What Sen. Blumenthal said about Apple’s ‘catch and kill’

From “FTC Expands Antitrust Investigation Into Big Tech” ($) in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal:

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), a critic of big tech companies, said he welcomed the FTC study, but warned that “it’s no substitute for action.”

“It has been clear for a decade that Big Tech is stifling innovation through its catch-and-kill tactics and unfettered market dominance,” he said in a statement. “Every time that Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook acquire the latest cutting-edge artificial intelligence startup, innovative wearable device or emerging social network, they irreversibly squash another generation of novel competitors that could benefit consumers and bolster our nation’s technological advancement.”

My take: A senior senator who voted to remove an impeached president has found common ground with the president’s Federal Trade Commission over Apple. How ironic.

See also: Toward a new theory of antitrust

8 Comments

  1. Jerry Doyle said:
    I’m not overly concern when it comes to Apple. Someone powerful and influential has the back of Apple. As long as Tim Cook continues to cultivate his strong working relationships with key Executive branch staffs and to engage constructively with the president sitting in the Oval Office, any Apple’s case will be decided by a businessman who understands fully what capitalism entails, especially free market capitalism.

    By statute, the heads of all the major departments, federal agencies and commissions are appointed by the president and many confirmed by the senate. With the quickness of a signature, a public official who is not a team player, or who does not follow the suggestions that flow from the White House will find his or her seat taken by an Acting head. This is a White House that has shown repeatedly that the person sitting in the Oval Office is the boss over the Executive branch, the same as any CEO shows in running his/her company.

    The message is being sent clearly to all federal bureaucrats that “you” do not run your agencies as you traditionally have functioned in doing. You are to do the work of the public as appropriate, until such period when the man in the Oval Office believes you got too far ahead of your skis.

    2
    February 12, 2020
    • Jerry Doyle said:
      @David Emery: Thanks! Long article, but comprehensive and informative.

      1
      February 12, 2020
  2. Steven Noyes said:
    My take:

    If I had a great 10 person company and we were working 80 hours per week on something cool and Apple/Google/FB said: “We think you have an amazing team and some future focused tech and we see a real future for it as a part integrated into a lager framework. How about a ‘acquisition’ where you each get $10,000,000. Interested?”

    I would be mad as hades this Democratic Senator from Connecticut and Trump’s FTC removed the option for me to consider the offer.

    6
    February 12, 2020
  3. Steven Philips said:
    Sort of the usual situation with “unintended consequences” (but not unforeseen!) from political posturing. The question is what kind of system would exist – or regulations would need to exist – for this to work? (I don’t think any would.) A bunch of little companies with good ideas and nowhere to go?
    Steven Noyes is correct. As I’ve said before, many companies HOPE to be bought out. THAT IS their “market”.

    3
    February 12, 2020
  4. Gregg Thurman said:
    “Catch and kill”. Catchy phrase that, just the kind of phrase to get constituents’ attention, but totally off track.

    All of these firms bought by Alphabet, Samsung, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple et al require a host for their technology to function. Without a host they are nothing more than lines of code that can’t do anything. Think of it this way, someone invents anti-lock Brake’s. Without a car they are useless.

    The price these inventive firms are paid represents a premium over the PRESENT VALUE of future licensing agreements AND they continue to be employed, by the buyer, TO DO WHAT THEY LOVE DOING.

    Blumenthal is a grandstanding retard (my apologies to actual retards for comparing them to Blumenthal) in search of an issue he can twist into a campaign slogan.

    As to “killing” the developed tech, that tech is not stowed away in some secret vault never to be seen again. It is integrated into the platform it requires to function.

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    February 12, 2020
  5. Michael Thompson said:
    Dick Blumenthal: A Stolen Valor degenerate liar.

    1
    February 12, 2020
  6. John Konopka said:
    I’m not sure what Blumenthal is after. He seems to feel that there are little Apple and Googles springing up all the time that are being squashed by big companies. If only they were allowed to flourish there would be competitors to MS, Apple, et al.

    That ship has long sailed. Even when Apple came out with the first iPhone there is no way a small company could have done that. It took a lot of know how and integration to make that work, not to mention convincing ATT to cooperate.

    1
    February 12, 2020

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