Another timely reality check from The Economist
What could disrupt the three-sided struggle? The antitrust authorities, possibly. Now that Microsoft has made peace, the other two are likelier targets. Most observers imagine Google would be first, pointing to the hullabaloo caused by a settlement with book publishers that allows Google to create a vast digital library. But Apple may beat Google to the dock. The firm’s tight control over its technology is no problem in markets where its share is small (in PCs, it is a mere 7.2%). But in mobile applications and digital music distribution Apple is by far the market leader. America’s Federal Communications Commission is looking into its refusal to carry Google Voice, a telephony and messaging application for the iPhone. Its bar on rivals’ devices connecting to iTunes may cause trouble too. Tellingly, Apple recently hired a lawyer with antitrust experience: Bruce Sewell, the former general counsel of Intel, the world’s biggest chipmaker, which the European Commission wants to pay a fine of more than €1 billion ($1.5 billion) for abusing its dominance.