Klobuchar’s antitrust reform bill could cause Apple to be fined 15% of its annual revenue

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., unveiled a sweeping antitrust reform bill on Thursday that could, theoretically, cause Apple or other Big Tech firms to be fined 15% of their annual revenue if found guilty of monopoly abuse.

Lauren Feiner for CNBC:

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., unveiled a sweeping antitrust reform bill on Thursday, setting a tough tone as she becomes chair of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust.

Klobuchar has been a frequent critic of what she and other lawmakers have viewed as lax enforcement of existing antitrust laws and has called for strong measures against some of the major tech firms.

While she has introduced several bills in the past seeking reforms to various aspects of antitrust law, her Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Reform Act is a comprehensive proposal calling for a major revamping of policing standards. If enacted, it would bring significantly more risk to companies like Facebook and Google, which are already facing federal lawsuits, and to any dominant firm seeking to acquire another company.

In the House, antitrust subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline, D-R.I., has similarly called for extensive reforms throughout an investigation into Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. That investigation culminated last year in a nearly 450-page report on the companies’ alleged monopoly power and suggested reforms to restore competition to the digital market.

While Republicans on the House subcommittee didn’t fully agree with the Democrats’ far-reaching proposals, they saw mostly eye-to-eye on the issues in the market and the need for some reform… Klobuchar has blamed flawed court decisions for weakening the meaning of existing antitrust laws, an opinion shared by members of both parties…

Emily Birnbaum for Protocol:

Klobuchar's antitrust reform bill could cause Apple to be fined 15% of its annual revenue. Image: Google logoIt would also grant government regulators — namely, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission — new powers and resources to penalize companies acting anti-competitively. It would dole out $484.5 million to DOJ’s antitrust division and and $651 million to the FTC. Right now, the agencies are hobbled and limited in how much damage they can do when they find a business is abusing their power. But Klobuchar’s legislation would give them significant penalty power, allowing them to bring penalties amounting to up to 15% of the violator’s total U.S. revenues or 30% of their U.S. revenues in the affected markets.

Klobuchar’s legislation would update the Clayton Act to explicitly prohibit business practices that harm competitors and bar “monopsonies”: when there is a market dominated by a single buyer. Experts have argued that the tech industry is made up of a series of monopsonies, pointing to examples like Apple’s App Store or Google’s search advertising dominance, and antitrust advocates have been pushing for the law to clearly bar this practice…

But the legislation as it stands still has a lot of hurdles to surmount. Democrats hold a slim majority in the Senate and they still need Republican buy-in for large legislative efforts like antitrust reform, which they’re unlikely to get. And they’re certain to face a blitz of aggressive lobbying from every company that could be affected by the bill, including Big Ag and Big Pharma alongside Big Tech.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, Apple should not be lumped in with the likes of Alphabet/Google which actually does have a monopoly (which is legal, by the way) and is very likely abusing it (which is subject to any antitrust reform remedies).

The fact is that Apple has no monopoly in smartphones, or in any other market, so Apple is incapable of committing monopoly abuse.

Worldwide smartphone OS market share, January 2021:

• Android: 71.93%
• iOS: 27.47%

Worldwide desktop OS market share, January 2021:

• Windows: 76.26%
• macOS: 16.91%

I don’t think anybody reasonable is going to come to the conclusion that Apple is a monopoly. Our share is much more modest. We don’t have a dominant position in any market… We are not a monopoly.Apple CEO Tim Cook, June 2019

As for Google, the biggest offender in “Big Tech,” impose any remedies that restore competition to online search and online advertising.

If you haven’t already, give DuckDuckGo a try! https://duckduckgo.com

With this unprecedented power, platforms have the ability to redirect into their pockets the advertising dollars that once went to newspapers and magazines. No one company should have the power to pick and choose which content reaches consumers and which doesn’t.MacDailyNews, November 9, 2017

We’d like to see real competition in the online search and advertising markets restored someday.MacDailyNews, March 20, 2019

Attribution: 9to5Mac. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

69 Comments

    1. You’re comment is typically, to use your own words “typically republican crap” Google has too much dominance and should be brought to book and the same goes for Facebook and Amazon.

      1. And Twitter canceling President Trump’s account while allowing terrorist organizations to flourish. Democrat Hypocrisy DOUBLE STANDARD and a disgrace to CENSOR a former president’s speech that coincidentally pumped Twitter’s stock in the billions…

        1. And—not coincidentally, but intentionally—led to a violent attack on the Legislative Branch of the United States Government that disrupted its constitutionally-mandated work and killed five or six people. Ah, but you think the only disgrace is refusing to spread that seditious message.

          1. Blah, blah, blah.

            The most violent action was a scared shitless Dem firing point blank into a defenseless Trump supporting woman.

            Keep up with your lying bullshit and totalitarian overreach.

            Keep mindlessly destroying jobs at the alter of “climate change.” Keep forcing mentally ill men on estrogen into women’s sports, destroying it for REAL WOMEN in the process. Keep persecuting free speech. Keep canceling people. Keep it all up. Go for it.

            We can blow this whole charade to smithereens if need be.

            My avatar can be changed in a second.

            A majority of Republican voters said if former President Trump were to start a new political party they would likely join, a new Hill-HarrisX poll finds.

            Sixty-four percent of registered Republican voters in the Jan. 28-29 survey said they’d join a new political party led by the former president, including 32 percent who said they would very likely join.

            The survey found 28 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats said they’d likely join a third party led by Trump.

            Thirty-seven percent of voters overall said if Trump started a new political party they’d likely join.

  1. Typical MDN hysteria. It’s a proposed law, which may or (more likely) not involve Apple, involving an issue which is WAY more nuanced than your take.

    [Let the downvoting commence…]

      1. Democrats are about fairness while you republicans are corrupt and are about white supremacy and racism. Your fat orange buffoon “leader” LOST and deserved to. Get over it.

        1. Well, good thing I’m not a republican. Both parties are equally worthless in my opinion. Fairness is a myth and cannot be enforced. Fairness for one person is a punishment for another. Democrats definitely believe in equality, they want everyone to be equally poor and dependent on their handouts.

        2. Fairness… LOL… i guess freeloading is fair when one is on the receiving end..ha!?
          If one risks life and goes out hunting all day for food….the other who slept all day deserves the same dinner ha?
          Some live in their LALA land.. i tell u!

          Plus… just read your words and language …. YOU come across as THE huge low Li-e which you so desperately tried to describe your opposition to be….Thats the problem with the L… they project their image on others and then argue with their own concocted reality !
          Take a break.. go hide under a rock… have some milk and cookies …world is too dangerous of your type.

            1. If you don’t vote for Joe “THEN YOU AIN’T BLACK” Biden is the King of Racism.
              Remind everyone what Uncle Joemima said when he voted against desegregation?
              “I don’t want my kids to grow up in a jungle. A RACIAL JUNGLE”.
              No, Joe. Blacks don’t really live in jungles, you racist pig

        3. Ben, you’re up…please define “fair” for me. As an add-on, please elucidate me with a few examples of white supremacy and racism exhibited by the R’s.

          I’ll guess you might advocate the country focus on “equity,” vs “equality?”

        4. Democrats are about “fairness”?!?!? LOL!

          They are NOW the most corrupt party in history absolutely drunk with power as evidenced by their executive order actions, the HELL with their slimy double standard words. Have the Democrats running Twitter, Facebook and Twitter treated President Trump fairly, or is it abuse of power CANCEL CULTURE. President Trump the greatest economic recovery president in history does not NEED your approval and thankfully you cannot change government statistics and his many historical records.

          Sorry to say you are shallow and repeating the “white supremacy” line you learned from CNN you are a stereotyping typical Democrat dummy. Well, enjoy the next four years of “fairness” the Democrats sticking it to Republicans at every turn while working the system and enriching themselves. Meanwhile, the lower classes are shuttered particularly HARSHEST in Democrat run States and Democrat run cities. and will be squeezed to pay more taxes, so much for “fairness” from Democrat Party…

            1. New York is begging for billions, what dumbass diatribe.
              Californian’s are FLEEING California in droves. Ever hear of HP? Oracle?
              Toyota? Charles Schwab? TESLA?
              Do at least try keeping up with current events?
              You’re obsolete.

        5. President Obama was the “FIRST mainstream African who was articulate, bright and CLEAN”- Joe BIDEN.
          Raging at Black reporter Errol Barnett “ARE YOU A JUNKIE?”- JOE BIDEN.
          Voted AGAINST desegregation? JOE BIDEN.
          “By the way, what you all know, but most people don’t know, UNLIKE THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things”- JOE BIDEN.

          Try harder.

  2. MDN’s argument that Apple is not a monopoly has been consistent and accurate. But there may be more than one way to look at this than just market share in each specific category of phones, computers, watches, music, apps etc. One could look at this from a total platform standpoint with ALL the OS’s combined within the semi-walled garden and conclude that Apple MIGHT be a monopoly.

    I have great respect and admiration for Apple (bonafide fanboy) and know they are different from other companies but I also know that Big Tech is REALLY big and that gives them oversized advantages that could be unfair. Do I think I Apple tries to do the right thing for its users – absolutely. Am I happy with my Apple products and services – hell yeah. Do they call the shots for all the other companies that play in their ecosystem – without a doubt. Is it a monopoly with exclusive control – not clearcut to me but I wouldn’t rule it out. Just being honest with myself.

    1. Apple’s App Store is no different than Sony’s Playstation Store, Microsoft’s Xbox Store, Nintendo’s sShop, or any number of other platform exclusive stores. Nobody ever tries to make the argument that Sony or Microsoft are monopolies on their own platforms. Why do people try to apply this argument to Apple?

      1. Maybe so, but not everyone has a Playstation or Xbox but everyone has a smartphone and computer. The annual global unit sales of phones is about 1 billion and the total active user universe is probably double that or more. How many game consoles are in active use?

        I don’t disagree with you, but the stakes, scale and scope of the FAANG stocks is much bigger. Would Sony and MS have to pay fines for their game platforms? To be consistent, yes, to be worthwhile, no.

        Personally I would rather see the government regulate the social media stocks, privacy and advertising.

        1. Considering how well the feds regulate everything else, I don’t think you realize what you are asking for. Apple’s doing a good enough job regulating privacy on its own platform. The last thing we need is for some bureaucrats to barge in and start making up rules for things they know nothing about.

          1. Dogmatic, I agree with you. I trust Apple more than I trust just about anyone else, especially when it comes to privacy. That said, If there is further regulation and support from the federal government on privacy it MIGHT be welcome. I admit I haven’t thought this through all the way, but personally as an individual I would like for there to be more privacy protection than less. As long as its not politicized (and when is it ever not) the Feds involvement COULD be a good thing.

            And I think that is my overall point about all of this – its kind overconfident to be so certain of one perspective or another at this moment. MDN has been consistent and accurate, as has Tim Cook, about Apple not being a monopoly. But they are only looking at it from their own perspective to defend Apple.

            I do agree completely with you that Congress has been inept at understanding the issues here, but they are starting to ramp up and get more sophisticated. Tough call, but it has to be addressed. We can’t let these big companies do whatever they want, especially the ones who will do “whatever they can get away with.”

        2. Everybody in this part of Texas drives an F-150, which you can only buy at a Ford dealership. How is that different from only getting Apple Apps at the Apple App Store?

          As for the government regulating social media, privacy, and advertising, what part of the First Amendment says it only applies to small companies? The history of government regulation in communications is not a good look.

          1. Very simple. The F-150 is the exclusive property of The Ford Motor Company, until they sell it to you.

            The Apps in the Apple App Store are the property of their respective developers.

            The gas at the gas stations is the property of their proprietors, same for tires, radios, and tree air fresheners. The roads belong to their respective owners.

            1. Actually, I suspect that most of the binary code in a typical iPhone app IS the property of Apple, inserted by Xcode when the programmer used any of the proprietary Apple APIs. The programmer has only licensed that code, subject to conditions set by Apple. He may have written the source code in Objective C, Swift, or whatever, but the machine code was written by Apple.

            2. No, applecynic. You can beg, borrow, buy, or steal source code until the cows come home and Apple will have no complaint. You can run your own store to sell the source code or give it away and Apple cannot stop you. You can incorporate it into your own apps and Apple (unlike the source-code author) will have no complaint.

              Apple does not sell source code in the App Store. It sells compiled machine code that contains a high proportion of Apple-developed routines inserted by the compiler or linker. The User Licensing Agreement for Xcode has always forbidden its use to produce machine code for non-Apple hardware. It could, if it chose, also restrict the commercial distribution of such software because it owns it. The coder only licenses it.

          2. Using the analogy of the F-150, the truck itself would probably be the iPhone/iPad. IMO Apps would equate then to aftermarket parts or items added to the ‘base’ such as oil, air freshner, air filters, tires, etc. that would make the F-150 more suitable for certain tasks like Apps would make iOS devices suitable for tasks it wasn’t able to perform out of the box.

  3. Apple deserves the full wrath of the antitrust laws after its videos conspiracy attack on Parler with Twitter and Amazon. They used their market dominance to literally destroy a tiny company for the simple fact that it offered an alternative platform for conservative opinion which Apple and Google had decided should not be permitted. Apple and Google use their power to shut down a legitimate business which had done nothing wrong strictly to infringe the free speech rights of conservatives. Apple and Google act acting like Heinrich Himmler of the Nazi regime using brute force to eliminate any opposition to the communist worldview they prefer. For this, Apple and Amazon should both have their businesses suspended for double the time that Parler has been silenced. Maybe triple, to make sure these thugs learn how freedom of expression is a valued part of the American system. Fuck Tim Cook.

        1. I believe that the Democrats fall far, far, short of the Trumpists (I will not dignify them as Republicans) when it comes to pursuing the essential 1984 strategy of promoting “alternative facts” and rejecting verifiable truth. That is the means to pump up hatred for a convenient “enemy” as a distraction from the moral depravity of Big Brother and his inner circle of supporters.

          1. Really? Have you ever investigated any of the claims made by the social justice crowd? I have. Each and every one of them is a distortion or assumption with no basis in facts.

            Covington?

            Trump/Russia Collusion?

            Are you paying attention at all?

            I have no dog in this fight since I’m Libertarian, but come on. A D or R next to a politician’s name is a synonym for liar.

            Tribalism makes you blind, my friend.

            1. Yes, I am paying attention.

              Covington? I assume you are referring to the white athlete who called black athletes who object to white violence against unarmed black people “spineless cowards.” Are you suggesting that police violence is not disproportionately directed at black people? Example, the same Chief Executive who called for shooting black rioters told white rioters “We love you. You’re very special.” The Washington police arrested 316 people on June 1 at the BLM protest. They arrested 14 on January 6 at the Capitol.

              Trump/Russia Collusion? Depends on how you define “collusion,” since it does not have an agreed legal definition. To my mind, collusion is pretty much defined by numerous contacts between senior Trump campaign officials and representatives of the Russian Federation (including a meeting in Trump Tower), associated with campaign calls for assistance from Russia, and followed by Russian hacking and information releases that did aid the campaign. The Mueller investigation could not find enough evidence to raise the collusion to the level of a prosecutable criminal conspiracy, thanks in part to deliberate obstruction of the investigation by somebody who knew he was immune from prosecution under Justice Department guidelines.

              I am no more blind than those who will not see.

            2. Covington Catholic school. You know, the one where the media narrative was nothing like what actually happened?

              As far as police violence, disproportionate to what? % of population? % of violent crime? The term disproportionate is thrown around without any kind of context which makes the term meaningless. It’s a term used to trigger emotional response rather than present an argument based on facts. Go look into it yourself, you will find that the data does not bear that out. I’ll even give you a head start:

              https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/11/no-racial-bias-police-shootings-study-harvard-prof/

              So you “feel” like collusion happened, even though the evidence did not bare it out. That’s not how it works. Everyone was crowing for months about how the Muller report was finally going to prove Trump colluded with Russia, and while the report did say that there were unethical wrongdoings of the Trump admin, there was no enough evidence to support collusion with Russia. We live in a country where you have to prove something based on facts, not feelings.

              As much as I find Trump to be a piece of garbage, I’ve sat on the sidelines for the last 4 years and watched entirely reasonable Democrats be driven insane by irrational hatred. TDS is real, and it’s quite sad. This is all setting really bad precedents that is going to bite EVERYONE in the rear end when it’s no longer their turn to pull the strings.

          2. Not “feelings,” Dogmatic. Facts.

            The Mueller Report did not say there was insufficient evidence of collusion with Russia, because it did not even investigate that nonlegal question. The evidence it did set out would lead any reasonable person to conclude that there was collusion in the popular sense. Part I of the Report did conclude that there was insufficient evidence to convict anyone with a criminal conspiracy (which does have a legal definition narrower than collusion). Part II explains that the reason there was insufficient evidence was a cover-up that might have led to obstruction of justice charges against anyone not protected by Justice Department guidelines against indicting a sitting President.

            That is what the Report said. Nothing TDS about it. No feelings involved.

            I’ll get back to you on the racism thing when I’ve had time to read more than a summary in The Washington Times.

          3. The leftist New York Times’ David Leonhardt notes

            Over the last few weeks, as vaccination has become a top priority, the pattern has changed. Progressive leaders in much of the world are now struggling to distribute coronavirus vaccines quickly and efficiently: Europe’s vaccination rollout “has descended into chaos,” as Sylvie Kauffmann of Le Monde, the French newspaper, has written. One of the worst performers is the Netherlands, which has given a shot to less than 2 percent of residents. Canada (at less than 3 percent) is far behind the U.S. (about 8.4 percent). Within the U.S., many Democratic states — like California, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and tiny Rhode Island — are below the national average. “The parts of the country that pride themselves on taking Covid seriously and believing in government are not covering themselves in glory,” The Times’s Ezra Klein has written.

            By contrast…

            At the same time, there are clear success stories in places that few people would describe as progressive. Alaska and West Virginia have the two highest vaccination rates among U.S. states, with Oklahoma and the Dakotas also above average. Globally, Israel and the United Arab Emirates have the highest rates. Britain — run by Boris Johnson, a populist Conservative — has vaccinated more than 15 percent of residents. International patterns are rarely perfect, and this one has plenty of exceptions…So far, though, it’s hard to find many progressive governments that are vaccination role models.

            Leonhardt’s top hypothesis is damning: “A common problem seems to be a focus on process rather than on getting shots into arms. Some progressive leaders are effectively sacrificing efficiency for what they consider to be equity…Some blue states have also created intricate rules about who qualifies for a vaccine and then made a big effort to keep anybody else from getting a shot. These complicated rules have slowed vaccination in both California and New York.”

            And so, once again, leftists’ “wokeness” is actually killing people.

            https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/05/briefing/marjorie-taylor-greene-uk-vaccine-biden-stimulus.html

  4. Klobuchar does not understand Apple’s MO and its raison d’etre. Well, what do you expect from NeoLib warmonger cheater Klobuchar, a near-Rightwinger, who helped swindle good Bernie out of the DNC nomination which ultimately produced super bad Trump.

        1. Alternative title: “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.” Every claim asserted has been disproven over and over again. Anybody who can believe this dreck probably thinks that drinking bleach prevents the disease that never killed anybody anyway… in whatever alternative universe they inhabit.

          1. You lie. Everyone knows the outcome was manipulated in certain key areas in certain key states.

            Biden “beat” Trump in
            • AZ by 10,457 “votes”
            • GA by 11,779
            • WI by 20,608

            So, 42,844 “votes” swung the election from Trump – which China / the corrupt establishment, Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, etc. simply could not have for 4 more years – to Biden-Harris who are provably corrupt globalist puppets.

            1. Jubal Harshaw is a fictional character in Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert F. Heinlein. The book is pretty emphatic about the difference between opinions taken on faith and facts based on concrete evidence.

            2. In an announcement this week the Biden administration has declared they will be reopening a facility in Texas this week in order to temporarily house hundreds of migrant youths who have recently entered the country. The cages constructed under the Obama-Biden administrations, used also by the Trump administration

              Funny, all it took was one election for “kids in cages” to become acceptable once again.

              Democrats are stuffed so full of bullshit, their eyes are brown.

  5. Funny thing is it was the government that helped Amazon get it’s monopoly power.
    When apple added on line book store, they went after Apple calling them a monopoly that was hurting Amazon when Amazon had 99% of the market to Apples 1%. Then they made Apple Pay penalties and basically said you must stop competing with Amazon.

  6. They can afford it. It’s long overdue. We need to hit all of them with something better, though, that they can’t simply vaporize with their wealth. Sorry, MDN, but I fully support the dismantling of the Valley, even Apple.

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