Antitrust 101: Why seemingly everyone is probing Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google

Kate Cox writes for Ars Technica:

Although all four of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are US companies, they operate worldwide, and scrutiny of them is by no means limited to US regulators. Governments and regulatory agencies worldwide, especially in the European Union and its member states, also have several open investigations of all four companies in progress…

Politicians on both sides of the aisle have proposed reining in the tech titans, but their reasons why, and what specific form any new laws or regulatory enforcement might take, is much harder to find consensus on.

Until then, the most likely outcome from an antitrust probe⁠ — or even, apparently, an overflowing cornucopia of antitrust probes ⁠— is a combination of financial penalties and behavioral remedies. A company might, for example, be ordered to stop using data it collects from one aspect of its business to influence decisions it makes about competitors through another aspect of its business. A breakup is considered something of a nuclear option.

And even if Facebook, Amazon, Apple, or Google were somehow forced to split up tomorrow, big tech breakups might only be a short-term fix. Like beads of mercury in a dish, companies broken apart by antitrust law have a strange way of eventually all flowing back together.

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. You cannot abuse a monopoly when you do not have a monopoly to begin with. Being the best is not a crime.

Worldwide smartphone OS market share, October 2019:
• Android: 76.67%
• iOS: 22.09%


  1. If I am an iOS application developer I only have one distribution channel and a mandatory development license.

    If i win an iOS device I have only one store to purchase applications.

    That aside anti-trust is not only about monopoly, its about inappropriate anticompetitive behavior.

    1. You might have a point if an iOS developer had only one market, but they don’t. There’s nothing to stop any iOS developer from porting/developing their product for other platforms.

      And there’s something else… any competitive advantage is, by it’s very nature, anti-competitive. Simply being better than your competitors is enough.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.