Good Luck With That Alleged Antitrust Complaint Against Apple, Adobe…
“The first question that needs to be answered is ‘Does Apple have monopoly power in this market?’”
That’s what Harry First, the Charles L. Denison Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, told me when I asked him if Adobe’s (ADBE) rumored antitrust complaint against Apple had any legs.
Today, we have the answer to First’s question: No.
According to a comScore (SCOR) survey of 234 million American mobile subscribers age 13 and older, Apple controls just five percent of the mobile phone market in the United States–hardly enough to be considered a monopoly, let alone an abusive one. In fact, Apple (AAPL) doesn’t even rank among the top mobile OEMs, and with a five percent share, it is more than three percent away from Nokia (NOK), its nearest rival. (See tables below; click to enlarge.)
Now, in the smartphone market, the iPhone maker’s market share is more significant. As of February, Apple claimed a 25.4 percent share.
While that was enough to give the company second place in comScore’s smartphone OEM rankings, it pales in comparison with Research in Motion’s (RIMM) 42.1 percent share. It’s also well below the threshold for a monopolization claim, which would seem to suggest that the chances of a possible antitrust investigation against Apple are pretty slim indeed.
As Kenneth Glazer, a partner at K&L Gates and the former deputy director of the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission, told The Wall Street Journal last week:
If…Apple has only a 25% share, they’re well below the threshold for a monopolization claim and also below the threshold for an attempted monopolization claim. You’ve got to be at least 40% to be within shouting distance of an attempted monopolization claim. I don’t see how they’re going to be able to prove a monopolization case against Apple if smart phones are the relevant market, unless you can carve out a narrower antitrust market in which Apple has a larger share.