Senator Elizabeth Warren pushes to break up big tech companies Google, Facebook, and Amazon; affect Apple’s App Store

“Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveiled a plan Friday to break up massive technology companies such as Amazon and Facebook, the clearest proposal yet in the 2020 presidential race to limit the growth of Silicon Valley,” Jacob Pramuk and Tucker Higgins report for CNBC. “In a blog post, the Democratic presidential hopeful from Massachusetts wrote that she wants to make ‘big, structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition.’ Those overhauls would include ‘breaking up’ Amazon, Facebook and Google — companies that have come under scrutiny for user data security and consolidation of services such as e-commerce and digital advertising.”

“Though Warren’s post did not mention Apple, her campaign said the plan would affect the tech behemoth,” Pramuk and Higgins report. “The company could have to choose between running its App Store or building its own apps, Warren spokeswoman Saloni Sharma said.”

“Warren says her plan would have two planks. The senator writes that she would push to pass legislation to designate certain companies ‘platform utilities.’ She defines those as ‘companies with an annual global revenue of $25 billion or more” that “offer to the public an online marketplace, an exchange, or a platform for connecting third parties,” Pramuk and Higgins report. “Warren writes: ‘These companies would be prohibited from owning both the platform utility and any participants on that platform. Platform utilities would be required to meet a standard of fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory dealing with users. Platform utilities would not be allowed to transfer or share data with third parties.'”

“The big tech companies have faced increasing scrutiny in recent months over allegations of improper monopoly behavior,” Pramuk and Higgins report. “In the U.S., Apple is embroiled in a legal fight at the Supreme Court over its App Store marketplace that experts say could lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and force a reworking of its app platform. If the company loses, the iPhone owners who brought the case will be permitted to move forward with an antitrust suit against the company for allegedly inflating prices. Apple has said it cannot be sued over the matter. A decision is expected by late June.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’ll be interesting to see the breakdown of political donations out of Silicon Valley this cycle.

As for the App Store case in the U.S. Supreme Court: The U.S. Supreme Court should uphold existing legal precedent by finding in favor of Apple which is not a distributor that sells iPhone apps directly to consumers. App developers sell iPhone apps directly to consumers.

Setting aside the security implications, the Ninth Circuit decision should be overturned simply because Apple’s App Store customers are the app developers, not the app consumers.

Apple owns the shopping mall. The developers pay Apple for space within. The end customer buys their apps from the developers. Indirect purchasers of goods or services along a supply chain cannot seek remedies over antitrust claims.

See Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois.MacDailyNews, October 31, 2018

SEE ALSO:
Trump administration backs Apple in U.S. Supreme Court over App Store antitrust suit – November 26, 2018
Apple defends App Store fees in U.S. Supreme Court – November 26, 2018
Apple defends App Store fees as U.S. Supreme Court weighs consumer suit – November 23, 2018
Apple wants U.S. Supreme Court to undo previous decision regarding an antitrust suit – October 31, 2018
U.S. Supreme Court will decide if Apple’s App Store is an anti-competitive monopoly – June 19, 2018
U.S. Supreme Court to consider Apple appeal in antitrust suit over App Store prices – June 18, 2018
US DOJ sides with Apple over App Store antitrust allegations in Supreme Court brief – May 10, 2018
Harris Poll: Corporate reputations can become politically polarized – February 9, 2017
9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revives antitrust lawsuit against Apple – January 13, 2017
Silicon Valley donated 60 times more to Clinton than to Trump – November 7, 2016
99% of Silicon Valley’s political dollars are going to Hillary Clinton – October 25, 2016
Apple’s politics may be hurting its brand – June 29, 2016
Apple refuses to aid 2016 GOP presidential convention over Trump comments – June 18, 2016
Apple and Silicon Valley employees love Bernie Sanders. Donald Trump? Not so much – May 6, 2016
Apple among top employers of Bernie Sanders donors – April 20, 2016
Apple App Store antitrust complaint dismissed on procedural grounds by U.S. judge – August 16, 2013
Apple employees donate $15 to Obama for every $1 to Romney – July 27, 2012
Apple, other tech firm employees’ contributions favor Democrats over Republicans, Obama over Clinton – April 14, 2008
Apple CEO Steve Jobs: ‘I’m going to just stay away from all that political stuff’ – August 25, 2004

78 Comments

  1. Hey Liz, go start your own company, and then you can do with it whatever you want.

    Socialism: Government owns the means of production (first, via regulation, second legislation, and lastly outright ownership).

    Liz and friends, either crave an lust for power so much they don’t give a damn about anyone, families, jobs, nothing. Or, they are so stupid to how enriching the free market enterprise system has been for the entire world, we should get them out of office ASAP.

    1. The best thing about this? All the conservatives that have been yelling to break up Facebook (many on this site) will suddenly decide they are against unfairly breaking up a company just because they’re successful.

      Thanks, Liz!

      1. “they are against unfairly breaking up a company just because they’re successful.”

        Obviously there is a lot more to the Facebook story than that!

        The nasty part.

        1. There IS no nasty part. Folks using a service are treated unfairly and stay… they deserve what they get!

          Everyone that believes Facebook should be broken up is now on the same side as the ultraliberals. This is perfect.

  2. Fauxahontis is one crazy ****. So apple, the company that steve built to build “the whole widget”, well she just knows better. She knows better than everyone about how to run big tech companies. Her major accomplishment in life is faking her background to game into higher ranked institutions. She can’t handle a paper route, much less a campaign, but yet, but yet, she knows how tech companies need to work.

    Attack of idiocy on america is endless. This crazy loon’s 15 minutes are up. I deem you banished from relevancy.

    1. So you didn’t bother to read any part of the proposal? It echos a lot of issues that MDN has advocated for years.

      When all you can do is level personal attacks, it’s very obvious you aren’t interested in solving issues. Tearing other people down is your only proposal….

      1. Yea, I did. It was super stupid. Like pretty much everything about her. Letting apple either make its own apps and have no store, or not make apps and have a store is super super, like you get extra credit for how super, stupid.

        1. “It was super stupid. Like pretty much everything about her.”

          Here is YOUR problem, zombie: you’re not interested in discussing ideas. You come here to tout your partisan politics like so many other jerkoffs on this forum. No thank you, it’s not worth anyone’s time to try to discuss any matters of importance with you. Goodbye.

          1. “You come here to tout your partisan politics like so many other jerkoffs on this forum.”

            Thank you one of the REPEAT partisan “jerkoffs,” for exposing yourself as the HYPOCRITE you have always been…

            1. Well damn! I simply did not know. Guess I will have to burn my master’s degree, change my resume, erase my Linkedin profiles, etc. This has been professional better get crackin’ since unreal and cynic adrift said so… 😆

            1. Actually….
              There’s a germ of an idea there. Malcom from down under is going to a muscic convention in Memphis, representing the Music Arrangers Guild, and runs into a Trump rally….

  3. Google, Amazon.. perhaps.
    Facebook.. who cares?

    Apple App store.. very very very hard to see how government would make a case against the model. I personally would not see this as right.

      1. Thanks for the stupid tortured analogy of the day fake-a-ja-wee-a apologist.

        You mean like BestBuy stores that sell their own branded goods with others. You mean like Sears selling Kenmore (owned by Sears) or Costco selling their (Kirkland) brands with others. You mean like every major supermarket selling its own brand of goods with others?

        Call the news, stop the presses, quick!

        Yea, UNHEARD OF!!!! Such a conflict of interest! ::fanning self, clutching my pearls:: ::eye roll::

        1. You use Best Buy, Sears, and Costco as examples of how Apple’s App store works? Each may sell their own brand but they don’t force 3rd parties to sell their products exclusively at their outlets like Apple does.

    1. Well tincan, I will refer you to the internet browser antitrust case that the federal government successfully levied against Microsoft.

      But that was when MDN believed in antitrust law enforcement to ensure competition in the marketplace.

    2. Broadly speaking, there may be some interest for society to look at some of this. It seems like Amazon would be easy to break up. You could peel off sales of books, media, objects. Maybe break it up by territories.

      App Store? It sounds superficially OK, but the devil is in the details. Successfully running something like this apart from the development of the products and software might be impossible.

      1. I’m not sure you can separate out different products for sale lest we face a possible future where Target, WalMart, Macy’s etc. are forced to do the same. The best you could do in that direction may be physical separate from digital media.similar to WalMart’s online store, and their ebook site. As it is right now Amazon is separate by country sized regions as users of multiple Amazon sites (Amazon.com, Amazon.co.) are painfully aware.

  4. I don’t blame the politicians for their stupidity, I blame the voters who put morons like AOC, Fauxohontis, Hilderbeast, Omar, Pelosi, Schemer, Sanders etc. in office.

    The voters have proved themselves to be too dumb to be allowed to vote.

  5. Ok, I’m all for it- just do it right after you BREAK UP THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT which is 15 times bigger than Apple and more than 25 times bigger than FB.

    I sat through a lot of BS watching the debates back in 2016, but one comment struck a nerve with me and that was when Carly Forina said “businesses have to get bigger to compete with bigger government’s rules, regulations, and reach.” That’s bad. That’s not good for anyone -businesses, governments, or individuals big or small.

    1. Rp, so far wide of the subject that he’s off the map.

      FYI, your federal government IS broken up. It is intentionally divided into 3 branches and all its departments operate under the constitution you hold dear. The fact that it has to serve and oversee 360 million citizens and hundreds of multinational corporations with more power any money than ever in history is a reality that you just might have to accept. The USA isn’t a collection of colonies on the western frontier anymore.

      Democracy is never the cheapest form of government. It seems the rabid right would rather have cheap than good. They would give away their representative government in exchange for unfettered corporate power with no oversight. That is disgusting. The word for that is oligarchy. Are the right wingers impressed by how well oligarchy works in faux-democratic nations like Russia? Trump likes that plan better too, as long as he’s the one with the lifetime throne ensured by rigged elections. He is completely enamored with how efficient communism is in China or every tin pot dictator around the world that the extreme right brands incorrectly as “socialist”.

      Now one senator from Equipe Bleu proposes some steps to provide more competition in the marketplace. The ONLY foreseeable negative effect this would have for citizens of the USA is that the richest elite corporate executives might have smaller pots of gold to line their pockets from. Can you specifically address any other drawback to regulating IT as a utility with proper oversight? Not one right winger has responded with intelligent counterproposal or question on subject. Character assassination a la Trump is all they know anymore. Do you not understand that the alt-right press that wants to use its corporate might to brainwash citizens to give up consumer protections that benefit them and future generations? Democracy stands in the way of corporate profiteering, which is why Faux News spends most of its time deriding pro-consumer, pro-citizen, pro-health, pro-privacy, pro- net neutrality proposals of any kind.

      If you’re quoting idiot Fiorina about matters of government, you are sorely misguided. You can’t have it both ways. If you want the most powerful military in the world capable of destroying any threat on multiple fronts, then you have to pay for it and maintain it. If you want a banking system that isn’t controlled by the next generation of Rothschilds, you will have to support bank regulation. If you want paved streets, drinkable water, and police protection … you get the picture. Next time you whine about your taxes which DO NOT cover all the costs (been running deficits since Clinton, last balanced budget from a republican was Eisenhower) … then do tell us SPECIFICALLY what services you want cut.

  6. Where are all the liberals/progressives who frequent MDN? I fully expected them to be here en masse defending Senator Warren’s planned policies.

      1. So which tribe is that? And what land did they take from the previous inhabitants?? Maybe they are Comanche on land they took from the Apache, or does that matter?

        To lump all Natives together as equals is to ignore the differences and evolution/de-evolution of varied Natives.

        How about we apply that idea to the Middle East, Europe or Asia by taking ALL the land away from current inhibitors and giving it back to Neanderthals.

        What about Australia and Africa?
        Where does this nonsense end????

        Funny how the science escapes many on the left.

        1. Science on the right? You almost choked me in laughter.

          Okay scientist… you tell me which tribe it is and who they stole their and from, and when you’re done, give it to Firsty!

            1. I own you. I own your thoughts. You’ll keep coming back here and “voting” because you’re that owned. Keep dancing boy, dance
              , dance, dance.

        2. Also…

          Did you just equate the Great American Indian tribes with European Neanderthals? That is what I do expect from the “scientific right”.

          Except, if you were truly scientific, you might consider how linguistic and societal patterns indicate the possibility they may be among the Lost Tribes of Israel.

    1. Once again the rabid right intentionally misconstrues what is being proposed from the other side.

      Warren proposes that large de facto tech monopolies, such as facebook, be designated as “Platform Utilities”.

      The extremist right cries “socialism!!!”, a word they don’t apparently understand. These same righties chafe at their regional monopoly cable companies ad nauseum. These same righties acknowledge that their local monopoly water, electricity, and land line telephones should all be regulated to prevent those corporations from price gouging. But now in the “information era”, when no business can exist without a large internet pipe connecting itself to the world, the righties are outraged that any limitations be made to IT monopolies.

      If MDN thinks it has “choice” for its IT services, then it would substitute another ad provider and tracker instead of Google. It would post a link to its MySpace page instead of prominently displaying its FB page link. If there was no monopoly on apps, users would be able to (as on a Mac) install iOS compatible apps, with reasonable limitations of course, from any vendor store instead of being railroaded into a 30% markup at the Company Store.

      Have you noticed that in most rural communities, now that Wally World has put all the small retailers out of business, prices aren’t actually rolled back at all? You can find better deals in communities that still have competition.

      COMPETITION. It used to be an American economic driver. And in every fair competition, there is an OFFICIAL. What a concept, having everyone on the field operating by the same rule of law. Well to the nouveau right, all that is bad bad bad. Electronic monopolies are all right to them as long as they can profit.

        1. Leo, do please explain further.

          FYI: as an independent centrist, I frankly don’t give a damn what directions the political bloggers want to assign to anyone. Modern world is too complicated to apply such simplistic thinking.

    1. My thought exactly.
      Separate the phones biz (possibly with everything iOS) and attach Tim Cook and Jony Ive to it. Job done for good.
      The rest of Apple can concentrate on insanely good things (Mac included) without being bothered by myopic profit chasers.

      1. Or, the separate Consumers and Pro Divisions. The way Tim Cook is preoccupied with consumer gadgets, they already saw their heydays, and the Pro Division should not be dragged down with it.

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