The Democratic Subcommittee on the U.S. House Judiciary shared its recommendations for dealing with Big Tech Monday in an enormous, almost 450 page report, following 16 months of investigation.
While the report has recommendations for Amazon, Facebook and Google parent company Alphabet, it also focuses on Apple — and what needs to change about it to make it antitrust compliant. Here’s what the lawmakers concluded:
The report suggests that Apple has used its operating system and App Store to, “create and enforce barriers to competition and discriminate against and exclude rivals while preferencing its own offerings.”
It continues that it uses this power to, “exploit app developers through misappropriation of competitively sensitive information and to charge app developers supra-competitive prices within the App Store.”
“In the absence of competition, Apple’s monopoly power over software distribution to iOS devices has resulted in harms to competitors and competition, reducing quality and innovation among app developers, and increasing prices and reducing choices for consumers,” the report notes.
Fixing the alleged problem
It’s still early days when it comes to fixing these alleged problems. However, some recommendations include splitting up companies and stopping dominant platforms from entering adjacent businesses. This could, for example, mean splitting off the App Store from Apple. Another recommendation is shifting the burden of proving they are not anticompetitive to companies, rather than making lawmakers prove that they are. Companies could also have to stop preferencing their own services as defaults, provide regular compliance data, and more.
How much these rules wind up being enforced remains to be seen. If they are introduced in their strongest terms it would mean a significant shake-up to the current tech landscape.
In a statement, Apple responded that:
“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.”
This article was originally posted here