Antitrust concerns about the major US tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have been building over the previous months. Now Congress has summoned Apple and others to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee next week on July 16, which could be a precursor to formal antitrust investigations.
As reported by The Washington Post, the House Judiciary Committee’s leading antitrust panel has requested for Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google to testify as lawmakers look into how the major tech companies’ practices may be affecting competition. Vice president for corporate law and chief compliance officer, Kyle Andeer, will represent Apple next week.
The news was confirmed by Rep. David Cicilline’s aides and the report notes that next week’s hearing comes after federal regulators have been looking further into anticompetitive behavior from the major tech companies.
The hearing — confirmed by aides to Rep. David Cicilline, the panel’s chairman — comes weeks after federal competition regulators divvied up the four tech giants in an early move that could presage formal federal probes into Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, and their business practices.
Last month, the Department of Justice’s Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim stated:
“We already have in our possession the tools we need to enforce the antitrust laws in cases involving digital technologies,” Makan, an assistant attorney general, said in the speech, which CNBC previously reported. “US antitrust law is flexible enough to be applied to markets old and new.”
As we previously summarized, Apple is currently in the middle of three antitrust lawsuits, two in the US and one in Europe, all having to do with the App Store.
In the US, one case was brought by iPhone owners alleging that App Store policies keep app prices artificially high. Apple claimed they had no standing in the case – meaning that if anyone was hurt, it was developers, and so customers had no right to sue Apple. The US Supreme Court disagreed, allowing that case to proceed.
Since Apple argued that it was developers who should be suing them, a bunch of them decided to do just that.
Finally, Spotify has filed a formal complaint to antitrust regulators in Europe that Apple Music has an unfair advantage over its own service thanks to Apple wanting a cut of in-app subscriptions and banning links to alternative signup/renewal options. The EU is investigating, but currently awaiting Apple’s response.