It's easy to find examples of alleged malevolence by multinational corporations, and this year the spotlight was on Apple. Lawsuits from suppliers, an e-book price fixing scandal and ongoing antitrust litigation brought Apple in the courtroom to defend itself against allegations of heavy handed business practices. As 2014 comes to a close let's review Apple's litigious year.
1. Go Put on Your Daddy's Pants and Get Back to Us
Accusing Apple of a bait-and-switch over production of sapphire glass, supplier GT Advanced Technologies stated in court documents it received harsh advice from the iPhone maker after its deal with Apple fell apart.
GT Advanced Technologies may have been over-zealous in its attempt to satiate Apple's sapphire needs, as Apple was never legally bound to purchase the goods. But Apple stated this is how it conducts business with suppliers, according to court documents released during GT's bankruptcy filing.
"When GTAT's management expressed obvious concerns to Apple regarding the deal terms during contract negotiations, Apple responded that similar terms are required for other Apple suppliers and GTAT should: 'Put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement,'" stated GT Advanced.
2. iTunes Programmed to Block Competition
Apple won a decade's-old lawsuit that accused the company of violating antitrust laws relating to its iTunes store. A former Apple engineer who was a self-described unwilling witness testified that Apple designed the versions of iTunes released between 2006 and 2009 to block 100 percent of rival applications and delete songs from third-party applications without offering any form of warning.
3. Don't Blame the iMessenger
In November, Apple finally got around to patching an iMessage flaw that previously failed to forward messages to the devices of users who migrated to rival products. Messages sent to former Apple users were marked "delivered" though the recipients wouldn't receive them. Around the same time it was uncovered that a lawsuit had hit the courts a few months earlier alleging Apple "tortuously interfered" with contracts forged between wireless carriers and consumers.
4. The e-Book Racket
During meetings reportedly held at upscale Manhattan restaurants officials from Apple and several e-book publishers hammered out a deal that contained a "most favored nation" clause that would shake up e-book pricing standards long established by Amazon. Apple did not admit to any wrongdoing with regard to the price-fixing allegations and each of the accused publishers eventually opted to settle the matter.
Here's hoping that 2015 brings a less litigious year for Apple and its business partners.