Apple Next Up For A Government Shakedown

It's pretty much official...the federal government is going to use the iPhone 4 reception issue to shakedown Apple Inc. David Boaz explains:

Following in the distinguished footsteps of Microsoft and Google, Apple is the latest innovative company to be targeted by politicians and regulators for being too successful. Will it be sucked into Washington’s “parasite economy”?


For more than a decade, Microsoft went about its business, developing software, selling it to customers, and — happily, legally — making money. Then in 1995, after repeated assaults by the Justice Department’s antitrust division, Microsoft broke down and started playing the Beltway game — defensively at first.

Washington politicians and journalists sneered at Microsoft’s initial political innocence. A congressional aide said, “They don’t want to play the D.C. game, that’s clear, and they’ve gotten away with it so far. The problem is, in the long run they won’t be able to.”

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And now Apple. After years as a cute little niche player, Apple has suddenly started producing wildly popular products such as the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. The Federal Trade Commission has started rumbling about Apple’s threat to competition. Note the absurdity here: Apple creates whole new products and industries, consumer benefits that didn’t exist before, and the federal government worries that it’s somehow going to “limit” competition in a field it brought to the market.


Apple’s competitors, including the massive Google, continue to play the game by filing complaints with the government.

Politicians, seeing an opportunity to extend their power and rake in some campaign cash, are circling like sharks. When both Apple and Google declined to attend a Senate show trial on Internet privacy, Senator Jay Rockefeller growled, “When people don’t show up when we ask them to … all it does is increases our interest in what they’re doing and why they didn’t show up. It was a stupid mistake for them not to show up.”

I hate this government.