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Apple controls consumers after verdict

Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 00:09

The latest model of the iPhone comes out September 12, and as consumers upgrade their phones, they will downgrade their values in American capitalism.


As if in anticipation of putting its new toy on the market, Apple successfully sued Samsung late last month for rights on intellectual property. The case ended with a verdict awarding more than $1 billion to Apple from Samsung.


While some of the patents could arguably belong to Apple, such as mechanics that operate a slide lock for the screen, Apple really just wanted a monopoly on smartphones.  By getting that monopoly, Apple took away the option of an alternate smart phone, and with it, American capitalism.


The bogus claims of “theft” included accusations that Samsung stole the basic shape of a smartphone — it seems like Apple owns the rectangle with rounded edges. While it is at it, Apple should also sue the makers of credit cards, playing cards and driver licenses.


Normally, a corporate company stealing profits via complicated legal strategy is no big deal, but now it directly affects almost every consumer in America.  
In an increasingly digital age, normal cell phones no longer cut it.  

For many consumers, a cell phone must be able to have email and Internet capabilities in addition to texting and calls. A smart phone must help you manage your life. With the latest verdict in technology, Apple will now manage your life with its new monopoly.


Maybe it is technologic karma biting those of us who prefer PCs to Macs, Android to Apple and generic MP3 players to iPods, but now every consumer is at risk.  
With Samsung — Apple’s only real competitor in the slim market of smartphones and tablets — out of the picture, Apple could be free to do, or charge, whatever it wants for the only comparable smartphone in stores.


Capitalism has always been a champion in America, encouraging competition that can produce successful companies like Samsung and even Apple.  

A key factor for capitalism to work properly, however, is for consumers to have the option of what to buy. The verdict of the courts has now taken that option away from consumers.


Perhaps Apple can claim justice in the legal system, but the implications of the ruling will deeply hurt American consumerism.


This victory for Apple will set a precedent, allowing companies to sue over any basic advances in technology just to get the upper hand in that market. Taking out its biggest — and only — competitor, Apple can charge exorbitant rates for the only smartphone now holding an iron grip on their buyers.


Alex Rosenthal is a freshman majoring in classics.
 

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