Cicilline: US House antitrust inquiry confirms ‘deeply disturbing’ anticompetitive behavior by Apple and others

Democratic Representative David Cicilline is about to announce recommendations next month that may have a direct impact on the power of leading tech companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google. Cicilline defends that Congress should act to prevent these companies from abusing their resources to bring down their competitors.

According to a new Bloomberg report, the Democratic representative expects an overhaul of antitrust laws, which promote fair competition to the benefit of consumers. Cicilline said in an interview that these giant companies have a “deeply disturbing” behavior when it comes to dealing with competition, and for that reason, he wants Congress to change the law.

All of these companies engage in behavior which is deeply disturbing and requires Congress to take action. The kind of common theme is the abuse of their market power to maintain their market dominance, to crush competitors, to exclude folks from their platform and to earn monopoly rents.

Cicilline’s committee led a high-profile investigation for over a year into technology giants, but he refuses to detail what the recommendations are that will be proposed to change the antitrust laws. The Democrat once defended a “Glass-Steagall law” for technology platforms, which should prohibit big companies from competing on a platform that they run.

In a previous interview with Bloomberg TV, Cicilline said that he considers separating functions of platform companies to be a “very interesting idea.” He believes this is a way to separate a relationship of conflicts between big companies and their competitors, mentioning Amazon as an example — as the company runs a marketplace and also offers its own product line that competes with third-party vendors.

The House antitrust panel plans to issue its report in September, while the committee plans to address existing antitrust laws created over a century ago, demanding specific reforms to the technology sector.

Apple has been facing several charges of anti-competitive practices around the world, most of them related to the iOS App Store. Apple CEO Tim Cook testified last month at an antitrust hearing of the US Judiciary Committee, which also heard CEOs from Amazon, Google, and Facebook.

While companies such as Tile, Spotify, and Hey claimed that Apple gives itself an unfair advantage for its own services, Epic Games recently started a legal battle against Apple after the company removed the popular game Fortnite from the App Store.

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