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Global Tracker for Developments in Antitrust Enforcement and Competition Policies for the Tech Sector

USC Gould School of Law

This tech sector antitrust/competition tracker, run by the Center for Transnational Law and Business, provides recent news and developments in competition policy and antitrust enforcement specific to the tech sector in different regions around the world.

United States | Europe | Americas | Asia-Pacific

United States

Google and Apple beat search conspiracy claims

Feb. 7, 2024

A federal judge in Oakland has thrown out allegations that Apple unlawfully accepted billions of dollars from Google to stay out of the search engine market.

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Apple beats AliveCor lawsuit over heart-rate apps for Apple Watch

Feb. 6, 2024

Apple persuaded a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by a Silicon Valley startup accusing it of illegally monopolizing the U.S. market for heart rate monitoring apps for its Apple Watch.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland, California, ruled on Tuesday against AliveCor, which had developed an app for detecting irregular heartbeats.

It accused Apple of violating the federal Sherman antitrust law and a California unfair competition law.

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DOJ antitrust case targeting Google’s ad-tech business will go to trial in September, federal judge rules

Feb. 5, 2024

A blockbuster lawsuit by the US government against Google’s ad business will go to trial in September, according to a federal judge.

The trial is scheduled to begin on Sept. 9, District Judge Leonie Brinkema said in court documents filed Monday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The lawsuit strikes at the core of Google’s business. Advertising made up roughly $66 billion of the $86 billion in revenue reported by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, in the most recent quarterly financial results the company released last week.

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Meta’s Zuckerberg Criticizes Apple’s DMA Compliance as ‘Difficult for Anyone’

Feb. 4, 2024

In a recent earnings call, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed his concerns about Apple’s compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) introduced by the European Union to prevent companies designated as gatekeepers from monopolizing their platforms. Zuckerberg referred to Apple’s implementation of the DMA as “onerous” and anticipates challenges for developers, including those within Meta, to adopt the new rules.

The DMA, created by the European Union, aims to curb the monopolistic practices of major tech companies by introducing measures such as allowing third-party app stores, reducing commissions to 17%, and implementing a Core Technology Fee of 0.50 Euro per first install of an app after 1 million installs.

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Why are Apple, Amazon, Google and Meta facing antitrust lawsuits and huge fines? And will it protect consumers?

Jan. 29, 2024


Following a lengthy investigation, the United States Justice Department is set to file a lawsuit against Apple for potentially breaching antitrust laws.


The department alleges Apple is using hardware and software limitations that make it harder for rival companies to compete with iPhones and iPads.

If the filing goes ahead, it will mean each of the “big four” tech companies – Amazon, Meta, Google and Apple – will have been sued by the U.S. federal government within the past five years for monopolistic business practices.

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Amazon and iRobot Agree to Terminate Pending Acquisition

Jan. 29, 2024


Amazon and iRobot announced that they have entered into a mutual agreement to terminate their previously announced acquisition agreement, originally signed on August 4, 2022, under which Amazon would have acquired iRobot for cash consideration. This deal would have allowed Amazon to invest in continued innovation by iRobot and support iRobot in lowering prices on products customers already love. The companies released the following statements today about the decision:


“We’re disappointed that Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot could not proceed,” said David Zapolsky, Amazon SVP and General Counsel. “We’re believers in the future of consumer robotics in the home and have always been fans of iRobot’s products, which delight consumers and solve problems in ways that improve their lives. Amazon and iRobot were excited to see what our teams could build together, and we’re deeply grateful to everyone who worked tirelessly to try and make this collaboration a reality. This outcome will deny consumers faster innovation and more competitive prices, which we’re confident would have made their lives easier and more enjoyable. Mergers and acquisitions like this help companies like iRobot better compete in the global marketplace, particularly against companies, and from countries, that aren’t subject to the same regulatory requirements in fast-moving technology segments like robotics. Undue and disproportionate regulatory hurdles discourage entrepreneurs, who should be able to see acquisition as one path to success, and that hurts both consumers and competition—the very things that regulators say they’re trying to protect.”.


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US antitrust inquiry targets OpenAI and Anthropic's deals with Big Tech

Jan. 26, 2024


The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday it had ordered OpenAI, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon and Anthropic to provide information on recent investments and partnerships involving generative AI companies and cloud service providers.


Generative AI, which like ChatGPT uses data to create new content, has drawn attention from lawmakers and regulators globally, concerned it could be used to threaten national security, amplify influence operations or facilitate fraud.

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Spain's high court suspends $209 million fines on Apple, Amazon amid appeal

Feb. 8, 2024


Spain's high court suspended 194 million euros ($209 million) in fines imposed on Amazon and Apple by the local antitrust watchdog in July, pending an appeal by the tech giants, an Amazon spokesperson said on Thursday.


CNMC, as the watchdog is known, fined Amazon and Apple for colluding to prevent dealers other than Amazon from selling Apple wares on Amazon's websites in Spain.


Apple was fined 143.6 million euros and Amazon 50.5 million euros and both companies at the time said they would appeal.

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Digital ecosystems to be included in Big Tech antitrust, merger probes, EU regulators say

Feb. 8, 2024


EU antitrust regulators investigating Big Tech's merger deals or their market power will now also take their digital ecosystems and the impact of their free products or services into account, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said on Thursday.


Vestager made the comment as she announced an update to nearly three-decade old rules known as the Market Definition Notice that determine whether companies have the market power to throttle rivals or control prices.

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AI choice should not be ‘American or American,’ EU antitrust chief warns

Feb. 1, 2024


Europe is worried about getting steamrolled by American tech giants on artificial intelligence, with its chief competition and digital affairs official warning the market should stay open.


"The choice should not be American or American,” European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager told the POLITICO Tech podcast.


“Europe is open for business from everywhere. But I think it’s important that you have choice," she said.

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EU hails ‘change’ as Apple opens App Store to competition

Jan. 28, 2024


The significant overhaul, which will take place in March when the European Union’s sweeping Digital Markets Act comes into force, will curtail the dominance of the App Store, which has been a mainstay of the iPhone since 2008.


“The DMA will open the gates of the internet to competition so that digital markets are fair and open,” European internal market commissioner Thierry Breton said. “Change is already happening.”

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BRICS enforcers signal joint enforcement action in digital markets

Oct. 13, 2023

Enforcers in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa plan to coordinate antitrust investigations in the digital economy, a commissioner at Brazil’s competition authority has said.

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South Korea hits pause on anti-monopoly platform act targeting Google, Apple

Feb. 8, 2024


The implementation of South Korea’s Platform Competition Promotion Act, aimed at designating major platform players like Google, Apple, Naver, and Kakao as ‘market-dominant operators’ to combat unfair practices such as tie-in sales and exclusive agreements, has been indefinitely postponed. The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC), overseeing the process, cited “sufficient dialogue with the industry” as the reason for the delay. However, critics argue that the government has succumbed to pressure from both the United States business sector and domestic industries.

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Korea set to introduce new antitrust legislation for Big Tech

Jan. 30, 2024


South Korean antitrust regulators are gearing up to unveil new antitrust legislation targeting big tech firms in February 2024 amid opposition from critics who said the proposed act does not meet their needs.


The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is leaning towards regulating only four or five dominant tech firms under the Platform Fair Competition Promotion Act, or Platform Act, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

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Competition Commission: terms of reference for media and digital platforms inquiry

Sep. 5, 2023


The Competition Commission today gazetted the final terms of reference for its Media and Digital Platforms Market Inquiry, which will investigate the distribution of media content on South Africa’s digital platforms and the advertising technology markets that connect buyers and sellers of digital advertising.


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