhone was just introduced three years ago, and all of a sudden (Apple is) being accused of being a monopolist? To me, it's absurd," said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association, in an interview. "They don't even have a dominant position in smart phones—that's Blackberry."

However, some antitrust enforcers say that if they wait until a tech company has cornered a market it may be too late. The technology sector has powerful "network effects" that, some say grant outsize advantages to first movers and make it particularly difficult for competitors to break in.

Based solely on this article in the WSJ, the federal case against Apple doesn't even make sense. I get the argument about network effects which favor the first movers in the market which make it difficult for competitors to break in. BUT THE FIRST MOVER IS BLACKBERRY. The iPhone may very well kill Blackberry, and that in itself undermines the entire basis of the argument against Apple. This smells to me like competitors of Apple using government to stifle competition.

Besides, the iPhone has plenty of worthy smart phone competitors besides Blackberry (the Droid, for example, not to mention the Palm Pre and tons of other cool smart phones.)

Update: Here is a link to Radio Shack catalogs from 1939 to 2005. Take a look at the crap in these catalogs from companies that you probably have never heard of and see how expensive it is and determine for yourself how strong the first mover advantages are. The 1985 catalog (page 172) has a Tandy 2000 computer for $4,250. It has a 10 megabyte hard disk.