|Article: "The most basic version of Apple Watch will start at $349 and require pairing with a new or older iPhone."|
At first glance, this looks like it should trigger some sort of antitrust claim, but what would it be? Probably not tying, since Apple doesn't have market power in the smartwatch market (not yet, anyway), and it will be impossible to show harm in the smartphone market (which is dominated by technological juggernauts engaging in similar tactics and is arguably the most competitive market worldwide). This might work better in a couple years if Apple has achieved market power and is still tying the Watch to the iPhone. But the idea that Apple could leverage its potential dominance over the tiny smartwatch market to gain an unfair advantage in the massive smartphone market just seems silly.
What about Section 2? Apple certainly doesn't have a monopoly in the smartphone market these days. But maybe you could argue that, through lock-in and the network effect, Apple has achieved a monopoly over the ecosystem of products that run iOS apps. This is a market unto itself -- many consumers who have used iPhones for a long time are really only in the market for iPhones going forward, in order to avoid losing past investments. Apple could then abuse that monopoly by pricing the Watch at below-market rates (to destroy higher-priced competitors), and recoup the loss by pricing its iPhone at above-market rates, because everyone using the Watch strictly needs an iPhone. Then, Apple can start the lock-in, ecosystem-monopoly process all over again for the smartwatch market.
The latter is probably Apple's real strategy, but I think the causal chain will be viewed by courts as too attenuated to support an antitrust claim, without some awfully clear and direct evidence (say, an e-mail from Steve Jobs to Tim Cook describing this plot). Of course, if any court buys the idea that the iOS app ecosystem is a "relevant market," Apple will soon have much bigger things to worry about than smartwatches.
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