In late August, Patently Apple released a report entitled “Antitrust Hearings Against Big Technology Will Drop Hammer Next Month with a finding that all players surveyed abused their market power.” Our report specifically pointed to David Cicilline, head of an in-house antitrust panel, who went out of his way to state that the four technology companies in the investigation were guilty. Cicilline stated in an interview that day that his inquiry has confirmed that Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Apple Inc., Amazon and Facebook are abusing their market power to crush competitors, and that Congress needs to act quickly to curb them in order to protect consumers.
In a new Bloomberg report, David Cicilline was found again and said that Alphabet Inc.̵
Cicilline added yesterday that “By controlling the infrastructure of the digital age, they have monitored other businesses to identify potential rivals – and ultimately bought out, copied or cut off their competing threats.”
Cicilline, who spoke during a hearing with experts on competition law yesterday, prepares a final report that recommends changes in laws and regulations. The report is expected to be published as early as next week. It has the potential to generate big success headlines, so stay tuned.
Among the recommendations that Cicilline has floated are a ban on running a platform and competing on it at the same time. This could potentially prevent Google from bidding on the online advertising exchanges they run, or prevent Amazon from offering a marketplace for independent sellers while selling their own products, according to Bloomberg.
Of course, this will probably also apply to Apple and their App Store. Cicilline’s position simply reflects what Elizabeth Warren stated back in 2019; That Apple can run a platform or an App Store, but not both. That prospect probably has the CEO of Spotify and Epic Games drinking Champagne this morning.
On the antitrust issues, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, the top Republican on the subcommittee, said: “We ultimately disagree on the future of antitrust laws. ” He suggested that while he would see improved enforcement of existing laws, he is against changes that will lead to breaches of the companies.
In addition to Cicilline’s investigation, federal and state antitrust enforcers are ready to file a historic monopoly case against Google, and more cases may be in the pipeline. For more on this, read the full Bloomberg report.