Change is brought about when potential is realized through the application of intellect and energy over a period of time. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are the tools that are used to forge and realize humanity’s full potentiality.
Central to all of this is industrial innovation that constantly invents and redefines man’s interaction with materials around us.
Innovation, undoubtedly, is a practice that is undertaken by the wise, brave, and creative. George Washington, Nikola Tesla, and Sir Charles Kao who pioneered the development and use of fiber optics in telecommunication are some of the innovators that realized their full potentiality.
Apple vs Epic Games - a case study
On 3 May 2021, opening statements were heard in the case of Epic Games vs Apple. Epic Games, makers of the popular game Fortnite, are challenging what it calls "Apple’s stifling of innovation" through its unfair abuse of its market dominance. Epic Games argued, Apple has built a ‘walled garden’ through its iOS ecosystem, using anti-competitive tactics.
Apple’s conduct locks consumers in, preventing them from moving to other systems due to high switching costs. This restricts choice and monopolizes the market in two manners:
- iOS app distribution.
- 30% fee for app purchases.
Karen Dunn, attorney for Apple. Described Epic Games as a successful $20 Billion company that no longer wants to pay for Apple’s innovation. Apple argued that its 30% fee charged on all app purchases in its iStore, maintains the security and reliability of its app store. Apple cited evidence that suggested iOS devices accounted for only 1.27% of all malware infections, compared to 26.6% for Android and 38.9% for Windows.
Apple rubbished claims of app distribution monopoly. Apple cited evidence that 46.8% of Fortnite’s revenue comes from PlayStation, compared to just 7% from iOS. Apple further referenced evidence of Fortnite’s statement that said ‘the party continues on PC, Android, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo’ after it was banned on iOS after Epic Games enabled sideloading on its iOS app, allowing a lower price offering on its own Epic Games site. Epic Games’ conduct to change Fortnite’s pricing, was a major security breach, opening the flood gates to compromise the App store, Apple remarked.
"Apple’s conduct [vs Epic Games] locks consumers in, preventing them from moving to other systems due to high switching costs. This restricts choice and monopolizes the market." - Bataung Qhotsokoane (Tweet this | Share this via WhatsApp)
Online market dominance in South Africa
On 19 May 2021, the Online Intermediation Platforms Market Inquiry by the South African Competition Commission commenced investigations into online market dominance. The inquiry was a proactive measure in understanding the online market landscape in South Africa. The inquiry is on a fact-finding mission to troubleshoot factors that may hinder participation and innovation by new players.
The Commission remarked that prima facie evidence showed that certain platforms had monopoly-like dominance in particular market segments.
Naspers, owns Takealot, Mr. D Food, Property 24, and Autotrader. In home-sharing accommodation, Airbnb is the dominant force. TravelStart is the dominant force in Travel aggregation. It’s clear from this picture that, the risk is prevalent.
Competition is essential for innovation, innovation is essential for society.
The pre-emptive measures by the Competition Commission are in line with global efforts to overhaul participation and inclusion in the digital technology sector. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are the tools that are used to forge and realize civilizations potentiality. Ensuring universal access to these tools ensures universal participation in industrializing society.
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