Big Tech Under Fire in Congress
A hearing of the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law held yesterday examined whether big tech companies—Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple—are becoming too powerful and deterring innovation. In “Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 2: Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” Subcommittee Chair, Representative David Cicilline (D-RI), said that Google controls search, Amazon controls nearly half of all online U.S. commerce, Facebook captures over 80% of global social media revenue, and Apple has total power over their customers’ devices. In his opening statement, Cicilline took issue with the 30% commission Apple charges on every developer sale in the first year, and 15% thereafter, pointing to this year’s Supreme Court decision in Apple v. Pepper which held that iPhone owners can sue Apple for monopolizing the retail market for the sale of apps, thereby raising prices for consumers. “A former Apple executive who oversaw app store approvals for seven years has also described Apple as having ‘complete and unprecedented power over their customers’ devices and using this power as a weapon against competitors,’” Cicilline said.