from Fast Company
A recurring theme of the last two years–politically, culturally, economically–has been yelling out loud what was supposed to be merely whispered or implied; throwing caution to the wind and, essentially, telling on yourself. That’s exactly what Apple did yesterday.
This Monday, the beloved tech giant announced its big plans to seek fresh revenue in areas where it’s already built a significant audience. You’ve been able to get loans to purchase Apple products–now it’s launching the credit card to end all credit cards. Before, you could read news on Apple’s News app–now the company is partnering with some of the largest news outlets (Full disclosure: including Fast Company) for a one-stop-shop media subscription service. For years, Apple has offered its Apple TV streaming device, featuring the services and content of other providers–now it’s rolling out a slate of soon-to-be-released streaming original content, featuring A-list talent like Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey.
In all of these cases–entertainment, news, games, payments–it already provided a dominant, if not leading, application or service. Tim Cook, during the presentation, frequently described the company as the “number one” gaming, news, and payments platform. Now it’s adding yet another layer to bring in more revenue and further control the means of production.
In the two-hour presentation, Apple transformed from product maker to platforms and services provider; Tim Cook’s ambition is to control every aspect of its domain. And that should give many of us pause.
Less than a month ago, Elizabeth Warren made headlines for her sweeping plan to break up the tech giants. Though she didn’t initially mention Apple, she later explained to the Verge that, yes, the Steve Jobs-founded company is also in her crosshairs. Her analysis was clear: “Apple, you’ve got to break it apart from their App Store,” she said. “It’s got to be one or the other. Either they run the platform or they play in the store.” She went on to extend beyond just the app store, explaining that large platforms like Apple maintain control via “market dominance.” Added Warren, “the problem is that’s not competition.”