The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Lawsuit claims Apple monopolizes heart-rate technology for Apple Watch. A Silicon Valley company has filed an antitrust lawsuit accusing Apple Inc of cornering the market for heart-rate monitoring technology for the Apple Watch, and endangering wearers’ health. In a complaint, AliveCor Inc said Apple shut out rivals by changing the heart-rate algorithm on its watch’s operating system, making rival technology incompatible. AliveCor sells KardiaBand, an Apple Watch wristband capable of recording an electrocardiogram, and SmartRhythm, an app that alerts users to irregular heartbeats. The privately held company accused Apple, whose market value exceeds $2 trillion, of quietly “working in the background” to copy its ability to record an ECG on the Apple Watch, and to provide a separate app for heart-rate analysis.
Facebook marketplace faces EU antitrust probe – source. Facebook is likely to face its first EU antitrust investigation in the coming weeks as regulators zoom in on its online marketplace after rivals complained about the service, a person familiar with the matter said. Facebook’s online marketplace, launched in 2016, is used by 800 million Facebook users in 70 countries to buy and sell items. It drew scrutiny in 2019 from the European Commission, which sent out questionnaires seeking details about its role in relation to rivals in online classified ads, an EU document seen by Reuters at the time showed.
The Epic Case Against Apple Wraps Up. For the past three weeks, Apple has been defending itself in federal court against claims brought by Epic Games, the maker of the blockbuster video game Fortnite, that Apple abuses its power by charging app makers unfairly high commissions to appear in its App Store. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said she hoped to deliver a verdict in mid-August. The crux of the case is about market definition. Epic argues that Apple is a monopolist in single-brand markets for iOS app distribution and in-app payments. Apple argues that the product markets are broader, comprised of many different electronic devices, operating systems, and services.