To expand rapidly (play catchup is the modern term), GM started franchising car sales. No real protections other than the agreements. Then anti-trust laws intruded and it looked like franchising would be illegal (think Standard Oil), but later court cases clarified the difference between the franchise owner and the suppling company. The we go to stopping companies from owning the whole horizontal chain in some industries like theaters and stopping national companies from abusing the local franchisors (like car dealerships).
It is basically the story of stopping evil monopolies combined with need for companies to expand reach quickly in a non-internet world (see Singer sewing machines and GM) dovetailing into more anti-trust laws and then local job protection schemes meshed with laws codifying the 100 year old business model (we are talking stuff that started before automobiles).
Apple doesn't have a problem because they came after. If you think this is screwed up, then don't buy a boat.