The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
EU hopes new foreign buyer rules agreed within next year. The European Union’s antitrust chief is hopeful draft rules intended to curb state-backed foreign buyers will be agreed within the next year, she said on Thursday. The rules aim to prevent companies that benefit from distorting foreign subsidies from buying EU businesses or taking part in public tenders, with a particular eye on fending off unfair competition from China. “I would hope within the next year,” European Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said in response to a question about when the draft rules she presented on Wednesday might come into force. The measures will need to be agreed by EU member states and the bloc’s parliament, and both foreign governments and companies are expected to lobby to water them down.
Epic Games CEO cites Apple’s ‘total control’ over iPhones at first day of antitrust trial. The chief executive of “Fortnite” creator Epic Games testified that he knew he was breaking Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) App Store rules by putting Epic’s own in-app payment system into the game last year but wanted to highlight Apple’s sway over the world’s iPhone users, which now total 1 billion. “I wanted the world to see that Apple exercises total control over all software on iOS, and it can use that control to deny users’ access to apps,” Tim Sweeney said from behind layers of plexiglass in a federal courthouse in Oakland, California, on the first day of an antitrust trial against Apple. The trial, expected to run three weeks, brings to a head a lawsuit Epic brought last year in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that centers on two Apple practices that have become cornerstones of its business: Apple’s requirement that virtually all third-party software for the world’s 1 billion iPhones be distributed through its App Store, and the requirement that developers use Apple’s in-app purchase system, which charges commissions of up to 30%.
Edited by Gary J. Malone