Items tagged with antitrust

Google had hoped an appeal of a massive €2.42 billion (around $2.8 billion in US currency) fine in Europe over shopping ads would be negated upon appeal, but the search giant was wrong. Very wrong. Europe's General Court upheld the decision by the European Commission, and in doing so, dealt a major blow to Google's chances of not having to pay up. There's still one more stop for Google and its parent company Alphabet, but only one—Google can file an appeal with the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which is EU's highest court. It's like taking a case to the Supreme Court in the US, in that there are no other avenues when and if the ECJ decides to hear the case and ultimately rule on... Read more...
Last week, we told you about NVIDIA offering the EU antitrust commission concessions to try and hurry along its acquisition of Arm. If you missed that story, here's the quick and dirty to get you up to speed: NVIDIA wants to buy Arm, and regulators around the world are scrutinizing the deal, due to its possible wide-sweeping effects in the semiconductor industry.  It's not clear what NVIDIA offered to the EU's antitrust review board last week, but had the terms been accepted, the EU would have then gone around to NVIDIA and Arm's rivals and customers to seek feedback on the proceedings. According to "three people familiar with the matter," speaking to Reuters, that hasn't happened,... Read more...
Following NVIDIA’s announcement of its intent to acquire Arm, global antitrust concerns were almost immediately raised. However, it seemed that things had settled down until now, as the United Kingdom is considering blocking the deal, citing national security concerns. In late 2020, NVIDIA announced that it sought to acquire Arm from Japanese SoftBank Group for approximately $40 billion. Such a merger for NVIDIA could make sense for growth and future vertical integration, but it is not surprising that there have been antitrust concerns as NVIDIA competes with companies who rely on Arm architecture. However, it seems that governments have moved past this with the new national... Read more...
A preliminary investigation into a complaint raised by Spotify over Apple's App Store polices has led the European Commission to issue a 'Statement of Objections' against Apple, saying the company "is in breach of EU competition law." It essentially amounts to an antitrust violation, with Apple having 12 weeks to issue a response to the charges. These charges come a little over two years after Spotify filed an antitrust complaint with the European Union. The streaming music service cried foul over Apple's 30 percent royalty rate for purchases made through its payment system, including when users upgrade from Spotify's free tier to a premium subscription. That was not the only gripe, however.... Read more...
Valve has recently been in some hot water as the EU’s European Commission slapped the games company with a $1.9 million fine over “geo-blocking.” Now, some gamers are suing Valve in California over anti-competitive clauses in developer agreements. Valve and multiple other developers have been named defendants, alleging that the companies entered a competition-stifling contract with a “most favored nations” (MFN) clause. In this case, the MFN clause is an agreement where game developers arrive at a specific price of a game on the Steam platform, and then that price will remain the same on all other platforms. As the suit explains, “Because of this Most Favored... Read more...
Facebook has long been suspected of anti-competitive practices. Forty-eight states and territories and the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have now filed twin lawsuits against Facebook to address this issue. Facebook has responded to these lawsuits by stating that it is ready to fight against what it views as an injustice. What are the lawsuits about? The lawsuits accuse Facebook of monopolistic practices, especially through what they refer to as a “buy-or-bury strategy.” They contend that Facebook prefers to purchase platforms it perceives as a direct threat. Platforms that refused to sell would be subject to the “wrath of Mark” which would further discourage... Read more...
Apple has been investigated and accused of anti-competitive practices over the last year, and in September, Epic Games formed a coalition against Apple for battling monopolistic store practices.  The U.S Department of Justice has also been increasing antitrust investigations and inquiries into big tech companies over the last year. Apple is likely not a fan of this scrutiny and wants to avoid any potential lawsuits, especially from the government, like the plague. Thus, Apple is apparently trying to appease regulators with a new feature in the newly-released iOS 14.3 beta, which will show third-party apps to new users during device setup. Yesterday, 9to5Mac found code within the iOS... Read more...
Is Mozilla trying to have its cake and eat it too? That certainly seems to be the case with its commentary surrounding the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust lawsuit brought yesterday against Google. The DOJ has alleged that Google has partaken in a number of monopolistic practices specifically related to the search market in the United States. The DOJ specifically alleged in yesterday's press release that Google is "generally using monopoly profits to buy preferential treatment for its search engine on devices, web browsers, and other search access points, creating a continuous and self-reinforcing cycle of monopolization." This is of course in references to search deals that Google... Read more...
Today, the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Google in what is the largest tech antitrust case since Microsoft came under fire two decades ago. The lawsuit claims that Google has “stifled competition” with its online search and advertisement businesses, arguably the most significant parts of Google as a whole. Eleven states have backed the lawsuit as outcry (and support) for the lawsuit floods Twitter from various sources. Previously, we reported on the Department of Justice (DoJ) lawsuit against Google has been expected from the Trump administration. According to the Department of Justice, "Google is the monopoly gatekeeper to the internet for billions... Read more...
Companies like Apple and Google have been accused of anti-competitive practices for many years. A United States House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee has been investigating these major tech companies for sixteen months. A memo from Representative Ken Buck (R-CO) provides some insight into the conclusions of this investigation. The House of Representatives subcommittee’s report will supposedly include suggestions on how to break-up major tech companies.  The antitrust subcommittee is expected to publish a report later this week, and the overarching goal has been to determine whether tech companies’ practices are truly anti-competitive and offer suggestions that would... Read more...
The United States Department of Justice has had a magnifying glass on Google for quite some time now, and seemingly they have found something incriminating that is worth pursuing. According to sources familiar to the situation, the US DoJ may file a lawsuit against Google as soon as next week. Going back to 2019, the European Commission handed down a large fine to Google over a breach of antitrust rules in the EU. In short, Google allegedly used and abused its dominant market share to prevent rival companies from serving ads and collecting data for their businesses. Furthermore, Google’s AdSense for Search program included “restrictive clauses” which essentially locked out competitors... Read more...
Earlier this month, a U.S. Appeals Court ruled in favor of Qualcomm following an FTC antitrust lawsuit. Qualcomm was cleared after "no evidence" of anticompetitive behavior was found, and the company's $5 billion a year licensing business was left unscathed. Now, car and tech companies are up in arms, requesting that the FTC not back down yet. In 2017, the FTC brought up a lawsuit against Qualcomm alleging antitrust law violations and anti-competitive behavior. Initially, the ruling was against Qualcomm, whereby they would have to renegotiate patent licensing agreements with the companies to which they provided parts. The 9th circuit court with a panel of judges, however, reversed this decision... Read more...
Qualcomm is tasting sweet redemption this week after a U.S. Appeals Court ruled in its favor regarding a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit alleging it had violated antitrust laws. At the center of the lawsuit was Qualcomm's licensing business, which is a huge source of revenue for the company (this revenue amounted to nearly $5 billion during 2019). Qualcomm has long brokered licensing deals with companies like Samsung, Huawei, and Apple. The latter company was involved in a years-long fight with Qualcomm over wireless chip licensing (with Apple arguing that it was paying too much money per smartphone sold), but the two parties eventually settled last year and announced a new multi-year... Read more...
Most people are very familiar with Google’s various services, especially their popular search engine. However, is Google using its ubiquity to intentionally hamper their competition? It was recently reported that the United States Department of Justice and a group of state attorneys general are likely planning to sue Google for violating antitrust laws. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently drafting a lawsuit and will likely file it this summer. Some state attorneys general plan to follow the DOJ’s lead this autumn. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently remarked, “We hope to have the investigation wrapped up by fall. If we determine... Read more...
Google parent company Alphabet has confirmed that it is under investigation by the United States Department of Justice. Specifically, the DOJ suspects Alphabet of antitrust practices, and is demanding all information and documents related to prior antitrust investigations involving the company around the globe. While the DOJ stated that it was just beginning to investigate major tech companies back in July 2019, we now know the department's efforts have kicked into high gear. Alphabet and Google aren't the only major tech companies under the crosshair right now. Apple, Facebook, and Amazon are all known to be under investigation as well, and we wouldn't be surprised if other platforms... Read more...
Facebook recently revealed that it is working on cross-platform messaging between its three social media apps. Although the software rewrite is still in its infancy, it was immediately met with criticism and apprehension. Facebook’s intention of merging their messaging services has spurred concerns about privacy and calls for antitrust regulation. The New York Times reported last week that Facebook was developing software that would merge WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. The apps would remain separate, but their messaging services would be interoperable. Facebook’s goal is to increase user engagement and discourage users from turning to other messaging platforms. The software... Read more...
Price fixing in the DRAM market is nothing new unfortunately. As recently as January this year, a Chinese regulator accused Samsung other chip manufacturers of artificially increasing prices to pad their margins. Samsung is also no stranger to price fixing, as a $300 million judgement against it and Hynix was handed down in 2006 here in the United States. Today, however, Samsung and other DRAM manufacturers are facing another legal fight in the U.S., and it comes courtesy of the law firm Hagens Berman. A class action lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and alleges that Samsung, Micron and Hynix conspired to artificially limit... Read more...
The United States Department of Justice is about to go on a trust-busting escapade. The Justice Department is investigating whether AT&T, Verizon, and the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) collectively prevented consumers from switching carriers on devices with eSIM. The three organizations reportedly received requests for information from the Justice Department. The investigation centers around whether AT&T and Verizon worked with GSMA to lock devices to their networks. An unnamed device maker and wireless carrier reported the potential collusion to the Justice Department five months ago. Many believe that one of the complainants was Apple, but the company has declined to... Read more...
Qualcomm has been hit with a hefty NT$23.4 billion (around $773 million in US currency) imposed by Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission over violations to Taiwanese competition law, and specifically over licensing fees on mobile phone processors and patents that it collected over the past 7 years. Naturally the semiconductor manufacturer disagrees with the agency's finding and subsequent fine, and plans to appeal the decision. The fine is the most ever imposed by the Taiwanese regulator. In a released posted to the agency's website, Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission said Qualcomm abused its position in the mobile chip market by outright refusing to sell chips and license technologies to companies that... Read more...
Google just cannot seem to catch a break from European regulators. Fresh off being hit with a record-setting €2.42 billion fine (around $2.7 billion in U.S. currency) for favoring its own shopping search engine in search results over third-party comparison shopping tools, antitrust regulators in the European Union are now considering slapping Google with a subsequent penalty over its Android mobile operating system. Back in April of last year, the European Commission determined that Google was using its dominant Android platform to gain an unfair competitive edge against rivals. An initial team of investigators looked into things after receiving a joint complaint filed by lobby group FairSearch,... Read more...
When the European Union comes at technology firms for perceived antitrust violations, it comes at them hard. Such is the case yet again, this time with the European Commission issuing a record-breaking fine of €2.42 billion (around $2.7 billion in U.S. currency) to Google for running afoul of antitrust law. The fine is more than double the previous largest penalty issued for an antitrust violation. Following a seven-year investigation, the EU determined that Google abused its dominant market position to promote its own comparison shopping results while actively suppressing the competition. Should the decision be upheld pending an inevitable appeal, it would force Google to rethink how it presents... Read more...
The Google/European Union saga continues and could potentially lead to heavy consequences for Google. The corporation could face fines above €1 billion, with some estimating a fine as high as $1.4 billion USD. Google could also be forced to change how it manages its services and operations in the EU. The EU currently has three cases against Google, which will all be resolved separately. This particular case insists that Google diverted traffic from competitors to its own shopping sites. The company is said to have used its online search to lead users to its own other services like restaurant recommendations or maps. Google has also been accused of paying smartphone OEMs to exclusively pre-install... Read more...
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