DOJ announces massive antitrust review examining Apple, Google & others

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2019
The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday announced a long-anticipated antitrust review of major tech corporations, including the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook.

Apple Park


According to the Justice Department, the review will assess "the widespread concerns that consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online. The Department's Antitrust Division is conferring with and seeking information from the public, including industry participants who have direct insight into competition in online platforms, as well as others."

"Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands," said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Antitrust Division. "The Department's antitrust review will explore these important issues."

The review will specifically consider online platforms that dominate fields like search, social media, and retail, DOJ officials told the Wall Street Journal. The agency will try to avoid covering the same ground as the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust efforts, which began in February with a task force monitoring the tech industry.

The DOJ review has no final goal at the moment beyond discovering whether there are antitrust problems that need fixing, but there are a variety of options available including investigating specific companies, the officials noted. It's also possible that companies could be brought to justice if they're found to be violating other laws.

Separate DOJ probes of Apple and Google monopolization are being prepared, but threads could intersect with the review, officials added. The FTC is expected to tackle monopolization issues at Amazon and Facebook, the latter of which has already been hit with a $5 billion fine over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Last week, representatives from Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook appeared in front the House Judiciary Committee to address the same topic. The House Antitrust Subcommittee is investigating "platform gatekeepers" and "dominant firms" in tech. Antitrust issues have even become a talking point in the 2020 Presidential race, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren calling for a Bell- or Standard Oil-style breakup.

Criticism of Apple has frequently focused on the App Store. The company prevents developers from selling iPhone and iPad apps anywhere else, yet it takes a 15-30% cut, which multiple U.S. lawsuits allege artificially inflates end prices. In a European complaint, Spotify noted that this also gives Apple services an edge, compounded by the fact that those services come pre-installed and more deeply integrated into software.

Apple has denied any wrongdoing. In its defense the company has claimed developers are buying a package of services with the revenue split, such as marketing. It remains to be seen if that argument with appease jurors or the U.S. government, given that other online stores offer similar benefits without exclusivity.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    zozmanzozman Posts: 393member
    ❤️❤️❤️
    cat52
  • Reply 2 of 39
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    I’d seriously question the motivation behind this investigation. Who complained? Competitors? Those who may or may not be politically disadvantaged? I don’t like it. None of these companies are monopolies.
    mwhitewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 39
    gutengelgutengel Posts: 363member
    I’d seriously question the motivation behind this investigation. Who complained? Competitors? Those who may or may not be politically disadvantaged? I don’t like it. None of these companies are monopolies.
    I'd love to hear GOOD alternatives for Facebook and Amazon. Whatever the outcome, antitrust laws haven't been updated in ages. Every time the US Gov has broken up huge noncompetitive corporation it has proven to be positive for consumers and the industries for the most part.
    Roger_Fingasmdriftmeyerelijahgspacekidwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 39
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,504member
    How America screws itself. Look no further. By punishing it's own.Than, complain that China is advancing faster in tech supporting it's home grown companies, restricting outsider and investing in world resources and in process going to dominate the world.
    An uneducated 3rd world country person with little common sense can tell you this.

    edited July 2019 gilly33radarthekatAppleExposedjony0
  • Reply 5 of 39
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,094member
    Maybe Apple instigated this investigation since the other companies are the the ones who will fail. Apple will pass. 
    cat52doctwelvewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 39
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 634member
    wood1208 said:
    How America screws itself. Look no further. By punishing it's own.Than, complain that China is advancing faster in tech supporting it's home grown companies, restricting outsider and investing in world resources and in process going to dominate the world.
    An uneducated 3rd world country person with little common sense can tell you this.

    It makes very senses....and when we break this company? The stupid politicians will complain about other countries, ie China or Russia....wake up America. This anti-trust law had never been up to date.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 39
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 896member
    I would gladly pay Apple’s “artificially inflated” prices for iOS software, in return for not having to worry too much about all the malware and viruses a non-curated software outlet may provide.
    Conversely, Mac apps can be purchased independently of Apple, and I would like to see it stay that way. I guess I want to have my cake and eat it too. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 39
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 879member

    The evidence that Apple is not a monopoly is overwhelming.  We here on this forum know this.  And I think most politicians understand this as well.

    But good policy does not necessarily make good politics.  As election season is upon us I suspect we’ll see a lot of monologues and grandstanding by would be presidents in waiting.

    Nevertheless, collectively we need to have a real discussion about these large companies and the implications of their outsized impact on our culture, economy, political discourse, and security.  The fracturing and compartmentalization of information distributed around the world is not bringing us together as someone like Tim Berners-Lee would have hoped.  Very large gatekeepers have emerged for both physical products and information.  And they don’t necessarily have you the customer as their primary interest.

    Getting big, even if you’re company is not a monopoly, has consequences.  The big players, including Apple, should do their very best to play the good citizen.  If they don’t you can be sure that some up and coming politician will force their hand, and probably not in a good way.

    edited July 2019 gilly33pscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 39
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    I’d seriously question the motivation behind this investigation. Who complained? Competitors? Those who may or may not be politically disadvantaged? I don’t like it. None of these companies are monopolies.
    You have to be kidding here, the complaints about some of these companies has been loud and clear for years.   Really how did you mis it?   
    dysamoriacat52ElCapitanelijahgspacekid
  • Reply 10 of 39
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,369member
    JWSC said:

    The evidence that Apple is not a monopoly is overwhelming.  We here on this forum know this.  And I think most politicians understand this as well.

    But good policy does not necessarily make good politics.  As election season is upon us I suspect we’ll see a lot of monologues and grandstanding by would be presidents in waiting.

    Nevertheless, collectively we need to have a real discussion about these large companies and the implications of their outsized impact on our culture, economy, political discourse, and security.  The fracturing and compartmentalization of information distributed around the world is not bringing us together as someone like Tim Berners-Lee would have hoped.  Very large gatekeepers have emerged for both physical products and information.  And they don’t necessarily have you the customer as their primary interest.

    Getting big, even if you’re company is not a monopoly, has consequences.  The big players, including Apple, should do their very best to play the good citizen.  If they don’t you can be sure that some up and coming politician will force their hand, and probably not in a good way.

    I have no doubt that politics is part of the problem.  You have people on both the left and the right expressing deep concerned about these companies.  You can bet that any findings will be milked for political gain.  

    As tor being a good corporate citizen, Apple of late has been just the opposite.  For example their attitude with respect to freedom to repair is absolutely asinine.  They seem to have completely forgotten that the entire industry they are milking at the moment, got started by people who tinkered and repaired all sorts of electronics.  Beyond that Apple out right lies about the repairability of their devices.   Being dishonest is not being a good corporate citizen.  Curtailing people’s freedom isn’t being a good corporate citizen.  

    Now being a corporate ass might not be illegal but in doing so they generate a lot of hatred.   Frankly much of it is deserved, that is Apple is directly responsible for the hate directed their way.  It only takes a simple little incident like somebody getting their iPhone repaired at a rational price after Apple has said it is impossible, to tick people off.   Leave enough people wound up over a ridiculous practice and they will start making noise with their local representative.  

    I suspect the government will have a hard time calling Apple a trust of monopoly but there are many things they can take Apple to court over.  What justice can’t take Apple to court for they can suggest new or changed laws.   One of the best possible out comes here would be national right to repair legislation. 
    boboliciouselijahgnot_antonmuthuk_vanalingamhabi000
  • Reply 11 of 39
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,196member
    Under any other administration, I would welcome this.

    Under the *current* administration, however, I feel this is extremely suspicious. Why? It’s pretty obvious: this is a super-anti-regulation administration. Every kind of regulation is being slashed and burned. Regulating departments are manned by people who have a history of declaring these departments targets for destruction.

    It wouldn’t be at all surprising to find it is a plot to suppress or punish powerful media-related companies which have “liberal political influence”... where “liberal political influence” is actually the willingness to promote facts that the current administration calls “fake”, and suppress and challenge the egregiously fake nonsense in which this administration wants people to believe.
    radarthekatboboliciouselijahgmacbear01
  • Reply 12 of 39
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 800member
    For anti-trust Google is a legit target. Facebook is concerning as it stalks people for advertising without their consent, but that does not involve anti-trust. Apple is in no way a monopoly- by either vertical or horizontal function.

    What they might look at from anti-trust and competitive concerns is the cartel-like behavior of the telecommunications/ISP providers. Wireless communication is competitive (barely), but the wired ISP business is mostly a monopoly. The concentration of media ownership both for production and distribution is also concerning for providing a competitive market. I would posit that allowing Comcast to buy NBC and Universal, AT&T's purchase of DIRECTV and Time-Warner, and Disney's purchase of the Fox Studio were and are mistakes.
    spacekidmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 39
    This is just a way to hurt those who have found success in an economic environment America provides.  Enough of the socialist junk proposed by the vocal few. 

    There is zero reason for any antitrust review on Apple. 

    It kind of sucks that you build hard earned success, hit rock bottom, come back from the dead to be at the top of the world and some turd who doesn’t really have to work for a living trashes it for you. 
    radarthekatAppleExposedwatto_cobramacbear01
  • Reply 14 of 39
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 962member
    This is just a way to hurt those who have found success in an economic environment America provides.  Enough of the socialist junk proposed by the vocal few. 

    There is zero reason for any antitrust review on Apple. 

    It kind of sucks that you build hard earned success, hit rock bottom, come back from the dead to be at the top of the world and some turd who doesn’t really have to work for a living trashes it for you. 


    Bill Barr and Donald Trump: “Socialist Junk.”

    I am so incredibly depressed for my beloved country.  
    radarthekatmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 39
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,142member
    This won't be a bad thing if it's conducted fairly and doesn't overreach.

    I'd like to see the review conducted on even ground. We frequently see articles (seemingly influenced by certain companies) which attempt to build false equivalences between companies doing the wrong thing with those that are doing the right thing. (E.G. Falsely building equivalence between Facebook and Apple's approaches to privacy.)

    It will also help address some frequently published complaints by industry players such as Spotify, by separating what may be a legitimate call to fairness against just a company trying to enhance shareholder value.

    An even baseline could also demonstrate just how much worse some of these companies are than the others. I think we all have a good clue about that already based on the history and our experience, but having it conducted through a filter of independent investigation would certainly help clarify these positions.

    What I don't want to see are various double-standards which often come about when these things are conducted separately. 
    cat52pscooter63JWSC
  • Reply 16 of 39
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,152member
    So what is Apple supposed to be a monopoly of? Its App Store inventory? Is Walmart a monopoly of its inventory, where they charge merchants slotting fees for shelf access? And Target? Etc.. 

    Nuts. Apple has the least vulnerable business model compared to Google and Facebook in these investigations. 
    radarthekatAppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 39
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,988member
    This won't be a bad thing if it's conducted fairly and doesn't overreach.
    Nothing says 'We did something!' like overreach. I'd like to see our Government put a task force on corporations' lack of security with our data they've amassed. There should be federal standards and criminal culpability for failure to exercise due diligence in preventing breaches. It's past due.

    I'd lost a credit card and went to my bank to report it and get a replacement. Turns out there was one already sent. 'WTF? Why?' It was over a year until the renewal date. Turns out the bank had a data breach and they were issuing cards to those who 'might' be affected. I wasn't.

    So ok, look into the possible anti-trust issues. and find something only if it exists. Just make sure Warren doesn't suffer from Ma Bell Meltdown and go off the rails.

    Then get onto something that truly benefits us — lax data protection and backdoors into email and messaging. Because we've got everything to lose and nothing to hide.  SMH/FP.
    watto_cobramacbear01
  • Reply 18 of 39
    brakkenbrakken Posts: 687member
    In other news, a washed-up has-been smirks even more strongly knowing his ill-gotten billions will continue to be unthreatened. Millions across the planet, however, further disturbed the Earth’s rotation with excessive eye-rolling. More news at 11!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 39
    croprcropr Posts: 1,040member
    JWSC said:

    The evidence that Apple is not a monopoly is overwhelming.

    Legally, there is no such thing as "an overwhelming evidence not being guilty". Either there is evidence being guilty, either there is no evidence. The latter is sufficient to be declared not guilty by the judge.

    From a end user perspective Apple is indeed not a monopoly. The end user has a choice between a lot of smartphones.

    But from an app developer perspective (and I own an app developing company), the app store is definitely a monopoly. I am forced to use the App Store to distribute my iOS apps. As such this is not an issue if the monopoly is not abused. But Apple is abusing its monopoly by imposing  very unfavorable conditions to the app developer. Not being allowed to make a link to the website of the app developer, is perhaps the most known rule, but there are others that are also impacting: no cross selling, no temporary discounts, ...

    edited July 2019 elijahgmuthuk_vanalingamcat52
  • Reply 20 of 39
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    wizard69 said:
    I’d seriously question the motivation behind this investigation. Who complained? Competitors? Those who may or may not be politically disadvantaged? I don’t like it. None of these companies are monopolies.
    You have to be kidding here, the complaints about some of these companies has been loud and clear for years.   Really how did you mis it?   
    I’m aware of the complaints. I’m also aware that they’re privately owned businesses and there’s no “right” to any of their products or services.
    watto_cobra
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