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  • Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 12:10am

    Not enough data yet... (as Alphageek)

    It's a fuzzy situation with the comments from both SONY and Apple leaving lots of room for semantic interpretation. So until both of them come clean with a detailed picture of what's going on rather than quoting ambiguous statements in press releases we still don't know exactly what the situation is.

    But a few points worth reviewing here:

    @Anonymous Coward: re: "Why haven't anyone file antitrust lawsuit against them now? I'd think this is a severe manipulation of market (by forcing everyone to trade in their app store) using rules bonded on the device."

    Because, despite the mindshare of the iPhone, it hold a trivially small proportion of the overall mobile phone market, and only a respectable part of the smartphone market ref.

    Antitrust is used when a company (or consortium) abuses it's dominant or monopolistic position to force others out of the market. In no stretch of the imagination could Apple be considered in a dominant position by our current standards of defining markets. Even if you are defining the market in terms of eReading devices Amazon tells us that they've sold millions of Kindles, plus all of the other competing devices, including Android devices.

    Then there's the question of gatekeeping or curating a marketplace. Right now you can't buy iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Fictionwise, etc. on a Kindle. An outright ban could be considered even more prejudicial and closed than asking for a cut. Likewise you can't buy Kindle books on your SONY and so on.

    Noting of course that there are a pile of other products where the manufacturer acts as the gatekeeper and takes a cut of everything offered for their platform. Think xBox, PS3, Wii, all of whom require that developers go through their sales and distribution channels.

    The other side issue about the openness or lack thereof of a platform which is of particular interest to the very small segment of the population that reads Engadget, Techdirt, Slashdot etc. It's a philosophical issue. The overwhelming majority of the population (the "normals") just want something that works, is attractive, easy to use and obvious to discover, is reliable, has good after sales service etc. These are the important factors, not whether the underlying technology ascribes to some kind of openness.

    And at the end of the day, it's just business - everyone's in the game trying to monetize as much of their product chain as they can. Witness all of the posturing last year with Amazon and the publishers where everyone tries to take home as much of the pie as they can get their hands on.

    Is this particular case a _good_ business decision? I personally don't think so (at least not at the current rates), but from a "normal" user perspective, in app purchase is about as friction-free as it gets where the current Kindle style jump out to the web and purchase and then back to the app is kludgey and strange.

    @ Anonymous Coward 2 "eh, shouldn't buy that DRM stuff anyway... right? right?"

    That's where we should all be complaining. Which is why I buy all of my eBooks via Amazon and Kobo, strip the DRM and put them all into Calibre for reading in Stanza. This current morass of incompatible formats and platform/store/device specific DRM is a royal PITA. Shout out to Baen Books for selling in multiple formats and without DRM.
  • Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 3:57am

    Screens are getting better...

    Originally, I thought that watching films on a small screen would be strictly a gimmick for showing off to people the capability of the iPhone and would quickly get pushed to the wayside as it had been on various other high end phones that I and colleagues have owned.

    However, it turns out that the iPhone screen really is good enough for watching films while commuting and I've actually started copying films in from time to time.

    But since you rarely have 2 hours of dedicated time, it's the sort of thing that you want to have locally since you'll watch at bit and then get interrupted, pause and continue later. Which means that this rolling broadcast model is not interesting at all for a user perspective.

    The iPhone software automatically bookmarks your progress in the files (and even rewinds by a couple of seconds) so you're dropped back in where you left off automatically.

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