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From: zax3/16/2024 10:11:48 PM
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From: zax3/21/2024 10:23:29 AM
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Apple will be sued by the Biden administration in a landmark antitrust lawsuit, sources say

cnn.com

Washington CNN — The US Justice Department will file a blockbuster antitrust lawsuit against Apple on Thursday, according to three people familiar with the matter. It’s the latest – but largest – in a recent string of Big Tech companies to face monopoly accusations from the US government, which is cracking down on the massive industry whose power has gone largely unchecked over the past several decades.

The long-anticipated lawsuit comes after years of allegations by critics that Apple has harmed competition with restrictive app store terms, high fees and its “walled-garden” approach to its hardware and software: Apple famously makes its tech easy to use, but it achieves that by tightly controlling - and in some cases, restricting - how third-party companies can interact with the tech behemoth’s products and services. In some cases, Apple may give its own products better access and features than its competitors.

... cnn.com

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From: zax3/21/2024 10:55:50 AM
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U.S. Sues Apple, Accusing It of Maintaining an iPhone Monopoly

The lawsuit caps years of regulatory scrutiny of Apple’s wildly popular suite of devices and services, which have fueled its growth into a nearly $3 trillion public company.

nytimes.com

The Justice Department and 16 state attorneys general filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple on Thursday, the federal government’s most significant challenge to the reach and influence of the company that has put iPhones in the hands of more than a billion people.

The government argued that Apple violated antitrust laws by preventing other companies from offering applications that compete with Apple products like its digital wallets, which could diminish the value of the iPhone. Apple’s policies hurt consumers and smaller companies that compete with some of Apple’s services, according to excerpts from the lawsuit released by the government, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

“Each step in Apple’s course of conduct built and reinforced the moat around its smartphone monopoly,” the government said in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit caps years of regulatory scrutiny of Apple’s wildly popular suite of devices and services, which have fueled its growth into a nearly $2.75 trillion public company that was for years the most valuable on the planet. It takes direct aim at the iPhone, Apple’s most popular device and most powerful business, and attacks the way the company has turned the billions of smartphones it has sold since 2007 into the centerpiece of its empire.

By tightly controlling the user experience on iPhones and other devices, Apple has created what critics call an uneven playing field, where it grants its own products and services access to core features that it denies rivals. Over the years, it has limited finance companies’ access to the phone’s payment chip and Bluetooth trackers from tapping into its location-service feature. It’s also easier for users to connect Apple products, like smartwatches and laptops, to the iPhone than to those made by other manufacturers.

... nytimes.com

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From: zax3/21/2024 11:21:30 AM
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From: zax3/21/2024 12:00:11 PM
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Pictured below is "lost decade" that Microsoft shareholders experienced after DOJ initiated anti-trust against Microsoft.


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To: zax who wrote (32555)3/21/2024 12:39:17 PM
From: Zen Dollar Round
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LOL, you mean the fall that began with the dotcom bubble crash, included the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-10, and Steve Ballmer's terrible mismanagement as Microsoft's CEO for that decade?

I think you need to reexamine your Microsoft history!

Your chart nicely mirrors Ballmer's time as CEO at Microsoft and the many dumb moves he made then. It's no coincidence MSFT began to recover when Satya Nadella was merely announced as the new CEO before taking over in February of 2014.

Microsoft got basically a slap on the wrist for that antitrust lawsuit.

Here is Steve Ballmer laughing at the introduction of the iPhone and touting the Zune. Hilarious in retrospect, eh Steve? "I like our strategy, I like it a lot..."

Bahahahaha! What a buffoon.


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To: Zen Dollar Round who wrote (32556)3/21/2024 1:42:26 PM
From: John Koligman
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The ironic thing is that every day this guy wakes up (7 days a week <ggg>), Microsoft puts approx 2.7 MILLION in his bank account. Unbelievable. An argument for higher taxes on these clowns if I ever saw one.

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is on pace to earn $1 billion in dividends annually from his massive stake in the software company

  • Steve Ballmer is on pace to collect annual dividend payments of $1 billion from Microsoft.

  • He is the former CEO of Microsoft and is the largest individual shareholder of the software giant.

  • Ballmer's Microsoft stake has surged to a value of $128 billion this year following Microsoft's 55% stock rally.

Microsoft is on track to pay former CEO Steve Ballmer about $1 billion in annual dividend payments.

Ballmer, who is currently the sixth richest person in the world, is the largest individual shareholder in Microsoft. As of his last ownership disclosure in 2014, Ballmer owned 333.2 million shares of Microsoft, representing about 4% of the company.

Ballmer's stake is worth about $130 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index, after gaining $44 billion in wealth this year thanks to a 56% rally in Microsoft's stock price.

Ballmer amassed his stake over the course of his 34-year career at Microsoft, having joined the company in 1980 as employee number 30. He went on to become CEO of Microsoft in 2000, near the peak of the dot-com bubble, and stepped down in 2014 when current CEO Satya Nadella took over the top role.

Microsoft paid $2.79 in dividends per share in 2023, which equates to an annual dividend payment of about $930 million to Ballmer based on his stake in the company.



Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
That payout is set to increase in 2024, as Microsoft lifted its dividend 10% recently to pay $3 per share a year. That would equate to an annual dividend payment of $999.6 million to Ballmer in 2024, and it could be even higher assuming Microsoft continues its trend of hiking its dividend payment every year.

Microsoft has increased its dividend payment for 18 consecutive years, so its likely that Ballmer's annual dividend payout will top $1 billion in 2024 and continue to grow in the coming years.

Ballmer's massive stake in Microsoft has put him within spitting distance of becoming the fourth richest person in the world, as he's just a few billion dollars behind Larry Ellison and his former boss, Bill Gates.

Gates has significantly diversified his wealth away from Microsoft and towards cash and other public equities since he stepped down from the company. In fact, in 2014, Gates also owned about 4% of Microsoft, having a 330 million share stake in the company. But multiple divestitures over the years has led Gates to owning just over 1% of the software giant.

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To: John Koligman who wrote (32557)3/21/2024 1:56:17 PM
From: Zen Dollar Round
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When I was looking for the video of Ballmer laughing at the iPhone, one of the related videos highlighted him as the "world's luckiest billionaire." It shows the same chart zax posted regarding MSFT stock performance during his tenure:



It's telling that he and Gates are no longer friendly with each other last I read. Gates was apparently unhappy with the way he ran Microsoft, though I suppose it's possible they've mended fences since then.

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From: zax3/21/2024 5:42:13 PM
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From: Thomas M.4/5/2024 11:19:33 AM
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'Green bubble shaming' at play in DOJ suit against Apple

Michael Anderson, a tech consultant in San Francisco, considers himself an unapologetic Android user. It's something that would come up quite a bit in his love life.

When he was single and using dating apps, discussing the color of his messages with potential dates who had iPhones became a familiar and irksome ritual.

"We get off the app and take the big step of getting into the text messages, and the first text I would get, not all the time, but certainly numerous times was, 'Oh, your bubble,'" said 33-year-old Anderson, referring to the green bubble texts that iPhone users see when messaging his Android.

For some singles, Anderson points out, green bubbles are a deal breaker.

"I have heard of friends who actually got ghosted because of that," he said. "And you wouldn't want to go on a date with those type of people anyway, but it's really pervasive."

Anderson is now engaged. His fiancée is, despite it all, an iPhone user.

As anyone who has experienced the blue-green divide knows, the bubble culture wars involve more than just a carping over color differences.

When someone with an Android texts an iMessage user, the quality of photos and videos is shoddy; you can't do live location tracking; you can't react to texts the same way; those suspense-building bouncing ellipses indicating someone is writing do not exist; and the conversation is less secure. To top it off, green bubbles lead to mockery.

Some have dubbed this phenomenon "green bubble shaming."

And while it might seem frivolous, the bubble issue became much more serious last week, when it was cited by the Justice Department as an example of how Apple allegedly abuses its power.

DOJ says green bubbles are tied to anti-competitive behavior

U.S. authorities claim Apple deliberately makes texting on iMessage frustrating for Android users in an effort to nudge people to buy iPhones. Apple denies this claim.

The suit cited internal Apple emails showing that top executives at the company knew that allowing for seamless texting to competing devices might make consumers turn away from iPhones

An unnamed senior vice president of software engineering at Apple wrote in a 2013 email that allowing iMessage features to work for iPhone and non-Apple phones alike "would simply serve to remove [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones," according to the government's lawsuit.

Another Apple executive, according to the Justice Department, wrote that "moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us."

This led the Justice Department to allege that "Apple affirmatively undermines the quality of rival smartphones," states to the suit, which adds that the popularity of iPhones was fueled not just by the quality of the product "but because it has made communicating with other smartphones worse."

[continued ...]

npr.org

Tom

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