Is Buying An iPhone A Vote Against Net Neutrality?

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One name we haven’t seen in the Net Neutrality debate is Apple, Inc. Though Jobs & Company are cozy with neutral net advocate Google, they also just launched iPhone with AT&T exclusivity. And that brings up some interesting questions, the most interesting of which: Is buying an iPhone a vote against Net Neutrality?

Is Buying An iPhone A Vote Against Net Neutrality?
Is Buying An iPhone A Vote Against Net Neutrality?

It wasn’t too long ago that former AT&T chief Ed Whitacre, who has been vocal about his and his company’s opposition to Net Neutrality regulation, expressed an interest in buying Yahoo, which historically has been on the pro side of the issue. We pondered then what a buyout would mean for the Net Neutrality cause.

News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch, also not a fan of regulation, reportedly offered to swap MySpace for a 25% stake in Yahoo. Neither of these offers were accepted, and so far Yahoo has not, at least publicly, reversed its stance on the issue.

But all of these "entangling alliances," to borrow from George Washington in advance of Independence Day, can make you wonder which side of the debate supporters are likely to land, especially when big bags of money are involved.

The public is known to vote with its pocketbook, especially in leaner times, and likewise, the public’s representatives are sometimes known to do the same, except the money flow is more direct and reversed. 

So one would assume, though the company has been pretty quiet about it, that Apple would be a fan of Net Neutrality, especially with its flagship online product iTunes directly at stake. Google CEO Eric Schmidt is on the board at Apple and there has even been speculation about a merger. "AppleGoo," Schmidt joked at the iPhone unveiling.

But here’s Apple, which has its own fanatical tech-cult bowing and seizing at the base of the pyramid each time Steve Jobs tosses something down, locking up its fans into a two-year, amazingly expensive contract with the dev…biggest Net Neutrality opponent there is.

Yet, the same Apple Cult that waited in line for a week to buy the iPhone (where do these people work, and how do you request time off to buy a phone?) is the same group that has been highly vocal about supporting Net Neutrality. Now, they’re a big part of the funding against.

Admittedly, that is like saying that buying certain sneakers is supporting child labor or buying marijuana supports terrorism.

Even so, I still try to avoid buying anything from China, as impossible as it seems, to avoid these moral dilemmas. The free market economy works that way, boycott companies you don’t like, vote for them by supporting them with money.

Are there other options if you want (have to have) the iPhone. No. Though it has been established that consumers have a right to switch out their SIM cards and use their phones with other carriers, the iPhone is designed so it only works with AT&T’s network.

Jobs has said this is so the phone will work on 80% of the world’s networks, but in the States, it seems incredibly anticompetitive, which is AT&T’s primary MO.

To be fair, it’s unclear that having a choice of carriers would matter. Verizon has been just as vocal against Net Neutrality as the new Ma Bell. T-Mobile? Wouldn’t count on them, parent company Deutsche Telekom doesn’t seem to be a big fan, either. Sprint-Nextel? They’ve been noticeably quiet on the issue, but they seem to like Net Neutrality henchman Sen. Ted Stevens pretty well.   

Is Buying An iPhone A Vote Against Net Neutrality?
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  • http://www.awomanstouchonline.com Ellen

    I think that buying an iPhone is supporting all the forces that are trying to create a tiered internet – and a tiered US economy. The HAVES will get more and more, the have-nots get less, and those of us who are fighting for a free and equal-access internet are being squeezed out. Supporting AT&T is supporting almost everything that runs counter to what many of us believe.

    So resist, and be smart about who’s doing what and what they are supporting. Anybody heard of Working Assets? They support Net Neutrality, and put their monies where their beliefs are.

    • Smorgasbord

      Dude, you’re writing this on an e-BUSINESS site, as in business. What many of US believe?!! Speak for yourself and go peddle your Marxist propaganda elsewhere, commie pinko!!!

  • Jason

    Apple support waste generation systems in Australia with Un-Addressed Junk mail by ‘authorised apple distributers’ who are permitted under contract to use the Apple logo on Un-addressed junk mail.

    This month I already have had un-addressed junk mail with Staples delivered into my real world mail box that includes Apple logo’s and promotions, amoung others.

    Funny thing is that; both Apple and part owner Microsoft state on their USA web sites how they REDUCE WASTE GENERATION in their products, package, etc.

    All of-course is a load of BS wraped in an ideal sold by media (TV, print, anything apple, etc)…

    To me Apple is just like Disney, Hollywood, etc.. Supporting a BS lame ideal based around one fact simply to sell more, while forgetting everything they do is a lie based on BS. And perhaps soon they too will have 3D from such wonders as SL (another layer of DRM + IBM + BS)

    lol :)

  • http://www.cheesemans.com Ted

    Due to AT&T’s stance against net neutrality, their poor corporate politics and the simple reality of wanting choice, I will not buy an iphone until the exclusivity with AT&T is done away with. Too bad too, the iphone is pretty sweet.

    • Dave Mount

      Here’s a link to petition Jobs/Apple to remove the AT&T-licensing restriction on the iPhone:


      If there’s any way to show the power in numbers, this could be the way to do it. Given AT&T’s failure to keep up with the activation of iPhone’s this past weekend (acknowledged by an AT&T associate when I spoke with him yesterday), I think it’s evident that despite all the lead time and anticipation of the load to be expected, AT&T proved they are incompetent.

      Make your voice heard at Apple and use the power of marketing to hammer AT&T into the ground!

  • Dave Mount

    Cut me a break! “Net neutrality?” After having run-ins with websites that REQUIRE and DEMAND Microsoft Internet Explorer, and even a Microsoft operating system, I think your premise for your question is pure bullsh*t.

    Let’s be real. While the purpose of the Internet is to provide for OS-blind compatibility, it seems that the bigotry of many proponents of a certain operating system is rampant on the web, making certain legal actions against a certain Redmond, WA-based company necessary.

    I won’t pretend I even am neutral about AT&T, but I certainly prefer Apple over MS. I am sick and tired of the bigotry and work hard to make sure that my Windows-using friends don’t feel like I’m either looking down on them for their choice nor do I patronize them.

    Find another tact if you don’t like iPhone… just don’t try to pit the iPhone and Apple against net neutrality… it’s just like spittin’ into the wind! It’s going to blow back in your fa

  • http://www.todayiniphone.com Rob Walch

    So by this logic then one should not support any products from any company that is anti-net neutrality?

    So have you given up that Cablebox and highspeed modem coming into your house? Nope did not think so.

    This is just another article that is Apple bashing.

    Get over it. The iPhone is cool and you secretly want one. That is not a bad thing. It is ok – you can go into an Apple store and you can touch one. It will not hurt you.

    Rob W
    Host – Today in iPhone Podcast


    • http://www.localtech4hire.com Tony

      I think we have to pick our wars..
      Can’t just not go with every company that does not support Net Neutrality.. If you do then you’d not have the tools to fight..

      Have to have i-net access to fight for Net Neutrality so someone saying don’t support a company thats against Net Neutrality or using it as a pawn that the person is having a conflict of instress because he needs the tool to fight is just wrong..

      Basically can’t fight with everyone.. Have to focus the fight and over time others will follow..

      I know or think I know how to level the playing field.. I hoping with alittle effort and backing this will be the next big thing..

    • Jason Lee Miller

      I have Bell South DSL … either that or time warner or dial up…no thanks….great options i have, too…I’m part of the 90-some percent that has two options for broadband

      and yes, i’d love to have an iPhone, they look really awesome…overpriced, but awesome, too provider-specific, but awesome…suffice to say i won’t be getting one, not because i don’t want one, but because of the principle…

      we could be boycott Ford for making cars that break down after 100,000 miles, or boycott Coke for (allegedly) funding some hits down in Columbia, boycott Pharma for snookering everybody, boycott McDonalds for engineering, not cooking, food and smells we like, boycott BP for fixing propane prices, the petroleum companies in general, boycott Wal-Mart for running small businesses out of town, boycott Target for not supporting Christmas, boycott the Pope for not being tougher on pedophile priests, boycott France for being snotty….

      There’s always a reason to boycott everybody, and also reasons our choices are limited, sometimes those are same reason…but when we have the power to stop something, we should, and where companies can be fair, they should also…

      Because food makes you fat, it doesn’t mean that food is bad…the same goes for money….it’s obsession with that’s the problem and the country we live in is transitioning from a nation of citizens to a nation of shareholders who run things by diffusion of responsibility in faceless bodies making decisions they think affect numbers more than people, a system that’s nearly feudal in its execution — you work for us and we’ll make sure you’re protected and have what you need with a little bit extra you can give back to us so you have an edge on the neighbor…

      but I digress.

  • http://www.thegroovymind.com melanie

    a very interesting dilemma you raised. when my partner and i launched www.thegroovymind.com it was for the precise reason you raise here–supporting companies that promote sustainability and social responsibility, which means buyers with a conscience acting on their beliefs. the same applies here when we’re talking about democratic principles. net neutrality is so incredibly important to maintain free speech and a true paradigm of democracy. we need to really look at the ramifications of our buying decisions, even if it means foregoing the comforts and high tech goods that are innovative and groundbreaking. and at the very least we need to be outspoken about our objections to the companies we do support.

  • http://www.buddyleestudios.com Kurt Overmeyer

    You failed to mention that the iPhone also works with WiFi (b, g, and n versions) and will allow 3rd party application development that will avoid the problems so common with smart phones. Doesn’t the WiFi ability negate your net neutrality argument? For that matter, your argument really doesn’t make much sense, since using the internet requires some use of ATT, Verizon and or Sprint. I mean, they own most of the networks and most of the POP’s in the U.S. By your sort of circular logic, using the internet at all (if you pay for it, and I don’t know anybody who doesn’t) is supporting the opponents of net neutrality.

    Full disclosure… I didn’t stand in line for an iPod (and you didn’t need to here in Sacrament for more than an hour) but I did play with my buddies iPhone and it is without a doubt the coolest thing I have ever seen.

  • bj

    Not that I’d get an IPhone anyway, but that’s a helluvan argument against using one. And AT&T was just slapped down by the FCC for shutting down those phone numbers out west that were for conference calling. And they’ve had a bad track record with VOIP as well.

    My dsl is through Earthlink, which was a choice that was more expensive but FOR net neutrality, since Earthlink has been vocal in support of it, and in fact an Earthlink exec testified before congress to try to get the telecomm legislation amended to include it.


    It is not worth switching providors. I was sad when I learned these were not going to be available everywhere. Now At&t and apple are partnering up?

  • http://www.vjchris.com Chris Clay

    Although I had not intended to buy one anyhow, if and when I did decide, I would NOT buy one for the simple fact Apple aligned ONLY with AT&T. I will not do business with AT&T, so indeed, buying or using an IPhone is an endorsement of the product/company, and also a vote for a MONOPOLISTIC society. Shame on Apple for doing this.

  • http://www.infotechart.com Luc Fayard

    I like Apple as a one of the good alternatives to the Wintel monopoly. But iPod+iTunes of course acts against Net Neutrality, and so is iPhone. The lack of real total compatibility betwen MasOS and Wintel also is against Net Neutrality… I think that actually all the manufacturers and editors are against Net Neutrality and as usal the only communtity to be in favor of Net Neutrality is allways the same: the Open Source Community!

  • Cursor_

    C’mon! You think Applephiles even give an obese rodent’s posterior? They would sell their mothers downstream for a baby head removing machine if it:

    A) had an Apple logo on it
    B) Jobs announced it as “And one more thing”
    C) It had curves and stylised looks
    D) Makes the XBaby (the same thing but MS)
    look like last years trash until it is
    trashed by the ‘next big thing’

    Slap an apple logo on it and have jobs peddle
    it and it will be bought. iPins, apple
    clothes pins and the iLine to pin them to. The
    iToilet with iPod hook up. The iRON to steam
    their clothes, comes with optional 199.00
    UV attachment for sterilising the clothes
    if steaming was good wnough!

    On and on, yada yada iyada!

    They don’t care. They don’t care that Apple
    is produced by China where human rights
    violations are all over the place. They
    don’t care that non0indy bands can’t get on
    iTunes. They don’t care so long as they have
    instant gratification. That’s IS THE MANTRA
    of the Baby Boomers and their whining little
    3 shot vente drinking offspring live by.

    That is Apple’s market. The people that SAY
    they want good products that are made in
    a fair, compassionate and free manner. They
    want open source and net freedom; yet are
    hypocrites that buy things made by countries
    with human righst records that made Hussein
    look like a nice guy and support a company
    that has a closed architecture just like the
    evil MS. Even more closed as they FORCE
    you to buy their hardware which is little
    more than what you find in a LINUX box but
    ith less graphics and more expensive memory!

    They don’t care, why even ask them? They
    will dance around it saying we ARE for
    freedom. The freedom to give up our freedom
    for the yoke of Apple.

    A machine that people dual boot so they
    run REAL applications for work and gamming
    I might add! Yep great buy there!


    • Albert King Jr.

      You have hit the bullseye right square in the middle. Your description of the individuals that Jobs and AT&T have targeted to peddle their latest piece of over priced crap to. Most of these baby-bummers won’t have enough income to retire on, yet they will spend money on this ijunk.

  • http://www.5dg.org jason madeira

    i noticed you could only get the iphone on just 1 network in the US. I hope UK competion laws will not allow this to happen here.

  • Jeff Hixson

    Your a true Neo-Techno-Con. Throwing together an article that makes thinly veiled associations to denigrate a product that has absolutely no relevance to the subject matter.

    Market penetration through partnerships is hardly cause for alarm when the exclusive agreement is only for 2 year.

    Go chase another goblin.

  • albert L. King, Jr.

    Steve Jobs seems to be like every other dope smoking, non-child supporting, so called ex-hippie I know. Their MO is to be against everything there is, until it affects their pocket book. His middle initial should be H. for handjobs, like the one he’s giving everyone that buys an iphone.

  • Albert King

    iphone must be the acronym for IDOIT-phone which describes anyone that would pay what the asking price is for one and pay the monthly charges AT&T is charging for activation.

    • Mike McDonald

      Gotta love a typo on IDIOT  — or is that some acronym I’m not getting?

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