EU: Android May Trump iPad Antitrust Concerns

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While various aspects of the European Union’s regulatory bodies are taking a gander at Apple’s subscription plans for its iPad tablet empire, the reality is that Google’s Android platform may be enough of a competitor to stave off any antitrust concerns, at least according to one commissioner. Bloomberg reported comments to a Belgian lawmaker about the issue that suggest there’s no hurry from the body to go after Apple’s iPad as some form of monopoly.

The background for the story comes in the weeks leading up to Apple’s announcement of a subscription system for in-app content on the App Store. After News Corp. announced The Daily — an iPad-only (for now) newspaper — and it was revealed that Apple was getting 30% of the subscription revenue from the app, publishers in Europe and America began expressing concern that Apple’s plans would not be good for their businesses.

In the European Union, these cries were taken seriously, and various national lawmakers, regulators, and EU agencies expressed an interest in Apple’s plans (earlier on Friday we also reported that the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are also interested).

On February 11th, four days before Apple unveiled its plans and five days before Google unveiled a similar subscription plan, one EU commissioner told Belgian lawmakers that it’s way too early to even tell if Apple has a monopoly, and noted that there is already robust competition in the tablet market.

“Alternative applications platforms exist and several companies have recently launched or are expected to launch in the near future a number of devices similar in terms of functionality to the iPad,” EU commissioner Andris Piebalgs wrote to a Belgian member of the European Parliament.

It’s important to iterate that though these comments are just being reported on Friday, February 18th, they were made on February 11th, before Apple’s actual plans were announced. It’s also important to note that one comment to one lawmaker from one EU commissioner does not equate to an official stance from all of the EU’s regulatory agencies.

Still, this is a clear counter to the huffing and puffing that was coming out of some quarters, and it acknowledges that though Apple may be selling the most tablets (and making more than the lion’s share of app revenues), Android device makers face few barriers to joining the fray.

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Comments

Tiger

Considering Google and PayPal are BOTH working on subscription services, the appropriate response is “DUH”.

mhikl

One is reminded of Vonnegut’s short story, Harrison Bergeron, in which the talented are handicapped so that conformity of the average may prevail. Cute story. Google and its twisted progeny epitomizes the spirit. All lose.

The same was suggested for Microsoft at one time. Keeping inept (think of a dingy bodily function) from floating, in this case, would have worked.

Think.
Where would the world of personal music players be today had there not been the iPod?

Think again.
Where would the world of handheld tablets be today were there not the iPad?

Case in point. It has been written that Einstein vaulted the world one hundred years into the future. Glad he was where he was, when he was.

ibuck

Can a few people trying to vault the world into the future overcome the conservative hordes working to hurl us back 100 years?

daemon

Where would the world of personal music players be today had there not been the iPod?

I have a Creative Nomad, it’s wonderful and still works great. What Apple brought to the market that I didn’t have with the first version of the iPod was firewire. The second and third versions of the iPod were just more of the same uselessness. It wasn’t until the fourth generation of the iPod that Apple introduced anything close to revolutionary, and it wasn’t the iPod that was revolutionary. It was iTunes’ having legal music for sale.

We might not have mp3’s for sale now if it wasn’t for Apple.

Where would the world of handheld tablets be today were there not the iPad?

They’d still come with styluses and very few people outside of myself would own them. Apple got rid of the idea that handhelds had to have an input device other than your finger. It’s not that others didn’t think of it, it’s that no one was willing to introduce a product to the market that didn’t use a stylus.

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