The US House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee has finally reported on its suggestions in a 16-month long investigation into the competitive practices Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook use. The subcommittee has given recommendations to mend antitrust laws and concluded that the four tech giants have monopoly power over the market.
After reaching a conclusion, the US government released the 450-page report from the antitrust subcommittee, which highlighted the recommended changes. Additionally, it has been said that the aforementioned tech companies have a “kind of monopoly” which harkens back to “the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons,” according to MacRumors. When looking at Apple, the subcommittee came to the conclusion that Apple has a monopoly over its App Store. The report indicates that Apple has “gatekeeper power” over the distribution of software on its devices.
“Developers have explained that Apple actively undermines the open web’s progress on iOS “to push developers toward building native apps on iOS rather than using web technologies.” As a result, Apple’s position as the sole app store on iOS devices is unassailable. Apple fully controls how software can be installed on iOS devices and CEO Tim Cook has explained that the company has no plan to permit an alternative app store The former director of the app review team for the App Store observed that Apple is “not subject to any meaningful competitive constraint from alternative distribution channels.”
Apple has since shared a statement, disagreeing with the subcommittee’s conclusion. The company believes that it has built an ecosystem for new markets and services to emerge.
“We have always said that scrutiny is reasonable and appropriate but we vehemently disagree with the conclusions reached in this staff report with respect to Apple. Our company does not have a dominant market share in any category where we do business. From its beginnings 12 years ago with just 500 apps, we’ve built the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for users to discover and download apps and a supportive way for developers to create and sell apps globally. Hosting close to two million apps today, the App Store has delivered on that promise and met the highest standards for privacy, security and quality. The App Store has enabled new markets, new services and new products that were unimaginable a dozen years ago, and developers have been primary beneficiaries of this ecosystem. Last year in the United States alone, the App Store facilitated $138 billion in commerce with over 85% of that amount accruing solely to third-party developers. Apple’s commission rates are firmly in the mainstream of those charged by other app stores and gaming marketplaces. Competition drives innovation, and innovation has always defined us at Apple. We work tirelessly to deliver the best products to our customers, with safety and privacy at their core, and we will continue to do so.”
Apple will likely follow up in the coming days with a more in-depth response to the investigation.