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Apple Balks at Higher Web-Access Fees After $1B Video Bet (bloomberg.com)
72 points by mcone on Aug 31, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 51 comments

Out of all the internet giants, at least to me, Apple has time and time again demonstrated to be reasonably ethical. Their position on encryption, net neutrality (granted, a bit late), gay marriage, their willingness to fight political positions which they disagree with... It could certainly be improved in many ways, but it's still one of the few companies I somewhat trust. Their innovative character is also something I really like (again, granted, it used to be much more so in the past).

I used to feel this way about Google too. Given the current events, I don't anymore, and I'm seriously considering DuckDuckGo.

- Ireland granting tax benefits to Apple that turned out to be illegal (when both parties thought they were legal at the time) is not Apple's fault.

- PRISM, as I understand it, is a way for large companies that may be the subject of large quantities of (legal) NSLs/warrants to upload that data.

Per Wiki:

PRISM collects stored internet communications based on demands made to internet companies such as Google Inc. under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to turn over any data that match court-approved search terms.

I don't fault them for taking steps to reduce their compliance burden, nor do I have a belief that a company doing these by hand is more virtuous than one that does not.

- Offshore tech manufacturing in general sucks. Seriously. I can't think of a large vendor that doesn't use Chinese parts created under shitty-by-first-world-standards working conditions.

The no poach agreements on the other hand are completely evil and completely on them.

I don't even think that the no poach agreements are that bad. It would be one thing if the companies just didn't hire former employees but that's not the case, as some articles seem to mention or even imply. The issue was that Google's recruiters were proactively looking for entire teams of Apple's employees and simply offering them more money to come work for Google. That sounds really great for employees except that there's a very fine line for companies. There was never a formal anti-poaching agreement between these companies. It was more of an informal agreement that said "We don't want to take these to court because hiring entire teams of people out from under us falls under laws that prohibit tortious interference with business (contractual) relations so let's just agree to not actively go after our employees."

The issue was not that these companies were trying to keep people from moving up in their careers, they were trying to avoid the gray area that results from them having business relationships and using those to cripple each other. It's a bigger pain in the rear to go to court over these than it is to just not proactively do it.

As far as working conditions at factories go, Apple has at least put pressure on them to make improvements. What other major electronics company has done that?


No one. This is why I'll never understand the criticism and why it annoys the crap out of me when articles about working conditions call it "Apple's manufacturing plant". It's not Apple's plant in any sense of the word except that they contract them out. Apple is under no obligation or responsibility to tell manufacturers how to run their businesses and I think they deserve kudos for constantly forcing these companies to improve working conditions and pay and for doing it contractually. They're blatantly putting their money where their mouth is.

I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for a few years and can recommend it. Try it. There is no reason to wait. If you are not happy with a search result, prepend !g to your search query and DDG redirects you to Google search.

I wanted to switch but DDG is noticeably slow in South America compared to Google. Meanwhile I've been using private windows for all searches for over 3 years already. Hopefully it helps a bit with the bubble issue.

Noticeably slow for me in southeast Asia as well. Other issue is I ended up using !g on half my searches anyway.

Switched to DDG a few weeks ago and can count on one hand the amount of times I've needed to !g

I switched to DDG a while ago and while I do occasionally add !g to my query, I can count on one hand the number of times that it's actually helped. Usually if DDG doesn't give me good results, Google doesn't either.

FYI you can append the bangs (!g) to the query line as well as prepend.

  > seriously considering DuckDuckGo
that is a really anticlimactic conclusion.

what about Apple's willingness to create a labor monopoly by creating a cartel which agreed not to poach tech talent. Certainly that's as evil as anything amazon has done, no?

> Apple has time and time again demonstrated to be reasonably ethical

Along with the things others have mentioned, their campaigning against right to repair seems pretty unethical to me.

> I'm seriously considering DuckDuckGo

There's also Startpage since DuckDuckGo can be somewhat inaccurate at times.

I still trust Google over anybody, including the federal government.

You shouldn't. Google is selling your info and your data every second of every day. That's not to say you shouldn't use their services. You just shouldn't trust your personal or private data to them.

The difference is that I get a choice with Google. The government, not really.

This is why i never understood the willingness of people to shove all their data into the cloud, nor will i ever condone the use of or use the "cloud". Stop being lazy. Own your data.

And I do to for now, but the problem is that we don't know who will be running the company 5 or 10 years from now. Or how their privacy standards or security standards may change if the markets change and put pressure on revenues. Or if they just get greedier.

I find that incredibly naive.

You mean like the time they colluded with publishers to fix prices of ebooks?

Corporations aren't people and shouls not be judged for their 'characters'.

I don't care much for Apple but I agree they're the best of the lot when the lot consists of companies like Facebook, and Google.

My beef with Apple is their holier-than-thou attitude when it comes to Apps on their store. They didn't allow Gab.

In the past they've kicked out political parody apps. Finally they allow hate speech masquerading as religion while banning criticism of the same.

I have no moral string attached as to which companies and their services to choose from, because it will eventually backfire and virtue signaling is not my thing.

> Out of all the internet giants, at least to me, Apple has time and time again demonstrated to be reasonably ethical

Their use of chinese slave labor, exporting environmental destruction to dictatorships with lax environmental laws, their use of offshore tax havens to elude paying taxes, etc.

Apple is as evil as any other corporation.

>Their use of chinese slave labor

at least comes with the occasional nudge to the slave-driver

>exporting environmental destruction to dictatorships with lax environmental laws

Can you explain what this means?

>their use of offshore tax havens to elude paying taxes

This doesn't strike me as particularly evil


I don't know, there's a pretty damn big list of things corporations do that are evil and you didn't seem to elucidate the comparison well enough to end it on 'etc., therefore they are evil'.

They seem to genuinely care about privacy and encryption, actively fighting the American government on backdoors. That's not something I can think of another company doing. Your move.

Whoa, long time since I've seen such a clearly misleading / politically charged headline on mainstream media. TL;DR Apple comes out for net neutrality.

Hey, at least they put the ad hominem right in the headline!

It's a bit late, mr Cook.

But better late then never.

Not necessarily, here's a good comment on how and why the fight is not yet lost:


This headline seems to be a bit of a non-sequitor. What does Apple spending $1B on original content have to do with net neutrality? What matters is how much online streaming Apple does, and given that they've operated the iTunes Music/Movie/TV store for 14 years, streaming everyone else's content, I don't think funding original content of their own is really going to change how much streaming they do, it's just going to change who owns the content that is streamed.

Oh, sure Apple. NOW it's bad for incumbent players to have an advantage.


Apple has the money to effectively be an incumbent for this purpose. So their statement is anything but self serving.

My point is sort of that they have historically been an incumbent, which prevented them from speaking out about this sort of thing. Now that they are trying to break into a new market and stand to lose a lot of money from higher barriers to entry, of course they come out against them.

It's extremely self-serving.

Apple has been selling music and video on iTunes for 14 years. Spending $1B on content doesn't change anything for them.

But even incumbent status wouldn't help a pure content provider if the sole ISP of a region decides to slow down or artificially data-cap traffic from that provider while transmitting its own content at full speed.

Maybe they should buy Sprint and DIY it. Maybe deliver a cache of video content at night using multicast.


So Sprint would only work on iPhones?

Yes, in some ways I see this as being more synergistic than self driving cars.

With respect to video delivery, it'd be like Amazon and AT&T's Whispernet but applied to video instead of ebooks https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/customerdocumentation/Wir...

So, Apple, the richest company on earth, wants to use more bandwidth without paying more, even though bandwidth is a scarce resource and other people have invested millions to providing the infrastructure to transmit data?

It would be nice if Bloomberg would explain how this worked. Net Neutrality concerns itself with ISPs charging websites for the traffic of their customers, rather than the customers themselves. Apple therefore doesn't plan on using the bandwidth itself - Apple's users will. If those users want faster speed, then they should of course have the option to pay for it. Net neutrality makes sure that the cost of bandwidth is put directly on users, rather than hiding it by charging Apple.

I thought we were by and large for net neutrality, which by definition means "the same internet for everyone, even the richest company on Earth." Is this no longer true? Did I miss an update at the last meeting?

Apple's objection isn't to paying for bandwidth, it's to fast lanes:

"Paid fast lanes could replace today’s content-neutral transmission of internet traffic with differential treatment of content based on an online provider’s ability or willingness to pay."

This isn't a "boo-hoo we don't want to pay any more" argument, it's a net neutrality argument.

Seriously? Where have they been these past months? Why could they not have spoken up sooner?

Anyway, let's hope it's not too late.

Look at how long they tolerated Flash. Just like Justice, the wheels at Apple turn slowly.

Apple could, you know, spend some cash and help Google build more ISPs. I doubt they have the courage though.

Yeah how's that working out for Google?

Well that's why it was suggested Google needed help.

Two turkeys don't make an eagle and Apple trying to roll out fiber would be throwing good money after bad. Apple is a global company, being a regional ISP doesn't move the needle for them.

Maybe it would not be just Apple but a consortium of companies. Google, Apple, Netflix, Amazon and Facebook(since they are launching their video platform now). If net neutrality falls through I willing to bet there would be a great incentive for figuring their ISP thing. It would be in their interest after all.

This will fail. On an EPIC scale. Google, google, failed with fiber. They are enormous and have mountains of cash to burn and still when they hit the cities to deploy, slammed into the granite wall of monopoly telco and cable co regulations preventing competition with right of ways etc that said telcos and cable co's put in place over the last 50 years.

The only hope I see for last mile is wireless. It's cheaper, you don't have to dig anything up, and do not have to wait for the telco's or cable co's to fix infrastructure, or grant you access to said infrastructure.

Are there hurdles with wireless, of course. But it is clearly the only option for building out last mile to the home in almost every city in america. On a cost basis, on a time basis, on any basis. The wireless technology just needs to be improved. Being able to serve more people per POP, better protocols to reduce collisions, etc.

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