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People love it when you lose, They love Dirty Laundry - AntiTrust Megathread

This topic will be updated as more news stories and analysis of the Anti-Trust case release. I've added my thoughts to each article in-line with the link and a short snippet of each article spoilered below it.

 

Amazon

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Amazon knowingly weakened Diapers.comhttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-29/amazon-emails-show-effort-to-weaken-diapers-com-before-buying-it | I personally believe this was mostly public knowledge but it definitely shows how low Amazon was willing to go to come out on top.

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Amazon acquired Quidsi Inc. for $545 million in 2010, absorbing a competitor then making headway in the lucrative market for products to new parents. Emails released by the antitrust subcommittee detail Amazon’s plan to weaken Quidsi, including undercutting its smaller rival on price. “We have already initiated a more aggressive ‘plan to win’ against diapers.com,”...“To the extent that this plan undercuts the core diapers business for diapers.com, it will slow the adoption of Soap.com,” another company owned by Quidsi. The Seattle retailer’s concerted effort to win Diapers.com customers continued during acquisition talks. Amazon was willing to lose $200 million in one month on diapers alone. Scanlon accused Amazon of raising prices on diapers following the elimination of its competitor. “I cannot comment on that because I don’t remember it,” Bezos testified.

 

 

Apple

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Apple Struggling with Right to Repair Internallyhttps://www.ifixit.com/News/43008/apple-emails-reveal-internal-debate-on-right-to-repair | Kinda not a surprise to me, knowing how many techy people work in Apple, I'm not surprised a lot of them would want to repair their own devices and would be Pro-Right to Repair

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Internal discussions reveal that what looks like Apple’s united front against Right to Repair is really an internal debate, rife with uncertainty. The New York Times editorial in favor of Right to Repair last April set off a fire alarm inside Apple’s public relations team. “The larger issue is that our strategy around all of this is unclear. Right now we’re talking out of both sides of our mouth and no one is clear on where we’re headed.” Rewind one month, and iFixit had unwittingly triggered another flurry of internal emails, unearthed by the Judiciary Committee. Last March, we discovered complete service manuals for the newest (2019) iMacs up on Apple’s support site. Both manuals are still there. Apple didn’t reply to Whitson’s request. They did look up his credentials, and launched a wide-ranging internal debate. The manuals stayed online. An internal Apple memo asks, “What’s our repair strategy?”, showing more division inside Apple than anyone knew. “Right now, it’s pretty clear things are happening in a vacuum and there is not an overall strategy. Plus, with one hand we are making these changes and the other is actively fighting Right to Repair legislation.

 

Apple applies the rules to all developers equally (except Amazon)https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/29/apple-tried-to-lure-amazon-video-app-with-lower-15percent-fee-eddy-cue-email.html | This one will probably upset Luke as I know floatplane recently had to pull out of the iOS app store due to Apple wanting the full 30%

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An Apple exec offered Amazon a 15% fee on subscriptions that signed up through the app, which is lower than Apple’s customary 30% fee for most in-app purchases. The email suggests that big players can negotiate for better business terms on Apple’s App Store, contradicting Apple’s public stance that all apps are treated the same on its platform. Software makers are required to use Apple’s payment mechanism for any digital purchases inside an iPhone app. Apple typically takes 30% of the initial purchase price, including 30% from the first year.

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Facebook

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Instagram CEO feared Facebook would "destroy mode" them if they said Nohttps://www.businessinsider.com/instagram-cofounder-feared-zuckerberg-destroy-mode-facebook-acquisition-texts-2020-7 | I can only imagine how worrisome it must be to potentially have your entire business crushed someone that's not even a competitor for not complying with them

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When Zuckerberg first expressed interest in buying Instagram in 2012, cofounder Kevin Systrom didn't appear confident about what would happen if he opted to remain independent. "Will [Zuckerberg] go into destroy mode if I say no [to an acquisition deal]?" Systrom asked in a message. Cohler also warned that Zuckerberg was unlikely to be deterred by the fact that Instagram was keen on raising additional startup funding. Two things they seemed to agree on: Zuckerberg was most worried about Instagram getting bought up by Twitter, and they were worried about Zuckerberg trying to crush Instagram if they refused to sell. "Bottom line I don't think we'll ever escape the wrath of mark," he added. "It just depends how long we avoid it." Facebook eventually got its way just two months after the exchange, buying Instagram for $1 billion in April 2012.


Facebook feared Instagramhttps://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/07/zuck-email-instagram-deal-could-neutralize-a-potential-competitor/ | It looks like Facebook was well aware of what they were doing when it came to acquiring Instagram. Imagine if MySpace had done the same to Facebook.

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Six weeks before acquiring Instagram, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that one of his motivations for the acquisition was to "neutralize a potential competitor." Facebook was one of the Internet's biggest social networks in 2012, but its dominant position was not as secure then as it is today. Evidently, Zuckerberg soon realized how bad this email could look if it eventually became public. Less than an hour later, he sent Ebersman another email. "I didn't mean to imply that we'd be buying them to prevent them from competing with us in any way," Zuck wrote. "I remember your internal post about how Instagram was our threat and not Google+," Zuckerberg wrote. "You were basically right. One thing about startups though is you can often acquire them."

 

 

Google

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Why does Google Steal Contenthttps://www.businessinsider.com/google-ceo-sundar-pichai-tough-grilling-in-antitrust-opener-2020-7 | I'm not surprised at Google being grilled over this. While their suggestions and widgets are arguably useful it still takes up the first half of a page.

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David Cicilline wasted no time in setting the tone with an aggressive line of questioning to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. "Why does Google steal content from honest businesses?" The committee had spoken to numerous small business who had claimed Google had "stolen content" from them. "Most Americans believe that when they enter a search query that what Google shows are the most relevant results," said Cicilline. "But increasingly Google just shows whatever is most profitable for Google." Specific emails from “over a decade ago” between Google employees discussing sites that were growing and traffic. Employees “started to fear competition from certain websites [and] web pages that could divert search traffic and revenue from Google,” Companies like Yelp have accused Google of stealing their content in search, diverting clicks from their own sites and onto Google’s. Yelp raised these concerns with the company, Google threatened to delist the website unless it was allowed to scrub its content.

 

Google's Business Model is the problemhttps://www.theverge.com/2020/7/29/21346999/google-sundar-pichai-antitrust-hearing-business-model-david-cicilline-questioning | Google really does have a LOT of products and they rarely keep them up.

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Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) tore into Google CEO Sundar Pichai over the company’s dominance in search and its use of data to monitor would-be competitors. “It is Google’s business model that is the problem,” “Our documents show that Google evolved from a turnstile to the rest of the web to a walled garden that increasingly keeps users within its sites.” Pichai did not outright address the competition concerns, responding, “When I run the company, I’m really focused on giving users what they want. We conduct ourselves to the highest standard.” Google is already under several formal antitrust investigations by law enforcement.  The Markup released a report suggesting that Google prioritizes its own products and services in a significant portion of links on the first page of search results. The latter half of Cicilline’s questioning homed in on Google’s surveillance abilities over web traffic to identify up and coming competitors. Cicilline asked outright, “Did Google ever use its surveillance over web traffic to identify competitive threats?” Pichai did not deny the allegation directly.


Google Talking Pointshttps://9to5google.com/2020/07/29/google-congress-antitrust/ | This one covers a lot of talking points, even brief ones that some new articles don't exist for

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Congressman Gaetz (R-FL) is criticiz[es] Google’s AI Center in China as helping that country’s military. Pichai denies and reiterates that all it’s China work is focused on open source AI tools. Armstrong asks Pichai about cellular warrants and geofence data. Congressman Nadler (D-NY) asks about data collection in Chrome. Congressman Steube (R-FL) asks about YouTube removing videos related to COVID-19 offering solutions that have not been verified. Congresswoman Scanlon (D-PA) asks about Google’s acquisition of YouTube, and whether it was due to a potential threat in 2006. Scanlon further asks about kids content on YouTube. Armstrong (R-ND) criticizes YouTube for limiting what ad tools are available to marketers. Jayapal (D-WA) criticizes Google’s control over the advertising marketplace. Neguse (D-CO) talks about the report that the ‘Android Lockbox’ lets Google monitor third-party Android app usage.

 


Combo Articles

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Congress has the Goods on Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Googlehttps://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/30/apple-amazon-facebook-google-internal-emails-released-by-congress.html | To be fair, a doubt the CEOs would intentionally self-incriminate, thankfully years and years of documents can do that for them.

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What’d we learn during the Big Tech CEO hearing on Wednesday? Next to nothing. It still did a lot of the good and dirty work over the last year, gathering over 1 million documents from Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google in its antitrust probe against the companies. Juicy details such as how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted to buy Instagram at least in part to squash a rising competitive threat and how Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos negotiated a sweetheart deal with Apple to get Amazon’s Prime Video app on Apple TV. As for Facebook, the documents show that its $1 billion acquisition of Instagram in 2012 was at least in part due to Zuckerberg’s desire to quash a buzzy and growing competitor. That’s just a taste. There are plenty more documents that were released Wednesday to dig through. They’ll make a great beach read for any antitrust dorks out there. it doesn’t end with Congress. The DOJ, FTC and groups of state attorneys general are all investigating these four companies to varying degrees. Those investigations are more likely to result in immediate action without waiting for Congress.


Congress made Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google CEOs sweathttps://www.businessinsider.com/congress-made-amazon-apple-facebook-google-ceos-sweat-during-hearing-2020-7 | It definitely sucks to get blocked on a platform without any real explanation or reason and not response from support

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For the past year this subcommittee has been investigating whether that dominance over distribution has led to America's decades-low small-business creation — whether Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon use their power to destroy would-be competitors. Bezos showed us his worried face because, histrionics from a few members aside, the subcommittee members did just that. The subcommittee "showed that these companies are gatekeepers that they engage in anticompetitive practices and that their dominance is about monopoly power, not innovation," Members of both parties hammered Facebook over its strategy of buying, copying, or threatening competitors out of business, reading damning internal emails from the company's acquisition of Instagram. Bezos was tongue-tied when he was asked why Amazon made money from counterfeit goods, and he couldn't answer questions about Amazon's protocol for ensuring it's not selling stolen goods. Bezos squirmed through questions from Rep. Pramila Jayapal about how Amazon misuses third-party seller data to develop in-house brands that compete with merchants selling on his platform. Much in the same way, Zuckerberg sweat through questions about Facebook's history of spying on competitors. Zuckerberg could not explain away the fact that his company profits from peddling misinformation. Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado pressed the CEOs of Apple and Google, both of which control app stores, to promise that they would not use the information they collect from apps in their stores to build competitors. Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida pressed Pichai about the way Google surveils its customers, bundling data from across all its products (such as Gmail and Maps) to sell them targeted ads. Perhaps the most gut-wrenching moment of the hearing was when Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia played a recording of a small textbook seller that was crushed by Amazon when it got big enough to compete with Bezos' business.

 

 

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How many people even know Don Henley? 

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4 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

How many people even know Don Henley? 

There's people who don't?

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4 minutes ago, HarryNyquist said:

I'm debating on whether to add stuff like this or not. This was known before the trust investigation, same with Amazon spying on sellers. Trying to keep the topic on information obtained from the hearing itself. I may add a separate section for these kinds of recent anti-trust stuff if I do decide to add them.

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35 minutes ago, rcmaehl said:

Scanlon accused Amazon of raising prices on diapers following the elimination of its competitor.

gonna take a guess there is more than one diaper competitor, so I don't really see how this argument works out.

36 minutes ago, rcmaehl said:

Instagram CEO feared Facebook would "destroy mode" them if they said No

Isn't that how capitalism works? Trying to out do your competitor?

The instagram purchase was specifically to keep facebook a competitive company. Without it, facebook would possibly be turning into myspace by now. The only way you could frame that as anti-competitive is if you pretended that facebook and instagram were the only players in the space, but they aren't.

 

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Facebook won't be split up.  They have serious competition from the likes of Google+.

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21 minutes ago, poochyena said:

gonna take a guess there is more than one diaper competitor, so I don't really see how this argument works out.

Isn't that how capitalism works? Trying to out do your competitor?

The instagram purchase was specifically to keep facebook a competitive company. Without it, facebook would possibly be turning into myspace by now. The only way you could frame that as anti-competitive is if you pretended that facebook and instagram were the only players in the space, but they aren't.

 

Antitrust is a beast of laws and statues.

Predatory Pricing, specifically for the purpose of buying a competitor in the case of Amazon falls into the antitrust/monopolistic category. References point me towards BROOKE GROUP LTD. v. BROWN & WILLIAMSON TOBACCO CORP.

As for Instagram vs Facebook, I would argue that they're two entirely different types of social media companies.

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Oh boy. Get your popcorn ready folks, this is gonna be fun AND entertaining!

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3 hours ago, rcmaehl said:

This topic will be updated as more news stories and analysis of the Anti-Trust case release. I've added my thoughts to each article in-line with the link and a short snippet of each article spoilered below it.

 

 

The Apple and Amazon stuff doesn't really surprise me. Amazon is not a "good" company, but it's done it's fair share of evil, like acquiring companies only to eliminate them. Apple would clearly have detractors about right to repair inside the company because I'm sure people inside the company see how utterly asinine it is to make products that can't be repaired because that conflicts with e-waste goals.

 

3 hours ago, rcmaehl said:

Facebook

  Hide contents

Instagram CEO feared Facebook would "destroy mode" them if they said Nohttps://www.businessinsider.com/instagram-cofounder-feared-zuckerberg-destroy-mode-facebook-acquisition-texts-2020-7 | I can only imagine how worrisome it must be to potentially have your entire business crushed someone that's not even a competitor for not complying with them


Facebook feared Instagramhttps://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/07/zuck-email-instagram-deal-could-neutralize-a-potential-competitor/ | It looks like Facebook was well aware of what they were doing when it came to acquiring Instagram. Imagine if MySpace had done the same to Facebook.

 

 

If anything happens to Facebook, requiring Facebook to spin off Instagram, and divest itself of all staff ever involved with instagram integration. Let Instagram be it's own company again. Require Facebook to not acquire instagram again, and no other tech company be permitted to buy it and vertically integrate it into their services.

 

But the far more pressing thing for Facebook would be the fact checking problem where it's disingenuous. White supremacists are fact checkers for facebook.

 

 

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Unfortunately some of these things are not new 

now just officialliced and the backgrounds investigated 

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4 hours ago, rcmaehl said:

I'm debating on whether to add stuff like this or not. This was known before the trust investigation, same with Amazon spying on sellers. Trying to keep the topic on information obtained from the hearing itself. I may add a separate section for these kinds of recent anti-trust stuff if I do decide to add them.

You forgot the part where killing off bixby is a kindness to everyone with a Samsung.

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4 hours ago, rcmaehl said:

Amazon was willing to lose $200 million in one month on diapers alone.

That behavior is not new for Amazon they did it with Amazon Prime 

first make super attractive deals to attract customers and get them into their ecosystem 

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Who else has the feeling that among these three Facebook is publicly viewed as the most „evil“ ?

 

Edited by Drama Lama

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I read only the Apple part because right to repair and I'm not really surprised that it is internal struggle. After all to work in IT at any level you kind of need to be techhead and that means you could do some fixing by yourself or with only little help and anyone at that place would be uncomfortable with full blown unrepailability and could leak service manuals and push for change. On the other hand Apple is innovation company that runs a lot by creative people who rather do marketing material and designs than the tech side and rather look at finances and results than customer/community feedback.

 

That is a clear battlefield in any scale for huge differences and we can clearly see that in Apple. While T2-chip hinders repairability at the same time having 2 screws holding all together helps it. While their mobile and laptop sides go full on unrepairability, the Mac Pro is mostly engineer sample against that mentality. Leaking the repair manuals and other drawings quite constantly looks like there is bigger scheme behind to help to repair Apple devices, the marketing and finances do their best to limit that with parts that aren't freely available.

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1 hour ago, VegetableStu said:

isn't google+ like dead for the public? ._.

That's the joke. Yet it lives on in Youtube.

 

 

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14 hours ago, DrMacintosh said:

How many people even know Don Henley? 

I am so confused. I just read through most of the articles covered here in, and I couldn't find any mention of Don Henley or the Eagles at all, which disappointed me, lol. Is this some new meme I am unaware of? I have to know the significance! LOL!

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14 hours ago, LinusTech said:

Great thread.

 

These internal emails being dug up by the probes are awesome.

I‘d say it’s only great if these investigations are followed by actions that reinsure fair competition 

because:

14 hours ago, rcmaehl said:

What’d we learn during the Big Tech CEO hearing on Wednesday? Next to nothing

 

10 hours ago, Trik'Stari said:

You forgot the part where killing off bixby is a kindness to everyone with a Samsung.

People used that?

 

14 hours ago, DrMacintosh said:

How many people even know Don Henley? 

 

14 hours ago, rcmaehl said:

There's people who don't?

Me for example 

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Personally, I'm not sure that any of the quoted evidence constitutes any crimes in and of itself.

It is definitely not illegal for a business to undercut it's competitors (Amazon vs. Quidsi, Facebook vs. Instagram), even at a loss.

 

It's also not illegal for a business to purchase a single competitor (Amazon m. Quidsi, Facebook, m. Instagram).

 

To prove a trust, you have to show that the companies successfully barred any other company from functioning competitively. Showing a single company that they hurt or acquired isn't going to do the trick.

I mean, it's clear that Amazon is a trust. If not in the marketplace, then definitely in, you know, holding the keys to something like 9x% of the internet.

 

Google is also pretty trusty. Their entire business model is to buy any weak tech company in any domain. Although I'm not sure if that's actually preventing competition in any of the given fields, which is a requirement to be a trust.

I'm not sure about Facebook. As far as I'm aware, their only major acquisitions have been Instagram and Whatsapp. One of those isn't even remotely in the same industry.

 

Right to Repair also has little to do with being a trust. Being a trust means that you are a business who uses your size and questionable (but not necessarily illegal) tactics to prevent every other business from competing with you. 


It's not impossible that this is to weaken either the companies or public opinion of these companies to help pass the EARNit and Lawful Access To Encrypted Data acts. Infact, it would be insanely shortsighted to assume that whatever the US government is doing here doesn't have an ulterior motive behind it.

I mean, trivially, we can prove that the US legislature doesn't actually care at all about whether or not a company is a trust. Just look at AT&T who, since their congressionally approved acquisition of Comcast, is most certainly a trust. A whopping big one.

ENCRYPTION IS NOT A CRIME

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15 hours ago, DrMacintosh said:

How many people even know Don Henley? 

When the boys of summer stayed at the hotel California they were labelled as desperado.

QuicK and DirtY. Read the CoC it's like a guide on how not to be moron.  Also I don't have an issue with the VS series.

Sometimes I miss contractions like n't on the end of words like wouldn't, couldn't and shouldn't.    Please don't be a dick,  make allowances when reading my posts.

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My opinion about Apple after watcting it live

 

Absolutely hated the way Tim Cook blatently lied about how the treat all developers equally, when in fact Amazon and Netflix gets exceptions. I wish the senators grilled him about this, but they seemed to be unaware about it.

 

Apple does deserve to get a cut, but not 30%, maybe 5-10 max out of subscriptions, provided they do offer the payment platform. I doubt maintaing app store is a multibillion dollar expense

 

On others

 

Dont have much to say apart from the fact that it was hilarios to watch Bezos and Zuckerberg just not being able to recall all of the major scandals

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In a way doing cuts on major players is the backwards logic. When you're a small developer, getting cut discounts would make sense. How can a small dev afford 30% cut and build anything worthwhile from that? Where on the other spectrum we have multi billion companies that earn ridiculous amounts of cash and on top of that they have to pay smaller cut from every sale. It's like encouraging corporations being even stronger and stifling startups and smaller companies from even entering the market.

 

The same way I couldn't understand this thing on Steam when Activision complained iirc. When you're small you're paying full cut, but when you're big, you're paying a discounted cut. Where on earth that makes sense? Smaller initial cut should be the encouragement to make your company big and when you're earning big money you can also pay bigger cuts.

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4 hours ago, Drama Lama said:

People used that?

No, that's why it needs to be killed off. I'd remove it from my phone, but unfortunately I'm not allowed to do so, and every time I've tried to root my phone, I have failed. Mine seems to be a version that isn't vulnerable to it yet.

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