French watchdog fines Apple $1.2 billion for anti-competitive behavior; Apple to appeal

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Anti-robocall bill is one step closer to being passed into law
France's antitrust watchdog made the ruling on damages.
Photo: rawpixel.com/Pexels CC

France’s competition watchdog announced on Monday it has fined Apple 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) for reportedly violating antitrust laws, the biggest antitrust fine it has ever levied.

The French watchdog accuses Apple of exhibiting anti-competitive behavior through its distribution network, including reported abuse of the economic dependence of its resellers. The company plans to appeal.

Apple, Spotify and other streaming companies accused of price-fixing ‘conspiracy’

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Music licensing company takes aim at Apple Music for illegal streaming
PRM thinks music streaming companies are playing dirty.
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A music licensing company accuses Apple, Spotify, Google, SoundCloud, and other streaming services of entering into a price-fixing “conspiracy” to keep streaming music prices at anticompetitive levels.

Pro Music Rights (PMR) filed the complaint Monday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. PMR previously filed a lawsuit against Apple in December for allegedly streaming copyrighted music without the necessary permissions.

FTC wants to know if any of Apple’s smaller acquisitions could be anticompetitive

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Elizabeth Warren chimes in on allegedly discriminatory Apple Card algorithm
Presidential nominee Elizabeth Warren has said that tech giants like Apple have too much power.
Photo: elizabethwarren.com

The Federal Trade Commission wants tech giants, including Apple, to give more information about previous mergers and acquisitions considered too small to report to antitrust regulators.

The move comes as Justice Department, FTC, state attorneys general and the House Judiciary Committee ramp up investigations into big tech. Politicians have accused tech giants of using their size and power to illegally defend market share or move into new areas.

Tile will speak out against Apple in antitrust hearing

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Tile will speak out against Apple in Congress antitrust hearing
Apple is rumored to be launching its own Tile rival.
Photo: Tile

Tile, a startup that makes location-aware tracking tags, will testify against Apple in a congressional antitrust hearing today.

Apple and Tile previously enjoyed a good relationship. Apple sold Tile products in its stores starting in 2015. However, last year, Apple stopped selling Tile products. It also hired away one of its engineers — with all signs pointing to Apple having developed its own rival product.

Lawmakers investigate claims that Apple uses privacy as a ‘shield’

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Apple exec turned up at CES to talk about the importance of privacy
Apple's privacy stance is good. But is there a
Photo: Apple

Most people seem to agree that Apple’s stance on user privacy is a good one. However, U.S. lawmakers suggest it could be a cover for something else: anti-competitive behavior.

According to a new report, some legislators think Apple might be using privacy as a “shield” to get away with behavior that lets it strengthen its own position, while hurting rivals.

Apple makes no profit from Mac or iPhone repairs

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independent repair program
Apple will still fix your iPhone, even if you take it to an unauthorized repair shop first.
Photo: Apple

Apple told the US Congress that it doesn’t profit from making repairs to iPhones or Macs.

And it defended its practice of only selling genuine Apple parts to companies that have technicians trained to install them.

Apple spends ‘billions’ overhauling Apple Maps app

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Apple has spent 'billions' overhauling its Apple Maps app
Apple threw around some big cash to take on Google.
Photo: 401(K) 2012/Flickr CC

Apple says it spent unspecified “billions” on its updated Apple Maps app.

Cupertino’s revelation about the Apple Maps expenditures came amid answers to questions from the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, which is currently carrying out antitrust probes into Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook.

EU eyes Apple Pay and its competitive edge

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Apple Pay on iPhone and Apple Watch
Apple Pay is the only NFC payment system allowed on iPhone. Is that anticompetitive, or Apple just being safe?
Screenshot: Apple

In August, EU antitrust investigators sent a questionnaire to banks and developers of rival payment systems about Apple Pay. They’ve gotten an earful, according to Margrethe Vestager, the EU Competition Commissioner.

Antitrust investigators want to know if retailers were compelled to use Apple Pay

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Antitrust investigators want to know if retailers were compelled to use Apple Pay
Could Apple Pay be breaking the law?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

European antitrust regulators are asking online retailers if they are contractually obligated to use Apple Pay over rival services.

The European Commission suggests it has information that Apple could have restricted online payments for goods and services using rival payment solutions. This would be in breach of EU antitrust rules.