Open University Prof. warns of 'unparalleled power'

Apple ‘turning into the evil empire’

A Observer editorial alleges that Apple’s dominate position in mobile and content publishing meant the firm is "turning into the evil empire."

Open University Professor of the Public Understanding of Technology, John Naughton, wrote in the Observer that Apple is having a "seriously disruptive impact on the mobile phone industry."

Citing the firm’s dominant position in content distribution and mobile computing, Naughton said the iTunes Store "gives it control of the tollgate through which billions of paid-for music tracks and albums, videos and apps cascade down to millions of customers worldwide."

"This gives Apple unparalleled power," he said.

Naughton suggests that the Apple curated platform provided a new way of "getting people to pay for online content", putting an end of the "parasitic free riding" of the web before Apple’s iOS platform arrived.

"Then Apple abruptly changed the rules," said Naughton in reference to Apple’s decision to force rules on content publishers selling digital subscriptions outside of the App Store, banning external links and demanding the lowest price must be matched by compulsary in-app purchasing.

"In itself, this was just an example of the Big Unfriendly Giant flexing its muscles, but it could be a harbinger of things to come."

Naughton, writting on his personal blog, also drew attention to an article penned in the Sociology of Religion academic journal way back in 2001 called "May the Force of the Operating System be with You: Macintosh Devotion as Implicit Religion." 

"The purpose of this study is to consider the devotion of Macintosh computer enthusiasts as a case of implicit religion," begins the abstract of the article you can read here

Image: Creative Commons (Sebastiaan ter Burg

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