Representative David Cicilline (D), chairman of the House antitrust panel leading an antitrust inquiry into Apple and other tech firms says the testimony of the firms’ CEOs back in July confirmed that all of the companies are engaging in “behavior which is deeply disturbing and requires Congress to take action.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos all appeared before Congress in July.
Cicilline made the remarks during an interview with Bloomberg. He said that the investigation has confirmed that Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are all abusing their market power to the detriment of consumers.
“The kind of common theme is the abuse of their market power to maintain their market dominance, to crush competitors, to exclude folks from their platform and to earn monopoly rents.”
Cicilline said that he will deliver recommendations as soon as next month, and that action must be taken quickly to protect consumers. While Cicilline did not go into detail about what his recommendations might be, he did say he is working with Republicans to find common ground on his ideas.
Bloomberg reports Cicilline did mention the possibility of a Glass-Steagall law for technology platforms. Such a law would prevent tech companies from running a platform and competing on it at the same time.
Possible solutions will include changes to current antitrust laws, reforms aimed at the tech sector, strengthening private antitrust litigation by plaintiffs, and ensuring the DoJ and FTC have the resources to do their jobs.
The U.S. House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee has been investigating Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook since July 2019.
In comments to Congress, Cook argued that Apple’s 15 to 30% cut is competitive with other stores and that Apple offers a better option than what was available for software developers prior to when the App Store launched in 2008.
App Store developers set prices for their apps and never pay for “shelf space.” Apple continuously improves, and provides every developer with cutting-edge tools like compilers, programming languages, operating systems, frameworks, and more than 150,000 essential software building blocks called APIs. These are not only powerful, but so simple to use that students in elementary schools can and do make apps.
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