Can’t manage classes without the simple, easy-to-use interface of your sleek, stylish Mac? Need the Apple Music app to listen to Cardi B’s latest banger? Don’t feel like you fit in when you pull out a Chromebook or Dell to take notes in lecture? Don’t worry, the feeling is common — Global Equities Research Analyst Trip Chowdhry claims 70 percent of new college students use Apple laptops at school.
Try not to be fooled by social norms and the harmless glowing fruit on your laptop cover though — Apple is taking over industries from music to games with its monopolistic App Store. This rapidly growing Apple epidemic needs to be curbed, or the ramifications could be more severe than you think, because Apple’s business decisions affect hundreds of third party individuals like smaller tech companies and upcoming artists. The only solution to this problem is increased consumer vigilance. We, as consumers, need to be more aware of the effects our purchases could have on the economy overall.
Apple has been under the watchful eye of financial experts for years; analyst Steven Milunovich explains that Apple is a “antifragile monopoly” — an industry giant that cannot be challenged. Apple exhibits all the characteristics of a high school bully: a disregard for less powerful laptop companies and app developers, stubbornly high prices and abrupt mood swings with regard to its commission policies. Just last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused a former Apple lawyer of insider trading. On Feb. 6, a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey stating that Gene Levoff, the senior director of corporate law and corporate secretary until September 2018, “traded on material nonpublic information about Apple’s earnings three times during 2015 and 2016.”
Apple’s monopolistic behavior is worrying — not only for new companies in the market but also for many musicians.
Since Apple Music has grown so popular, they were able to renegotiate a deal with Warner Music group, one of the three giants of the music industry. As a part of the deal, Apple pays a smaller commission to musicians for their songs than before. The butterfly effect of this deal is that streaming services like Spotify, Prime Music and Tidal have followed suit; the payments they give out to artists are shockingly small, and on the decline. Because of Apple’s behavior, there have been industry-wide consequences, and there isn’t much these artists can do about it. So what can be done to stop tech giants like Apple?
The answer isn’t to drop your expensive laptops in the trash and switch over to Windows, but to be more aware of the damaging policies that large companies can exercise with their muscle power. Ethical boundaries should be set — and actually followed — in the tech industry. The SEC is doing the best it can to supervise wayward behavior of companies like Apple, but it is our duty, as woke consumers of the 21st century, to open our eyes and take a stand for dreamers like upcoming musicians and new startups in the tech industry. Apple, as the godfather of apps ranging from entertainment to education, needs to take responsibility for the livelihoods it affects with its profit-based decisions. In the past, when sued by consumers for slowing down iPhones to encourage more sales of newer phones, Apple turned to the feeble argument that it was “more like a building contractor,” or in clearer language, that it could not be sued because it was invited into our homes. This statement sounds like something out of a poorly made sci-fi movie, and only furthers the need for regulatory bodies that can monitor tyrants like Apple.
“Op-Ed Your Eyes” is a commentary on current affairs, and Diya’s goal is to make her readers more aware about what’s happening in the world.
Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.
Diya Jain is a first-year in CAS studying economics. Email Diya Jain at [email protected]