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U.S. Antitrust Committee Likens Tech Companies Including Apple to ‘Oil Barons and Railroad Tycoons’



Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon have been the subject of a no-confidence motion by the U.S. House of Commons subcommittee, and today technology companies have become the “monopolies we last saw in the oil baron and railroad era.” Lords.

As shown CNBCThe subcommittee has issued a 450-page report [PDF] The report also includes recommendations for new no-confidence laws, highlighting the findings of multiple trials (including one of the CEOs of each company), interviews and more than 1.3 million documents.

These recommendations focus on promoting fair competition in digital markets, strengthening laws on consolidation and monopolies, restoring strict supervision and enforcing no-confidence laws.

The Committee wants Congress to ban access to businesses adjacent to flagship platforms, to encourage no-confidence agencies to consider merging from dominant platforms to be antithetical by default, and to prevent dominant platforms from giving preference to their services in the face of the need to impose similar conditions on similar products. Services.

The subcommittee said leading companies should also align their services with competitors and allow users to transfer their data, subject to “problematic precedents” under the no-confidence motion law, and forcibly remove the limitations of arbitration clauses and class action cases. .

Although these four companies differ in important ways, studying their business practices has revealed common problems. First, each platform now serves as a gatekeeper through a major distribution channel. By controlling access to the market, these giants can select winners and losers throughout our economy. Not only do they use tremendous power, but they also abuse it by charging exorbitant fees, imposing oppressive contract terms, and extracting valuable data from individuals and businesses that rely on them. Second, each platform uses its gateway to maintain its market power. By controlling the infrastructure of the digital age, they have surveyed other businesses to identify potential rivals and ultimately bought, copied or cut off their competitive threats. Finally, these companies have abused their role as intermediaries to further strengthen and expand their dominance. Leading platforms exploit their power to dominate even more, whether through self-preference, predatory pricing or exclusionary behavior.

In the case of Apple in particular, the subcommittee ruled that Apple had a monopoly on the distribution of software applications on iOS devices, and that its control over iOS would “give gateway control over software distribution on iOS devices.”

In contrast, Apple has the iOS operating system as well as the sole means of distributing software on iOS devices. Using its role as an operating system provider, Apple bans options in the App Store and charges fees and commissions for certain apps in order to reach customers. With the removal of the ‘app store’, it is responding to attempts to evade its fees. Because of this policy, developers have no choice but to play by Apple’s rules to reach customers who have won iOS devices. Owners of iOS devices have no alternative way to install apps on their phones.

The committee cited a number of interviews with App Store developers, including the CEO of the email app “Hey” and Tile’s General Law ounsel, which have been in major conflict with Apple. Public Disputes with Companies such as Airbnb and Classpass There was a recent conflict with Apple over fees for digital events in the ongoing public health crisis.

Through interviews and document reviews, the committee’s blocked 30% of Apple’s App Store fees, control of the App Store, default apps’ own priority, ‘App Store search rankings’, and anti-parental content controls. Reviewed the App Store ‘Guide. Enforcement, Apple’s decision not to allow other voice assistants by default instead of Siri, and much more with data from page 329 In the report For those who are interested.

Much is already known about Apple’s disputes with various companies and coverage of the dispute, and the recommendation document provides broader recommendations for Apple to act on specific recommendations, but a recommended no – confidence motion could affect Apple in a variety of ways. Laws must be enforced.

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