Are we getting close to another dot-com tech bubble? Perhaps we are when this week’s most interesting (and troubling) stories in technology revolved around companies making huge sums of money. While we’re all for folks making money, when they do so by screwing customers, we’ve got a problem. What’s going on here?
Let’s look at the tape:
The Department of Justice this week accused Apple and two publishers with establishing an e-book price fixing scheme. The charge stems from a comment the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs made to The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg prior to the January 2010 introduction of the first generation iPad.
Jobs: We don’t care what publishers charge, as long as the prices are the same and we get our cut.
Old Uncle Walt: Say what?
Did DOJ jump the gun? That is the conclusion made by some experts who think the government’s case against Apple is less secure than the one against the publishers. CNET, for example, says there are several “difficulties” with the case, and the general feeling is that the lawsuit is a categorical “mistake.
While Apple is poised to have their day in court, the biggest winner in all of this could be Amazon. Immediately following the DOJ’s announcement, the largest online retailer confirmed that it would begin offering e-books at less expensive prices, which could give the Kindle maker a competitive advantage going forward.
By the end of the week, Apple said the charges were false. Through a spokesman they said the ”DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true.”
Of course they did.
Want a new iPhone this year and your carrier is Verizon Wireless? Pay your $30 at the door.
The largest wireless provider in the U.S. joined the other three national carriers in instituting an upgrade fee each time a user switches one phone for another. While Verizon’s fee is $6 less than what AT&T and Sprint charges, it is $12 more than T-Mobile’s take. Of course, who shops at iPhone-free T-Mobile anymore?
Who needs to win $640 million in the lottery when you can develop a free iPhone photo app and two years later walk away with $1 billion? That’s what happened for the good people at Instagram who accepted the huge sum to become another Facebook underling. Of course, we aren’t really begrudging Instagram here. After all, it’s $1 billion!
Finally, A.T. Faust III believes Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram could be bad for Internet privacy.
Says one privacy expert:
“The larger issue to me is that Facebook is adding Instagram data to its own,” says Ryan Calo, a privacy researcher at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society. “Instagram users thought they were signing up for a simple service, of relatively little utility to advertisers or government. Now that data is likely to be combined with an entire social graph.” …
We already knew EA was the worst company in America, but this is a new low.
The gaming company bully released a “new and improved” version of TETRIS for iPad this week. Unfortunately, even the game’s impressive Retina display capabilities can’t make up for its creator’s need for more cash. TETRIS Part deux includes a “whole hell of a lot of in-app purchases,” according to TouchArcade.
And while the added in-app purchases are always a cause for some grumbling among users, this stunt by EA is even worse. Since the game is an entirely new .ipa file, users who lose their copy of the old version are out of luck. The only way to get Tetris back would be to repurchase the game at full price. Bad, EA!
Recommended reading, the Pets.com sock puppet edition
- Apple Begins Enhancements To Account Security by Brent Dirks looks at how Apple is doing more to protect customer security.
- More Details Regarding AT&T’s Unlock Policy Hit The Web by Joe White examines how you too can ditch AT&T and move to another carrier with your existing iPhone.
- Apple May Have To Consider Satellite Exclusivity For ‘iPanel’ Programming by A.T. Faust III suggests Apple would be wise to partner up with a satellite provider if it hopes to succeed with the company’s rumored iPanel television.
- Non-Programmers May Soon Be Able To Create Apps Too by yours truly suggests Apple will soon make it easier for the rest of us to create iOS apps. Grandma too!
Finally, let’s rock (or at least draw a nice picture)
Week In Review is published each weekend at AppAdvice.com.