May 8, 2021

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The Apple-Epic confrontation begins with a fight over witnesses


With the help of Leah Naylin

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The trial begins: Apple and Epic Games will face today in federal civil court, in a case that could change the world of mobile technology as we know it.

Reality Check: New policy papers from the American Economic Freedom Project debunk some of the key allegations made by Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon in their anti-monopoly fights.

Race against time: The Federal Communications Commission is moving quickly this month to allocate billions of dollars in subsidies to help bridge the digital divide.

it is Monday; take it easy. I’m your host, Emily Birnbaum. Thank you all so much for sending you beautiful pictures of your animals. Every one of them is a winner. My friends like to claim that having pets is not a personal but I beg to differ.

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APPLE-EPIC KICKOFF HERE: The trial begins today in Oakland, California. It would focus on Apple’s control of its app store, and it could lead to a world in which regular users have more control over the apps on their phones than they do now, explains Leah Naylin, Politico’s antitrust reporter for professionals. Today Leah is coming out with a video discussing what is at stake in this complex trial.

Just last week, The European Commission has accused Apple of abusing its control of the App Store to harm competing music-streaming services like Spotify – but Epic v. Apple is the first to reach the courtroom. The case will feature testimony from major hitters including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, along with executives from Microsoft, Nvidia and the Tinder Owner Group Match Group. (The head of Facebook’s gaming division was identified to testify but dropped from the witness list last week.)

The two tech companies have already started arguing. Apple last week asked the judge to close the courtroom during a witness testimony from Epic – an accountant who will testify that the App Store will still be profitable if he makes some of the changes that Epic pays to make, like a less than 30 percent commission. Apple said allowing the accountant, who viewed Apple’s internal numbers, to testify could confuse Cupertino shareholders. Not surprisingly, Epic disagreed.

Late Friday night, the judge said to Apple not. US District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers responded that the accountant’s testimony is an essential part of the trial. “The court does not know of any case in which the expert’s profitability analysis has been sealed, as the expert’s opinion reflects his independent analysis,” she wrote.

Although outside experts Provided estimates, Apple has not publicly disclosed how much money it is making from the App Store itself. The accountant will likely provide the answer to this question.

Today: The first day of the trial will include opening statements from both parties, and Sweeney is expected to testify. We’ll cover this experience at length on MT for the next few weeks (we’ll have a new title), so stay tuned!

First in MT: New research from the Antitrust Group: Policy briefs released today from the nonprofit AELP clarify the arguments made by Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple – pulled from public materials as well as “private conversations with lawmakers and employees” – and provide a set of counter points. “These companies have provided misleading arguments to policymakers about their businesses,” wrote AELP.

Amazon, For example, he argued that it constitutes only a “small portion of retail”, in order to prove to policymakers and regulators that it has no monopoly power. But AELP found this argument “misleading”: Amazon owns between 40 and 74 percent of the online retail market. “More than half of all online product searches start directly on Amazon,” writes AELP.

And google He famously argued that “the competition is only one click away”, claiming that it is easy to move from one platform to another. But according to the brief, switching from Google to other platforms is costing publishers and advertisers a lot of money.

Small business corner: Just in time for Small Business Week, one policy briefing focuses specifically on the impact of Google and Facebook on small businesses and their owners. The group has spoken to a number of small business owners about how their interactions with social media giants have damaged their portfolios and business models.

Small business owner He said that Google’s recommended advertising plan “drains our budget” and there is “no way to verify” if the system is helping them reach their target audience.

Another owner Describe how Facebook is “holding small businesses hostage” by pushing to increase engagements or reach a much smaller audience. “The majority of small business owners report that Facebook ads are not reaching their intended audience,” wrote AELP. Instead, Facebook is forcing small business owners to pay more to ‘boost’ the posts, then allowing bots to create ad offers that are being charged small businesses for.

the target audience: AELP is one of the few confidence-disturbing advocacy groups that have successfully raised the issue of antitrust reform in Congress and across the U.S. These political briefs are likely to end up in the hands of lawmakers and their staff, reinforcing the left’s view as Congress approaches legislative changes. Potential.

Full speed FCC advancing on broadband: The FCC is moving very quickly to begin distributing funding for the agency in the latest Covid relief package, while adhering to FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworsel’s pledge to prioritize bridging the “digital divide” during her tenure at the agency.

Rosenworcel on Friday John has released an 80-page draft of a proposed order to set aside $ 7.17 billion in subsidies to help students connect to the Internet at home, John told Professionals, and said she hopes the FCC will adopt the order by May 10. The order will set ambitious performance targets for the fund and define the process by which schools and freedoms can access connected devices and broadband connections for students, school staff, and librarians. (The FCC excludes desktop computers and cell phones from its definition of “connected devices,” and simplifies the process for schools to obtain funding.)

Meanwhile, the agency will open registration For a separate broadband program targeting low-income households, Emergency Broadband Benefits Benefit Program, on May 12.

Quick scheduleThis is a very quick turnaround for an agency used to trading on much smaller decisions for months at a time. But the Covid Relief Bill gave the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 60 days to find out, and lawmakers have stressed that getting the money out as soon as possible is key to helping students and families as the pandemic extends into its second year.

game over: Remember, Rosenworcel urged Congress to start thinking about a “sustainable” successor program when this billion-dollar money runs out.

Listen in the battle of the Amazon federation elections: NLRB is due to hold a hearing on Friday over the retail, wholesale and store association objections to the April election results at Amazon’s Fulfillment Center in Bismere, Alabama, a union spokesperson told Rebecca Rainey of Politico. The union is asking the Federal Labor Council to put results aside because, it says, “Amazon created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion, and / or fear of retaliation” that impeded the employees “freedom of choice” in the elections.

Workers at the facility, by more than 2 to 1, by a margin, voted against joining the union during mailed elections that ended last month.

Facebook leaps to 13 (m) fight: Facebook last week submitted a brief arguing that the Supreme Court’s ruling restricting the powers of the FTC is further evidence that the agency does not have the authority to bring an antitrust case against the social media giant.

In a response on Friday, The Federal Trade Commission responded that Facebook misinterpreted the Supreme Court ruling. But this SCOTUS precedent could actually do badly for the FTC if its case against Facebook reaches the Supreme Court.

Former FCC Chairman Ajit Bey He is joining the American Enterprise Institute as a visiting fellow, where he will focus on technology policy and communications. … a privacy attorney Adrian Earhardt Join Perkins Coie’s privacy and technology practices as a partner. … Intel Corporation It announced that it is investing $ 3.5 billion in its New Mexico operations. … Jared Weaver Join Salt Point Strategies as a partner.

around the world: Protocol contains an analysis of what the European Union campaign against Apple means for the Epic trial. (For example, Europe’s definition of Apple’s market in the US is likely to surprise.)

under the cover: Andrew Yang’s for America project aims to create 100,000 jobs in the cities that most need them. But the New York Times review shows it was too short.

ICYMI: An internal audit seen by Politico warned Amazon’s senior leadership in 2015 that 4,700 of its workforce working on its own sales had unauthorized access to sensitive external vendor data on the platform – even identifying one case in which an employee used access to improve sales, Simon Van Dorp and Vincent Manancourt of Politico report in favor of the positives.

Drama in Basecamp: Basecamp employees are fleeing the company after its founders banned “societal and political discussions” on internal forums, according to The Verge reports.

Investment: Deloitte today releases a report that explores the potential economic benefits of bridging the digital divide, focusing on how broadband coverage, adoption, and its speed could create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States.

ICYMI: Legislators have already raised concerns about the new CEO of TikTok, according to the Alex PRO report.

Tips, comments and suggestions? Email them to our team: Bob King ([email protected]And the Embed a TweetHeidi Vogt[email protected]And the Embed a TweetJohn Hendel[email protected]And the Embed a Tweet), Cristiano Lima ([email protected]And the Embed a Tweet), Alexandra S. Levine ([email protected]And the Embed a Tweet), Leah Naylin ([email protected]And the Embed a Tweet) And Emily Birnbaum ([email protected]And the Embed a Tweet). Got an event for our calendar? Send the details to [email protected]. And don’t forget: add Embed a Tweet And the Embed a Tweet On Twitter.

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