Following Nancy Pelosi’s “poor Tim” comment earlier this week, Apple today is again the target of yet another politician. This time, Massachusetts senator and potential Hillary Clinton running mate Elizabeth Warren has slammed Apple, Google, and Amazon for using their size to “snuff out competition.”
Warren’s comments came during a speech in Washington at event called “America’s Monopoly Problem.” Warren gave different reasons for calling out each of the three tech companies, but the general trend was that each company uses their size and power to “lock out smaller guys and newer guys.”
Specifically referring to Apple, Warren accused the company of placing conditions on competitors that make it harder for them to offer their own services, specifically referring to Apple Music. Apple “has placed conditions on its rivals that make it difficult for them to offer competitive streaming services,” Warren said.
Recode reached out to Spotify for comment on Warren’s claim, seeing that Spotify is the biggest competitor to Apple Music. As you’d expect, Spotify didn’t hold back when it came to voicing its opinion. In a statement, the company’s head of commutations and public policy, Jonathan Prince, accused Apple of giving itself an unfair advantage both in terms of pricing and feature support:
“Apple has long used its control of iOS to squash competition in music, driving up the prices of its competitors, inappropriately forbidding us from telling our customers about lower prices, and giving itself unfair advantages across its platform through everything from the lock screen to Siri. You know there’s something wrong when Apple makes more off a Spotify subscription than it does off an Apple Music subscription and doesn’t share any of that with the music industry. They want to have their cake and eat everyone else’s too.”
Speaking on Amazon, Warren accused the company of using its position as the dominant ebook retailer to “steer consumers to books published by Amazon to the detriment of other publishers.” This is somewhat ironic seeing that Apple is currently paying out $400 million to users who purchased ebooks from Amazon, among other services, in its pricing-fixing settlement.
Finally, Warren accused Google of using “its dominant search engine to harm rivals of its Google Plus user review feature.” Google is currently tied up in several anti-trust cases in Europe, with one accusing it of manipulating search results to favor its own products.
While Warren had specific reasoning for her accusations against Google, Amazon, and Apple, the ultimate theme of her speech was that the opportunity to compete must remain and competitors should have a chance to change the world:
“Google, Apple and Amazon have created disruptive technologies that changed the world, and … they deserve to be highly profitable and successful. But the opportunity to compete must remain open for new entrants and smaller competitors that want their chance to change the world again.”
Apple has been embroiled in politics several times in recent weeks. First, it was reported that the company would be withholding funding from the upcoming GOP convention because of Donald Trump. Then, it was revealed that Tim Cook would host a fundraiser for Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. As you would expect, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was not pleased with that news, suggesting that “somebody gave him bad advice.”
As Apple continues to be brought in to the political spectrum, it’s important to remember that the company does not have a corporate political action committee.