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Apple’s Tim Cook faces judge over $ 142 billion in app stakes

(Bloomberg) – Inside the towering beige-and-white limestone-walled Federal Courthouse in downtown Oakland, lawyers dressed in face masks and plastic shields and armed with carts of documents from company brawl daily over technological mysteries – the Byzantine rules that govern Apple Inc. The outlines of Epic Games Inc.’s complaint are widely known: the game developer alleges that Apple is keeping too much of the revenue generated by companies selling goods in the market and that its rules are unfair and anti-competitive. Apple CEO Tim Cook will speak on Friday to say that Apple’s rules ensure a secure and seamless user experience and that developers are banking through the App Store. fail to convince Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, a ruling in Epic’s favor would loosen Apple’s grip on its store and could upend the way millions of developers distribute apps to wearable users around the world The implications of Epic’s fight against Apple extend far beyond the $ 142 billion app world. They strike the fundamental role played not only by Apple, but also by Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc. as the new guardians of the digital economy. Over the past decade, the four companies have built themselves and dominated the vast digital markets in which their competitors do business. Amazon, for example, provides infrastructure for millions of small e-commerce sellers while also selling its own products to the same customer base. Google and Facebook make money from ads as well as news and other information on their pages, but content providers have little control over how they’re displayed – and many don’t share the loot. . Lawmakers and regulators are also examining whether the big tech companies have pushed their role as gatekeepers too far and are paying close attention to what’s going on in the case. Even if Apple wins in these proceedings, the evidence presented in the Oakland courtroom takes a stern look at the power of the technology and will help build the larger case against the platform operators. serious problem with the market power held by technology platforms acting as gatekeepers, ”said Rebecca Haw Allensworth, who teaches antitrust law at Vanderbilt Law School. , when Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, complained that tech platforms create conflicts of interest both by running platforms and competing against them with their own products, a double a role which, according to her, harms competition. Warren proposed to dismantle the companies through legislation that would designate these markets as “platform utilities” and impose separation between them and any participant in the platform, including their owners. large technological platforms to abuse their dominance. He recommended that Congress pass legislation that would severely limit the power of technology over its competitors, including bans on giving preference to its own products, and declare platforms “essential facilities” that would require them to provide a service. access to infrastructure. from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the railways which governed access to commodity markets; and the oil and steel companies which eliminated competition through acquisitions. “Companies that were once rebellious and fringe start-ups that questioned the status quo have become the kind of monopolies we last saw in the age of oil barons and railroad tycoons.” , concluded congressional investigators. to shape the larger legislature against the tech industry. “The common law changes one case at a time, and it changes two degrees every time you have a case, and before you know it you’ve really changed the course of the common law,” she said. declared. “If I were a big tech company, I would be very worried that this could happen again.” When Cook speaks, he will likely be asked about Apple’s app strategy and the competitive landscape. He is also expected to be Apple’s last witness, giving it a critical chance to influence Gonzalez Rogers, who will decide the case without a jury. The Justice Department, which has previously sued Google for antitrust reasons, is investigating Apple. on its practices in the App Store. . The Federal Trade Commission sued Facebook, alleging monopoly behavior, and probe Amazon with state attorneys general. To build arguments, regulators asked companies about their experiences, many of which echo Epic’s grievances. Google also operates an app store. And like Apple, it charges fees of up to 30% – much to the dismay of small businesses. He also behaves in another way that irritates rivals and regulators. U.S. lawmakers, news agencies, and other website publishers have accused Google of stealing news and information it collects from the web to keep users glued to its pages and services. markets work – for example, by tightening inclusion requirements or tweaking the algorithms that determine a publisher’s content ranking. Many companies have missed sales in the run-up to the holiday season after Facebook’s artificial intelligence mistook their content for political advertising, which was banned during the US presidential election. market to take the information it gathers about their business to develop and promote competing products. Some vendors are also complaining that the e-commerce giant is forcing them to use its adjacent services, such as advertising or product execution. The debate over control of the industry is not limited to the antitrust watchdog of the industry. U.S. Germany said on Tuesday it was opening a case against Amazon, exploring whether the e-commerce giant behaves in an anti-competitive manner. Last month, the EU filed an antitrust complaint with Apple opposing the iPhone manufacturer’s requirement that developers use its in-app purchasing system for payments. Regulators are also questioning the company’s ban on developers directing users to other ways to subscribe to a service – a way to bypass Apple’s fees. The bloc is also debating new rules that would significantly limit the business practices of technology platforms. Companies considered to be “gatekeepers” will not be allowed to rank their offerings above their competitors on their own platforms, nor to use their competitors’ data to compete with them. Businesses could face fines of up to 10% of their revenue if they don’t comply. Australia’s competition regulator said last month that Google and Apple hold “significant market power” in app distribution and noted concerns about Apple and Google’s restrictions on developers. ‘Antitrust say an issue in the Epic case they are watching, and which could have implications for other platforms, is how the judge defines the gaming market. Epic maintains that Apple’s App Store is the market, while Apple says there are many places to get Epic’s games, including Android and game consoles. The problem is significant because if the judge is on Epic’s side – say, noting that people rarely switch between Android and Apple – that means Apple has a monopoly. This would make it easier for businesses or the government to win antitrust lawsuits against Apple. This is a question that hangs over other platforms as well. Is Facebook its own market or is there a larger market that includes companies like Twitter Inc. and TikTok from ByteDance Ltd.? Said John Newman, who teaches antitrust at the University of Miami Law School. “Calling the product a market firm definitely opens the door to more litigation against that firm, because everything they do is driven by a monopolist.” More articles like this are available on the bloomberg.com news source. © 2021 Bloomberg LP

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