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.

Breaking up tech giants could get ‘messy,’ warns FTC boss

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Anti-robocall bill is one step closer to being passed into law
But that's not to say it won't happen!
Photo: Pexels

The chairman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission isn’t opposed to the breakup of America’s tech giants. However, he acknowledges it would be very, very challenging.

“If you have to, you do it,” Joe Simons told Bloomberg. “It’s not ideal because it’s very messy. But if you have to you have to.”

FTC hits Facebook with record $5 billion fine

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Facebook owns 4 of the top 10 apps of the past decade
This is the largest fine in FTC history.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The Federal Trade Commission hit Facebook with a massive $5 billion fine Wednesday due to the social network’s lax privacy policies.

This stands as the largest fine ever dished out to a tech company by the FTC. The massive penalty eats up approximately 9% of Facebook’s total 2018 revenue.

FTC wins its antitrust case against Qualcomm

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Qualcomm patents
Case could make 5G landscape more competitive.
Photo: Qualcomm

Qualcomm emerged victorious from its recent battle with Apple. But things look a whole lot less rosy for the company in its antitrust case with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Judge Lucy Koh this week filed her ruling in the FTC’s first round of litigation against Qualcomm. She concluded that Qualcomm has been engaging in anticompetitive business practices.

Apple runs afoul of Japanese government again

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Apple Japan required carriers to subsidize iPhone
Apple Japan allegedly used strong-arm tactics to get Yahoo's Game Plus online service shut down.
Photo: Apple

For the second time this year, Apple is being investigated by the Japanese Fair Trade Commission. This time, it may have forced Yahoo to scale back a web-only gaming platform that competes with the App Store.

Apple Japan seems to play hardball. This summer, the FTC made it stop forcing Japanese carriers to put subsidies on iOS handsets.

FTC: Third-party repairs don’t invalidate your iPhone warranty

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Illegal warranty seal
The FTC said warranty seals like this are illegal. Companies can't forbid third-party repair work.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Federal Trade Commission warned companies today not to tell customers that using independent repair facilities invalidates the warranties on their phones, video game consoles, or cars. Doing so is a violation of U.S. law.

It’s not clear if Apple was singled out by the watchdog agency. But it could have been.

Google breaks promise to not collect student data

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google-breaks-promise-to-not-collect-student-data-image-cultofandroidcomwp-contentuploads201512Google-offers-Chromebooks-to-educational-institutions-as-a-low-cost-way-to-bring-students-online-jpg
Google breaks its privacy promise. Photo: Google
Google breaks its privacy promise. Photo: Google

Google has been accused of breaking its student privacy pledge by collecting data and browsing habits from Chromebooks used in schools and Google Apps for Education.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called upon the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Google’s conduct, and to prevent it from using the data it has collected so far.

FTC could pave the way for direct-to-consumer iCars

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We'd like to buy this directly from Apple, OK?
We'd like to buy this directly from Apple, OK?
Photo: Josh Baré/DeviantArt CC

In a strongly worded blog post Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission derided legislative attempts to prevent consumers from buying cars directly from manufacturers. While this certainly applies to Tesla Motors’ plans to cut out the middleman on auto sales, the government position would cover any company that wishes to sell cars directly to consumers — like, say, Apple.

Can you imagine a day when we can roll into an Apple retail store, flash an Apple Watch and purchase an iCar with Apple Pay?