A group of U.S. states is preparing to move forward with a joint antitrust investigation of big technology companies. According to reports, the effort involving “up to 20 or more” U.S. state attorneys general is expected to be formally launched as soon as next month.
The Wall Street Journal reports that a group of state attorneys general is preparing to move forward with their own antitrust investigation into the tech industry, which could be launched as soon as next month. While the report does not specify a target, similar governmental probes have focused on the Big Four tech companies: Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple.
Just how many attorneys general will be participating in the investigation remains unclear, though one source told the Journal there could be “up to 20 or more” states involved.
MacDailyNews Take: The real problems where too much power is concentrated and the potential for abuse of their market power is greatest is clearly Google and Facebook, not Apple.
Since Apple does not have a monopoly in any market in which they participate, there is no legal basis for action against Apple Inc.
So, Apple’s case, there is no monopoly (which is legal by the way), much less monopoly abuse (which is explicitly impossible given the nonexistence of a monopoly). You cannot abuse a monopoly and therefore face antitrust action when you do not have a monopoly to begin with.
Worldwide smartphone OS market share, February 2019:
• Android: 74.15%
• iOS: 23.28%
As we wrote on May 13th regarding the App Store legal challenge(s):
We think the ultimate ending to this legal challenge will be that developers will be able to accept payments in their apps without being forced to give Apple a cut or as much of a cut as today.
Companies that currently are large enough to work around Apple and send users to their own sites for payment include Amazon and Netflix. Apple will likely need to end this practice and allow all developers to allow users to subscribe to services, buy ebooks, etc. within their apps without a 15%-30% fee. A smaller fee may be tenable, as Apple does have costs to run the App Store, of course. We’ll see after the legal gears grind glacially and eventually spit out their end results.
By the way: On every iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and iPad mini box, the potential buyer is informed of requirements, including “iTunes X.x or later required for some features” and also that an “iTunes Store account” is required. The plaintiffs were informed of the requirements prior to purchase. If the plaintiffs didn’t like the terms that came along with Apple devices, they should have opted for a pretend iPhone from any one of a dime-a-dozen handset assemblers. Then they could blissfully infest their fake iPhones with malware from a variety of sources.
Note also that Apple doesn’t set the prices for paid apps.
Lastly, the amount by which Apple Inc. has driven down software prices across the board, on every major computing platform, makes legal actions such as this eminently laughable.