Apple is ‘not a monopoly,’ CEO Tim Cook says amid reports of possible antitrust probe
CEO Tim Cook insisted Apple is “not a monopoly” and said the tech company did not have a superior position in any market amid reports the U.S. Justice Department is looking to launch a potential antitrust probe on leading tech firms.
Cook told CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell on Monday he doesn’t think Apple is “too big,” but welcomed the scrutiny because it’s “fair.”
“I think we should be scrutinized,” Cook said. “…I don't think anybody reasonable is going to come to the conclusion that Apple's a monopoly. Our share is much more modest. We don't have a dominant position in any market.”
The Apple CEO cited the company’s global shares in smartphones and PCs as an example of how it was not dominating the market as some have alleged. Shipments of Apple’s iPhones dropped in the first quarter this year to 36.4 million units worldwide, a 30.2 percent decline from 2018, the International Data Corporation reported in April. Samsung still holds the top spot in the global market, followed by Huawei.
Many people have pointed to Apple’s App Store as the main issue. App developers claim the tech giant uses the App Store to monopolize iOS apps and artificially inflate prices. The Supreme Court ruled against Apple in May in the case Apple Inc. v. Pepper, saying iPhone buyers were “direct purchasers” who can sue Apple for alleged monopolization.
Presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., suggested “Apple should break up its App Store and other parts of its business” — a comment Cook said he “strongly” disagreed with.
“I think some people would argue, if you are selling a good, then you can't have a product that competes with that good. And I think that's part of what is being argued there,” Cook said, adding that the argument “takes you down the path that, Walmart shouldn't be stocking alternative or house brand…And so this is decades of U.S. law here.”
Cook’s comments come as the House Judiciary Committee announces a sweeping antitrust probe of unspecified technology companies. The committee said it would conduct a "a top-to-bottom review of the market power held by giant tech platforms," which would be the first such review Congress has ever undertaken.
Reuters reported Monday the Justice Department obtained jurisdiction to possibly investigate Apple over antitrust concerns. Other reports emerged over the weekend that the department was also preparing an investigation into Google.
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On Monday, The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has secured the rights to bring a possible investigation into Facebook.
Shares for Apple, Amazon and Google sank during Wall Street trading on Monday amid the reports.
Fox Business' Thomas Barrabi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.