Apple and other tech giants to testify to House antitrust panel next week

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Representatives for Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have been asked to testify in front of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel on July 16, addressing worries of diminishing competition amidst the mega corporations.

Apple Park


Speaking for Apple will be Kyle Andeer, VP for corporate law and its chief compliance officer, according to the Washington Post. In the past the company has sent other high-profile executives to federal hearings, among them CEO Tim Cook, who in 2013 defended the company's use of overseas tax loopholes.

Also in attendance will be Amazon associate general counsel Nate Sutton, Facebook head of global policy development Matt Perault, and Google director of economic policy Adam Cohen.

The Department of Justice is eventually expected to launch formal antitrust investigations of companies like Apple and Google, which are already facing accusations elsewhere.

Apple, for instance, is dealing with multiple U.S. lawsuits over the App Store. The company has sole control over iOS distribution, and typically takes a 30% revenue cut -- together, plaintiffs say, those facts translate into artificially inflated prices for consumers and tougher conditions for developers.

Spotify recently filed a complaint with the European Commission, charging that Apple has made it difficult for third-party music services to compete. This is not only because of its revenue cut, but because Apple Music enjoys platform integration other services can't access -- HomePod owners, for example, can't set Spotify as their default service or control it with the same level of Siri commands Apple Music offers.

Apple has denied any accusations of monopolistic practices, for instance claiming that developers are paying for a package of services when they split their revenue.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 739member
    Getting the courts to clarify what's legal when there is legal uncertainty is always welcome regardless of what the issue is or what side you fall on. Especially the US Supreme Court. 
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 2 of 11
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 972member
    Apple could just not sell music in their store. Period. Since Apple Music is a part of the OS and updates via iTunes or the cloud and has its own store...they could force competitors do something else, but they won’t. They want Apple to create a viable platform for free. Something they don’t have to do. If it is not profitable enough, they will kill it or let it die on the vine. 
  • Reply 3 of 11
    Apple sold music long before Spotify existed. Spotify is free to make their own phone ecosystem. Frankly Spotify isn’t in much of a place to claim that Apple is anti competitive given that Spotify is the market leader, and the HomePod is a niche device. 

    As as far as the sole control over apps sold thing. This has always been about ensuring that malware stays off the platform. Apple’s 30 percent cut was widely known when Spotify was being made. Besides they’re currently the market leader and don’t allow people to sign up through their app anymore. 

    Apple wants to keep a thousand different apps from constantly begging for your credit card information, and that’s a good thing!

    Also the App Store doesn’t drive up prices for consumers. They’d just need to point to Procreate verses Photoshop. You can get apps for insanely cheap on the iPhone and iPad. Far cheaper than you can when they’re sold directly from the developer. 
    JWSCplanetary paul
  • Reply 4 of 11
    The I. Q. of the current Congress is so low, and the ability to discern right from wrong is so far gone, that this hearing legit concerns me. 

    Facebook is an obvious target. 

    But Apple? The one who tries the hardest to do right? Come on. 

    Apple saved the music industry from pirscy with it’s fompelling iTunes/iPod combo. It’s a winning solution. And they’ve been doing that same thing ever since. Only now, they’ve responded to competitors by jumping into the subscription ocean. They’re allowed to do that. And if more people like them over the competition, guess what? WE are allowed to do that too. 

    Now they are saving customers from hacks hacks and malware with vetted apps through their store. 

    Mob the phone side, that’s a necessity. 

    On the personal computing side, it’s a great option. 

    There is literally nothing to go after Apple about. 
    edited July 9 JWSCplanetary paul
  • Reply 5 of 11
    There is literally nothing to go after Apple about. 
    Apple has a boatload of money, always worth going after. You just have to try and make it sound like legit.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,275member
    Tech giants not the problem. It’s the political midgets. 
    anantksundaram
  • Reply 7 of 11
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,301member
    Nothing can be gained by parading in front of a bunch of political career hacks. Just increase lobbying to get rid of the worst ones.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    irelandireland Posts: 17,645member
    What use will this do? It’s like hoping someone is going to testify against themselves.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,904member
    Sorry... but never in the history of consumer electronics has there ever been an instance of a hardware OEM being forced to open their products to 3rd parties.

    If Apple wants to impose limits on what is offered on their devices, there’s no law that says they can’t. The argument is treading in extremely dangerous territory. Forcing companies into what devices they can cannot make will most definitely stifle innovation.

    The App Store is a feature only available on Apple’s devices. To say Apple has to open their devices to any kind of third party support is placing a restriction on what they’re allowed to do while trying to compete in a supposedly free and open market. IT WOULD be different if Apple’s devices had some kind of monopoly in their respective markets, but they most certainly do not. And even then, simply being a monopoly is not even considered illegal.

    And to argue that having a single entity control a marketplace somehow forces prices higher is absolutely ridiculous when you compare the prices on the App Store to their desktop counterparts. Or compare the prices on the App Store to prices other app stores on other "open" platforms. It's not the users complaining, it's the developers who want a free ride on Apple's hard work.

    Why Apple is even included in this group of companies is beyond me. Where’s Microsoft? Is this about mobile only, is it about services only. Is it about platforms? Last time I checked Microsoft’s Windows was still the dominant platform on the PC desktop.

    And I completely understand why Google and Facebook should be looked at...both companies have spent the last decade buying up huge user account based properties in order to hoard as much data on as many people as they can. It boggles my mind how Apple was scrutinized over buying a company like Shazaam, and no one batted an eye over Facebook buying WhatsApp or even Instagram, or Google buying Waze or YouTube. All of them multi-billion dollar businesses on their own with hundreds of millions of users each.
    edited July 10
  • Reply 10 of 11
    Tech giants not the problem. It’s the political midgets. 
    Exactly. This is antitrust a la the EU — trying to save the a** of a few whiny competitors. I don’t see consumers lining up in droves to complain about these companies. No one seems to be talking much about the millions and millions of jobs and business opportunities and entrepreneurs and storefronts that these amazing companies have created all over the world. 

    If these bozos had any real backbone or wanted to do anything actually useful, they’d go after phone and cable companies. 
  • Reply 11 of 11
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 878member
    I think a lot of you are missing the "anti-trust" part. Apple is and has been big enough for some time now to be looked at in this way. Monopolies as you define them may be different under the law and not your opinion. 
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