March 8, 2016
In 2014, Apple settled a case regarding a class of private e-book consumers alongside 33 attorney generals who argued that Apple’s e-books were a conspired push toward artificially high prices, since other online retailers tend to sell the books for discounted prices. Partners affiliated with Apple paid out $133 million in damages. Apple, who was bound to settlement, filed for an appeal but was denied by higher courts, so today the decision of charging Apple with $400 million is left up to lower level courts.
Apple has no comment, and they’re in their right minds not to. Not because they are in the wrong for the outrageous prices, but because we the consumers have gently loaded, locked, and secured Apple the power to do so. More and more, I see Apple’s name in places where it doesn’t belong, and more and more people are bluntly buying products just because they’re “Apple.”
Consumer taste buying the “it” brand is nothing new or nothing to be cautious about for the greater part. Everyday I can overhear teens getting onto one another about the type of phones they have, and only two options exist: iPhone or Android. In most cases, iPhone users always feel superior; it doesn’t matter if the iPhone is an outdated iPhone 4s and the Android is a modern, top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy S6. The iPhone user will throw out a broke joke or two, a no emoji joke, and a not-so quality camera joke when in reality the evidence points to the opposite. Coming from a non-bias owner of both “team iPhone” and “team Androids,” the consumer is too trusting of the sleek eye catching design behind the brand name rather than the quality behind brand.
Where this trend evolves into a more worrisome fad is when you see the brand crossing into new market domains. Currently, looking on the hunt for a new pair of headphones, I hit the online market for Beats by Dre, another well known and trendy brand. Low and behold, much to my surprise, Beats by Dre has been acquired by Apple. In other words, I was no longer shopping for Beats by Dre but Beats by Apple. Can you blame Dr. Dre? No, because what attracts consumers more than a big trendy brand? A bigger, trendier brand.
And you can bet your nickels that with the new corporate parent, Beats will attract a whole new legion of consumers that never knew about Beats but loves the Apple name. That new demand will increase the supply, and with that increase of supply will be an increase of… price. Maybe even those “artificially high prices” that appeared when Apple smuggled it’s way into the world of e-books.
To get down the grit of things, we the consumers need to stop settling for the popular choice and start exploring our options. We need to stop encouraging monopolistic, competition hungry corporations that see no wrong in taking advantage of our consumer loyalty, and who argue no technical violation of antitrust “laws.” We need begin feeding our fresh, eager to please innovators. When will consumers say enough is a enough?