Perhaps most notably, the report concludes Apple enjoys a monopoly in app distribution on iOS devices. “Apple leverages its control of iOS and the App Store to create and enforce barriers to competition and discriminate against and exclude rivals while preferencing its own offerings,” the report says. “Apple also uses its power to exploit app developers through misappropriation of competitively sensitive information and to charge app developers supra-competitive prices within the App Store.”
Apple’s control of the App Store is at the heart of the company’s ongoing legal feud with Fortnite developer Epic Games. In August, Epic bypassed the App Store with its Mega Drop promotion, giving mobile players the option to pay for the title’s in-game currency directly. When Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store, Epic launched a lawsuit against the company.
Among other recommendations, the report also suggests strengthing antitrust laws and requiring dominant tech companies to make their platforms compatible with the services of their competitors.
“The totality of the evidence produced during this investigation demonstrates the pressing need for legislative action and reform,” the report says. “These firms have too much power, and that power must be reined in and subject to appropriate oversight and enforcement.”
So far, only Amazon has responded to the report. In a lengthy blog post, the company says the report’s recommendations “would segregate sellers into separate, less visible stores, make it harder for customers to compare prices of products and, ultimately, reduce competition — all leading to higher prices and less selection.”
We’ve reached out to Apple, Facebook and Google for comment, and we’ll update this article with their responses.
If enacted, the changes recommended by the report would dramatically reshape the tech industry, but Democrats and Republicans aren’t in agreement on the broader points of the report. Representative Ken Buck (R-CO) told The New York Times, “I agree with about 330 pages of the majority’s report,” but said he was against the breakup of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, calling it “the nuclear option.” Other Republican members of the antitrust subcommittee say they won’t endorse any of report’s findings.