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Apple facing antitrust investigation

A man plays with the Apple iPad during an Apple Special Event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Stacey Vanek-Smith: Shares of Apple rose 2 percent on news the computer-maker has already sold a million iPads. But all is not well in the world of Mac; it's facing a federal antitrust investigation. Here to talk about this with us is our own Brett Neely in Washington, D.C. He joins us live. Good morning, Brett.

Brett Neely: Good morning, Stacey.

Vanek-Smith: Brett, why are the feds looking at Apple?

Neely: Well right now, it's reportedly just in the early stages. According to several news reports, anti-trust regulators are calling rivals and developers to ask if Apple is doing anything wrong. Apple's competitors and some iPhone software developers complain about the strict controls and restrictions on how they build their iPhone apps.

Vanek-Smith: Apple has millions of devotees, where is this unhappiness coming from?

Neely: Well do you remember those old Apple ads that used to say, "Think different?"

Vanek-Smith: Yes.

Neely: These days, a lot of competitors say Apple is acting more like a monopolist. Think, Microsoft. It's because Apple has figured out how to control the entire ecosystem; if developers don't play by Apple's very strict rules, they don't get to play at all. That wasn't such a big deal when your company was small, but now that Apple's such a major force, it's inevitable that not everyone wants to go along with the way it does business.

Vanek-Smith: How big of a deal is this likely to be for Apple?

Neely: I mean it really depends on what the feds turn up. The company has sold about 85 million iPhones, and as you mentioned, one million iPads. And the App Store has become a huge money-maker, because it takes a 30 percent cut of all the apps that those users download. So I mean the concern is that this probe becomes a law suit, and that could change the way it has to do business.

Vanek-Smith: Brett Neely in Washington, D.C. Thank you, Brett.

Neely: Thank you, Stacey.

About the author

Stacey Vanek Smith is a senior reporter for Marketplace, where she covers banking, consumer finance, housing and advertising.
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Seems that this is a long time coming- as Apple has tried to control the market so tightly, this type of attention seems appropriate.

Where I get lost is the fact that this doesn't look like a monopoly. As Bill Gates said last week, there are lots of tablet computers out- lots of cell phones to choose from. Apple is controling their product- not the tablet/smartphone industry as a whole.

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