Audio Clips

14 June 2012

Apple Finds That Gov't Attention is a Result of Success

David Boaz wrote a great column recently that highlights the danger of a company achieving too much customer satisfaction: the feds want more of your money.  No success should go unpunished in the USA.


Heard of “too big to fail”? Well, to Washington, Apple is now too big not to nail. 
Sadly, I get to write this same column every time a new company makes enough money to draw the attention of the wielders of money and power in Washington. Remember Microsoft? For more than a decade, Microsoft went about its business, developing software, selling it to customers and — legally — making money. 
Washington politicians and journalists sneered at the company’s naiveté. A congressional aide said, “They don’t want to play the D.C. game, that’s clear, and they’ve gotten away with it so far. The problem is, in the long run they won’t be able to.” 
A major antitrust case and a few other inquiries later, Microsoft got the message. They now play the game. 
A decade later, it was Google. After a humble start as a research project by two Stanford students, Google delivered a terrific product — and became the biggest success story of the early 21st century. 
But in our modern politicized economy, which author Jonathan Rauch called the “parasite economy,” no good deed goes unpunished for long. Policymakers worried about the company’s size and influence — including in many markets it had ostensibly created — started threatening Google. 
Sure enough, Google opened a Washington office, hired well-connected lobbyists and ramped up its spending. 
And now Apple.

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