Is the iPod/iTunes link monopolistic?

Is the iPod/iTunes link monopolistic?

Summary: A lawsuit has made its way to the US District Court for the Southern District of California which claims that the iPod/iTunes link that Apple has fostered is monopolistic.


A lawsuit has made its way to the US District Court for the Southern District of California which claims that the iPod/iTunes link that Apple has fostered is monopolistic.

The lawsuit, filed by a Florida resident on behalf of all Florida-based iPod owners and iTunes Store customers, claims that limitations introduced by Apple into the iPod and iTunes is "unreasonable and illegal under Florida's antitrust and unfair trade laws."

This isn't the first time that the claim that the link between the iPod and iTunes is monopolistic, but it'll be interesting to see how this works out.

However, in the meantime, what do you think?  Is the iPod/iTunes ecosystem that Apple has created just good business practice or is it monopolistic and anti-competitive?

[poll id=197]

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Legal, Mobility

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  • None of the above

    I voted for "good business practice", because it was better than the alternative. Look, if people stopped buying iAnything for a while, Apple would abandon some of its ways. That said, there are plenty of comparable products to CHOOSE from, so there is NO monopoly. I wish the lemmings would pay a bit more attention to what's going on, but that's a pipe dream, I think.
    • agreed

      One of the keys to the success of the iPod is how easy media management is between the player and the software. Organizing my music and pdating my iPod is super easy. Most people just want stuff that works and the combination of iTunes and the iPod does just that.

      Fire away at my seemingly glowing response.
      • No, and that's fine.

        If you like using iTunes to manage the player, that's great. Why, however, does it mandate that you can ONLY manage it through iTunes. See my next post.

  • With one condition

    Apple can mandate that sales be done through iTunes, there are other places to get media that play on iPods if desired. What is monopolistic is the mandate that ONLY iTunes can control the player. Real was going to get sued if they did not stop their effort to offer iPod control. Apple is continually messing about with their firmware in lame attempts to block Linux (Amarok) from being able to control their player, and in that sense, the linkage is monopolistic and should be corrected.

    i.e. You don't HAVE to using iTunes to load/unload music not purchased or aquired at iTunes on an iPod.

    • Since the iPod is a computer...

      This is no different than only allowing QS X to run only on Apple hardware.

      iTunes is the software interface been the Apple Hardware (iPod) and the host
      computer's operating system (OS X, Windows)

      Don't like iTunes, don't buy an iPod.

      Buy A zune, or some other player. The fact that there is choice (some which people
      say are better than the iPod) makes the monopoly argument weak.

      Plus, you can (or at least could at one time) get around iTunes by mounting the
      iPod like a disk and copying files directly to the appropriate folders. Not that I'd
      personally ever want to do that, but it is/was an option.
      • Analoogy is incorrect.

        iPod is like a computer. The OS it runs is analgous to OS-10, so far so good. You have the added condition that to use the discrete computer and OS (ipod + it's OS) you MUST use a third product (iTunes) made by the same manufacturer. That's tying, and illegal. You cannot enforce the sale and use of a product tied to another discrete product.

        They can offer, suggest, but they should not be able to exclude ALL others from controlling it to. Imagine a great jukebox application I want to offer as a plugin to my stereo, running on Linux, remote control, complete control of the iPod (all varieties) acting as the source, just plug them into my new hardware platform, watch your movies, music, pictures....sorry, that's illegal, Apple will sue me. The tying and requirement limit the fair use rights I have to an iPod, I can do with it what I please.

        • Only for a monopoly.

          The tying aspect would be illegal only if Apple had a monopoly in the player market.

          Even then, as iPod and iTunes have always been "tied", they might argue that there is no tying - the product was ALWAYS presented as an integrated whole.
          • Bingo

            iPod and iTunes has always been 'tied' from the beginning - introduced as a whole iPod+iTunes. The fact that there is and was plenty of other choices from the beginning shows that this is just good business practice by Apple. iPod+iTunes gained market share by giving consumers what they wanted despite the countless competition (iPod Killers?) over the years.
          • Better than that....

            iTunes was released before iPods in Mar or April 2001 (can't remember which) and iPods in November that year. The iPod was always an extension of the iTunes system as is the store.

            It amazes me that people are trying to posthumously impose an interoperable model especially when the other products that use that model have been such a disaster.

    • You can?

      How.. Sounds silly but i've tried opening it up as a device in my Windows Explorer and I don't see where I can put the music. Albeit I haven't really looked that hard. :)
      • Amarok controls iPods, well, almost anything

        It is Open Source, Apple keeps trying to break it, it works for a few hours. It is being ported to Windows. wait on a stable version, then you can use your iPod without iTunes.

        • Correct me if I'm wrong

          But if use only amarok and do not install iTunes on any machine I connect my iPod to, they have no way of changing my firmware to prevent amarok from controlling my iPod, do they?
          Michael Kelly
          • :D I guess you are right.

            Certainly, on a Linux machine, you are in complete charge of your iPod, Apple can't touch it. Hopefully Amarok for Windows is stable release soon, Apple aside, it is an incredible media player.

            The latest firmware problem came to light when new owners of iPods couldn't use Amarok. I do agree with the overall solution posted in the talkbacks, I don't buy Apple. They are earning a place right up there with Sony as companies not to do business with (imho, if you like em, that's fine too).

          • Firmware updates NOT mandantory

            Even if you are on a Mac running iTunes you are not required to update your firmware. iTunes presents the updates to you, but you can decline them.

            I know the Linux crowd is convinced Apple is trying to break their access with firmware updates, but in reality the updates are to fix bugs, and occasionally provide new functionality. Those trying to access the device through non-supported methods do so at their own risk. Breakage of that access is naturally going to occur. If you don't like it - buy something else. As pointed out above, there are plenty of alternativex.
    • Why do I need..

      HPs software for my All-In-One? Why can't I use software from Canon? Why do I
      need ATI drivers for my graphics card? I can't seem to get the Radeon drivers to
      work. Why did I need specific software for my old fax/modem?

      Computer peripherals need drivers and software. In the case of the iPod, that
      driver/software combo is called iTunes. It's no different from any other peripheral.
      • Bad analogy

        [i]HPs software for my All-In-One?[/i]

        You can't print Microsoft Word documents on your HP? You can't scan paper that wasn't made by HP? Yikes, if that is true, your HP All-In-One sucks!!! I would return it.

        [i]Why do I need ATI drivers for my graphics card?[/i]

        You do [b]not[/b] have to use ATI's drivers for your ATI card. Linux distros, by default, do not use proprietary drivers and ATI does [b]nothing[/b] to "fix" the card so non ATI drivers stop working. Apple charges [b]YOU[/b] to write code so that your iPod won't work with anything but iTunes. Yes, [b]YOU[/b] pay for it, unless you are ready to admit that Apple programmers work for free?

        [i]In the case of the iPod, that driver/software combo is called iTunes. It's no different from any other peripheral.[/i]

        Except that it [b]is[/b] vastly different from most other MP3 players. [url=] MTP [/url] is a standard protocol that allows you to use [b]any[/b] media software with [b]any[/b] media player. Most MP3 players support MTP. Want to take a guess as to whether or not iPod supports it? :)
        • Out of curiousity

          Does the Zune support MTP?
          Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
        • You're analogy misses the point.

          I need HP software for my HP AIO. I need iTunes for my iPod. I can use audio files of
          several different types that are not exclusive to Apple. I can view MP4 videos, and
          JPEG pictures. Other than the driver/software combination, I don't need to use any
          other Apple product.
          • Not true

            There are open source drivers for AIOs for Linux. Yes, they are developed by HP, but since they are open source, they are not CONTROLLED by HP. That's a clear distinction in that no one is stopping you from taking control of your software with regards to your AIO hardware. You can't say the same thing with an iPod.
            Michael Kelly
          • Ah, but I don't use Linux..

            so I have to use HPs software and drivers. Analogy still holds.