The US House of Representatives subcommittee that grilled Tim Cook and other executives (see “A Quick Rundown of Big Tech’s Showdown with Congress”, July 31, 2020) has released a report claiming that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google all exercise monopoly power. The report recommends sanctions and new legislation. In the case of Apple, the subcommittee focused on the iOS App Store, which it says Apple uses to prevent competition and take advantage of developers (the report even used the term “Sherlocking”, which has come to mean that Apple “borrows” features from smaller developers ).
One of the report’s recommended solutions is to share the App Store from Apple as a whole, which makes little sense to us. There are many issues with the App Store, but we do not see how breaking it will necessarily solve these issues (see “Developers v. Apple: Outlining Complaints About the App Store”
Although the report has surprisingly much support from both parties, and many agree that the technology giants are too powerful, antitrust law and precedent have not had to deal with such situations before and may not be well suited to today’s problems. It is difficult to see where this report will lead, given that the elections are approaching in the United States, along with the concern that being involved with the country’s most successful companies during a severe economic downturn would be foolhardy.
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