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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  August 31, 2020

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

In Bid for TikTok, Microsoft Flexes Its Power in Washington.  Microsoft’s quiet pursuit to buy TikTok suddenly appeared dead a month ago, when President Trump said he wanted to ban the popular social media app for national security reasons. So Brad Smith, the tech giant’s president, went to work. He called two dozen lawmakers, telling them that TikTok would be safe in Microsoft’s hands. Within 48 hours, he had what he needed.

Exclusive: Facebook says Apple rejected its attempt to tell users about App Store fees.  Facebook Inc. on Thursday told Reuters that Apple Inc. rejected its attempt to tell users the iPhone maker would take a 30% cut of sales in a new online events feature, forcing Facebook to remove the message to get the tool to users. Facebook said that Apple cited an App Store rule that bars developers from showing “irrelevant” information to users. “Now more than ever, we should have the option to help people understand where money they intend for small businesses actually goes. Unfortunately Apple rejected our transparency notice around their 30% tax but we are still working to make that information available inside the app experience,” Facebook said in a statement.

Judge blocks Apple move to hamper Epic’s Unreal Engine.  A federal judge blocked Apple Inc. from shutting down an Epic Games tool that is relied upon by hundreds of other app makers but had become the subject of an antitrust battle between the companies. The ruling safeguards “Fortnite” creator Epic’s computer graphics software Unreal Engine, which it offers through an affiliate business and which hundreds of games and other apps use to power their apps on Apple’s iPhones. “Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders,” Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers wrote in a ruling.

Apple Korea, under antitrust probe, proposes $84 million to support small businesses.  Apple Inc.’s South Korean unit has proposed measures to address antitrust concerns and offered to provide 100 billion won ($84.02 million) worth of support programs for small businesses, consumers and others, the country’s competition watchdog said. Apple Korea has been under investigation by the Korea Fair Trade Commission over allegations it abused its dominant position by forcing mobile carriers to pay for advertising and warranty repairs, the commission has said. Apple has agreed to fix “unfair” terms with mobile carriers as part of its proposal, the KFTC said in a briefing. For example, Apple will discuss how to share advertising costs with telecoms firms, which will help reduce burdens to carriers, the KFTC said.

Edited by Gary J. Malone

Tagged in: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues,

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