Evidence of 'copy-acquire-kill' strategy could play role in big tech antitrust hearing

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2020
House Judiciary Committee members might question the chief executives of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google about so-called "copy-acquire-kill" strategies during a hearing on Wednesday, according to a new report.

Tim Cook


As lawmakers prepare to grill Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai on antitrust matters, those taking part in the congressional inquiry are deciding what lines of questioning to follow in the time allotted for testimony.

Panel member Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) on Monday told The Washington Post that multiple documents gathered as evidence in the ongoing investigation reveal a "copy-acquire-kill" strategy adopted by unnamed tech companies. Jayapal has seen some "very specific language from top-level executives about that," but failed to offer further details.

Under the strategy, large companies artificially suppress free market dynamics by purchasing and shutting down smaller rivals. Products marketed by the acquired companies are usually absorbed by the larger entity, either as a first-party offering or a standalone service.

"For far too long, tech companies have operated with little to no regulation or accountability, playing fast and loose with people's personal information. That must end -- now," Jayapal said in a tweet that included a link to the Washington Post article.

Whether Cook will be asked about "copy-acquire-kill" plans remains unclear, though Apple purchases smaller firms on a fairly regular basis. That said, Apple's acquisitions typically apply to future-facing technologies like Siri or, more recently, augmented reality and rarely raise antitrust concerns.

Apple is, however, under scrutiny for "Sherlocking" third-party apps and features, as well as removing parental control apps from the App Store as it presented its own set of similar solutions in iOS.

The Wednesday hearing is the culmination of more than a year of bipartisan investigation into potential anticompetitive dealings. Following testimony from the tech executives, lawmakers are expected to release a report of the probe's findings and proposals for new antitrust regulations.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,087member
    "copy-acquire-kill" has and is being done by all sorts or companies, including oil, gas, food stores, telecommunications, in other words everything and not much has been done about it.
    hammeroftruthdewmeMacQcthtwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 30
    viclauyycviclauyyc Posts: 839member
    What’s wrong with that if the company pay a fair price? Isn’t this is what capitalism about?

    MacQcwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 30
    FatmanFatman Posts: 513member
    Microsoft invented and perfected ‘copy acquire kill’ ... they were 90 days away from killing off Apple after they stole their OS! Microsoft stifled innovation with their monopoly in computing for over 25 years. Intel did the same on the chip side with their inefficient hot running chips, killing off 64bit RISC processor competitors made 20 years ago. Ironically today we are seeing the most innovation from Apple with a new OS running on new devices using 64bit RISC processors. Apple is no saint - but at least when they acquire smaller software companies their users benefit and the acquired company consensually agrees to the millions of dollars they receive as compensation.
    mdriftmeyerlkruppOferwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 30
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Well this is awkward. Companies who copied Apple, and Apple is at the party.
    EsquireCatslkruppFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 30
    A much older concept, "Embrace, extend, and extinguish"

    "Embrace, extend, and extinguish" (EEE),[1] also known as "embrace, extend, and exterminate",[2] is a phrase that the U.S. Department of Justice found[3] was used internally by Microsoft[4] to describe its strategy for entering product categories involving widely used standards, extending those standards with proprietary capabilities, and then using those differences in order to strongly disadvantage its competitors."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend,_and_extinguish
    dewmepscooter63MacQcGG1randominternetpersonthtviclauyycwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 30
    someone should remind the Committee that they failed to bring the masters of this strategy before them. I'm talking about Microsoft. They could start with phrases like 'the day isn't done until Lotus won't run'. As has been said, Apple generally buy small companies. It is the likes of Microsoft (them again) that buy Skype, LinkedIn, gitHub etc. and then proceed to [redacted] them up completely. Putting barriers in the way of a company such as Apple from buying small companies will hit the retirement plans of a lot of startup CEO's really hard. A lot of them are just waiting for a fairy godmother to buy them out so that they can take the cash and head for the hills. Mind you any that we know about are probalby worth avoiding. It is the ones that keep under the media radar that are more interesting.
    MacQcthtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 30
    irelandireland Posts: 17,794member
    Defend billion dollar tech companies at your peril. Competition is good for democracy and for consumers. Copy, acquire, kill sounds like something Facebook might say. Still, they are all at it whether they use this language or not. These companies are far too powerful. Especially Amazon and Google. Facebook or rotten. Apple are just greedy.
    edited July 2020 spice-boyJapheyOfer
  • Reply 8 of 30
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,039member
    viclauyyc said:
    What’s wrong with that if the company pay a fair price? Isn’t this is what capitalism about?

    Uh, no.  The last time I checked, capitalism was about competition: more than one company offering the same products or services, not larger companies eliminating smaller ones. Sure, the owners of the acquired companies make money, but the cost to the consumer goes up because of the lack of competition.  
    Ofer
  • Reply 9 of 30
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,323member
    ireland said:
    Defend billion dollar tech companies at your peril. Competition is good for democracy and for consumers. Copy, acquire, kill sounds like something Facebook might say. Still, they are all at it whether they use this language or not. These companies are far too powerful. Especially Amazon and Google. Facebook or rotten. Apple are just greedy.
    “Apple is just greedy”. By what moral authority do you make that statement? Who decides what Apple should charge for its products? You? Left wing twaddle never ceases to amaze me. Somehow you think Apple is obligated to price its products so the proletariat can afford them? What, you want profit regulation? Why not just go the distance and demand they be free of charge for everyone? It’s only fair, right?
    edited July 2020 watto_cobrajony0Detnatorurahara
  • Reply 10 of 30
    iOS_Guy80iOS_Guy80 Posts: 677member
    fred1 said:
    viclauyyc said:
    What’s wrong with that if the company pay a fair price? Isn’t this is what capitalism about?

    Uh, no.  The last time I checked, capitalism was about competition: more than one company offering the same products or services, not larger companies eliminating smaller ones. Sure, the owners of the acquired companies make money, but the cost to the consumer goes up because of the lack of competition.  
    Somehow do you prohibit one company from buying another?
    urahara
  • Reply 11 of 30
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,129member
    rob53 said:
    "copy-acquire-kill" has and is being done by all sorts or companies, including oil, gas, food stores, telecommunications, in other words everything and not much has been done about it.

    That's because there's generally nothing wrong with it. Stronger thrive and survive, weaker get eaten or go away.
    edited July 2020
  • Reply 12 of 30
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,129member
    fred1 said:
    viclauyyc said:
    What’s wrong with that if the company pay a fair price? Isn’t this is what capitalism about?

    Uh, no.  The last time I checked, capitalism was about competition: more than one company offering the same products or services, not larger companies eliminating smaller ones. Sure, the owners of the acquired companies make money, but the cost to the consumer goes up because of the lack of competition.  
    You should check again. The idea of forcing competition has nothing to do with Capitalism. Competition arises naturally as companies get too big to act nimbly, others come in and find a hole in the marketplace to exploit. Amazon was once a small online seller of books.

    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 13 of 30
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,450member
    rob53 said:
    "copy-acquire-kill" has and is being done by all sorts or companies, including oil, gas, food stores, telecommunications, in other words everything and not much has been done about it.
    there is suppose to be a government response to anti-trust and monopolies but "we" have elected too many that side with monopolies instead of the people who voted for them. 
    Oferbageljoey
  • Reply 14 of 30
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,450member

    viclauyyc said:
    What’s wrong with that if the company pay a fair price? Isn’t this is what capitalism about?

    Monopolies kill competition with is what capitalism is about. Monopolies kill of advancements in tech, science and all otter innovation. Apple. would not exist today is the Federal government had not taken 90's monopoly Microsoft to court. You would be reading this on a PC with some buggy version of Explorer. 
    Ofer
  • Reply 15 of 30
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,450member

    someone should remind the Committee that they failed to bring the masters of this strategy before them. I'm talking about Microsoft. They could start with phrases like 'the day isn't done until Lotus won't run'. As has been said, Apple generally buy small companies. It is the likes of Microsoft (them again) that buy Skype, LinkedIn, gitHub etc. and then proceed to [redacted] them up completely. Putting barriers in the way of a company such as Apple from buying small companies will hit the retirement plans of a lot of startup CEO's really hard. A lot of them are just waiting for a fairy godmother to buy them out so that they can take the cash and head for the hills. Mind you any that we know about are probalby worth avoiding. It is the ones that keep under the media radar that are more interesting.
    Small companies are actually where innovations come from. Small companies are agile, run by far less people, more nimble and have a creativity which fades as companies get larger. Buying up saplings will allows Apple's "tree" to hog all the daylight and make sure nothing will ever compete with it. 
  • Reply 16 of 30
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,450member

    lkrupp said:
    ireland said:
    Defend billion dollar tech companies at your peril. Competition is good for democracy and for consumers. Copy, acquire, kill sounds like something Facebook might say. Still, they are all at it whether they use this language or not. These companies are far too powerful. Especially Amazon and Google. Facebook or rotten. Apple are just greedy.
    “Apple is just greedy”. By what moral authority do you make that statement? Who decides what Apple should charge for its products? You? Left wing twaddle never ceases to amaze me. Somehow you think Apple is obligated to price its products so the proletariat can afford them? What, you want profit regulation? Why not just go the distance and demand they be free of charge for everyone? It’s only fair, right?
    Typically you must interject politics into a discussion about monopolies and anti-trust laws which were written and passed by both parties. When a company has a monopoly they can charge whatever they want, look at some of the drug companies if you need an example. As Apple's dominance and expansion continues into other industries, entertainment for starters, competitors fall away and Apple will be free to raise prices without regulation. 
    Ofer
  • Reply 17 of 30
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,129member
    spice-boy said:

    lkrupp said:
    ireland said:
    Defend billion dollar tech companies at your peril. Competition is good for democracy and for consumers. Copy, acquire, kill sounds like something Facebook might say. Still, they are all at it whether they use this language or not. These companies are far too powerful. Especially Amazon and Google. Facebook or rotten. Apple are just greedy.
    “Apple is just greedy”. By what moral authority do you make that statement? Who decides what Apple should charge for its products? You? Left wing twaddle never ceases to amaze me. Somehow you think Apple is obligated to price its products so the proletariat can afford them? What, you want profit regulation? Why not just go the distance and demand they be free of charge for everyone? It’s only fair, right?
    Typically you must interject politics into a discussion about monopolies and anti-trust laws which were written and passed by both parties. When a company has a monopoly they can charge whatever they want, look at some of the drug companies if you need an example. As Apple's dominance and expansion continues into other industries, entertainment for starters, competitors fall away and Apple will be free to raise prices without regulation. 
    Pharma is a bad example. No pharma company has a monopoly on the business as a whole. Big pharma develops new drugs for which they receive patent protection for fixed time. That innovation is expensive and time consuming. Without the exclusivity incentive, innovation would just stop. The vast majority of mid- and small pharma companies are in the business of making generic versions of off-patent medications. Those companies generally are working on razor-thin margins in a highly competitive, consolidated environment with fewer and fewer customers.

    jony0
  • Reply 18 of 30
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    lkrupp said:
    ireland said:
    Defend billion dollar tech companies at your peril. Competition is good for democracy and for consumers. Copy, acquire, kill sounds like something Facebook might say. Still, they are all at it whether they use this language or not. These companies are far too powerful. Especially Amazon and Google. Facebook or rotten. Apple are just greedy.
    “Apple is just greedy”. By what moral authority do you make that statement? Who decides what Apple should charge for its products? You? Left wing twaddle never ceases to amaze me. Somehow you think Apple is obligated to price its products so the proletariat can afford them? What, you want profit regulation? Why not just go the distance and demand they be free of charge for everyone? It’s only fair, right?
    Ireland expressed an opinion that Apple are greedy. S/he doesn't need to account for their own moral authority in order to have an opinion. Nor does the statement that Apple are greedy imply or dictate a pricing obligaion, or that profit should be regulated of that things should be given away for free. Right wing extrapolation twaddle never ceases to amaze me.
    Oferbageljoeymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 19 of 30
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,637member
    Once these government agencies figure out a way to move a larger share of these big tech company's profits into their own hot little hands, all of these "problems" will magically go away. That's all it's ever been and that's all it will ever be. To carry on the ruse that they are doing this for the "benefit of consumers" is a joke. There are entire industries that serve no benefit to humanity but are still allowed to exist because the government gets a cut of the action. If Washington got an additional 5% "sin tax" (where sin is defined as being highly successful without government assistance or regulation) on every app sale, Apple would be the toast of Washington and Tim Cook would be awarded the Medal of Freedom and be golfing in a threesome with El Rushbo and The Donald at Mar A Lago.
    mike1
  • Reply 20 of 30
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,039member
    mike1 said:
    fred1 said:
    viclauyyc said:
    What’s wrong with that if the company pay a fair price? Isn’t this is what capitalism about?

    Uh, no.  The last time I checked, capitalism was about competition: more than one company offering the same products or services, not larger companies eliminating smaller ones. Sure, the owners of the acquired companies make money, but the cost to the consumer goes up because of the lack of competition.  
    You should check again. The idea of forcing competition has nothing to do with Capitalism. Competition arises naturally as companies get too big to act nimbly, others come in and find a hole in the marketplace to exploit. Amazon was once a small online seller of books.

    Very true. I said nothing about forcing competition. I said allowing it. 
    Ofer
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