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Snippet: Elizabeth Warren Wants to Break Up Apple, Too ☇

Shared on March 12, 2019

Nilay Patel for The Verge:

Sen.Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) proposed breaking up Amazon, Google, and Facebook yesterday in a post published on Medium. Her plan, which comes as the Democratic presidential primary contest continues to heat up, would classify any company that runs a marketplace and makes more than $25 billion a year in revenue as a “platform utility” and prohibit those companies from using those platforms from selling their own products.

Under Warren’s plan, Amazon would not be able to sell Amazon Basics products on the Amazon retail store, Google would not be able to promote its own products in Google search, and Facebook would have to split apart from Instagram and WhatsApp.[…]

I spoke to Sen. Warren after she appeared onstage at SXSW in Austin, Texas, today, and she told me explicitly that she thinks Apple should be broken apart, too — specifically, that it should not get to both run the App Store and distribute apps in it. “It’s got to be one or the other,” she said. “Either they run the platform or they play in the store. They don’t get to do both at the same time.”

While I am all for holding technology companies accountable and preventing antitrust behavior, this seems to be too much of an extreme case. How would Apple offering apps in the App Store be any different than Target offering its Up & Up or Market Pantry products in their stores? For Apple’s own apps, there are numerous alternatives available, sometimes even created by other big players (who probably haven’t cried foul yet because they see themselves an alternative if you want more). Besides that, a large, successful company isn’t a bad thing, but things become bad when the power is abused and there is no competition. Plus, in most areas, Apple has plenty of real competition.

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