Elizabeth Warren's big tech breakup plan spares Apple (u)

Or does it?

From Warren's It's time to break up Amazon, Google and Facebook, posted Friday on Medium:

These companies would be prohibited from owning both the platform utility and any participants on that platform. Platform utilities would be required to meet a standard of fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory dealing with users. Platform utilities would not be allowed to transfer or share data with third parties.

From CNBC's Jacob Pranuk and Tucker Higgins:

Though Warren’s post did not mention Apple, her campaign said the plan would affect the tech behemoth. The company could have to choose between running its App Store or building its own apps, Warren spokeswoman Saloni Sharma said.

My take: A) Not going to happen. B) If it did, Apple would come out of it, compared to the others, relatively unscathed.

UPDATE: Deepest Apple-centric analysis of Warren's plan I've seen so far comes from Forbes contributor John Koetsier, who offers five reasons Apple got spared. A sample:

Five: Apple doesn't impact political power

Facebook controls a lot of conversation. Google controls a lot of knowledge. Amazon controls a lot of purchase power ... and which merchants can sell on the dominant commerce platform in the U.S.

What does Apple control? Mostly, where and when you buy new iPhones.

He exaggerates for effect, but you get the point.

UPDATE: From Nilay Patel's Elizabeth Warren wants to break up Apple too, posted Saturday on The Verge.

Warren’s proposal didn’t mention Apple, which clearly matches the same set of criteria: the company makes far more than $25 billion a year in revenue, and it operates the iOS App Store, in which it distributes its own apps.

I spoke to Senator Warren after she appeared on stage at SXSW in Austin, Texas today, and she told me explicitly that she thinks Apple should be broken apart too — specifically, that it should not get to both run the App Store and distribute apps in it. “It’s got to be one or the other,” she said. “Either they run the platform or they play in the store. They don’t get to do both at the same time.”..

Q: There was one company that fits that description that you did not mention.

A: Apple. They’re in.

Q: You want to break up Apple as well.

A: Yep...

Q: Why not mention Apple in your letter yesterday?

A: No special reason. [more]

My second take: A) Not going to happen. B) But Warren is going to force the Democratic candidates to take a position on it, one way or another.


  1. Wyatt Counts said:
    Android could be considered Apple’s best friend when it comes to anti trust issues. An argument could be made that the same apps are available on a non-curated platform that has more market share. Curious though, if Apple was broken up, how, could the sum of the parts be valued any less than the whole?

    March 8, 2019
  2. David Emery said:
    I’ll want to see actual (proposed) legislation before forming an opinion on this. A lot depends on how/where you ‘draw the line’ used to divide large tech companies.

    But in general I’m as suspicious of populism-from-the-left as I am of populism-from-the-right.

    March 8, 2019
  3. Kathy Corby said:
    Honestly, who runs for POTUS on a platform of stock market instability?

    March 8, 2019
    • Aaron Belich said:
      “He will bring them death, and they will love him for it”

      March 9, 2019
  4. “The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the Senate, it’s the sand of the Colosseum. He’ll bring them death and they will love him for it.” —Gracchus (Derek Jacobi) in The Gladiator, referring to the Emperor.

    March 9, 2019
  5. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    It’s already a crowded field of presidential candidates for the Democrats. Attempting to stake out political positions that appeal only to a very small group of party activists is just part of the nominating process. I doubt this particular position will gain any real traction. There will be lots of posturing among the candidates this early in the cycle to gain media attention and demonstrate the viability of a candidate’s campaign. Alas, this could be a very long eleven months until the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

    March 9, 2019

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