Al Franken, junior senator from Minnesota and former Saturday Night Live performer, has authored a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez calling for an investigation into Apple’s business practices. Reuters reports:
The complaints focus on the fact that Apple plays two roles in music streaming. First, it provides the App Store platform for competing streaming services including Jango, Spotify, Rhapsody and others, while taking a 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases for digital goods. Secondly, it has its own streaming service.
Franken noted a complaint often made by streaming companies: that they are barred from putting in their app advertisement that customers can pay less if they download the app from a website instead of the Apple platform. They are also barred from advertising discounts.
“These types of restrictions seem to offer no competitive benefit and may actually undermine the competitive process, to the detriment of consumers, who may end up paying substantially more than the current market price point,” Franken wrote in his letter.
Anti-trust law has always been wielded arbitrarily and politically. In this case, Apple’s competitors have solicited the aid of the state in forcing Apple to allow access to their App Store platform under terms Apple would not voluntarily agree to. It’s naked thuggery and corporate cronyism dressed as consumer advocacy.