| Cult of Mac

Shocker: Apple-backed nonprofits don’t like antitrust bills targeting Big Tech

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Tim Cook will testify before a congressional antitrust subcommittee this week.
Who, us?
Photo: Mark Mathosian/Flickr CC

To the surprise of roughly no-one, Apple doesn’t like the spate of anti-Big Tech antitrust bills being proposed in the United States.

In a letter sent Monday, a number of nonprofits — including ones connected to Apple, such as TechNet, the Consumer Technology Alliance, and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation — urged the House Judiciary Committee to reject the bills.

Germany opens antitrust investigation into Apple’s marketplace dominance

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App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges
Germany is looking into whether Apple has too much power.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

Germany’s antitrust watchdog said Monday it is launching an antitrust investigation to see whether Apple has a “paramount significance across markets.”

According to Reuters, the probe by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office was partly prompted by advertising and media industry complaints over Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature.

“Based on this first proceeding, the (FCO) intends to assess in more detail specific practices of Apple in a possible further proceeding,” notes the investigatory paperwork. “In this regard, the authority has received various complaints relating to potentially anti-competitive practices.”

Apple says it looks forward to “discussing our approach with the FCO and having an open dialogue about any of their concerns.”

The European Union vs. Apple

One of the leading countries in the European Union, Germany previously announced investigations into Facebook, Amazon and Google over different complaints. And given how much scrutiny the EU has placed Apple under, it’s no surprise to hear Germany begin its own investigation.

The European Union is already probing Apple’s control of the App Store. Another EU investigation is looking into Apple Pay. Another is eyeing Apple’s potential to be a “gatekeeper” in the smart home industry.

Source: Reuters

Stopping Apple from preinstalling apps might sound fair, but it’s a bad idea

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choice apples
It's all about the paradox of choice.
Photo: Raquel Martínez/Unsplash CC

As governments around the world scrutinize Apple’s App Store policies, the U.S. Congress is pondering legislation that could stop the company from preinstalling default apps on iPhones.

Apple critics suggest that such a move would level the playing field and give smaller developers a chance to compete. But would it actually benefit consumers, the purported goal of such antitrust legislation?

I’m not sure it would. In fact, it might simply make owning an iPhone a lot less enjoyable.

Japan mulls antitrust investigation into Apple and Google

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App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges
Japan is weighing up a possible antitrust investigation regarding mobile OS dominance.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

Japan is the latest country to turn its antitrust attention on Apple. The Japan Times reports that the Japanese government is set to investigate both Apple and Google over their dominance in mobile operating systems.

The report, which cites a Nikkei article, is short on details. It notes that nine out of 10 phones sold in Japan run either Android or iOS. But it does not explain where the problematic aspect of this is. Typically, antitrust involves situations in which a market leader, or collusion between market leaders, results in a monopoly of a particular market. Breaking up these monopolies is intended to give customers more choice.

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.

Europe says Apple Music wields unfair advantage over the competition

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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

The European Commission accused Apple on Friday of wielding an unfair advantage over Apple Music rivals because of Cupertino’s tight control of the App Store’s commission system.

“By setting strict rules on the App Store that disadvantage competing music streaming services, Apple deprives users of cheaper music streaming choices and distorts competition,” said Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager in a statement. “This is done by charging high commission fees on each transaction in the App Store for rivals and by forbidding them from informing their customers of alternative subscription options.”

EU could soon confirm antitrust charges against 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

European Union competition chief Margrethe Vestager is reportedly set to this week issue charges against Apple suggesting that its control of the App Store violates EU rules.

According to the Financial Times, the announcement will be made late this week. This is based on conversations with “several people with direct knowledge of the announcement.”

Apple gives Senate antitrust testimony a hard pass

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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

A Senate subcommittee wants to ask Google and Apple antitrust-related questions about their software stores, but the iPhone-maker reportedly turned down a request to testify.

Apple told Senators it could not do so because of ongoing litigation. That’s probably a reference to the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit currently in the pre-trial phase.