Draft antitrust bills could take aim at tech giants like Apple

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Tim Cook congressional antitrust hearing: Should Tim Cook be worried about Congress breaking up Apple?
Tim Cook testified as part of an antitrust investigation.
Photo: C-SPAN

Efforts to regulate Big Tech continue with Democrats currently circulating drafts of antitrust bills that could affect the likes of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google.

While there is every possibility that these draft bills morph over time, the biggest way they would currently affect Apple is by curtailing its ability to operate an app marketplace. This feeds into growing criticism about Apple’s control of the App Store, which has been the subject of investigation around the world.

European Union pushes ahead with investigation into Apple Pay

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European Commission trustbuster Margrethe Vestager has Siri in her sights.
European Commission trustbuster Margrethe Vestager has her sights set on Apple Pay.
Photo: ECR Group/Flickr CC

The European Union has warned Apple that regulators’ investigation into Apple Pay is going ahead. In an interview with Bloomberg News, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the Apple Pay case is “quite advanced” and “something that we’re pushing forward.”

Apple claps back against Spotify, Tinder and Tile in antitrust letter

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Spotify is adding 2x as many monthly subscribers as Apple Music
Spotify is one of the companies that has taken issue with the App Store.
Photo: Spotify

In a letter to the judiciary subcommittee investigating antitrust complaints against Apple, the company takes aim at companies like Spotify, Tinder and Tile.

All three companies previously criticized Apple’s dominance of the App Store. But Cupertino says they are simply airing “grievances related to business disputes” rather than making legitimate arguments about competition-related issues.

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Streaming services like Apple Music dominate the US music market
Does Apple's App Store control give it an unfair leg up?
Photo: Apple

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European Commission trustbuster Margrethe Vestager has Siri in her sights.
European Commission trustbuster Margrethe Vestager, center, thinks Apple may be breaking the rules.
Photo: ECR Group/Flickr CC

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Tim Cook answers questions about App Store business practices during the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing.
Tim Cook answers questions about App Store business practices at a Congressional hearing in 2020.
Photo: C-SPAN

Australian antitrust committee eyes Apple’s lucrative Google search deal

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Is Apple’s deal to make Google Safari’s default search engine anticompetitive?
An Australian government agency is probing Apple and Google for anticompetitive practices.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is gathering data for a report on whether Google and Apple abuse their ability to pick default web browsers and search engines in their operating systems to squeeze out smaller competitors.

And Australia is just one of many countries probing the business practices of big tech companies. These investigations might eventually be followed by lawsuits or legislation that forces Google, Apple, Facebook, etc. to change the way they do business.

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App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges
Government agencies in the EU and UK are looking into whether the iPhone App Store violates their antitrust laws.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

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TikTok continues to dominate the App Store in 2020.
Does Apple have too much control over the App Store?
Photo: Kon Karampelas/Unsplash CC

Apple settles antitrust dispute in South Korea with ‘voluntary correction scheme’

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Apple South Korea Store
Dispute has been running in South Korea since 2016.
Photo: Apple

Apple has settled a long-running antitrust dispute in South Korea. The country’s Fair Trade Commission announced Wednesday that it has accepted Apple’s offer to spend $89.83 million in the country as part of a voluntary correction scheme.

“This is the first time that a correction scheme [to make up for unfair market practices] actually provides direct benefits to consumers such as repair and warranty cost discounts,” said FTC Chairwoman Joh Sung-wook in a press briefing. “[The FTC] shall thoroughly keep watch on whether Apple carries out the promised actions to contribute to the domestic ICT ecosystem.”