[ Michael Gartenberg is a long-term industry analyst who previously worked with Apple. He is the contributing analyst at Six Colors .]
Apple dominates the technology industry. Love it, hate it, admire it or be in awe for it – in today's world you can do anything but ignore them.
Recently, there has been some talk that maybe Apple has also been for successfully. Perhaps now that Apple has become a billion dollar company, it's time for the government to enter and crush Apple. Perhaps the people in Cupertino are just too successful thanks to the combined effect of Apple's position in devices, music, apps, and other services.
I'm not a lawyer, much to my mother's chagrin, but I want to go into this territory anyway.
As much as pundits like to think there are natural breaches between services, applications and hardware, the reality is that Apple is far more complex than that. Apple is, for all purposes, an applied research company. It creates end-to-end solutions that make up a whole. These solutions continue to surprise and delight users.
Nor do I think that breaking up Apple would cut costs for users. In fact, the more likely scenario is higher costs. A sectioned Apple will probably share the core areas of the ecosystem randomly, potentially increase overall price and create obstacles to complex technologies that work well together.
One of the major complaints the users have about technology is that different products do not work well or at all. A breakthrough would make the user experience more hostile to all. All users pay the additional price to support the profit structure of several companies that do not work seamlessly.
If Apple split apart, who would benefit? Only Apple competitors who could respond much faster without the restrictions imposed on a split company. For Apple, future success will not necessarily mean market dominance. The power Apple achieved in the markets it plays in most will not be repeated in the future. It was not long ago that the government wanted to break up Microsoft because of its industry dominance. While Microsoft is a powerful and important company, it's no longer the threat it once could have been. Breaking up Microsoft would have been catastrophic to the company when it was matured, from a dominant player to just one player among many.
Apple's current successes are far from total dominance. Success without total dominance means that there will always be strong players if market positions will be large enough and stable enough to compete. A shared Apple would not be able to compete effectively in the rapidly changing technology industry. Today, many of its forces are also weaknesses, and many of the markets that it will bring to the market are new to it and other companies. Today's rapid pace of technology, not break-through by Apple, will serve to smooth out competitive gaming space.
If Apple really uses inappropriate behavior, it should be forced to change its behavior. Everything beyond it is a crime that does not fit the crime, and does not serve the interests of the public, Apple's customers or the industry as a whole.
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