Jason Snell on Us V. Apple

Roger Stringer Roger Stringer
March 21, 2024
3 min read

Jason Snell, writing at Six Colors, with a first take I found myself nodding my head in agreement with throughout:

For me, the most unexpected part of the document was the DoJ’s explanation that Apple’s success as a company largely stems from… the DoJ itself. It points out that Apple’s resurgence early in this century was due to the release of the iPod, which only became a hit when it arrived on Windows. The DoJ argues that the iPod’s presence on Windows was only due to Microsoft being under a consent decree from the DoJ for monopolistic behavior.

I don’t know enough about the specifics of the Microsoft consent decree to weigh in on the idea that an unconstrained Microsoft would have made it impossible for Apple to make the iPod compatible with Windows. It’s a pretty big hypothetical, and I’m skeptical, but I’m impressed that the DoJ would try to place its current case within the larger DoJ Connected Universe.


What strikes me most about this document is that people… like using the iPhone? This suit (joined by 16 other attorneys general, mostly of blue states) has a political element to it, in the sense of trying to send a message that your government is looking out for your rights and protecting you from big, bad tech companies.

What happens when that collides with a product that has extremely high customer satisfaction ratings? Those of us in the know are well aware of all the ways that Apple plays hardball, and understand that the company is so powerful that really the only way it will be convinced to change its ways is under threat of government intervention. But will American iPhone users feel like the government is on their side, in taking on an American tech giant that makes a product they actually enjoy using?

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