Sharp End: iPhone restrictions

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Anti-competitive behaviour

Another dealer recently forwarded me copies of correspondence he had with Ofcom with regards to alleged restrictive practice by networks.

This particular complaint was against Orange and the fact the iPhone is only available via network direct routes, along with a couple of big-name high street retailers. But the general complaint covers all the networks and their restrictive practices.

The response from Ofcom was: “Mobile telephone operators are free to introduce exclusive distribution arrangements and negotiate commercial arrangements with manufacturers and suppliers, subject to ensuring any such agreements are compliant with relevant EC and UK competition law provisions. Ofcom has not investigated and is not currently investigating the particular issue you have raised…  It remains open for you to provide evidence of a possible competition law infringement directly to Ofcom.”

Reading the article, and admittedly I am no legal expert, but it begs the question of whether the networks’ actions are legal.

The letter mentions there is a free “probono” service available for individuals or businesses that believe their rights under competition law may be infringed. At the end of the day the consumer’s choice is being restricted by the actions of the networks, and ultimately instances of these actions over sustained periods are putting many people out of business.

If Mercedes was to introduce a new flagship motor and turn to its Mercedes dealerships and tell them it will only sell the car direct and won’t allow them to sell it themselves, there would be an outcry. What’s happening in our industry is no different. And it’s killing us. I reckon a lot of smaller dealers are just hanging on until the New Year to call it a day.

Capacitive screens and bikers

For my sins, one of my favourite pastimes apart from gadgets is motor biking. I’m a fairly new recruit to the general biking scene, having only been interested in riding for the last two years. I’m not a fanatic by any means; I don’t pretend to know one model of bike from the next. I have my bike and I like riding it, simple.

I have quite a decent intercom set up for communicating to passengers, bike-to-bike or hands free calling from a mobile phone as well as listening to music whilst riding.

One big problem with my bike system and my mobile phone as a biker is the fact handsets with capacitive screens rather than resistive screens are impossible to use whilst wearing gloves.

Not the world’s most pressing problem, I admit, but when you’re getting ready to set out on a ride and you connect your phone up to the intercom/music system having to remove your gloves just to start the music off is a bit of a pain.

I decided to look into the problem a little further a few days ago and I’m not alone in my glove/screen problem.

Full article in Mobile News issue 454 (December 14, 2009).

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