updated 05:15 pm EDT, Tue June 15, 2010
May be inviting crackdown by US government
Apple may need to adjust its behavior if it wants to avoid legal action by the US government, argues Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes. The FTC is reportedly considering whether Apple should be charged with antitrust violations, mainly for banning cross-compilers such as those based on Flash. The corporation could also be accused of unfairly blocking Google and AdMob from selling iOS ads, and the Department of Justice is reportedly looking into abuses in the music industry.
Status as a minority player in the smartphone world should protect Apple "for now," says Reitzes, but it's suggested that the company main need to be more careful about its public image. A misstep could potentially land the company in jeopardy. The root problem, the analyst contends, is that Apple still carries an "underdog" attitude; while this may help it overachieve, it's thought that the company fails to realize that it is no longer seen this way by the public.
Apple is nevertheless claimed to have "a lot of things going in its favour," such that it's unlikely to be hurt by government safeguards during the next two to three years.
Beyond questions of unfair competition, Apple's image has also been marred in recent weeks by conditions at manufacturing partner Foxconn. Despite the former's insistence that it maintains strict standards on who it works with, Foxconn has been accused of underpaying employees while simultaneously overworking them, giving them little time for activities beyond eating and sleeping. A string of deaths are alleged to be connected to the poor treatment.