US states could also investigate Apple & others over antitrust concerns

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 26
The US Attorney General William Barr has met with a number of state attorneys general on Thursday to talk about Apple and other major tech firms, discussing the impact of the companies on competition and looking into antitrust motions against the firms.

US Attorney General William Barr recently speaking about encryption
US Attorney General William Barr recently speaking about encryption


The meeting focused on "big tech companies stifling competition on the internet," a statement from Barr's office advises. "It was a productive meeting and we're considering a range of possible antitrust actions against such companies."

Eight state attorneys are reported by Reuters to have been in attendance, though while they were not identified in the statement, four states have since identified themselves as being represented at the meeting. Representatives from New York, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana are said to have made it to Thursday's gathering.

The "big tech companies" are, as usual, unidentified by the statement, but are believed to refer to Apple alongside Alphabet, Amazon, and Facebook.

The meeting follows two days after the U.S. Department of Justice announced it will be holding an antitrust review into major technology corporations, and their affect on competition in fields like search, social media, and online retail. There are also separate probes by the US DOJ into Apple and Google's alleged monopolization, but elements may overlap with the new DOJ review.

The Federal Trade Commission has also been working on its own antitrust efforts since February, appointing a task force to monitor the industry.

Representatives from each of the four companies have already spoken to the House Judiciary Committee on the topic, with the House Antitrust Subcommittee investigating "platform gatekeepers" and "dominant firms." The subject of antitrust has also been brought up in the 2020 Presidential race, with a break-up of big firms called for by Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

This is not the only technology-related area Barr has waded into this week. On Tuesday, he waded into the ongoing encryption debate, claiming encryption is "already imposing huge costs on society" by making it hard for law enforcement to investigate crimes, while also calling for tech firms to stop producing "dogmatic pronouncements" against backdoors and to instead produce them.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,214member
    The enemies within. Break them all up.
    cat52
  • Reply 2 of 19
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,372member
    How about we break up the Government and let Tim and his team run America instead.
    rob53dewme
  • Reply 3 of 19
    chaickachaicka Posts: 149member
    Hahaha...In the end, it is not the external competition or enemies that destroy America.
    Samsung and Huawei will be laughing and perhaps even cheering with champagne the day US Govt enforces anti-trust motions against its own Tech Giants (capable of competing globally).
  • Reply 4 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,086member
    Simple diversion by Trump and Barr. I don’t see the DOJ going after oil companies, pharmaceuticals, or media companies. How much money do the tech companies contribute to the Republican Party and how much lobbying dollars are used to pay them off compared to all the other lobbyists? This is purely political nothing more. 
    jahbladeStrangeDaysdewme
  • Reply 5 of 19
    georgie01georgie01 Posts: 265member
    rob53 said:
    Simple diversion by Trump and Barr. I don’t see the DOJ going after oil companies, pharmaceuticals, or media companies. How much money do the tech companies contribute to the Republican Party and how much lobbying dollars are used to pay them off compared to all the other lobbyists? This is purely political nothing more. 
    The only politically motivated thing here is your statement. 

    Seems to me that Barr may be using these antitrust investigations to try and scare tech companies into appeasing the encryption concerns. That’s pretty cheap but unfortunately normal for this type of thing.
    cat52
  • Reply 6 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,086member
    georgie01 said:
    rob53 said:
    Simple diversion by Trump and Barr. I don’t see the DOJ going after oil companies, pharmaceuticals, or media companies. How much money do the tech companies contribute to the Republican Party and how much lobbying dollars are used to pay them off compared to all the other lobbyists? This is purely political nothing more. 
    The only politically motivated thing here is your statement. 

    Seems to me that Barr may be using these antitrust investigations to try and scare tech companies into appeasing the encryption concerns. That’s pretty cheap but unfortunately normal for this type of thing.
    Agree with your second paragraph which confirms my statement--it's all politically motivated. 
    jahblade
  • Reply 7 of 19
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,614member
    When companies get as huge and powerful as Apple e et al, they need to be scrutinized and held to account. It goes with the territory. Encryption is an area government will naturally be interested in, as is market dominance. I am no Barr fan and there may well be political bias involved but that is inevitable. Market dominance and encryption are definitely philosophical / political issues. 
    cat52
  • Reply 8 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,086member
    paxman said:
    When companies get as huge and powerful as Apple e et al, they need to be scrutinized and held to account. It goes with the territory. Encryption is an area government will naturally be interested in, as is market dominance. I am no Barr fan and there may well be political bias involved but that is inevitable. Market dominance and encryption are definitely philosophical / political issues. 
    Market dominance? Which market do they dominate? Not cell phones, not PCs, yes on tablets but only a bit over 60%. Great encryption is built in but there is plenty of third party encryption software so they don’t dominate or control that field. Apple makes a lot of money because they sell a lot of products (actual things you can touch not simply services). Why not break up Walmart? Their predatory practices destroy small and medium size businesses and when they’re done raping a town they leave and the town is without any stores. If wait, they dump tons of money into the hands of politicians to keep them from monitoring their market dominance. 
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 9 of 19
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,586member
    rob53 said:
    Simple diversion by Trump and Barr. I don’t see the DOJ going after oil companies, pharmaceuticals, or media companies. How much money do the tech companies contribute to the Republican Party and how much lobbying dollars are used to pay them off compared to all the other lobbyists? This is purely political nothing more. 
    Nailed it. Note that Trump admin has backed away from campaign promises to lower drug prices via regulation, pricing disclosures, etc. Drug prices remain and will remain as high as ever for consumers. That is the actual harm to the public, unlike these bogus pursuits. The GOP admin just doesn't like tech because tech tends to be run by liberal voters, supports equal civil rights, aren't big donors, and there is some nonsense conspiracy theory that conservative ideas are down-ranked in google results. That's all this is, revenge.
    gatorguydewmerob53
  • Reply 10 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,117member
    rob53 said:
    Simple diversion by Trump and Barr. I don’t see the DOJ going after oil companies, pharmaceuticals, or media companies. How much money do the tech companies contribute to the Republican Party and how much lobbying dollars are used to pay them off compared to all the other lobbyists? This is purely political nothing more. 
    Nailed it. Note that Trump admin has backed away from campaign promises to lower drug prices via regulation, pricing disclosures, etc. Drug prices remain and will remain as high as ever for consumers. That is the actual harm to the public, unlike these bogus pursuits. The GOP admin just doesn't like tech because tech tends to be run by liberal voters, supports equal civil rights, aren't big donors, and there is some nonsense conspiracy theory that conservative ideas are down-ranked in google results. That's all this is, revenge.
    +1
    dewme
  • Reply 11 of 19
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,417member
    MacPro said:
    How about we break up the Government and let Tim and his team run America instead.
    That would be a very bad idea also.
    cat52
  • Reply 12 of 19
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,417member
    rob53 said:
    paxman said:
    When companies get as huge and powerful as Apple e et al, they need to be scrutinized and held to account. It goes with the territory. Encryption is an area government will naturally be interested in, as is market dominance. I am no Barr fan and there may well be political bias involved but that is inevitable. Market dominance and encryption are definitely philosophical / political issues. 
    Market dominance? Which market do they dominate? Not cell phones, not PCs, yes on tablets but only a bit over 60%. Great encryption is built in but there is plenty of third party encryption software so they don’t dominate or control that field. Apple makes a lot of money because they sell a lot of products (actual things you can touch not simply services). Why not break up Walmart? Their predatory practices destroy small and medium size businesses and when they’re done raping a town they leave and the town is without any stores. If wait, they dump tons of money into the hands of politicians to keep them from monitoring their market dominance. 
    As long as no US company is receiving protections against competition by law or other market interference, there should be no accusations or charges of monopoly.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,288member
    The poles have reversed themselves again. Up is down and down is up. Republicans love Russians and North Koreans, and are attacking big business. Democrats are supporting States’ Rights! 
    dewme
  • Reply 14 of 19
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,020member
    big tech companies stifling competition on the internet,

    And Apple applies how? They have iCloud which is used by their users for their Apple devices.

    Apple alongside Alphabet, Amazon, and Facebook.

    Why is Apple always lumped in with these? And where's Microsoft?

    Apple and Google's alleged monopolization

    Are they talking about a combined monopolization of the mobile market? That's a duopoly, not a monopoly. And unless there's collusion, there's no reason Apple should be apart of the that.

    Or are they talking about the App Store? There are no laws against a company restricting how software gets distributed and installed on their own hardware devices, running their own operating system. 


  • Reply 15 of 19
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,162member
    This is a good example of how far this administration, like all others before it, will go to preserve the sanctity of ineptitude that underlies much of what the government does for a living at taxpayer expense. Think for a moment about how the USPS (which is coincidentally one of the few constitutionally bequeathed responsibilities granted to the US president before executive orders became All the Rage) would operate if run by for-profit firms like Amazon or Apple within a competitive framework.

    So now we have the heads of these huge forced monopolies, ones that can't keep themselves solvent, accusing wildly successful companies of also being monopolies? Why? Are they doing this as a public service, i.e., to save these companies from becoming as screwed up as they are? Like they should serve as examples for everything that's wrong with monopolies, so everyone else should pay heed to their example of failure and ineptitude. Or are they trying to monopolize the ability to be a monopoly to include only those services that can be continually bungled and operated at a loss and at great taxpayer expense? Does Billy B really want to run Apple and force them to build a huge ChunkiPhone that weighs 6 lbs but has a 20 day battery life and logs all comm transactions to the gCloud? 

    When are they going to get past all this political posturing silliness and start working on infrastructure or deficit reduction?  I don't want my Amazon Prime orders being delayed by busted down bridges - dammit.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,417member
    The poles have reversed themselves again. Up is down and down is up. Republicans love Russians and North Koreans, and are attacking big business. Democrats are supporting States’ Rights! 
    It goes further than that. The previous President continued Bush’s wars and almost none of O’s supporters made a peep, including his VP (who for YEARS had made his anti-war positions very well known).
    cat52
  • Reply 17 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,086member
    rob53 said:
    paxman said:
    When companies get as huge and powerful as Apple e et al, they need to be scrutinized and held to account. It goes with the territory. Encryption is an area government will naturally be interested in, as is market dominance. I am no Barr fan and there may well be political bias involved but that is inevitable. Market dominance and encryption are definitely philosophical / political issues. 
    Market dominance? Which market do they dominate? Not cell phones, not PCs, yes on tablets but only a bit over 60%. Great encryption is built in but there is plenty of third party encryption software so they don’t dominate or control that field. Apple makes a lot of money because they sell a lot of products (actual things you can touch not simply services). Why not break up Walmart? Their predatory practices destroy small and medium size businesses and when they’re done raping a town they leave and the town is without any stores. If wait, they dump tons of money into the hands of politicians to keep them from monitoring their market dominance. 
    As long as no US company is receiving protections against competition by law or other market interference, there should be no accusations or charges of monopoly.
    I take your comment as sarcasm since there's plenty of US companies who have been receiving protections for decades. Oil companies, large scale farming conglomerates, pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, banks, to name several. I don't see these as monopolies I see then as US sanctioned cartels.

    Even Microsoft is still receiving protections against competition even if there's nothing in writing. Just look at the US government's extremely high use of Microsoft products. When I was working for the government, my upper boss had a directive that I couldn't order Apple products without an excessive amount of justification. I could get a Windows PC of any kind any time I wanted to. Isn't that receiving protections against competition?
  • Reply 18 of 19
    cat52cat52 Posts: 38member
    rob53 said:
    Simple diversion by Trump and Barr. I don’t see the DOJ going after oil companies, pharmaceuticals, or media companies. How much money do the tech companies contribute to the Republican Party and how much lobbying dollars are used to pay them off compared to all the other lobbyists? This is purely political nothing more. 
    Nailed it. Note that Trump admin has backed away from campaign promises to lower drug prices via regulation, pricing disclosures, etc. Drug prices remain and will remain as high as ever for consumers. That is the actual harm to the public, unlike these bogus pursuits. The GOP admin just doesn't like tech because tech tends to be run by liberal voters, supports equal civil rights, aren't big donors, and there is some nonsense conspiracy theory that conservative ideas are down-ranked in google results. That's all this is, revenge.
    "...and there is some nonsense conspiracy theory that conservative ideas are down-ranked in google..." ??

    Then you may be interested in Greg Coppola, PhD, a senior software engineer at Google who works on artificial intelligence and just came forward to say that, yes, Google does in fact alter their algorithms to promote certain political content over others.

    Once Google caught wind of Coppola speaking out, they placed him on administrative leave this past week and you would expect him to be fired very shortly.


    But please keep telling yourself big tech censorship is nothing but a conspiracy theory, if it makes you feel better about the world.
    edited July 26
  • Reply 19 of 19
    rob53 said:
    Simple diversion by Trump and Barr. I don’t see the DOJ going after oil companies, pharmaceuticals, or media companies. How much money do the tech companies contribute to the Republican Party and how much lobbying dollars are used to pay them off compared to all the other lobbyists? This is purely political nothing more. 
    Samsung and Huawei will be laughing and perhaps even cheering with champagne the day US Govt enforces anti-trust motions against its own Tech Giants (capable of competing globally).
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