Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Apple, Google, Amazon can ‘lock out’ competition

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat from Massachusetts whose name has been thrown around as a possible vice presidential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, is talking tough about tech’s biggest companies.

Apple, Google and Amazon are “big guys [that] can lock out smaller guys and newer guys,” Warren said during an anti-monopoly speech Wednesday at the New America Foundation’s Open Markets Program.

She mentioned Google’s search practices, which have drawn antitrust scrutiny in the U.S. and abroad.

“Among other things, the [FTC] staff produced evidence showing that Google promoted its own Google-branded content over its rivals even though those rivals would have otherwise had top billing through its organic search algorithm,” Warren said. The Mountain View company reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in 2013, avoiding U.S. antitrust charges, but Europe brought antitrust charges against Google over its search practices in 2015.

Turning to Apple, Warren mentioned scrutiny of Apple Music and the way it treats its music-streaming competition.

“While Apple Music is easily accessible on the iPhone, Apple has placed conditions on its rivals that make it difficult for them to offer competitive streaming 3 services,” Warren said, adding that the FTC is looking into suing the Cupertino company.

And the senator mentioned Amazon’s relationship with the book industry. Last year, authors and booksellers called for an antitrust investigation of the Seattle company, citing its dominance in selling books.

Warren said the three companies “deserve to be highly profitable and successful. But the opportunity to compete must remain open for new entrants and smaller competitors that want their chance to change the world again.”

Apple, Google and Amazon have not yet responded to SiliconBeat’s requests for comment.

Warren’s criticism of the tech (and other) companies comes on the heels of Clinton’s unveiling of her tech and innovation agenda this week, which seemed to touch on many of the tech industry’s pet issues. Warren also has spoken out for workers’ rights amid the rise of the gig economy.

Clinton and fellow Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders have been mostly diplomatic when talking about Silicon Valley and other tech companies. Meanwhile, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump actually has something in common with Warren: He, too, has criticized Apple and Amazon.


Photo: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 24, 2015. (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)


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  • Alex

    this is the perfect example of corporate news, we all know the system backs Hillary including all major big corps, like apple, google, microsoft,.. Warren’s Wall st. is the only speech she has, are we supposed to believe what she’s saying? corporations need to ACT against themselves many times, in order to make game look fair for both sides, many times they just pay a “penalty” in some kind of a “fine” or “fee”, in this case they are doing it with the media…..this should be ILLEGAL BY CORPORATIONS, because your manipulating peoples minds….

  • Big corporations of all kinds have only one aim: make as much money as possible. They will do whatever the law allows (and often what it doesn’t) in order to accomplish this goal. There is no morality, ethics or patriotism about corporate capitalism. They will try to buy anything, including democracy, to get bigger, more powerful and richer.