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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  October 12, 2020

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

Microsoft Says App Stores Should Be More Competitive.  Microsoft said on Thursday that it would give developers more control in its app store, providing a sharp contrast to Apple, which is facing growing pressure for its firm grip on its App Store.  Microsoft said it was adopting 10 “principles” for its app store, the Microsoft Store, that customers can use to install programs on Windows 10, the computer operating system.  The guidelines include giving developers the ability to sell different services on their apps and their websites, and allowing users and developers to have access to third-party app stores.  The announcement was not a major change in policy for Microsoft, but it added a powerful voice to a raging debate about how the large tech companies should manage their app stores, where they act as powerful gatekeepers between developers and consumers.

Broadcom to end exclusivity deals for seven years in EU antitrust deal.  U.S. chipmaker Broadcom will scrap its exclusivity deals with TV and modem makers in a deal with EU antitrust regulators aimed at ending a year-long investigation without a finding of wrongdoing, the European Commission said on Wednesday.  The European Commission launched an investigation into the company in June last year and even threatened to issue an interim order, its first in almost two decades, to stop such practices while the probe was ongoing.  Broadcom, which makes chips to power smartphones, computers and networking equipment and is a major supplier to Apple, subsequently offered to end its exclusivity deals.

Apple Does Not Need to Return Fortnite to App Store, Judge Rules.  A federal judge ruled on Friday that Apple did not need to reinstate the popular video game Fortnite in its App Store, in a blow to Fortnite’s parent company, Epic Games, which is locked in an antitrust battle with the tech giant over its app store fees and rules.  Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the Northern District of California said in her ruling that Apple’s ban of the game could continue because Epic had violated its contract with Apple.  There is “significant public interest” in requiring companies to adhere to contracts or resolve disputes through the normal course, she wrote.

U.S. House antitrust chairman says ‘comfortable with unwinding’ Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram.  U.S. House antitrust panel chairman David Cicilline said in an interview on Wednesday he will be “comfortable with unwinding” Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram.  The antitrust subcommittee on Tuesday released a report on Big Tech’s abuses of market power but stopped short of naming specific companies or acquisitions that must be broken up.

Edited by Gary J. Malone

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