Sounding more and more like a possible candidate for U.S. Vice President, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren claimed on Wednesday that giant tech companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon use their size to “snuff out competition.” Her remarks came during a speech on Wednesday.
Warren singled out three of tech’s biggest players in a speech about the perils of “consolidation and concentration” throughout the economy. It comes the day after Hillary Clinton, Warren’s recent stage-mate, laid out a “technology agenda” that seemed designed to please Silicon Valley.
While Senator Warren had different reasons for singling out each company, her common theme was that each firm used its powerful platform to “lock out small and newer guys,” many that compete with Apple, Google, and Amazon.
“Google, Apple and Amazon have created disruptive technologies that changed the world, and … they deserve to be highly profitable and successful,” Warren said. “But the opportunity to compete must remain open for new entrants and smaller competitors that want their chance to change the world again.”
Warren said Google uses “its dominant search engine to harm rivals of its Google Plus user review feature;” while Apple “has placed conditions on its rivals that make it difficult for them to offer competitive streaming services” that compete with its own Apple Music service; and Amazon “uses its position as the dominant bookseller to steer consumers to books published by Amazon to the detriment of other publishers.”
Not surprisingly, Spotify Agrees With Senator Warren
While spokespeople for Apple, Google, and Amazon all declined to comment on Warren’s speech, Spotify’s Jonathan Prince leapt at the opportunity to throw due on the fire.
“Apple has long used its control of iOS to squash competition in music, driving up the prices of its competitors, inappropriately forbidding us from telling our customers about lower prices, and giving itself unfair advantages across its platform through everything from the lock screen to Siri. You know there’s something wrong when Apple makes more off a Spotify subscription than it does off an Apple Music subscription and doesn’t share any of that with the music industry. They want to have their cake and eat everyone else’s too.”
Spotify charges $12.99 for a monthly subscription if a users signs up via their iOS app, versus $9.99 per month if they sign up at the Spotify website. Spotify says this is to make up for Apple’s required 30% of any subscriptions initiated via iOS apps.
Warren didn’t just concentrate on tech companies, as she also took a few shots at Walmart, and Comcast. She also criticized politicians and regulators she thinks have abandoned their responsibility to “restore and defend competition.”