“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.
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