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Yaron Brook On Cnbc Today (3/21)

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From ARI:

Dr. Yaron Brook is scheduled to appear on CNBC's "On the Money" tonight, March 21, 2006 at 7 PM Eastern time (4 PM Pacific).

He will discuss a law passed today by the lower house of the French National Assembly that will force Apple, Sony and Microsoft to share proprietary anti-copy technologies so that rivals can offer compatible services and players.

Edited by rob.sfo
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Judging by the actions of other businesses when confronted with oppressive regulations, I highly doubt that Apple would be able to muster the moral courage to pull its products from France. The first example that comes to mind is Microsoft and the E.U. antitrust decisions that have forced it to offer seperate versions of Windows in Europe without a media player and perhaps some other components. Microsoft and other companies conform to the regulators demands because they know that even accounting for the losses due to regulations they will still be able to turn a profit. Of course, this evades the long term consequences of appeasing overzealous government bureaucrats, but most businessmen operate on some variation of pragmatism which makes such an identification impossible.

If the French follow through with this action, I hope Apple proves me wrong. But until they value their freedom above short-term profits, I don't think they will.

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I know there's another thread discussion the French action against Apple, so I'll confine my comments here to Dr. Brook's appearance.

I must say I was unimpressed. I've missed most of Dr. Brook's other appearances on CNBC or other media outlets, generally because I read the notification from ARI after the fact. This appearence was later in the evening, so I was able to see it. Granted, the entire segment with Dr. Brook was only about 2 or 3 minutes, but he was the only interviewee, unlike most other segments where there might be 2 or even 3 guest commentators.

One point I thought he should have made, and he had the opportunity to do so, was to point out that Apple has earned the market share it enjoys, that before iTunes the online music market was virtually non-existent. Instead, he asserted that this case is a "property rights issue" without attempting to explain how or why and bemoaned "French egalitarian philosophy," again without explanation of any kind. When he made the "egalitarian" point, pointing out that this is an effort to give other companies a share of Apple's market, he was tantalizingly close to making the point, but without introducing the notion of an earned position in a market vs. an unearned one, I think the argument lacked punch.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see advocates of Objectivism getting media exposure, I'm just not sure this did much to convice anyone who might have been on-the-fence of why the French law, and antitrust law in general, is wrong.

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Won't these companies rather just stop selling their products in France? Am I being Naive?

No, because a) people would just pirate the Microsoft products they wanted if they werent being sold in the shops, and B) Apple/Sony would lose sales and hence profit if they withdrew from the country (and the gap in the market would be filled by people importing Apple/Sony products from other countries and selling them in France).

You cant really withdraw from a country in a global economy, especially if you are primarilly selling intellectual property. Trade doesnt work like that.

Edited by Hal
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No, because a) people would just pirate the Microsoft products they wanted if they werent being sold in the shops, and B) Apple/Sony would lose sales and hence profit if they withdrew from the country (and the gap in the market would be filled by people importing Apple/Sony products from other countries and selling them in France).

Of course Microsoft/Apple could stop making software IN French, and the French govt would have a fit about that.

This highlights the major disadvantage of the EU - by acting as a block it is able to exert more political power than the member countries. Microsoft could potentially leave France, but not all of Europe.

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