Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the chairman and top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, said the hearing was scheduled for Sept. 24 but did not list witnesses.
“The Subcommittee also is interested in soliciting input from policy analysts, market participants, and other stakeholders on whether legislative action relating to such mergers is needed to ensure digital markets remain competitive,” Lee said in a statement.
The Justice Department said in July that it was opening a broad investigation of major digital technology firms, focusing on whether they engage in anticompetitive practices. The investigation is believed to be aimed at Alphabet Inc, Amazon.com Inc, and Facebook Inc, and potentially Apple Inc.
MacDailyNews Take: Again, 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.